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Old November 26th 03, 01:48 PM
Garry McGonigal
 
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Default Time limit for hearing (not filing) protest

Just a few comments. In terms of a protest hearing, there are two phases to
a protest hearing. The first phase is the determination of whether or not
the protest is valid. If it is valid, then they go to the second phase
which is the taking of evidence, etc. and decision.

During Phase I, the check list would probably include, and with reference to
the following documents: The club's Sailing Instructions and are they valid
SI's, or the section that might be referenced to as an element of the
protest, is it a valid SI. The ISAF Racing Rules and the country's
prescriptions to such. next, at the time of the infraction, did the
protestor hail 'Protest" and in accordance with the Racing Rules, when did
the Protestor fly a Swallow Tail Code B flag (doesn't have to be a swallow
tail, but that sometimes is debatable). The Protestor is not obligated for
the protestee to hear "Protest". Was that red flag flown throughout the
balance of the race to the finish. Was the Race Committee boat notified of
the protest. Now, here is where either the SI's kick in or the ISAF Rules,
in terms of a formal protest being handed in to the race committee office,
or the Race Chair, or a designated official. The ISAF has a 2 hr. time
limit after the last boat has crossed the finish line to have the Race
Office notified of a protest, unless the Race Committee boat has valid
reason to extend. SI's often will spell out a time limit when the RC boat
docks. Generally, the Race Committee official then is to notify the
protestee and at some point provide them with a copy of the protest.

As a Protest Chair I would find it unacceptable that a week or months, even
a day, has elapsed before the protestee was notified of a protest, and the
details. That is denying the protestee the opportunity to assemble any
witnesses, etc. in a reasonable and fair manner and while events are
current. On that basis alone I would deny the protest as being valid.

One also looks at the content of the protest to determine if the material is
valid...there is latitude for the Protest Committee to correct or add a
degree of information on the protest form.

In your instance, I would want to know the time of the alleged instance
before the starting signal. If it was between the 5 and 4 minute signals,
then it is not relevant because it is not until the 4 minute signal that the
Racing Rules fully kick in -- and yes, there have been cases of exactly such
protests (before the 4 minute signal).

In terms of how long after a protest has been lodged (valid) can a hearing
occur, well unless the SI's say something specific on it, then it is up to
the Race Committee to have a proper process in place for such. For example,
at some US clubs, or groups of clubs, then may hold all protests hearings
after the racing season has finished, a designated location, and sometimes
bring in international officials for the hearings. Other clubs have it
written in the SI's to be held by a specified time and within a week of the
protest, of course subject to change for valid reasons.

So, the fact that they waited a couple of months after the race to even
notify you of a protest is valid grounds for dismissal. You have rights and
are not to be unfairly treated.

Two seasons ago, after racing finished I was contacted by a protestee
concerning what he felt was unfair treatment by the protest committee. I
outlined that he has a right to appeal, what the steps were at the club
level and then further up. Since I was not involved with the hearing, etc.,
I said I will have a look at it. He felt that who they put together to form
a Protest Committee had already made their minds up on the decision before a
hearing and that during the hearing he was unfairly treated. I reviewed the
materials available, met with the Protest Chair who was also the Race Chair
(that is not wise), went over the options. In his view he stated the fellow
was guilty there will be no appeal at the club level, period. I advised
that given the material I have before me, if it does get appealed at the
national level the protest will be thrown out and the club possibly censored
or he, for the actions taken. That got his attention. I suggested bringing
the two parties together and I will hold an unofficial protest hearing as it
would be conducted at the national level -- just so the protestee gets his
fair time and then we will see what a decision might be. So we did it.
Took a couple of hrs to get through it all (as opposed to the original 5
minutes). At the end of the 'hearing' the protestor put in writing his
withdrawal of the protest. Once all of the sequences were worked out,
witnesses heard, it then was evident that the protestee did no wrong and was
in a situation where he could not avoid and that perhaps the protestor
caused the problems. Just fair and honest look at all of the facts.

One of the items about the Race Chair not being a part of a Protest
Committee is that it allows the Race Chair to look at the protest, perhaps
provide some suggestions that there might be problems with the protest, that
it may not be valid, etc., and maybe avoid having a Protest Hearing -- there
are times when as a Protest Committee Chair or Member, you can see that
straight up the protest might not survive even a validity check, but you can
not say anything about that. The Race Chair can, or can sit both parties
down and discuss it first.

Enough said.


wrote in message
...
I was just informed last week that I was being protested for a race
that was held at the end of Aug. At the end of the race in question,
another boat informed me that he was protesting me for a foul right
before the start. I was unaware during the race that he had protested
me, and was surprised that there was a foul.

I heard nothing of this protest, and assumed the other skipper had
decided against going thru with it. But last week I learned
otherwise. It was the fault of the fleet captain, he never scheduled
a protest hearing, so I have no fault with the other skipper, he has
told me he attempted to have the hearing, But since nearly 3 months
have gone by, is there any limit on the hearing of a protest? My only
concern is that since so much time has transpired, it will be
difficult to potentially find witnesses to the incident.

Oh, and all racing is finished for the year, the final series scoring
has been published, and the race in question will not alter any of the
results.