This is a follow up to my Illegalities post.
Practically everyone knows about the Kirby, ILCA, ISAF, LP, PSA, Rastegar lawsuit. The various forums have been buzzing for years now about who is right and wrong and Kirby, the ILCA and Laser Performance have been repeatedly tried and convicted by countless posters with uninformed, biased opinions. Fortunately, our laws don't work that way. Trials allow an impartial Judge or jury to decide proper application of the law and then to decide on appropriate penalties.
Our Racing Rules of Sailing and the ILCA Class Rules are no different. They have put a system of protests, protest hearings and appeals in place whereby, those who are qualified, interpret the rules and decide on appropriate penalties, if any. Many people protesting another have been convinced beyond doubt that they were correct only to find that they were not and that they misunderstood the rules.
Doug is a front of the fleet sailor. When someone protests him on the water, right or wrong, he concedes, does his circles and moves on. If he breaks a rule that he is aware of: hitting a mark, fouling a boat, etc., he does his circles and moves on. When an anonymous comment suggested he broke a rule, he didn't agree and didn't really pay any attention to it. But when "anonymous" continued to press and outright called his behavior illegal, while Doug still did not agree he was prepared to concede, withdraw and move on. I called foul and said no way. I read the rule, I read the SIs and I suggested he run it past the properly authorized authority who said he should not withdraw.
Additional comments have already tried and convicted Doug. So, I read the RRS and then I consulted with a US Sailing Judge and asked him to explain how 43.1(a) and 43.1(b) related to each other and the intent of the rule. He explained that 43.1(a) was to prevent the use of clothing that was specifically modified to include the insertion of weights (weight jackets, for example). He explained that because it is also possible to add weight by layering up that 43.1(b) was to impose a maximum limit of weight that could be added by layering up. Appendix H specifies how to measure any additional weight that is added. So, I asked if I added a cotton layer that had the (intended or unintended) effect of adding weight but I was still way under the maximum allowed under 43.1(b) as measured by Appendix H, does that violate 43.1(a) and he said no, that's fine. A US Sailing Judge is qualified to know the rules, why they were established and how to apply them. I trust his opinion far more than an anonymous comment. I do not know whether a consensus of Sailing Judges would all come to the same conclusion though.
However, I continued to research and read the Laser Class rules when it comes to the weight of clothing even though no one mentioned any violation of Laser Class rules. The Laser Class rules modify RRS 43.1(b) in a way permitted by the RRS but they also modify Appendix H which is specifically prohibited. Gasp ... did the ILCA break a RRS rule? Then they added a little twist about a prohibition on non-floating clothing and equipment that probably few people know about that leaves me with unanswered questions about the definition of "dead weight" and "protective clothing."
"Cheating" as defined by the Laser Class rules is doing something you know is illegal. Sportsmanship, as defined by the RRS indicates that if a competitor breaks a rule, they should promptly take a penalty which may be to retire. There is no way to cheat if you do not know if something is illegal and there is no way to immediately take a penalty if you do not know if a rule has been broken.
Yes, we should all play by the same rules and we should take our penalties when we know that we have broken a rule. But what about when you don't know if you've broken a rule but someone who does not have the authority to protest you nor the qualification to interpret the rules, declares that you have broken a rule but those that who have the authority to protest you refuse to do so and those who are qualified to interpret the rules say that you have not broken a rule. What then?
Here are the applicable rules ... so far as I know. Educate yourselves and ask questions from those that are qualified to answer them.
2013-2016 Racing Rules of Sailing
SPORTSMANSHIP AND THE RULES
Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.
43 COMPETITOR CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
43.1 (a) Competitors shall not wear or carry clothing or equipment for the purpose of increasing their weight.
(b) Furthermore, a competitor’s clothing and equipment shall not weigh more than 8 kilograms, excluding a hiking or trapeze harness and clothing (including footwear) worn only below the knee. Class rules or sailing instructions may specify a lower weight or a higher weight up to 10 kilograms. Class rules may include footwear and other clothing worn below the knee within that weight. A hiking or trapeze harness shall have positive buoyancy and shall not weigh more than 2 kilograms, except that class rules may specify a higher weight up to 4 kilograms. Weights shall be determined as required by Appendix H.
(c) When an equipment inspector or a measurer in charge of weighing clothing and equipment believes a competitor may have broken rule 43.1(a) or 43.1(b) he shall report the matter in writing to the race committee.
Appendix H - WEIGHING CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
See rule 43. This appendix shall not be changed by sailing instructions or prescriptions of national authorities.
H1 Items of clothing and equipment to be weighed shall be arranged on a rack. After being saturated in water the items shall be allowed to drain freely for one minute before being weighed. The rack must allow the items to hang as they would hang from clothes hangers, so
as to allow the water to drain freely. Pockets that have drain-holes that cannot be closed shall be empty, but pockets or items that can hold water shall be full.
H2 When the weight recorded exceeds the amount permitted, the competitor may rearrange the items on the rack and the equipment inspector or measurer shall again soak and weigh them. This procedure may be repeated a second time if the weight still exceeds the amount permitted.
H3 A competitor wearing a dry suit may choose an alternative means of weighing the items.
(a) The dry suit and items of clothing and equipment that are worn outside the dry suit shall be weighed as described above.
(b) Clothing worn underneath the dry suit shall be weighed as worn while racing, without draining.
(c) The two weights shall be added together.
86 CHANGES TO THE RACING RULES
86.1 A racing rule shall not be changed unless permitted in the rule itself or as follows:
(a) Prescriptions of a national authority may change a racing rule, but not the Definitions; a rule in the Introduction; Sportsmanship and the Rules; Part 1, 2 or 7; rule 42, 43, 69, 70, 71, 75, 76.3, 79 or 80; a rule of an appendix that changes one of these rules; Appendix H or N; or ISAF Regulation 19, 20, 21 or 22.
(b) Sailing instructions may change a racing rule by referring specifically to it and stating the change, but not rules 76.1 or 76.2, Appendix R, or a rule listed in rule 86.1(a).
(c) Class rules may change only racing rules 42, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53 and 54. Such changes shall refer specifically to the rule and state the change.
ILCA Class Rules
In our sport in every club and class there is the odd person who needs to cheat to win. Cheating is doing something that you know is illegal. Whether you gain an advantage or not is irrelevant.
6. CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
(a) In alteration of RRS 43.1 (b) the maximum total weight of competitors’ clothing and equipment shall be 9 kg (for Laser Radial and 4.7 rigs please see part 4).
(b) Competitors shall not wear or carry non floating clothing or equipment which in total weight
exceeds 500 grammes dead weight except protective sailing clothing.
(c) For the purposes of weighing clothing and equipment as required by RRS Appendix H three coat hangers may be used instead of a rack.