As a follow up to one of our most commented on series of posts:
Sailor A wears an additional shirt that has been specifically designed to allow for the insertion of lead weights and weights are inserted, however, the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 7.5 kg, as measured according to Appendix H, which was strategically calculated to be just below the 8 kg limit imposed by RRS 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?
Sailor A wears an additional shirt that is heavy when wet solely for the purpose of adding weight, however, the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 7 kg, as measured according to Appendix H, which is well below the 8 kg limit imposed by 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?
Sailor A wears an additional shirt that is heavy when wet for the primary purpose of warmth with the added benefit that it also adds additional weight, however, the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 4 kg, as measured according to Appendix H, which is well below the 8 kg limit imposed by 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?
Sailor A, due to financial limitations, wears technical sailing gear that is old and outdated and made of heavier materials, therefore the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 8.5 kg as measured according to Appendix H, which is in violation of the 8 kg limit imposed by 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?
RRS Rule 43.1(a)
Competitors shall not wear or carry clothing or equipment for the purpose of increasing their weight.
RRS Rule 43.1(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.
Opinion of a US Sailing Judge:
Cases 2, 3 - Legal
Case 1, 4 - illegal
Opinion of senior Laser Class Representative:
Cases 1, 2 - DSQ
Case 3 - Legal
Case 4 - was not presented for opinion
Interpretation by ILCA, ISAF and US Sailing:
I attempted to find an official interpretation of RRS 43.1(a) and (b) by going both up and down the chain of command and learned the following. Individual members of US Sailing and ISAF are not entitled to ask for an interpretation of the rules. ISAF will only acknowledge an International Judge or a national authority on such matters. US Sailing (a national authority) will only acknowledge a club or organization on such matters. A US Sailing Judge can apply the rules, as he/she understands them, to a protest situation but cannot provide an official interpretation of the RRS (only the Appeals Committee can do that).
I asked a senior Laser Class representative to submit the hypotheticals, on our behalf, to US Sailing's Appeals Committee (RRS 70.4) and the request was refused, saying this was a non-issue and there were more important things for the class to be focused on. I begged and pleaded and even threatened to sign up for the 4.7 Worlds in Canada and test out each hypothetical each day and encourage someone to protest me so I could appeal and get an official interpretation. The representative didn't budge. Non-issue … move on.
Since neither the US Sailing Judge nor the Laser Class official can render an official interpretation of Rule 43.1, I have not named them since I felt they gave me their opinion merely as a courtesy and not in an official capacity.
However, the Laser Class representative is presumably entitled to some official capacity regarding Doug's issue in Hyeres and I am of the opinion that I was told to quit wasting the time of the Laser Class on this non-issue. Doug will not seek to withdraw from the two races (one of which was dropped anyway) where he wore an extra shirt for warmth that was also heavy when wet. Specifically, because he would see it as a nuisance to do so and also because he feels he's been told by a Laser Class representative that it's a non-issue.
Rooster Sailing has an interesting write-up about the changes to the rules over time regarding the weight of a Laser sailor's clothing and the challenges of staying within the weight limit and also staying warm:
I am unsatisfied with the answers I received and will probably continue to seek an official interpretation but it appears this is going to take some time and effort. I challenge anyone with the time and desire, to press your class or club officials to seek an official interpretation from your national authority and then from ISAF on the hypotheticals above. I didn't want to stop at receiving the answer I wanted, but rather when I received the official answer, so one day (or year) I will update this post.