Get With It

Get With It

30 years ago, results of races were done with pencil and paper, and hung on the wall shortly after your first beer. Fast forward 30 years and those same results are punched into a computer and put on a website a little longer than your first beer. What really has advanced?

I must tell you seeing boats listed 1st through 30th in results is a ho-hum report. Results couldn’t be more boring. How could results come alive? Try this – 1. The wind speed range is included. 2. The wind direction range is included. 3. The wave height range is included. 4. Any and all protests filed and heard are scanned and attached to the results.

Now, don’t those results tell a story? Now and in the future?

1-3 is nothing but the RC’s observations, not necessarily difficult to record and make part of the permanent web record. 4 is another whole different animal. First off, judges are as anxious to get to the party after their work is done as the next guy. If the protest was disallowed, or clear cut, they write up the protest hastily and go get an adult beverage. But if they were required to have their completed protests scanned and put on the web, they would be much more diligent in their writing, double checking their work, to assure that they covered all of the bases. Next, for those volunteers who put the results up on the web, they now have more work to do, clubs might have to invest in some scanning equipment as the boats are being packed and some are already heading out. Putting the completed protest forms on the web could result in a huge flurry of appeals. As the time limit for filing appeals is 15 days after a written protest is delivered. Now, all of the Monday morning quarterbacks who see the protest can contact the guilty party and give them all sorts of opinions on how to file an appeal and get the regatta decision reversed.

What else can be learned through protest forms made part of the web record of events? As there is no central database of protests, no one know for sure which rules the general racing public doesn’t understand. Real research could be done to make better rules for those that are confused the most by the racing public. We could also track repeat offenders, track people who are regularly filing protests and losing their protests, start picking out those who don’t understand the rules and offer one on one sessions with them to bring them into knowledge like the rest of the fleet.

In baseball errors are always reported. Football, penalties recorded. Basketball, free throws tabulated. Sailing? At the most three little letters "DSQ" with no knowledge what caused it.

But what an asset for protests in events to become part of the permanent record (fails the pre-hearing tests, allowed, disallowed, penalty, rule(s) found to have been broken, etc.). 30 years later in reality, nothing has changed in posting results for races. What do you think, is this something that should be required by the Racing Rules of Sailing of the organizing authorities?.