Process or Integrity?

Process or Integrity?

by Peter Huston

One of the most fundamental ideals and rules of the sport is that we all sail around the course the same way.  If we don’t, historically people who erred in the way they rounded marks withdrew from the race, or if they didn’t man up, someone would protest and they would get chucked. Courtesy of Arbitrator Gregory Rockwell, in the matter of the Hennefer Shah San Francisco IOD Worlds qualifier, we now have a new international standard for mark roundings. Or probably it is an old standard we never really knew about, because it seems that according to David Tillett, the Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee, section 18 of his affidavit he says this: 

“In this case, all but one of the boats were confused by the race committee error. All boats sailed the same length course at the same time, in identical conditions.  None of the boats gained or lost as a result.  ISAF race officials are taught in those circumstances to let the results stand.  The only other option, which would be ISAF’s second choice, would be to abandon the race”. (page 8)

What happened is this:  a competitor, Richard Pearce, sailed the course incorrectly.  Rockwell found that Pearce “did not find a willful knowing intent by Mr. Pearce to violate or break the rules of racing.” (Page 9)

“Yes there was confusion on race day, but all the competitors were subject to the same confusion and circumstances.  Was the race environment perfect?  No.  But the competition took place and everyone sailed the same length course at the same time, in identical conditions.” (page 9)