post of the week


An sailing club located in the southeast recently held a Leukemia Cup event. One of the classes was an open Portsmouth class for small boats. A club member who races sailboards, multihulls, and owns a Bladerider Moth intended to race a sailboard in the event in the open Portsmouth class with the Portsmouth rating shown for his class of sailboard on the US Sailing Portsmouth website. He entered the event and paid his entry fee (which implies the organizing authority accepted his entry in the class he registered for). There was no language in the NOR that sailboards were not eligible to race.

On the morning of the event, the PRO (who owns and races a Thistle) told him that he would not be scored because his sailboard did not have a Portsmouth rating. The sailor pulled up the US Sailing website on a computer and showed the PRO that Portsmouth did include sailboards. The PRO told him he was still not going to score him because that Portsmouth rating only applied to sailboards racing against other sailboards (which is wrong). The sailor brought this up to the regatta chairman and the vice commodore of the sailing club. He pointed out that he had been scored at another club open Portsmouth event this year racing the same sailboard. The vice commodore advised the sailor to race and that everything would be worked out.

The sailor sailed three races on Saturday. On Saturday night, he found that he had been scored DSQ in all three races. He approached the PRO as to why he was DSQ’ed. The PRO told him that the RC had thrown him out of all of the races because he was pumping (Portsmouth bases your rating on how your boat is sailed to your class rules. Class rules for sailboards allow pumping and the Portsmouth numbers reflect that). The sailor pointed out to the PRO that he has to be notified that he is being protested and the race committee can only lodge a protest, they cannot DSQ a sailor based upon something they claim to have observed. The sailor also pointed out to the PRO that no protest had been filed against him during the hour after the RC boat docked. The sailor again approached the regatta chairman and the vice commodore of the club and made them aware of what was happening.

The next day, the sailor raced the final two races of the series. Right before the awards, the sailor was told by the PRO that he was being scored in a separate sailboard division (he was the only sailboard at the event) so he had "won" that division. At the awards, the sailor took the high road and told everyone he was happy to sail the event and was glad his participation benefited the Leukemia Society.

It gets even more outrageous. The sailor is strongly considering pursuing some form of redress or action through US Sailing on this incident. As mentioned above, he had been scored in a previous club open portsmouth race and found out this week that the scores for this event (he had three firsts) had been mysteriously changed to DNS’s for all the races he sailed.

It’s hard to believe this could happen and it appears the behavior and actions of the PRO is apparently driven by his dislike of either this individual or the type of sailboats that individual sails. It also appears that the regatta chairman and vice commodore are either intimidated or being bullied by this PRO.

Assuming all of the facts above (as told to me by the sailor) are true and accurate, what say the folks on this forum as to what this sailor should do? Would there be justification to pursue a Rule 69 violation against the PRO? Comments here.