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Hang The Jury


Hang The Jury

SA’er ‘cosmicsedso’ asks about your worst jury/umpire/protest committee stories.  Vent them here.

Having experienced many Jury and Umpire controlled International regattas for many years now I am interested in sharing some of the WORST examples.

We all know that there are genuine, passionate, hard working and dedicated rules experts out there who  do an amazing job. But what about the ones who manage to pass the exam but really have no clue about the art of sail boat racing?

The worst (for me) was the assault that took place at a 420 Worlds in the late 90’s. It happened directly in front of a Jury boat.  The clown in the Jury boat had motored his way slowly down the first reach just in front of the fleet. The wind was almost non-existent and the sea state was flat. With the whole fleet bobbing up and down behind him, he pulled up at the wing mark and delivered a classic line: "It is OK,  I am Jury".

It gets much, much worse.

In the inevitable pile up at the wing mark, one boat (Boat A) was seen to approach the mark at high speed (relative to the drifting conditions) and slammed straight into the side of a boat (Boat B) that was already stopped in the log jam.

Obviously harsh words were spoken. 

With that, in front of the Jury boat and 10 or so coach boats, the skipper of Boat A jumped into Boat B and kicked and punched Boat B’s skipper savagely in the head. He then jumped back into his own boat and by hauling on chainplates, was able to round the mark and gain something like 30 places at the same time. Boat B protested the collision and noted the assault on the protest form which was duly lodged on time, witnessed by a number of people (including me).

With 6 witnesses, Boat B turned up at the appointed time, only to be informed that Boat A had not arrived. Amazingly, the protest was rescheduled for the following evening. Once again, with 6 witnesses in hand, Boat B arrived on time, only to be told a repeat of the previous evening.

On the third evening Boat A decided to turn up. The protest hearing lasted all of 3 minutes and the result was that the protest was held to be invalid as it had been received after the time limit. On requesting and receiving a copy of the protest form it was quite obvious that the time received had been whited-out and a new (invalid) time substituted.  No further action was taken on the assault!

Can you beat that?