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Scuttlebutt Poll:
Should there be discretion when a rule is violated?
April 4-6, 2012

In the April 2012 edition of Sailing World, columnist and rules expert Dick Rose discusses whether a protest committee should have discretion in the penalty they award when a boat is found to have broken a rule.

Should a thief receive the same penalty as a murderer? Not in most courts. But when a windward boat's mainsheet brushes the arm of the leeward boat's crew, they get the same penalty as a port tack boat that collides into the line-up on the starboard tack weather mark layline.

The penalties within the rules have evolved over the years. Prior to the introduction of the 720 rule, every violation earned a disqualification. Hitting marks have changed from a DSQ to a two-turn penalty to now a one-turn penalty.

It would seem indisputable that some fouls are more egregious than others. There already are some instances in the rules that provide discretionary penalties, but further guidelines would be needed for a protest committee to issue consistent decisions.

So what do you think... should the penalty be more commensurate with the rule that was violated, or continue to disqualify a boat regardless of the infraction?

Should the penalty phase of the rules allow a protest committee to use discretion?

  • Yes - 57.14%

  • No - 42.86%

  • Click here to view comments.

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