ITS CRAZY:: So on one hand we have no one protesting mark hits and on the other hand we have TOO MANY of kids screaming "protest" at the starts which diluting the meaning of the word !
Please teach your team how to protest properly, and not for spite, this will let more things get settled on the water with spins and less mark hits.
This great sport of ours is one of the few that still relies on the integrity and honesty of its participants. At our level there are no referees out on the water to see fair play so we must police ourselves.
The Racing Rules of Sailing are designed to prevent collisions so if there is contact between two boats during a race, then at least one rule must have been broken. In the majority of cases it will be clear who is at fault and the offending boat will do her penalty turns and that's the end of it. Occasionally, however, it is genuinely not clear who is in the wrong so both helms are reluctant to do their turns. In cases like this, one or both boats should protest, if only to find out who was in the right and so both learn from the experience. Should the collision result in damage which is likely to be the subject of an insurance claim, then the outcome of a protest hearing could be very useful as evidence to the insurer. Finally, if you are forced to break a rule or hit a mark of the course by another boat who is in the wrong, you will be exonerated should a third boat protest you (which they are entitled to do if they saw the incident). But you need to go to protest yourself for this to happen.
How do I Protest?
It's very simple. On the water the only requirement is to hail the word “Protest” to the other boat involved, as soon as possible after the incident. You might ask him first if he's going to do his turns and if he says “No” then hail “Protest”. If you are beyond hailing distance after the incident then you need to tell him at the first opportunity, even if that is when you both come ashore. This action does not commit you to going ahead with the protest, but without it any protest would not be valid. (if you are sailing a boat over 6m long (not on our lake, obviously!) then you also have to fly a red flag as soon after the incident as possible.
Once ashore, tell the OOD that you want to protest, fill in a protest form and hand it to the OOD. The form must, at the very least, identify all boats involved in the protest and describe the incident - but not in huge detail. The OOD will appoint a Protest Committee – in other words ask 3 people who understand the Rules if they will hear the Protest and decide the outcome.
You and the protestee will be invited to a Protest hearing. The Chair will invite each of you in turn to describe the incident. The Protest Committee and each helm is entitled to ask questions and each helm may also ask witnesses to speak at the hearing – they may also be questioned.
Once the Committee is satisfied that it has sufficient information, they will ask the other parties to leave while they consider their decision. Once they have reached a conclusion they will call the helms back in and give their decision. This will be in two parts – Facts Found (which states what happened on the water) and their decision as to which Rule(s), if any, were broken and by which boat. They will also announce the penalty for the boat found to be at fault – which is usually disqualification from that race.