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Blue Found at Fault, Camelot Exonerated

The following is the protest report issued by the Protest Committee in the Banderas Bay Regatta case of Blue vs. Camelot, following a Race Two incident in which Blue tactician Mike Danielson suffered two broken legs.

Banderas Bay Race Week 2013
Protest Report
March 27, 2013

1. Protest between Blue #7331 (J/160) vs. Camelot #8581 (Hunter 54), and Camelot vs. Blue in Race #2 of the 2013 Banderas Bay Race Week Regatta, March 22, 2013. 

2. A hearing was scheduled for the protests at Paradise Village Resort, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico on March 27, 2013 at 1000 hours. Blue was represented by tactician Mike Danielson, and Camelot was represented by helmsman Craig Shaw. Also present were Dee Cockerham as recording secretary, Dick Markie and Jen Edney who were observers. The protest committee (PC) consisted of Donald Becker, IJ (USA) chair, Jesse Coburn and Robin Stout.

3. The hearing began at 1005 hours. After an initial statement by the PC chair, the representative for Camelot asked for clarification of the definition of an interested party. The PC chair read the definition and stated that none of the members of the PC met the definition. 

4. Next the PC addressed the issue of the Notice of Race (NOR) stating that the RRS 2013-2016 applied and the Sailing Instructions (SIs) stating that the RRS 2009-2012 applied. The PC acting under RRS 63.7 applied the NOR rule that the RRS 2013-2016 will govern this protest. 

5. The PC then dealt with the validity of the protest. Neither boat hailed “protest” nor displayed a red flag at the time of the incident. Neither boat filed a protest within the time limit specified in the Sailing Instructions (SIs). Both boats filed a written protest on Monday, March 25, 2013. Neither boat notified the other of their intent to protest. Since the PC learned that the incident resulted in injury, the PC extended the time limit under RRS 61.3, protested both boats under RRS 60.3(a)(1), and opened the hearing.

6. Witnesses for the parties were: Blue – Cheryl Sears, helmswoman, and Rob, foredeck. Camelot – Eugenie Russell from Olas Lindas and Bill Lilly from Moontide. The representative of Blue also presented a video from Blue that included the last minute of the starting sequence and the incident.

7. Facts Found:
a. The wind speed at the start of Class A, Race 2 was 13-15 knots.
b. At approximately one minute to the start,
Camelot was sailing on starboard tack at approximately 5 knots approaching the starting line to start with Olas Lindas, also on starboard, to leeward.
Blue was on starboard tack approaching the Race Committee (R/C) Boat end of the starting line on a reaching course sailing at approximately 8.5 knots and clear astern of Camelot and Olas Lindas.
d. As
Olas Lindas and Camelot approached the starting line, Olas Lindas luffed Camelot, and Camelot luffed to keep clear.
Blue, sailing faster, closed on Camelot and became overlapped about 50 feet to windward of Camelot.
Blue, still sailing faster and lower, converged on Camelot until the boats were approximately 15 feet apart.
Blue then altered course to leeward toward Camelot and then windward as Camelot tried to bear away to avoid contact.
h. Contact occurred between
Blue’s stern quarter and Camelot amidships causing noticeable scratches on Camelot’s topsides.
i. The tactician on
Blue fell between the boats and suffered injuries.
Blue was called OCS by the R/C but quickly retired due to the crew’s injuries. Blue returned to the harbor and took the crewmember to the hospital for treatment. Camelot was not aware of the contact or the injury and finished the race.

8. Conclusion:
Blue, the windward boat, failed to keep clear.
Camelot acted to avoid contact when it became clear that Blue was not keeping clear.

9. Decision:
Blue’s score is to be changed to DNF
Camelot is not penalized under RRS 14(a)

10. Rules that apply:
NOR: RULES, SI: 1.1, Def: Interested party, 60.3(a)(1), 61.3, 63.7, 11, 14(a).

11. Diagram: the PC endorses the diagram of Camelot.

Members: Jesse Coburn, Robin Stout, and Donald Becker
Donald R. Becker, O.D. March 27, 2013

A hearing to consider reopening the protest, filed by Blue, was held the next day. The committee’s conclusion was that "the evidence [presented by Blue tactician Mike Danielson] was not significant new evidence that was not available at the time of the protest hearing," and the request to reopen was denied.

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