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Still the most spectacular fleet on the Harbour: Ian Humphries views on 18ft Skiff

by Ian Humphries 2 Apr 2021 03:21 PDT
Race start - 2021 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship © Frank Quealey

I loved John Curnow's article on the 18s last week with the spotlight on Michael Coxon. I agree the 18s are still the most spectacular fleet on the Harbour too.

Jess Crisp invited me to be part of the Protest Committee this season and we have been busy, particularly through the JJs series just completed... now it may be a coincidence but I think there might be more to it in that Smeg and Mr Coxon were not involved in any of the multiple Protests or Requests for Redress! Is it possible the blokes who won were the fairest sailors in the fleet? Is this a true case of 'best and fairest' ??

What really stood out in addition to the unexpectedly high number of protests was both the quality of protest submissions (diagrams, wording, correct rule references) and the follow up after querying how protest and redress decisions were made. This reinforces your comments about the depth of experience in the fleet and quality of new sailors coming into the fleet.

This brings me to the main reason:

  1. The latest Racing Rules of Sailing (2021-2024 which took effect 1st Jan this year) no longer has a prescribed Protest Form so clubs and classes can design their own system for submitting protests and redress requests, within the RRS specifications of course;

  2. It is often best for clubs and classes to have their own Protest Committees rather than relying on accredited World Sailing International Judges or Australian Sailing National Judges. To that end, Australian Sailing now has an online course for Protest Committee members to help clubs and classes be more self-sufficient which has multiple benefits including quicker hearings after racing and perhaps a better understanding of the process for sailors generally.

No complaints about the 18s by the way - it was great to be back at the table after a long break and the hard questions really have me focused again. Being back at the protest table has been via Zoom! Protests heard by Zoom are excellent - protest parties and witnesses can share their screens with drone footage, YouTube clips etc which we have found to be really useful.

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