IOCA Protest Meeting

»«Tuesday 15th July 2014

Most sailing event organisers hear the news that there are protests to be heard with a sinking feeling, especially if the outcome of the protest hearing is likely to be a change in the overall results. This was the news that greeted Jason Phelps, organising the IOCA Eastern Area Championships over the weekend of 12/13 July. However, once he had enlisted the help of Nigel Cole, all that changed...

Nigel, RCYC member and a qualified national judge, took the view that there is much value to be gained by attending a protest meeting as an observer, just for the experience.

"I was really pleased that these protests were made. I think it is a good experience for the youngsters to understand how protest juries work and it should be encouraged at club level." said Nigel and so it was that a quiet, attentive audience of fifteen or more Optimist sailors sat in on the two protests, as observers.

Nigel, with Senior Otters Tom Jayasekara and James Hutton-Penman as the other members of the jury, was at pains to put everyone at their ease, and explained how the procedures worked. The boat models and symbols to represent tide and wind direction were all explained, protester and protestee gave their evidence, witnesses were called and then everyone sat on the stairs whilst the jury came to its decisions, with the two boys offering valuable observations that helped Nigel with his verdict.

Everyone was recalled to hear the decisions, one of which was upheld and one of which was dismissed. Nobody got upset and everyone went away a little wiser than before. Then it was time for the prizegiving and chocolates...

Wendy Eagling