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Protest question

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Hi Guys


Would like some clarification from an incident that has happened causing damage to the hull of a boat.


Mediation has been carried out between the 2 skippers and it has been found that the protest could be thrown out due to protest flags not been raised quick enough from both parties.


How does this sit when there is damage caused and insurance companies involved who would want answers? Should the protest be carried out to find the boat at fault for insurance purposes?

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If there was "serious damage" then there is leeway on the time for a protest flag to be flown & the other boat being notified, otherwise the rule is the protest/hail should be at the "first reasonable opportunity" which would be the time taken to unfurl the flag on the backstay not after going down to find it! .


The protest committee is there to deal with rule issues rather than assign fault for insurance claims & if they felt there was no injury or serious damage & the flag/hail were not quick enough then the protest would have to be dismissed.

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From my (unfortunate) experience with hull damage caused while racing, the insurance company did not ask any questions about 'fault', and it was my understanding that each insurance company paid for / fixed the asset insured under their policy.

It wasn't clear to me if the two insurance companies sorted anything out between themselves. 

Someone with more actual knowledge of boat insurance industry practices may be able to clarify, but I think boat insurance is different to car insurance, where you don't really have a 'no claims bonus' etc.


If you were cruising and someone blatantly took you out, that is another thing, i.e. legal liability to civil property damage (i.e. Gypsy). But racing is considered inherently high risk, so if you boat gets damaged whilst racing, its as much your fault for taking it racing (i.e. a risk you accept), rather than the subtitles of the racing rules of sailing, as far as the insurance company is concerned. The insurance company has accepted the risk of the boat racing, and are contracted to pay out on the damage. The cause or fault of the damage is secondary.

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My Racing Excess has just gone up from $1,000 to $2,500


I have request the following clarification as the policy documentation states Racing excess is $2500 however "club racing" comes under the normal policy excess of $1000


Could you please clarify for me where Racing risk Excess and social racing starts and stops.

I assume that if you were competing in the Farr 1020 Nationals, the $2,500 excess would apply to a claim.

Again I would assume that if you were sailing in a club race to a club outing to a destination, this would be Social Racing, $1,000 excess would apply to a claim.

The question is if I am sailing in a club Wednesday night or a Saturday around the buoys race which excess would apply ?


Ill keep you posed when I get a reply

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A protest finding has no legally weight with insurance and won’t be asked for

As stated above the flag thing has exceptions ie, the first thing that needs to be established is the validity of the protest, flag flying is just one part


This is a exert from an earlier copy of the RRS but should give an idea


Check the validity of the protest or request for redress.

● Are the contents adequate (rule 61.2 or 62.1)?

● Was it delivered in time? If not, is there good reason to extend

the time limit (rule 61.3 or 62.2)?

● When required, was the protestor involved in or a witness to the incident (rule 60.1(a))?

● When necessary, was ‘Protest’ hailed and, if required, a red flag displayed correctly (rule 61.1(a))?

● When the flag and or hail were was not necessary, was the pro- testee informed?

● Decide whether the protest or request for redress is valid (rule 63.5).

● Once the validity of the protest or request has been determined, do not let the subject be introduced again unless truly new evidence is available.

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Clarification from Insurance Co.


Hi Peter ,


The definition of Social Racing as below :


‘Social Yacht Racing’ means yacht racing which

does not include the use of spinnakers and/or extras,

and does not exceed a distance of 25 nautical miles

measured by the most direct route of the course, within

the Geographical Limits of the Policy.


If you are using spinnakers and/or extras then this will be considered racing & the racing excess will apply.



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61.1. Informing the Protestee
  1. A boat intending to protest shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity. When her protest will concern an incident in the racing area that she was involved in or saw, she shall hail ‘Protest’ and conspicuously display a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity for each. She shall display the flag until she is no longer racing. However,
    1. if the other boat is beyond hailing distance, the protesting boat need not hail but she shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity;
    2. if the hull length of the protesting boat is less than 6 metres, she need not display a red flag;
    3. if the incident was an error by the other boat in sailing the course, she need not hail or display a red flag but she shall inform the other boat either before or at the first reasonable opportunity after the other boat finishes;
    4. if as a result of the incident a member of either crew is in danger, or there is injury or serious damage that is obvious to the boat intending to protest, the requirements of this rule do not apply to her, but she shall attempt to inform the other boat within the time limit of rule 61.3.

      Note 61.1.A - 4
      But you would need to justify serious damage or injury
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I've been through two protests where "serious damage" occurred and therefore no flags were needed to be flown for a valid protest. In both outcomes the protest hearing decision was forwarded to my insurance company, along with a note to say "a panel of rule experts found the incident was not my fault" and in both cases we did not have to pay any excess.


In the first incident the damage was a 50footers mainsail ripped in two as our mast went through it.


Second incident was a port/stb collision where our 8.5m cat lost the front 0.5m of one hull. Interesting thing about this protest was the other vessel went on to finish the race and at the protest hearing withdrew from the race, when the protest committee mentioned that they would have to look at rule 69 (unsportsmanlike like behavior) if the protest was heard. Once they had withdrawn from the race, the protest hearing turn into a request for redress hearing as I had asked for redress as we were winning the series. This ultimately help me with the insurance company as to get the redress we had to proof the incident occurred "through no fault of the vessel" and the panel found we were doing everything seaman like at the time to avoid the collision but it still happened. 

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