Originally Posted by bobbylockes
...So the root cause lies with the rules (and perhaps his upbringing - his father is an ultra competitive racer in frequent contat with his insurance company).
In all other sports I can think of the rules are not open for interpretation. If the same mentality was applied you'd have judgements like "he tackled you and broke your hand but he only did it because you pushed him over 2 minutes previous - so that makes you both even."
So I guess m conclusion is: When will the ISAF get their act together and create complete indesputable rules?
There is no such thing as indisputable rules. That's why we have protest committee hearings and courts of law and appeal courts and supreme courts - to settle such disputes. The facts are often vague and subject to interpretation, depending on all the attending circumstances, and, in courts of law, the trial judge makes findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the appeals courts review those findings and conclusions ad infinitum. The difference between a judge in a court of law and a protest committee is that the former is college trained and licensed by the state, and judging is his profession, while the latter is often a mere part-time, occasional volunteer, hopefully (but not always) with a little training and experience. By comparison with courts of law, not much is really at stake in a racing protest. What is settled usually amounts to bragging rights, and maybe a decorative piece of brass or glass. We can always hope and strive for perfect justice, but realistically, we can't expect it.
In a football game, highly trained referees are stationed all around the field to observe and call violations when they see them. It's hard enough to find trained volunteers for race committee, and it would be impossible to find enough volunteers to act in a similar capacity for yacht races, and to station them all around the course to act as on-site referees.
IMO, the fault here probably does not lie with the rules or with the protest committee, or with the ISAF. It is possible, however, that the protest committee here might have not been sufficiently knowledgeable of the rules. In some small sailing venues, the protest committee will consist of anyone who can be prevailed upon to serve on short notice, even if they aren't very familiar with the rules.
But, yacht racing is supposed to be a gentlemen's sport, in which we respect and comply with the rules, and we acknowledge our own violations, and we voluntarily sail our 360s or 720s, as appropriate. Most racers are gentlemen...some aren't.