Protest Arbitration for Twilight Racing Explained

Protest arbitration is a process of resolving protests without the formality of a full protest hearing. Arbitration is simply a short meeting between sailors involved in a protest and an experienced judge serving as the arbitrator. The sailors tell the arbitrator what happened on the water and the arbitrator makes a decision about which boat, if any, broke a rule. The party who broke a rule is offered the chance to take a reduced penalty. If the arbitrator’s decision is accepted, the protestor withdraws the protest and the dispute is resolved before the protest is formally heard by the protest committee. The primary purpose of arbitration is to simplify and speed up the protest process for incidents that do not require the full protest hearing process.

The Penalty

Rule 44.1 is changed to permit a boat to take a 40% scoring penalty as calculated in rule 44.3(c) during the arbitration hearing. Her position across the line will be increased by 40% of the difference between the boat’s finishing place and the number of entries in the race (including casual entries) rounded up to the next whole number except that she shall not be scored worse than points for DSQ. The scores of other boats may receive the same score. Once accepted, this decision is not subject to reopening or appeal. Changes 64.1(a), 66 & Appendix A.


Eg; if you finish in 10th place and take an arbitration penalty of a 40 boat fleet, you will be scored 40% of the difference between 10th and 40th, 40% of 30 places = 12; your score will be 22nd. In addition her handicap shall remain unchanged for the following race.

The Hearing

  • Arbitration takes place after a written protest has been filed, but prior to the protest hearing.
  • The arbitration hearing is heard as soon as both parties are present
  • The normal rules for intending to protest ie, flag and hail under rule 61.1(a) informing the party apply, to decide validity
  • Only the arbitration judge, protestor, and protestee are permitted to attend. No witnesses are allowed
  • Arbitration only will take place where no contact that causes damage or injury occurs
  • Will be only used where two boats are involved, and limited to rules of Part 2
  • The decision is based on the high probability that questioning of the parties and their witnesses would not change the result with a full protest hearing
  • The decision should be reached in a maximum of 15 minutes.
  • At any time any party can decide to terminate the arbitration process and decide to have a protest hearing
  • If one party decides to accept the decision the protest is withdrawn and the penalty as stated is applied
  • The competitor accepting the penalty or the party withdrawing the protest shall sign the protest form in acceptance of the decision
  • If the protestor is found to have broken a rule, they are not permitted to withdraw the protest until they have accepted the penalty
  • Once the protest is withdrawn, the arbitrator is free to discuss any aspect of the case with the parties to the hearing.