SI for borrowed boats

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Peter Spence asked an interesting question in the IOM Forum:

What happens if you borrow a boat which has a personal number on the sail?

For my money, Rule G3 covers this, certainly in spirit if not in practice. Not all agree, however, because G3 refers only to possible violation of the Class Rules and not to any other applicable rules such as the RRS or the NCA rules on personal sail numbers.

G3 CHARTERED OR LOANED BOATS. When so stated in the notice of race or sailing instructions, a boat chartered or loaned for an event may carry national letters or a sail number in contravention of her class rules.

RRS E6(b) requires the sail number to be either the last two digits of the boat registration number, or a 'personal number':

E6 APPENDIX G IDENTIFICATION ON SAILS. Appendix G is changed as follows: (b) Rule G1.1(c) is changed to a sail number, which shall be the last two digits of the boat registration number or the competitorís personal number allotted by the relevant issuing authority.

There are two places where Appendix G, and hence E6, are invoked. In one place, RRS 77 mandates the use of App.G for sail identification. In the other place, the IOM Class Rules mandates the use of the RRS for sail identification.

C.8.3 IDENTIFICATION. Identification shall comply with the RRS.

So it all depends upon which of these two rules (RRS 77, or IOM CR C.8.3) you think has precedence.

If you think the Class Rules have precedence, then there is no problem, the issue is covered by G3, always remembering that G3 *must* itself be invoked by the Sailing Instructions and Notice of Race. If not, then it doesn't apply!

If you think the RRS has precedence over the Class Rules, then there is a small problem.

Originally, G.1.1(c) said that personal sail numbers need to be permitted by the class rules.  In this context, G3 makes perfect sense.  However, Appendix E changes G.1.1(c), and no longer refers to personal sail numbers as a class rule issue, instead referring to them as being "allotted by the relevant issuing authority". Presumably RSD forgot to also amend G3 appropriately, since it now no longer coordinates with the E6 revisions.

To deal with this, the Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race need to invoke a version of G3 as an addition to E6, where the change is that the sail number might be in violation, not of the class rules, but of E6(b):

SI and NoR Addition to Appendix E6: E6(g) A boat chartered or loaned for an event may carry national letters or a sail number in contravention of rule E6(b). Where there is a conflict between sail numbers, the procedures of rule E6(b) shall apply.

Note that the SIs and NoR cannot amend G3 directly, since G5 requires any change to have the approval of ISAF.

The eagle-eyed may have noticed that E6(b) refers to the 'competitor's personal number', and not to the 'owner's personal number'. In the previous RRS, E6 talked about the owner... But I don't think this makes too much difference in practice, using the following line of argument:

On the one hand, if the boat isn't borrowed, then the competitor and the owner are the same person, so no problem there. On the other hand, if the boat is borrowed, then there are four possibilities:

  • The sail number matches last two digits of the boat number -- no problem.
  • The sail number is the personal number of the owner -- issue A.
  • The sail number is the personal number of the competitor -- issue B.
  • The sail number is something else again (!) -- issue C.

A: This is the most likely possibility, since if you are borrowing a boat it will probably come with the owner's sails and hence will probably have the owner's personal number on them.  Under the current wording of E6, this falls foul, and needs the E6(g) fix suggested. If the wording of E6 is changed to read 'owner's personal number', the problem disappears.

B: This is not very likely, but it has an interesting side to it.  What *is* likely is that a competitor, and probably the race committee as well, would like to have his country letters on the sail, rather than the country letters of the borrowed boat if different.  The current wording of E6 enables this.  Under the current wording of E6, there is no problem for a competitor to put his own sail number onto the boat.  If for some reason we change the wording of E6 back to read 'owner's personal number', this now falls foul, and needs the E6(g) fix suggested.

C: Under current wording of E6, or if we change the wording of E6 to read 'owner's personal number', this falls foul regardless. It needs the E6(g) fix suggested, even though it is very unlikely.

So it seems that whether or not E6 talks about 'owner' or 'competitor', a fix is still required to G3 to bring it into line with whatever E6(b) says.

©2022 Lester Gilbert