Updated for 2013-2016
These frequently asked questions and answers contain advice to competitors, race officials or clubs/organizations who are filing or contemplating filing an appeal under rule 70.1, requesting confirmation or correction of a decision under rule 70.2, or requesting an interpretation under rule 70.4. The answers given here are merely advice intended to be helpful. The actual rules governing these matters are rules 70 and 71, and the rules in Appendix R in the US Sailing edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing.
For further assistance, contact the US Sailing Race Administration Director at:
PO Box 1260
Portsmouth, RI 02871
401-683-0800; ext 655
Q1) Where do I find the rules that pertain to sending an appeal?
A1) They are in Appendix R, Procedures for Appeals and Requests, in the US Sailing edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing. Also, rules 70 and 71 are relevant.
Q2) Where do I send my appeal?
A2) All appeals from events held in the U.S. are sent to one location, which is the US Sailing office in Portsmouth, Rhode Island: Race Administration Director at US Sailing , PO Box 1260, Portsmouth, RI 02871, or e-mailed to email@example.com (see rule R1.1).
Q3) Can I e-mail my appeal and supporting documents?
A3) Yes. In fact it is preferred as it speeds up the process and cuts down on excess time and costs for everyone involved. The e-mail address to use is firstname.lastname@example.org (see rule R1.1). Please note that appeals should be sent only once; i.e., if you send it electronically, please do not also send it in hard copy.
Q4) What format should I use for the e-mail?
A4) The e-mail itself can be in whatever format your e-mail account uses (plain text or html). It is important to state the date the e-mail was written and the name of the sender at the head of the
Q5) What format should I use for any attachments?
A5) It is preferred that all attachments be saved as PDF documents. If not, then files should be saved in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx). Documents such as the notice of race, sailing instructions, etc., are typically scanned and attached as pdf. At this time files larger than 6MB cannot be emailed. Usually this occures when too many files are attached or a large JPEG is imbeded in a PDF.
Q6) Do I have to send the fee with my appeal?
A6) If the appeal will be first considered by a association appeals committee, then No. If the appeal will be considered by the US Sailing Appeals Committee, then Yes. The US Sailing Appeals Committee considers appeals from decisions of association appeals committees and the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Interscholastic Sailing Association (ICSA/ISSA) Appeals Committee, and appeals from protest committee decisions involving rule 69 (Allegations of Gross Misconduct) or from protest committee decisions made at US Sailing national championships. All other appeals are considered by association appeals committees or the ICSA/ISSA Appeals Committee (see rules R1.2, R1.3, R1.4 and R3). Those appeals committees will inform the appellant if they require a fee.
Q7) How do I pay my fee; and can I pay my fee online?
A7) You can pay the fee by sending a check to US Sailing for appeals to the US Sailing Appeals Committee, or you can pay the fee online by purchasing the item in the store.http://bit.ly/appeal_fee
Q8) After I send my appeal to US Sailing , what happens to it next?
A8) The Race Administration Director promptly sends it to the appropriate appeals committee (association or US Sailing) (see rule R1.2). The appellant will receive an acknowledgement from the director that the appeal has been received, and indicating to which appeals committee the appeal has been sent. When the appeals committee receives the appeal, it too will send the appellant an acknowledgement letter with further information about the processing of the appeal. In addition, the appeals committee will send the appeal, all relevant documents it has received with the appeal and a copy of the acknowledgement letter to all the parties and committees involved in the appeal.
Q9) Can the Race Administration Director tell me whether my appeal is timely or complete, or otherwise advise me on the likelihood of my appeal being sustained?
A9) No. The Race Administration Director will send the appeal to the appropriate appeals committee who will then make the decisions regarding that appeal.
Q10) Does the appeal need to be in any particular style or format?
A10) No. Rule R2.1(a) requires the appeal to state the “grounds” for the appeal; i.e., why you think the protest or appeals committee’s decision or procedures were incorrect. Note, it is strongly preferred that the grounds be clear and succinct (short and to the point). In addition, the appeal shall include all the documents listed in rule R2.2 that are available to the appellant, including the names, mailing addresses and e-mail addresses for the people listed in rule R2.2(e). Typical appeals letters also indicate the date the written decision was received to validate the timeliness of the appeal, and include a list of the documents sent in with the appeal.
Q11) Should I send my appeal if I haven’t received the written decision from the protest committee yet?
A11) No. Rule R2.1 requires that the written decision being appealed be sent as well as the appeal. Note that the 15-day time limit in rule R2.1 for sending an appeal begins from the day you receive the written decision. Rule 65.2 addresses how to get a written decision.
Q12) Do parties to an appeal ever meet with an appeals committee?
A12) No. All communication with an appeals committee is written, and sent either electronically or through the mail.
Q13) Do the parties and committees involved in the appeal have the opportunity to see everything the appeals committee sees, and the opportunity to comment on it?
A13) An appeals committee is required to send all relevant documents it receives to all the parties and committees in an appeal (see rule R5). The parties and committees are entitled to comment on the appeal or request and on any documents listed in rule R2.2 (see rule R6). However, rule R6 does not include comments. Therefore, parties and committees are not entitled to make comments on comments, nor is an appeals committee required to consider comments on comments.
Q14) How long does it take to get a decision on an appeal?
A14) The length of time will vary from appeal to appeal, depending on many factors. If the appeal includes all the required documents and information, and if the appeals committee does not need to request any additional facts or information from the protest committee, then the decision will come sooner. If the appeals committee is able to begin consideration on the appeal soon after it is received, the usual time frame for a decision is three months or less. Keep in mind that the discussion/deliberation by an appeals committee is done primarily via e-mail and conference calls as opposed to face-to-face meetings.
Q15) Who can ask the Appeals Committee for an interpretation of the rules based on a hypothetical set of facts?
A15) Any club or organization that is affiliated with US Sailing (see rule 70.4). The request needs to be sent or endorsed by an officer of that club or organization.
Q16) Why does the US Sailing Appeals Committee not publish all its decisions?
A16) Some decisions are either redundant to already published Appeals or Cases, or hinge on situations or procedural technicalities that were essentially unique. Also, publishing an appeal requires considerable rewriting. Since decisions on appeals, requests for confirmation or correction of protest committee decisions, and requests for interpretations of rules are decided based on the facts and documentation submitted with them, the parties and committees involved have copies of that documentation. None of that needs to be repeated in the Appeals Committee decision. For these reasons, decisions that are not published are not intended for distribution or circulation beyond the parties and committees involved in the appeal.
However, when the committee decides that its decision would be useful to sailors and race officials, it rewrites it to describe the incident and include the facts so that readers can understand the basis for the decision. It then publishes it in The Appeals Book and posts it on the Appeals Committee page on the US Sailing Web site.
Q17) What is the difference between US Sailing Appeals and ISAF Cases?
A17) A US Sailing Appeal is the published version of a final decision that resolved or settled an appeal, a request for confirmation or correction of a protest committee decision or a request for an interpretation of a rule. An ISAF Case is an authoritative interpretation and explanation of the rules for all racing, and is usually based on a decision of an appeals committee of an ISAF member national authority such as US Sailing. See ISAF Regulation 31.3.
Q18) What is the status of a US Sailing Appeal in deciding protests?
A18) A protest committee in the U.S. whose decision is subject to appeal and is deciding a protest or request for redress that involves a situation and facts similar to the situation and facts in a US Sailing Appeal is well advised to base its decision on the rules interpretations in the US Sailing Appeal (see Appeal 99).
Q19) What is the status of an ISAF Case in deciding protests?
A19) The ISAF Cases do not have the status of rules but are “authoritative interpretations and explanations of the rules.” Therefore, when the relevant facts from a protest are essentially similar to the facts of a Case, the interpretations in the Case should be accepted by the protest committee as correct interpretations of the racing rules for that protest.
Q20) If an appeal decision changes the scores of a race, is the race committee required to change the scores of the race and, when appropriate, a series? What if an appeal changes the winner of an award that has already been awarded?
A20) When the decision of a protest committee is changed or reversed upon appeal, the final standings and the awards must be adjusted accordingly (see Case 61).