There really are some stupid subjective, ingnorantly written or emotionally charged comments here. OK -Time to put this to bed...
1. The incident - A poorly executed leebow? Hesitation during a cross? Hesitation in a slam dunk? Poor on board comms between the after guard? Who knows? Who cares? We've all been there. People make mistakes. Get over it.
2 The rules - Rule 13, simple. Only Rules 13, 14 and rule 16.1 are considered. The jury concluded that LDVC did not change course, so 16.1 can be ruled out. LDVC acted to avoid contact, and there was no collision, so rule 14 out.They concluded that LDVC had to take action to avoid while WOXI was tacking. That's all.
No point in discussing rule 10 now. That expired when WOXI passed HTW. No point in discussing rule 15. That only occurs after WOXI reached close-hauled. No point in discussing 16.2. At no time was WOXI sailing to pass astern of LDVC.
3. Not taking a penalty - That is the right of any boat. If they believe that they did not break a rule, or were not sure because it was close (and judging by this discussion it was), then they have a right to take their chances in the protest room. This does not represent poor sportsmanship or even foolishness. It is in the rules for them to do. Both parties (including WOXI agree that it was close, with WOXI crew proposing a 50/50 situation). If they knew they had broken a rule, then yes, we could question sportsmanship. In this case, no. Move along.
In reflection, they may have misjudged how close it was, and kick themselves for that. We may all have acted differently. It probably was a poor risk/reward judgement. However, at the time, her decision to continue was justified and within the rules and principals of sportsmanship, since they thought they had not broken a rule, or were not convinced enough to take a penalty at the time. Her right to make that call.
4 The Protest - Nothing wrong with LDVC's decision to take this to the room. It is a fundimental principal of all competitors to enforce the rules. That's all she did. Not doing that is possibly more destructive to the sport. Furthermore, if you believe in the rules and that they are a part of the sport, then you should fully support her decision to go ahead (for whatever motives - win, principals, morals, sponsor pressure, etc...) with the protest. Both boats agreed to be bound by the rules; those rules include the protest and penalty procedure.
5. The Time Penalty - Of course it needs to be more than 5 minutes in order to be a penalty! Duh! The penalty must be in line with the penalty system of the event. In the SIs for this event specify penalties ranging from 5 minutes minimum to DSQ. In between those extremes are 20% for not submitting a declaration, 30% for an offshore breach of Part 2 and OCS, 40% as maximum time penalty, and then DSQ for the most heinous of crimes. It stands to reason that the time penalty for an inshore breach of Part 2 should be somewhere between not submitting a declaration on time, and the offshore Part 2. So 20-30% of position in her division. That's what the jury did. Her time penalty worsened her IRC Div 0 position by about 20-30% of all the IRC Div 0 boats.
Discretionary Penalties (DPs) are becoming more popular. There is even a new scoring code for it. The principal suggests that not all rule breaches are the same. That seems sensible. Good practice is still being developed. If DP is to be used, Race Organisers and Juries need to have a clear penalty structure for DPs, which is fair and well known. Many events already have one, which they publish to competitors. In this S2H, the SIs were a little ambiguous. Maybe more structure and guidance could be given on the penalty system.
6. Winning in the room - WTF? No one has won in the room. The incident took place on the water in this case.
Those who think that this is sea-lawyering or 'winning in the room' are normally the ones who either don't know all the rules or don't fully respect the rules. If they did, they would know that in this sport, there is no way to resolve some on-the-water conflicts, other than going to the room. They would know that the rules are designed to give competitors the chance to exonerate OR to have the decision reached by an independent panel. They would know that not enforcing the rules (including the 'Oh, forget about it!' approach) is not good for the sport.
7. WOXI's Elapsed Time - Her RACE Elapsed Time is the time she took in this 'event/race/competition'. In this race it was 01:09:15:24. That is 33 minutes behind LDVC. There is NO OTHER elapsed time. End Of.
8. Race Record - Read it carefully...the 'RACE' record. That is a record set during an edition of Sydney to Hobart Race. The race record is only held by a boat who has sailed the course correctly, and complied with the rules or taken penalties under the rules for any breaches made during the race. WOXI did not break any race record this year. Unlucky. LDVC did.
9. 'The Fastest Crossing Between Sydney and Hobart' - If someone wants to go and make a seperate unrelated trophy for 'The Fastest Crossing Between Sydney and Hobart', then go ahead and give it to WOXI! Well done her.
See how long it lasts though, before people abuse that trophy's lack of moderation. The organised S2H race event is the moderator of that record for a reason. It sets bounds within we can be comfortable that a boat has acheived that feat fairly and measurably. In which case WOXI did not gain any known record.
10. The messages this sends to kids and non-sailors - That sailing is a complex sport. That even the best make mistakes. That if you break a rule you may (and should) be penalised. That even long races can be so close that a single penalty can make the difference between winning and losing.
11. WOXI attitude after the decision? - Whatever! Of course they will be disappointed! They thought they were right! Someone always goes away dissatisfied after a hearing. Moral win? Fine; let them enjoy the fact that they sailed very fast, if that is what they want to measure their success by. Let's face it, they did sail fast and well. Just from the 'race' point of view they did not beat LDVC (see #7). Nothing in that interview suggested WOXI were not accepting the decision.
That's about it.
Well done to LDVC. Well done to Ichi Ban and all the others who won divisions, got on the podium or achieved a personal best.