How to File an Appeal

The information below, as well as the complete Appeals FAQ (available by clicking the red button below), provides sailors direction on how to file an appeal. Please read the information carefully before submitting an appeal. If you need assistance, email the Race Administration Director or call US Sailing at (401) 683-0800.

What is an appeal?

The Racing Rules of Sailing provide for appeals as a mechanism to correct possible Protest Committee errors in interpreting the rules. The appeals process is covered in Appendix R of the rulebook, as well as rules 70 and 71.

Only the PC’s decision or process may be appealed; its facts found may not be appealed. Decisions by an international jury may not be appealed. With the permission of US Sailing, some events may deny the right of appeal if it is essential to determine promptly the result of a race that will qualify a boat to compete in a later stage of an event or a subsequent event.

Appeals are filed directly with the Race Administration office of US Sailing, which in most cases forwards them to the Association Appeals Committee from the area in which the event was held. Association Appeals Committee decisions may be appealed to the US Sailing Appeals Committee. Some decisions are appealed directly to the US Sailing Appeals Committee.

For a full description of the appeals process, please read Appendix R in The Racing Rules of Sailing and download the Appeals FAQ below.

Where do I find the rules that govern appeals?

They are in Appendix R, Procedures for Appeals and Requests, in the US Sailing edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing. Rules 70 and 71 are also relevant.

Where do I send my appeal?

All appeals from events held in the U.S. are sent to: Race Administration Director, US Sailing, PO Box 1260, Portsmouth, RI 02871, or e-mailed to raceadmin@ussailing.org.

Is there a fee for my appeal?

US Sailing does not charge a fee if the appeal will be considered by an association appeals committee.

If the appeal will be considered by the US Sailing Appeals Committee, there is a fee of $25 for US Sailing members and $75 for non-members. The US Sailing Appeals Committee considers appeals from decisions of association appeals committees and the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) or the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) Appeals Committees, appeals from protest committee decisions involving rule 69, Allegations of Gross Misconduct, and from protest committee decisions made at US Sailing national championships.

All other appeals are considered by association appeals committees or the ICSA or ISSA Appeals Committees. Those appeals committees will inform the appellant if they require a fee.

What happens after I send my appeal to US Sailing?

The Race Administration Director promptly sends it to the appropriate appeals committee. The appellant will receive an acknowledgement from the Director that the appeal has been received, and indicating the appeals committee to which 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.

How long does it take to get a decision on an appeal?

The time will vary, depending on many factors. If the appeal includes all the required material, and if the appeals committee does not need to request additional material 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 deliberation by an appeals committee is done primarily via e-mail and conference calls, not by face-to-face meetings.

What is the status of US Sailing Appeals and ISAF Cases in deciding protests?

A protest committee in the US whose decision is subject to appeal and is deciding a protest or request for redress that involves a situation and facts similar to those in a US Sailing Appeal is well advised to base its decision on the rules interpretations in the US Sailing Appeal (see Appeal 99).

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.

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 the prizes have been awarded?

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).