Judges conduct protest and redress hearings when there may have been a breach of the rules. They also conduct arbitration hearings, enforce Rule 42 (Propulsion) on the water at fleet racing events and consult with organizers and race officers ahead of events to review race documents and procedures.
A complete description of the responsibilities and functions of the Judges Committee and the Regional Administrative Judges (RAJ), as well as qualifications for US Sailing Club Judges, Judges, National Judges and International Judges, is available in both the Continuing Education and Judges Program documentation using links provided at the bottom of this page.
Before the US Sailing Judges Program was created in 1977, a set of criteria was established for certification as a US Sailing Judge, which included experience in racing and race management, service on protest committees and a high standard of personal integrity. Application was by resume and supported by personal references. RAJs handled applications in their geographic area.
In 1995, the US Sailing Board of Directors asked the Judge Committee to improve the quality of the Judges Program, to review the procedures used in appointing and reappointing judges and to consider training and testing. In 1998 the Judge Committee introduced a new set of standards for the US Sailing Judges Program. These standards require experience in racing, race management, and protest committee work as well as attending a workshop and passing a written open-book test. The seminar and test must be taken every four years.
Standards of personal behavior are more explicit than they have been in the past. Those seeking initial certification or renewal as a US Sailing Judge must meet the high standards of integrity, fairness and judicial temperament found in The Judges Manual. Certified or not, all judges serving on protest committees should meet these standards.
When a protest committee is on duty afloat or ashore and the chair is a US Sailing Judge, they may display the US Sailing Judges Flag.
The standards also recognized that individuals might engage in different judging paths based on their experience and abilities. The Judges Program established qualifications and standards for Club Judges, Judges, National Judges, and the US Sailing procedure for nominating ISAF International Judges. The qualifications required for certification for each of these different paths are described in the US Sailing Judge Certification Program Requirements.
Judges Committee & Regional Administrative Judges
The Judges Committee develops supports and certifies judges within the US.
The Judges Committee also maintains the training and testing programs for certification; assists sailing organizations in obtaining qualified judges for events; provides support and advice on the roles and conduct of judges at US Sailing events; investigates complaints against judges; and submits candidates for approval by the Board as nominees for World Sailing International Judges.
Regional Administrative Judges (RAJs) are the judge administrators in each of US Sailing’s Areas.
The RAJ is responsible for recruiting, encouraging and guiding members who wish to take a judge course, become certified, recertified or upgrade their certification level. RAJs also help organizers recruit judges for their events, place judges at events, schedule training seminars and answer judging and protest-related questions from members.
For more information about judges and judging, please contact your RAJ, who is identified by his or her Area in the table below.
Judges Committee Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the Judges Committee Conference Calls
judge guidelines & documents
- 2017-2020 US Prescriptions to The Racing Rules of Sailing
- The Judges Manual for 2017-2020 – a free pdf for US Sailing members
- Guidelines for Video Conference Hearings – guidance from the US Sailing Judges Committee on Video Hearings
- On the Field of Play Decisions – a boat should act in accordance with the basic principles of our sport
- Standard Wording for PC Decisions – guidelines for ensuring conclusions are derived from facts found
- Guidelines for Hearings Involving Support Persons – guidelines for a hearing when a support person may have broken a rule
- Continuing Education Events and CEUs Table – a table defining the continuing education values for educational events
Useful Event Checklists
The Judges Committee and the Judges Education, Training and Testing Subcommittee (JETTS) provide the following checklists for members of a Protest Committee. These correspond to and, in some cases supplement, the checklists found in The Judges' Manual for 2017-2020. Additionally, these are utilized for certain exercises during Judge Seminars. Appendix M of The Racing Rules of Sailing is an additional resource for Judges looking for such type of tools. JETTS will periodically collect and add additional checklists, as appropriate.
Useful Protest Committee Documents
- US Sailing 2017-2020 Protest Form
- Protest Worksheet (Envelope Cover)
- Protest Filing Deadline
- Alternative Penalty Acknowledge Table (Short Form)
- Alternative Penalty Acknowledge Form (long form)
- Arbitration Resolution Form
- Hearing Schedule Table
- Hearing Results Table
- Notice of Request for Redress Hearing
- Hearing Schedule and Results Table
- Protest Committee Report to Scorers
- Rule 42 Protests – 1 Protest per Line
- Rule 42 Protests – 1 Competitor per Line
- Rule 42 Log Booklet – for one-sided copies
- Rule 42 Log Booklet – for double-sided copies
- Combined set of all Reports in one Document (Has common header and footer for use in customizing for one event)