Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Discussion on rules and regulations goes here

Moderator: Senior Admin

Post Reply
Charles Legg
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:33 pm

Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by Charles Legg » Mon May 01, 2017 3:35 pm

John Ball has provided an excellent account of the World Sailing RRS for 2017 to 2020, which has led to some interesting discussions in this forum, but there has been little discussion of rule E3.9 in Appendix E: ‘E3.9 Disabled Competitors To enable a disabled competitor to compete on equal terms, the race committee shall make as fair an arrangement as possible.’ The only exception lies in John’s commentary on the rules in which he points out that ‘Definitions now include one for "support person". This will help clarify the role for a helper for a skipper with a disability.’ I have three questions about Rule E3.9: 1) do any clubs have experience of implementing this rule; 2) if clubs have experience of implementing the rule, what arrangements have they made; 3) what is the attitude of the MYA to clubs that have disabled members that do not seek to make such arrangements?

Darin Ballington
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:49 pm
First Name: Darin
Last name: Ballington

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by Darin Ballington » Sat May 06, 2017 9:57 am

Charles,
I have been at a few events with disabled skippers, mainly wheelchair bound, and the common approach has always been to assist them as required. Some require nominal assistance to launch boats, others have brought wives and family to do everything other than sail the boat. At all events the need for understanding and any restrictions to the control area have been announced at the briefing and all skippers have been cooperative. (Some monitoring has been in place as skippers get involved in the racing)

The MYA would have to consider their approach if requested to, but i suspect that the fact that our sport requires is shore based means that any issued could be overcome with a bit of planning by the race teams.

Darin

Charles Legg
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:33 pm

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by Charles Legg » Sat May 06, 2017 2:19 pm

Darin,
Thank you for your very helpful reply. I take it that by ‘restrictions to the control area’ you mean that able-bodied competitors are limited in how far they can move so that they do not have a significant advantage over the wheelchair user, and that by ‘some monitoring has been in place as skippers get involved in the racing’ you mean that someone has to remind able-bodied skippers not to wander outside of this unusually restricted control area?

My question about the attitude of the MYA stems from the fact that support for disabled skippers seems to have gone from being discretionary to being mandatory under the latest RRS and I was wondering whether the MYA had done anything to make clubs aware of this fact. Given that making provision for disabled skippers is mandatory I was wondering whether there were any consequences for clubs that operate outside World Sailing rules?

Charles Legg

John Ball
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by John Ball » Sat May 06, 2017 7:39 pm

Hi Charles,
I cannot find any reference in the RRS that 'mandates' accomodation for disabled. E3.9 applies to the Race Committee and not to a host club.

Can the Race committee provide a ramp to the pond to bypass steps? Can an RC lay a smooth path along the pond for wheelchairs?- probably not, as the RC does not own the property and does not have funds. A club may face similar limitations. So there may be real physical reasons for a club to be unable to make 'easy' access.

The intent of E.9 is to encourage a level playing field - but it is not mandatory - ie there is no 'shall'.

World Sailing provides for disabled sailing through the Special Olympics and similar events, but I cannot find a general policy statement that would relate to Radio Sailing.

US Sailing has a prescription that places a statement into the Intro of the RRS

Equal Opportunity
As the national authority for the sport of sailing, US Sailing is committed to providing an equal opportunity to all sailors to participate in the sport of sailing.


I cannot tell if the RYA has anything as the RYA prescriptions are not easily available online, they are combined with the RYA RRS publication and they want money for it.

So to me accommodation includes things like restricting the control area to a wheelchair accessible section, asking skippers not to walk in from of wheelchair competitors, using tape to keep competitors behind any wheelchair sailors. We have a wheelchair competitor in our local racing and these steps have worked for us.

John
John Ball
IOM CAN 307 (V8)

Charles Legg
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:33 pm

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by Charles Legg » Sun May 07, 2017 4:02 pm

John,

I’m somewhat surprised by your response for two reasons. The first is that, when it comes to sailing organised through individual model yacht clubs the distinction between the club and the race committee is, as my lawyer friends would put it, a distinction without a difference. The second is that you say “The intent of E.9 is to encourage a level playing field - but it is not mandatory - ie there is no 'shall'.”

Race committees do not exist in a vacuum but are appointed by and derive their powers from some other body which is ultimately responsible for their activities. In most instances they are made up of members of model yacht clubs, appointed by the members of those clubs and, in a well-managed club, operate under the direction of the club committee. The failure of a race committee to conduct racing according to the current RRS must ultimately be viewed as a failure of the responsible body, usually the club, to supervise the race committee it has appointed, hence my initial question.

On the issue of whether Rule E3.9 is mandatory, Rule E3.9 includes the phrase ‘the race committee shall make’ (my italics) which, given that the rules elsewhere use the word ‘may’ looks like the actions required under Rule E3.9 are mandatory rather than discretionary.

Let me turn to your point about what clubs might be expected to do. The rule makes no mention of ‘easy access’ only ‘as fair an arrangement as possible’, which rules out significant structural changes to a pond or pond-side facilities. Then again, there cannot be many model yacht clubs where the pond-side can only be reached via terrain so rough that it cannot be traversed by a modern wheelchair, so structural alterations are unlikely to be an issue in most instances.

Finally, your point about ‘Special Olympics’ is a red herring when it comes to radio sailing since the needs of disabled sailors can be accommodated through Rule E3.9 without the need for specially adapted boats or special events. As both you and Darin Ballington have pointed out, most disabled competitors can be accommodated by operating a restricted control area and stopping other competitors walking in front of them and it is heartening to learn that such arrangements have been made without the prod of Rule E3.9. However, we are still left with the question of what attitude the MYA might take to clubs that do not ensure that their race committees implement Rule E3.9.

Charles Legg

John Ball
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by John Ball » Sun May 07, 2017 9:06 pm

Sorry Charles, I misspoke when I said there is no 'Shall'. There is a shall, but it is qualified by 'make as fair an arrangement as possible'.

What is possible may be limited by property ownership, funding, and other resources.

In the UK, you are blessed with several good purpose built yachting ponds, like Fleetwood. I know of only one in the USA, at San Diego, and non in Canada. There as several sites where we have a sidewalk, promenade or long dock, but that is rare. We use park ponds and lakes, frequently surrounded by grass, and bushes. Frequently we sail on sites requiring wet launch. We have to make the best arrangements we can, and that may be very limited. But better to sail with compromise than not sail at all. Our wheelchair sailor takes it all in good spirit and is quick to remind us if we walk in front of him. But we will quickly help if he needs his boat retrieved, or launched or adjusted, and there are lots of willing bodies to give a push up a ramp.

John
John Ball
IOM CAN 307 (V8)

Charles Legg
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:33 pm

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by Charles Legg » Mon May 08, 2017 7:20 pm

John and Darin,

My thanks to both of you for helping me clarify the issues around Rule E3.9.

Three things emerge from your comments. The first is that the rule only applies once competitors have reached the pond side so it doesn’t place a burden on clubs to improve their facilities for disabled members, although that burden might be imposed by local legislation such as the UK Equality Act 2010. The second is that, even when assistance to disabled sailors was discretionary rather than mandatory, clubs have gone out of their way to be helpful. The third is that I am not sure that the MYA and its affiliated clubs have given a lot of thought to the implications of discretionary help being turned into a mandatory rule, particularly a rule that, thanks to the phrase ‘make as fair an arrangement as possible’, embodies a lack of clarity unusual in the World Sailing rule book.

Rule E3.9 is likely to make disabled sailors more assertive of their rights and be a potential source of conflict both within clubs and at open meetings so I was hoping that the MYA committee had noticed this rule change, had taken a view on what might constitute ‘fair’ arrangements and might be in a position to give guidance to clubs as to how best to implement it. Ideally they would consult disabled members during this process. In the absence of guidance I suspect that the issue will be solved by case law, which can get very messy and the process has the potential to disrupt the smooth running of events like open meetings, national and international championships.

Charles Legg

gordon davies
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 5:45 pm

Re: Rule E3.9 Disabled Competitors

Post by gordon davies » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:08 pm

For the One Metre Worlds the following text was included in the NOR:

In order that a disabled competitor may be able to compete on equal terms, the race committee shall make as fair an arrangement as possible. Disabled competitors who require any form of help or special requirements shall contact (name of contact) at (email address of contact prior to entry to confirm that suitable arrangements can be made. It is the competitor’s responsibility to determine that adequate facilities are available before entering the event.

This might prove useful. We did have a deaf mute competitor who competed happily, with an assistant to pass on information and make hails as necessary.

Initially, it was intended to include provision for disabled competitors in rule E4.2 Outside Help. However, it was far simpler to write a separate rule, as not all elements of 'as fair an arrangement as possible' would constitute outside help.

Personally I believe that the sport of radio sailing should take pride in this provision.

Lastly - Charles, I wish that the Rule Book was always as limpid, with no lack of clarity, as you believe it is! There are several points that are a perpetual subject of debate. One instance is what constitutes 'serious damage'.

Post Reply