||Johnny Whynacht and his Sticky Fingers crew have joined Craig Noakes and Ian Dawson of Yertle at the top of the Canadian Championship podium. Read on if you want to know why.
The finish of the 2010 J24 Canadian Nationals in Halifax this summer was probably the most remarkable I have ever seen. Three boats tied for first with the tiebreaker going to the Ian Dawson and crew on Yertle, who won the final race after the eventual second and third place finishers, Peter Wickwire and Johnny Whynacht appeared to have settled the regatta with a thrilling one-to-one contest in the penultimate race. In the second last race, Whynacht sailed Wickwire back to eleventh. While Johnny took an eighth, he was comfortable that he had done what he had to by forcing Peter to a poor finish that Wickwire would have to count because of a penalty and disqualification that he sustained earlier in the regatta.
The final outcome was the result of two inter-related factors. First, Ian Dawson and his helmsman Craig Noakes racked up two seconds and a final race first on the final day. Second, the Race Committee determined that competitors would be permitted to drop two races, although the Sailing Instructions were not clear on the subject. The Committee was essentially confirming a statement in the Notice of Race that two races would be dropped if ten were sailed. The tenth race was started only minutes before the deadline set in the Sailing Instructions for termination of the regatta
In the wake of the stunning finish that resulted, Johnny and his Sticky Fingers crew filed a protest arguing that there should only have been one drop, a circumstance that would have made them the Canadian Champions. The Protest Committee formed at the Squadron that evening decided, however, that the Race Committee, after consultation with the Protest Committee, had announced via VHF before the final day of racing that there would be two drops and that was sufficient for competitors to know the conditions under which they were competing. The Protest Committee noted that other competitors had skipped the last race on this basis and that no other participant in the regatta requested redress.
A Canadian Championship is, of course, a big thing – at least for Canadians – and the Sticky Fingers crew were not satisfied that the Halifax Protest Committee had made the right decision. They had, after all, cited Rules 90.3 and A2 noting that they required that the Sailing Instructions specify any variation from the default scoring system of RRS A2, which states that a boat sailing a regatta will be scored by “the total of her race scores excluding her worst score.” Sticky Fingers, consequently, filed an appeal from the Protest Committee decision with the Canadian Yachting Association.
If you would like to know the details, have a look at the Appeal Decision. Long story short, though, the CYA has decided that Johnny and his crew were right but that the resulting complications were such that it could not simply award the Championship to Sticky Fingers. Several competitors, after all, retired from the last race on the assumption that they could drop two races and the strategies of others on the final day were no doubt influenced by that same assumption.
Recognizing the challenge of treating everyone fairly, the Appeals Committee decided to do Solomon one better. Whereas the ancient King of the Israelites settled the argument between two women over a baby by offering to cut the infant in half, the Appeals Committee decided in this case to provide a clone or more specifically two Canadian Champions. In fact, the final decision of the Appeals Committee calculated the finish of all boats in the Championship and assigned each the better of their two rankings.
Resulting changes only affected the top seven where it resulted in three ties. In the following I’ve included a few details left out of the Appeal Decision – the name of the helmsperson (and boatowner if different), the boat name, and whether their better finish is based on one drop (*) or two (**):
||Craig Noakes/Ian Dawson
||Lisa Ross/ Dale Robertson
The list above happens put the one drops before the twos but there is no difference. If you run into Johnny, you can say “Hi champ,” which you can also say to Craig or Ian. You could raise your index finger to John and, maybe, your index and middle fingers to Craig and Ian but it’s all the same. They are all great sailors and two champs are better than one.