In real life regattas, rule 44 affords the skipper a form of insurance against the possibility that a protest might not yield a favorable outcome. In such on-the-water regatta the final authority is a protest committee. The PC hears facts and arguments from each interested party and then summarizes their findings and makes a determination. A party participating in a protest runs the risk that the PC uncovers a rule violation even if that rule is not the subject of the original protest.
- In those VSK races where it is agreed the auto-umpire is the first and final authority there is no need for such insurance.
- Some VSK clubs may organize a regatta that provides for a formal process involving a PC as the final authority.
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thumb|300px|right|Rule 44 Taking a Penalty The VSK umpire does not require two turns to discharge a penalty. One turn (comprised of one tack and one gybe, executed in either order) is sufficient to discharge a penalty. (See also: How realistic is VSK racing?)
To enforce the rule 44.2 "as soon as possible" requirement VSK does require that a penalty turn begin within 60 seconds. A countdown timer appears on screen at the moment a penalty is issued. The penalized boat is required to pass either head to wind or stern to wind before the timer reaches zero. So long as this initial timing is satisfied the boat may continue with her turn as slowly or as quickly as the skipper chooses. The turn is considered complete as soon as the boat passes through stern to wind or head to wind (respectively).
You may wonder why the countdown timer continues even after you have started your turn. Once begun, a penalty turn is considered aborted (and thereby never started) if the boat's angular velocity (a.k.a. rate of turning) drops below zero, even momentarily. As a guide, centering your rudder for longer than a few tenths of a second will generally be long enough to reduce angular velocity to zero and thereby abort a penalty turn. If that should happen after the countdown has reached zero then a second penalty is issued against the boat, citing rule 44.1. Of course if a penalty turn is aborted before the countdown reaches zero then the skipper must ensure that the boat once again passes head to wind or stern to wind before the countdown reaches zero.
- Therefore, it is not possible to extend the countdown.
When two penalties have accrued the countdown for the second penalty does not begin until the turn for the prior penalty has completed.
- Therefore, it is possible to delay the commencement of a second countdown.
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The auto-umpire does not recognize rule 44.3 however, there may be some VSK club organized events where it is recognized. Always check the SI.