63.1 Requirement for a Hearing

A boat or competitor shall not be penalized without a protest hearing, except as provided in rules 30.2, 30.3, 67, 69, A5 and P2. A decision on redress shall not be made without a hearing. The protest committee shall hear all protests and requests for redress that have been delivered to the race office unless it allows a protest or request to be withdrawn.

63.2 Time and Place of the Hearing; Time for Parties to Prepare

All parties to the hearing shall be notified of the time and place of the hearing, the protest or redress information shall be made available to them, and they shall be allowed reasonable time to prepare for the hearing.

63.3 Right to Be Present

(a) The parties to the hearing, or a representative of each, have the right to be present throughout the hearing of all the evidence. When a protest claims a breach of a rule of Part 2, 3 or 4, the representatives of boats shall have been on board at the time of the incident, unless there is good reason for the protest committee to rule otherwise. Any witness, other than a member of the protest committee, shall be excluded except when giving evidence.

(b) If a party to the hearing does not come to the hearing, the protest committee may nevertheless decide the protest or request for redress. If the party was unavoidably absent, the committee may reopen the hearing.

63.4 Interested Party

A member of a protest committee who is an interested party shall not take any further part in the hearing but may appear as a witness. A party to the hearing who believes a member of the protest committee is an interested party shall object as soon as possible.

63.5 Validity of the Protest or Request for Redress

At the beginning of the hearing the protest committee shall decide whether all requirements for the protest or request for redress have been met, after first taking any evidence it considers necessary. If all requirements have been met, the protest or request is valid and the hearing shall be continued. If not, it shall be closed. If the protest has been made under rule 60.3(a)(1), the protest committee shall also determine whether or not injury or serious damage resulted from the incident in question. If not, the hearing shall be closed.

63.6 Taking Evidence and Finding Facts

The protest committee shall take the evidence of the parties to the hearing and of their witnesses and other evidence it considers necessary. A member of the protest committee who saw the incident may give evidence. A party to the hearing may question any person who gives evidence. The committee shall then find the facts and base its decision on them.

63.7 Conflict between Rules

If there is a conflict between a rule in the notice of race and one in the sailing instructions that must be resolved before the protest committee can decide a protest or request for redress, the committee shall apply the rule that it believes will provide the fairest result for all boats affected.

63.8 Protests between Boats in Different Races

A protest between boats sailing in different races conducted by different organizing authorities shall be heard by a protest committee acceptable to those authorities.