Annapolis yacht club, Maryland, sailing, yachting, racing, regattas

Protest Committee

 A Long Standing Tradition

Annapolis Yacht Club has a long and distinguished history of excellent race management which includes the AYC Protest Committee. AYC is proud to have a long list of internationally recognized judges who have served on this committee over the years, including Sandy Grosvenor, Joe Krolak, Jack Lynch, Gaither Scott and Ron Ward, who was a member of the first US Sailing Judges Committee which created the judge certification program that became the model for the International Judges program.

Under the Racing Rules of Sailing, a protest committee is appointed for every regatta, either by the organizing authority, which is usually the Annapolis Yacht Club, or by the race committee. The number of judges or umpires serving the event is determined by the type and size of the event, and the AYC Protest Committee is the primary source for those race officials. Our jobs extend beyond hearing protests or umpiring races. We also provide support for the race committee and help sailors apply the rules.

All Annapolis Yacht Club Protest Committee members are experienced racing sailors. Most are trained and certified by US Sailing, while others have a good knowledge of the racing rules and are working toward US Sailing certification. AYC judges and umpires have served in the America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Olympic Games and many world championships.

If you have racing experience and would like to know more about joining the AYC Protest Committee, contact the Race Office, at, or send a note to

Why a Silver Oar?

The silver oar in the AYC Protest Committee logo has roots in admiralty courts throughout history. Admiralty law is a civil legal system consisting of rules and principles derived from long-standing customs of the sea and a host of medieval maritime codes. Admiralty law, also known as maritime law, has existed since at least 900 B.C. when it was used on the island of Rhodes in the eastern Mediterranean. Admiralty law was introduced into England under the reign of King Richard the Lionheart and English maritime matters were heard by the High Court of Admiralty as early as 1360.

The U.S. admiralty law heritage is linked to the English admiralty courts through colonization by England. The first admiralty court in the western hemisphere was established in Jamaica in 1662, with the same jurisdiction, structure and procedures as the admiralty courts in England, including the use of the silver oar mace as a symbol of legitimacy and an indication of the Crown authority for whomever carried it.

Our admiralty courts have continued to display the silver oar mace as a symbol of the authority of the court. A silver oar has been displayed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York since 1941 and is displayed in the Warren B. Rudman U.S. Federal District Courthouse in New Hampshire. Likewise, US Sailing and AYC have adopted the symbol for their judges and protest committees.

You can find an excellent article on the history of the Admiralty Court silver oar here:

Jim Capron, Chairman

January 2016

2 Compromise Street Annapolis, MD 21401 Clubhouse: (410) 263-9279 Accounting: (410) 263-9147 Copyright © 2019