The situation in Seattle was aggravated in part because race announcers, media, and fans along the shore were unaware of the "off plane" call prior to the start of the race. Since the U-37 Beacon Plumbing received the checkered flag, everybody but the race teams thought the U-37 had won. Later, it was announced that the U-37 had been flagged for going off plane and given a one-minute penalty.
To help alleviate that situation and make everyone more aware of what's happening, the ABRA has introduced a new racing flag that will signal when an infraction has been called during a race.
"Our officials will continue to communicate the penalty/infraction over the radio channels," said ABRA Chairman Sam Cole on the ABRAHydroplanes.com website. "The colors that were chosen should make for a very visible flag and will help everyone understand that the 'heat' is in question for one or more participants."
Here's the description of the flag from the ABRAHydroplanes.com website:
The new flag colors will be a bright medium blue and a florescent yellow for the stripe and will fly alongside the appropriate racing flag displayed on the course before, during and after a heat. Chief referee Mike Noonan and official scorer Wes Patton came up with the pattern for the flag. The new racing 'infraction' flag will be displayed from the judges' stand and course boats any time an infraction as been called during an unlimited hydroplane race.
"We better understand some of the communication issues that resulted during the Chevrolet Cup at Seafair and feel this is one way to alert everyone that an infraction has been called," said Cole.