Friday, 25 July 2008

Leg counting or How many beats did you sail?

- Just a story for learning and fun -
by Adriaan Pels

It happened during a Laser European championship. We were in Donaghadee, close to Bangor in Northern Ireland. It was in the days, many years ago, that one did not go to this area voluntary, not for fun. Unforeseeable attacks, bomb explosions, and so on made this Britain’s hotbed a dangerous and unpleasant place to be. But an airplane full of Laser sailors and us, RC and PC members, started on Heathrow with the goal to give the local Laser sailors their first international regatta in many years.

The first sign that we were going to a special place was a not planned landing on a small and unknown airport at the northwest coast of England. Extensive examinations by special security people (“who are you, where are you going and what are are you going to do there”) and visitations (“you can undress over there”) for hours, was not what we expected. Armed soldiers everywhere, sinister checkpoints, security men in every big shop examining bags, even in the clubhouse of the organizing yacht club, in short: a frightening area.

a three day hangover

The hotels were used as houses for seniors or closed as there were no visitors or tourists, so a lot of places to stay. But the welcome was great (do not take their local whiskey when you are not a well trained drinker else a three day hangover will be yours) as everybody; sailors, club people, citizens, appreciated our coming.

But now the case. One day the wind was very shifty, ‘beats’ became ‘reaches’ and vice versa and the PRO, who was very good, was adjusting the course all the time and had no problems. Until the moment that the sailor at the 7th place did not go to the last mark, but headed from the second last straight for the finish, followed by the rest of the fleet.

Panic on committee boat

Panic on committee and jury boat and after a while the PRO realized what was going on. While he was busy with moving marks, hoisting flags and giving signals, he miscalculated: one leg too many. That number 7 was right and finished first!

What to do now? Well, as I said, the PRO was very good and he made two quick decisions: note the boats as they finish; in the meantime also note the six boats sailing the extra leg. Comparing both lists and deducting the six from the finishing list and giving them there own scoring list, gave as a result for this race two scoring lists. One for the six boats which sailed the extra leg and one for the rest of the fleet. Result for the overall scoring: two firsts, two seconds and so on till seven.

Everybody happy except maybe the organizing yacht club, as they had to double the day prizes. But that was a minor problem.

a hot shot in ISAF

As the PRO was a man with a good sense for humor and as he likes to tell the story himself with no reservations, I feel free to mention his name: Jeff Martin. Nowadays a hot shot in ISAF and well respected for his visions and ideas.

Adriaan is the first to write a guest post. He has been commenting regularly on my posts and will be trilled if you give him your comments on this story.

If you have a similar experience or something else you'd like to share, please send it by mail and I'll consider posting. I'm hoping to make this a more or less regular feature on Fridays


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