Friday, 19 September 2008

iShares Cup Amsterdam 2008 | 1

From yesterday-evening I'm at the iShares cup finals in Amsterdam. The race village has been set up and first skippers- and umpire meeting have been held. The sailors had a practice day yesterday, we will have to jump in, this afternoon, right from the start of race one.

We've gone over the SI and - how can it be otherwise - due to the extraordinary location a few changes were introduced. The Extreme 40's sail in between two stone key-walls in an area of about 200 by 800 meters, all ten of them. Which makes for extreme close racing. We will bring two umpire boats on the water and will put someone on the camera-crane to act as a "sky born" wing. The idea is to give the umpires warnings and information about the distances to and from marks etc. We'll have to see how that works. I'll bring my camera and hopefully can snap a few pictures to show you what that's like.

Tommy Hilfiger racing at Amsterdam prior to the 2008 iShares Cup final by Sander van der Borch/iShares

To return to the rules; in the sailing instructions we have the opportunity to give two sorts of penalty. Signalling with a red flag means the infringing cat has to sail clear and pass through head to wind, signalling with a pink flag means, sail clear and gybe. Unusual in this is the "sail clear" part. The penalty begins with that part and also means that a boat who is sailing clear has to keep clear of other boats.

Another change is the use of the Match Race version of rule 18.3. These big cats - like all multihulls - stall very easily when tacking, so if one of them tacks inside the two-lengths, the fetching boat can still be along way off and coming at full speed will be at the mark quickly. If it then has to go round and has to go above close hauled, the stalled tacking boat already breaks the "normal" rule 18.3. Not very useful in these races. So we are using the match race version. If the fetching boat can luff to avoid the tacking boat and avoid becoming overlapped inside her, then rule 18.2(c) shall apply as if the boats were clear ahead and clear astern at the two lenght zone. If it can't avoid becoming overlapped inside the tacking boat, that boat shall keep clear and rules 15 and 18.2 do not apply.

We've also changed rule 18.4 so that it does not apply at a gate-mark. It is impossible to judge if a boat will take one or the other mark untill the very last moment, and the outside boat will have claimed 18.4 long before that becomes clear.

The courses also have been adapted to this location. I don't have a scanner here, so at the moment I can't show you, but suffice it to say, a special camera-mark is part of it.

I'll report back when I can.


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