Saturday, 31 May 2008

Extreme start for Alinghi in Lugano

Well, that was certainly exciting. Alinghi capsized in the very first race in the iShares cup in Lugano. You can see the sequence on the iShares Cup 2008 website

We started out normal enough. First start at 14:00 hours. Only the wind wouldn't settle. Each shower brought a big shift between these mountains surrounding this lake. Race office Peter Moore had a hard time getting the course set up. Especially because once you drop a mark here, the weight goes down for 200 meters. Not something you then change five minutes later.

Once set up, we started and even during the start sequence the wind veered off 40 degrees. Suddenly we had a reach course, going fast in between huge raindrops and squalls.

In one of those squalls Alinghi couldn't bear off fast enough and capsized. We were ahead and to leeward of them. At a certain point it becomes inevitable. You see it happening in slow motion. One hull flying, higher, higher and then even higher until the mast was almost parallel to the water.

One crew member dropped from the flying hull onto the mainsail. Another hit his face and got a cut lip. Fortunately that was the extent of personal injuries. The boat however didn’t sustained the incident without damage. I’m not sure, but I heard the mast broke while they tried to right the boat. Perhaps it was already weakened by the impact on the water.

The boat quickly overturned with the mast and sails straight down. Meanwhile the other boats continued racing in heavy showers and occasional lightning in the hills above.

You can certainly say this was an Extreme start for this event.

Alinghi overturned,with crew and support -staff making her ready to be righted.

Holmatro and BT getting ready for the final race of the day

Until dark the riggers worked on te spare mast of the class to get it ready for Alinghi. When I arived this morning, the boat was gone from the carpark, ready to sail...

UK Halsey Rules Quiz 24

In case you've missed it, UK-Halsey Sails has put up a new rules quiz (24) on there site. Click on the picture to go there:
If you've been a regular visitor of this blog and followed the discussions, you should be able to answer this one straight away.

For those of you visiting the UK-Halsey Sailmakers site for the first time, have a look at all the previous quizzes. The animations are very good and the cases interesting.

Friday, 30 May 2008

iShares Cup Lugano

When this post is scheduled to appear on the blog, I will hopefully travel the very final part of my trip to Lugano, Switzerland. The bus from Malpensa airport (Italy) is scheduled to arrive at 00.30 in Lugano.

I'm going there to umpire for the Extreme 40 Class in the first of the iShares Cup events. In total five are planned this year. In September I also hope to do the final one in Amsterdam.
If you want to know more about these 'monster' 40 foot cats go to the website: iShares Cup 2008
With a team of 6 umpires in three boats we are going to chase these boats around Lake Lugano.

The rules which apply are the same as used for Medal Races: addendum Q with a few changes because of the size and speed of the boats. If there's any kind of breeze blowing I'm afraid we will need to revert to a zone system. We will not be able to keep up with them.

If I have a chance I'll keep you in the loop with a few pictures and stories.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 6

Received a Umpire Question from AndraZ, which I think is worth to share with you:

Hi Jos!
This weekend I was umpiring a GR3 match race in Sicily and a situation happened, where I had a different call than the other umpire. Later he had no way to discuss it since he had to leave early...
I'd be really glad if I could sort this out, with your help or help of your readers, if you don't mind.

I'm attaching the situation:
Timeframe: two minutes to starting signal
Situation: chase around the starting boat
Conditions: 10-12kn wind, no waves
  • step 1: boats enters two-length zone clear, so Blue has no right of room as inside boat;
  • step 2 & 3: clear astern boat keeps clear, does not try to go inside;
  • step 5: Yellow boat tacks inside two-length zone;
  • step 6: Blue boat tacks inside two-length zone;
  • step 7: boats are overlapped, Yellow starts closing the gap;
  • step 8 & 9: Yellow closes in, Blue does not respond, there is no contact, Yellow luffs and protests
And here is my story:
  • step 1: rule 18.2(c) applies, since boats are not overlapped and are not approaching to start
  • step 2-4: nothing special happens, Blue is keeping clear
  • step 5: Yellow tacks inside 2LZ, 18.3 should apply, but C2.6 says: "If two boats were on opposite tacks and one of them completes a tack within the two-length zone to pass a rounding mark, and ..." Starting boat is not a rounding mark, therefore we go back to basic rule, 18.2(a)
  • step 7, 8 & 9: Blue boat is inside overlapped boat, so Yellow should keep clear
Conclusion: yellow boat was required to keep clear under 18.2(a) and she did not
Decision: penalty to yellow

What is your opinion?
Many thanks,

I agree with the penalty, but not with the reasoning. Can you find out why?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Clubsailing 2008 at KWV Langweer

In my region the local representatives of my MNA set up a competition for clubs some years ago.
It gives members of clubs the opportunity to experience racing without having to own a sailboat by using boats from local sailing schools and companies who rent out boats, for a minimum charge. (We pay € 5,- per boat for the evening to cover insurance)

It is hugely popular, with at the moment four divisions of each five teams in three boats.
In the spring and early summer each club in a division does one evening with two races.
Yesterday evening my club KWV Langweer did this year's races in nearly perfect conditions. Nice breeze, open water, almost no other boats and very sportive and fair racing.

I've uploaded some pictures to my Flickr account, so you can have a look.

Like I said each team has three boats and the points for each boat is added up to get a team result. We don't do Appendix D (team racing rules) because for these beginning sailors the rules for fleet racing are complicated enough.
With in total 5 evenings that adds up to 10 races. Depending on the total, after a final evening with all divisions together, you can promote to the next division or be degraded to a lower one.
Last year our team promoted to division two and this year they had a hard time getting good enough results to stay in. Not yesterday. My team scored a second and a first place. Well done!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Definitions | 15

Postpone A postponed race is delayed before its scheduled start but may be started or abandoned later.

The difference is in timing. Postponement always happens before the starting signal with AP. Abandonment always after the race has started. Postponement is signaled with AP, which is sometimes accompanied with sign flag H or A:

Even if you can't see the flags, you can count the sound signals. Postponement is always signaled with two sounds, abandonment with three sounds.
If you have a hard time remembering which was again the H or the A flag:
  • H (for home) is red like a traffic light which means stop, but expect a different signal later (ashore).
  • A (for abandoned) is blue, for the disappointment that there will be no more racing (today)
It makes a great deal of difference if the postponement is canceled ashore or on the water. According to the RRS a warning signal will be given one minute after lowering the AP. If that would be done ashore, nobody would be able to be on time for the start. That's is why in the sailing instructions normally this time is extended to 30 or more minutes, depending how far the race area is from the boat park. Starting a race without adequate time to get to the race area, can be grounds for redress, provided you made every effort to get there.

In addition to sign flags A or H, AP ashore can be hoisted with a numeral pennant, whereby the meaning of the pennant- i.e. 1, 2, - till 6 - will signal the number of hours a race is postponed from the scheduled starting time. So if first pennant number one is used and after an hour exchanged for pennant two, the postponement is extended with one more hour till it is two hours after the original scheduled time. If there's no numeral pennant the postponement is for an indefinite time.

There are some interesting nicknames for AP. Well at least in my language. Translated we call this flag 'the rattail'. How about in yours? If there are any names you like to share, please leave them in the comments.

Monday, 26 May 2008

MEDAL RACES at Delta Lloyd Regatta

In difficult circumstances the medal races were done yesterday at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. Close quarters, lots of press boats and 20 to 22 knots of Easterly wind. Since Medemblik is at the inner West coast of the IJsselmeer, big rollers came in. Combined with gust up to 26 knots, you can imagine we all got drenched.

The sailors in some of the classes had a hard time keeping their boats upright and a few capsizes determined the outcome.

As for protest, we did not have that many. All in all, about 10 flags most of them for mark touches. Two yellow flag penalties and the rest for part two infringements, either greened or red flagged.

We prepared for the medal races by going over Addendum Q, talking about positioning and communication, checking for possible close scores - in case of a match race between competitors and possibilities for redress. The way these races are set up, is in some ways very different than normal fleet racing, but close enough to get confused sometimes. The rules are different from the ones in Match Racing.

There's no longer a difference in the voluntary penalty and the umpire initiated penalty, both are one round including a tack and a gybe. But a boat not taking a penalty when it's clear she's broken a rule, will get a second penalty. One for the the part two rule and one for breaking the basic principle.

Getting well clear to take a penalty means that other boats can protest if they have to avoid a circling boat. If the boat taking a penalty pauses her round because of another boat, the penalty is not taken promptly and that will result in an additional one from the umpires.

The exoneration rule takes precedence over any conflicting instruction. If a boat doesn't get enough room and touches a mark the umpires can exonerate her without the need for a protest.

It's always a challenge to get in the right mind set. You tend to focus to much sometimes on the exceptions and forget the bigger picture. One thing I definitely need to improve, is recognizing a boat braking rule 42 in these wind and wave conditions.

News item can be found here, and for results go to this page

Friday, 23 May 2008

ISAF Q&A 2008-003

A new Q&A has been published on the ISAF Website: Q&A 2008-003

I have never heard of a case like this, but someone must have, otherwise it wouldn't have been up there.

This Q&A answers a couple of questions about a boat who wants to rescind an already handed-in retirement. For instants after she has subsequently has discovered that she hadn't broken a rule. The actions and non-actions of the RC and the PC are discussed. Good Q&A actually

I find also interesting that the expiration date of this Q&A is 1 January 2013.
Which makes it valid until the end of the next rule-cycle. Usually Q&A's have a "shelflive" of a year. I'm still wondering what the actual meaning of that date below all the Q&As is. In the policy it is states that after the expiration date, Q&As either have to be included in the next rulebook or considered for a new call or discarded. But the ones from 2001 are still up there! Are they still valid? Or are they expired? Why keep then up there? So what's the deal?

With this new date of 1 January 2013 it is clear that this is not going to be changed in the next rule cycle, but up for review for the next.

Update 23/05/08 16:12 hours: The Q&A has disappeared from the front page and the Q&A page. I don't know what this means. Apparently there was something wrong with it?

LTW R18 Case Studies | 5

Part 5 from the rule 18 Case Studies: LTW R18 Case Studies Part 5.pdf

Thursday, 22 May 2008

First Day Pictures Delta Lloyd Regatta

Just to show you we have had perfect conditions on the first day, some pictures of Delta Lloyd Regatta from Medemblik.

For those of you who recognize the "fast" moving Judge in the last picture, send a comment and I'll give him your message.

LTW R18 Case Studies | 4

Part 4 from the rule 18 Case Studies: LTW R18 Case Studies Part 4.pdf

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

LTW R18 Case Studies | 3

Part 3 from the rule 18 Case Studies: LTW R18 Case Studies Part 3.pdf

I'm still at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik:

08:42 hours: Today looks like a perfect sailing day for everyone. Nice breeze up to 12 knots, sunshine and no rain. Forecast is for more of the same coming days, with rising temperature.
I'm going to the 470 course with Maria today. Expect the Oscar-flag up almost from the beginning, so will be a slow 42 day. Meeting in 10 minutes. Back later.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

LTW R18 Case Studies | 2

Part 2 from the rule 18 Case Studies: LTW R18 Case Studies Part 2.pdf

Definitions | 14

Two-Length Zone The area around a mark or obstruction within a distance of two hull lengths of the boat nearer to it.

Two lengths is very hard - with any measure of accuracy - to judge. The best place to do it, is perpendicular to the approaching boat and even then it's a split second, when there's any kind of breeze.

For sailors, sitting at the helm at the back, it's even harder to judge when the bow reaches that specific point. The border of the two length zone is in practice more like a wide band then a line.

Because the positions of the boats - with or without overlap - determines right of way in the subsequent mark rounding, it is a skill to get it right. Sailors usually sail the same boat in many regattas, so they have the advantage of practice. After a couple of events and enough situations, they know. Don't just look at this only when in close proximity of others, no, practice also when you are alone, say it out loud and let your crew do the same.

Furthermore the rules have a way out, when there's doubt - which is almost automatic when two parties disagree. Unless there's a credible witness who was in a right position to see, the jury will use rule 18.2(e) which in short says: when in doubt, it is not so.

If in the leg before the mark rounding, boats were clear ahead / clear astern and there is doubt if the overlap was established in time, this rule says it wasn't. If there was an overlap for some time, before the critical entrance of the two-length zone, and there is doubt about whether that overlap was broken, again rule 18.2(e) dictates it wasn't.

Don't think this is something for the protest-room alone. The same rule should be applied on the water. If you have doubt that you got your nose in on time, better assume you didn't and keep clear accordingly.

In regattas with one design classes the distance from the mark is fixed. But for different length boats in the same race area who have to round the mark at the same time, the distance is varied. Then the second part of the definition is also very critical and can make a great deal of difference when rule 18 begins to apply.

The two following two diagrams illustrate that, between two boats where the blue one is twice the length of the yellow one.

A mark is usually small and has round circumference. The two-length zone is therefore also round. But obstructions come in all shapes and sizes. Please remember that the two-length zone has the same shape and is seldom round.

TSS - the program to draw these diagrams, does not (yet) have that ability. All two-length zones are calculated from one point, regardless of the size of the obstruction.

Monday, 19 May 2008

LTW R18 Case Studies | 1

This week (from tomorrow) I'll be participating in Jury of the Delta Lloyd Regatta. That means I will have limited time to work on the blog. I will no doubt scribble a lot in my Notebook, but am not sure I can make posts.

To keep you "occupied" I've prepared and scheduled 5 posts with Case Studies about Rule 18. The questions/test was made by Leif Nybom from Finland a couple of years back. He also send me the Rule 17.2 situation in Breaking a rule or not breaking a rule?

E-mailing with Leif he told me these were part of a rules clinic and there was no answer sheet. We will have to come up with the answers all by ourselves. So leave your comments.
I've put the questions in PDF-files: LTW R18 Case Studies Part 1.pdf

Good luck

Sunday, 18 May 2008

'Flog the Blog' Day (6)

18 November 2007 - 18 May 2008

Half a year = 6 months = 26 weeks = 183 something days > 250 posts and counting. I think this counts as an anniversary on the "living web", don't you?

When I started out with blogging I was approached by Jarret (of The Good Old Boat Redwing) in the second month, asking me if I wanted to participate in an article he was writing for Good Old Boat magazine. He wanted to write an article about boat blogging and included me in his short list with Edward of EVK4 SuperBlog, Bonnie of frogma, Tillerman of Proper Course, and the guy who runs tugster. Since I was only just starting, I felt very flattered to be included in such illustrious company and agreed.

Unfortunately it has been four months since then and despite a positive initial response from the magazine, nothing has happened. Jarret mailed me this week that the magazine had a change of tack since then and he's exploring other avenues....

I gave answers to eight questions he asked. For this anniversary of LTW, I thought I would go back to his questions, give you an insight on how this all started and see if my answers had changed. Some of them have, but also some of them are still true.

If you are interested in blogging, please read on and click on the link below, but be warned, this post is about just that, no rules involved. Well, not the rules from the RRS anyway.

Read more in:
All about Look To Windward in eight questions & answers

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Fact Finding for a Finish Foul

Received an Email from a new LTW- reader this week asking about a situation he experienced during an evening training event:

Approaching the finishing line yesterday evening, and unable to make the buoy I luffed almost head to wind and sneaked round. The boat to windward [but not ahead] had to luff to avoid me and I got my bow over the line before his.

He said later that if we hadn't been training he would have protested as I wasn't sailing my proper course, he could make the mark so I should have dropped off and tacked behind him to finish. I suggested that for me this was the route I would have taken if he hadn't been there and as I hadn't passed through head to wind he had to keep clear.

We're still the best of friends but it would be nice to clear the situation up - it's bound to crop up again sooner or later.

I answered in a mail:

As to your question. Firstly, you have a proper course restriction only of the overlap was established from clear behind within two boat lengths to leeward of your friends boat. If you got the overlap any other way you have no restriction and may luff head to wind as you please, provided you give him room to keep clear.

If there was a proper course restriction under rule 17.1, you are still allowed to luff head to wind in this situation. For you that was the fastest way to finish. Like you said, you would have done the same if the other boat wasn't there.

You could even have just crossed the line with your bow and then gone back. There's no need to cross the finish line with the whole boat.

Later I realized I maybe was to quick with my answer. Oh, it is not wrong, but because Andrew never told me what happened before that situation, there is a possibility he did break a rule.

I've drawn up the following diagram to illustrate:

In this situation Blue and Yellow approach on opposite tacks and then Blue completes his tack within the two-length zone. Yellow has to sail above close hauled to avoid her, therefore Blue breaks rule 18.3(a).

This illustrates that you need to find out ALL the facts before jumping to a conclusion. Perhaps there are more ways Blue can end up in this situation and break a rule?

Friday, 16 May 2008

ISAF Standard Damage Policy for Match Racing

A new version of the ISAF Standard Damage Policy for Match Racing appeared today on the web site. I've done a comparison between the previous version and this one and the only change - apart from a couple of typos - is the place from where to deduct the half points.

They now always are deducted from the skipper’s total round robin score, not from individual match scores. It avoids having to award negative points for the loser of a match. Instead it always deducts points for causing damage from the total score.
Something the scorer will appreciate, but not something that effects racing or policy.

How to limit the number of Protests

In many of the bigger events the number of protest can be overwhelming, because according to the rules, sailors need to request redress for every scoring error.

Since a couple of years at grade one events they have found that most errors in scoring are due to simple typing or communication errors and can easily be resolved by bringing the case to the attention of the Race Committee. There's actually no need to involve the Protest Committee at all. According to RRS A5 the RC can correct any scoring error, without the need for a request for redress.

For that purpose a special form is available on which the sailor can state his or her case and the RC can respond according to there findings.

You can download the CYA-version here: Scoring Review Request Form

There's only one snag. If the sailor fills in the form and hands it in, the RC in all likely hood will need some time to sort it out. Check the pin-end finishing list, talk to the scribe or listen to a finishing tape. By the time they've done that and the answer is not what the sailor expects or wants, the time to hand in a request for redress will have passed.

Therefore you need to add a couple of sentences to the Sailing Instructions:

  • The time limit for a scoring review request is the time limit of rule 61.3 or within (one) two hours after publication of the results, whichever is later.
  • The time limit for a request for redress for a rejected scoring review request is (one) two hours after publication of that rejection.

If you use this form (in one way or another) the number of protest will drop by 30%.

Returning to the harbour

Sailors can use this form at any event, even without the extension of time limits in the Sailing Instructions. But make sure you then also request for redress at the same time, by handing in a protest-form as well.

In the description of the incident you can simply refer to the scoring review request form. Eight out of ten times it will never come to a hearing, and you can always withdraw you're request for redress.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

ISAF Race Officials Newsletter 2008 | 2

A couple of days ago all International Race Officials received a newsletter. You can read it on the ISAF web site: ISAF Race Officials Newsletter.

In it John Doerr, chairman of the Race Officials Committee, writes about a number of subjects which will have an impact on how International Race Officials will have to do things in the future.

The professionalism of sailors in the high-end regatta's is growing and we will have to be up to the task of officiating at that level as well.

The on-line application system will be tested this year and - if successful - will be operational for all next year.

He also writes about conflicts of interest, an issue which has surfaced recently very prominently on the websites and forums. I quote:
"This is an issue that we are working on and plan to bring the fruits of our work to the November conference. It is a thorny subject as we are more often than not dealing with perception rather than reality, but we must tackle the problem none the less."

Finally he brings to our attention the possibility to participate in work for the ISAF.

Kieler Woche Jury 2006
Jury of Kieler Woche 2006

When ISAF changes course in these areas, does things differently then before, it will eventually have an impact on how your MNA will treat you as a national official. People who serve on the committees figuring out these things, also have influence in their own country. Also, if you want to become international you have to confirm to it, and what better start then using that same principles for national levels as well.

There's a lively discussion on Scuttleblog about Certification for US-Judges. All who are so opposed to it - for credible and legitimate reasons - should also look at the developments on this level, before shooting that idea down.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 5

In our posting-series from LTW-blog readers today a case written by Luis. He has some questions about the consequences of a boat being scored OCS under the black-flag rule:

I have seen different decisions about requests from redress from sailors that claim having been compelled by other boat to be over the line under black flag. I would like to share my opinion and receive comments on this subject.

The issue is known: Black flag up, a boat is caught over the line in the last minute and scored BFD. She protests another boat, claiming that this other boat, because of breaking a rule, has compelled her to be over the line, and requests redress.

Frequently the protest committee decides that it was not exclusively due to the other boat’s action that the boat was over the line, and refuses any redress. Some judges will say that she shouldn’t be there, because it is too risky, and will not accept exempting her from responsibility (I have heard this during a hearing). Is there any rule to cover that position? I don’t think so.

So, if the protest committee finds as a fact that, if it were not because of another boat breaking a rule, she would not be over the line, what to do? Rule 64.1(b) is clear: “When, as a consequence of breaking a rule, a boat has compelled another boat to break a rule … the other boat … shall be exonerated” (my underline).
So, she shall be exonerated for having been over the line, thus breaking rule 30.3 - but for that fact only.

Under which conditions a redress should be given?

There may be a few different actions after the incident at the start, both by the boat and by the race committee (RC). I will try to summarize on a table those that occur to me (I assume that there is a provision in the sailing instructions, changing RRS 30.3, that requires that a boat retires immediately if her number is shown on a board at a mark - normally the windward mark - and that failure to do so is scored DNE):

(1) Although I have never seen or heard this happening, I find nothing in the rulebook that prevents a boat from coming back to start after a black flag start.
(2) The “improper action” from the RC was not to allow the boat to race, while she should have been exonerated. If the race is sailed after the hearing the boat should be allowed to start.
(3) The “improper action” from the RC was not to allow the boat to continue racing, while she should have been exonerated. If the race is sailed after the hearing the boat should be allowed to start.

I know that many race officers will be reluctant to accept that following RRS 30.3 or the sailing instructions may be an improper action. In fact, they do not have the power to exonerate de boat that was compelled to break RRS 30.3. I am sympathetic with that point of view but, according to RRS 64.1(b) the boat SHALL be exonerated. If the PC finds that it was only because of another boat’s fault that the boat broke rule 30.3, is there another way out? Is it fair to disqualify a boat by the rules, if the same rules say that she shall be exonerated? In doubt, shouldn’t the benefit go to the sailor?

I would like to hear other judges comments.

Good winds, best regards,
Luis Leal de Faria

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

ISAF Q&A 2008-001 and 2008 -002

Not one, but two new Q&As appeared on the ISAF Web site today. And both about subjects we discussed already on this blog!

The first one Q&A 2008-001 is about scheduling races in order, which relates to Kleine Sneekweek 2008 Scoring, a post from Sunday 4th of May.

Quote: " It is generally accepted best practice to sail races in the original sequence unless there is a good reason to do otherwise."
In my opinion this is a conformation that the last sailed race should be used in case of tied results and application of A8.2

What do you think?

The second one Q&A 2008-002 is about definition of finish and a capsized boat, discussed in this post: Definitions | 3

Quote: "Also, the boat does not break rule 47.2 while the crew are making all reasonable attempts to recover the boat and get back on board provided they are not making any attempt to progress the position of the boat in the race. If they attempt to ‘swim’ the boat across the finishing line, they would break both rule 47.2 and rule 42.1, and possibly rule 2."

I wonder who send these questions to ISAF?

Definitions | 13

Start A boat starts when, having been entirely on the pre-start side of the starting line at or after her starting signal, and having complied with rule 30.1 if it applies, any part of her hull, crew or equipment crosses the starting line in the direction of the first mark.

NK Flits 2007 Langweer

Note: in this definition there's no mention of 'normal position' of equipment or crew, like with finishing. If you sail along just below the starting line and the crew sticks out a hand, that hand may be crossing the line. Boats have been declared OCS because the back of the crew was over the line, but the hull of the boat was not.

Note: - at her starting signal or - after her starting signal. A boat starting at the same moment as the signal is not OCS, she has started correctly.

Note: - When returning after an OCS the entire boat has to be below he starting line before she can start. Just the bow, is not good enough. Take a background bearing of the line, so if you need to return, you know when you've sailed back far enough.

Note: ...and having complied with 30.1, .... That is the round the end rule. You have to sail across an extension of the starting line from the course side to the pre-start side. That is the reason the Pin-end committee boat - if there is one - will leave an opening between itself and the pin-end. Or create a space outside itself where boats can cross. A PRO should always make sure the coach-boats and spectators aren't blocking that area.

Note: The reason why most start lines are perpendicular to the wind is because that gives the sailors the chance to line up and keep their boat relatively in the same position by sheeting in or out, or by changing course towards the wind. There's no rule dictating this in the RRS, but the course has to be described in the SI and then it becomes a rule.

Note: There's also no time limit for starting in the RRS, but in the SI most Race committees will limit it to five or ten minutes.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Support your local Judge

Today on the Scuttleblog a post was published by Ernie Bain, Jr., Senior Judge and Umpire: Certification process

I realize I'm not an US-Sailing judge nor umpire. If that disqualifies me from commenting, please ignore the rest of this post.

I agree with the need to maintain the skill to Judge or Umpire.
Rules knowledge is an important part of that. But not that's not all. You need also to improve abilities like dealing with people in the room or on the water. Professionalism goes further than tests.

However you want to achieve that first part is in the organization, be it trough a points system or annual testing. For the second part you need a support system. Feedback on your teamwork, the opportunity to talk about what has happened and learn from mistakes, without prejudice.

It should be part of the chief or chairman to give that (or delegate to other experienced Judges and Umpires). But also we should expect to hear from our fellow Judges and Umpires every time we work together. Not to criticize, not to put down, but to improve and think about what we are doing.

It should be perfectly normal to talk a few minutes before getting back to shore, or before we rush into the next protest-hearing. Or find someone in a quit moment and tell him how he or she can improve dealing with that particular difficult party in the protest-room. Or how to put a young sailor at ease before starting with those demanding questions.

Ernie's idea is a good one, I'm all for improving rules-knowledge, but not without an equal part attention to 'people-skills'.

Holding the Spinnaker pole

Reading a news item from the Congressional Cup 2008 I was reminded of an incident at the Match Race in Calpe. It also involved a broken spinnaker pole. This one was only damaged at one side and could not be fixed to the mast anymore, the other end was still working and could be fixed to the guy. Spinrigging


So with one end broken, the crew was holding the pole at that end, pushing the spinnaker outward. Rule 50.2 states that a spinnaker pole shall only be used when attached to the mast. Holding it is therefore only permitted if the broken end is connected (touching) the mast. A crew member can hold it there, but shall not push it outward. Quit logical, because that changes the area of the spinnaker.


What about not using the pole at all, holding the guy in your hands? Is that something which is permitted?

If you see a boat with a crew member holding the spinnaker pole, without one end touching the mast - other than briefly when setting or taking down - you must protest that boat according to C8.4. It is not an infringement that can be penalized by a colored flag.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

RED Flag in Match Racing

In one of the comments on Helping Hands, Pat of Desert Sea - New Mexican Sailing asked about the use of the red flag in Match Racing.


Because it's not often used, there is - also among umpires - a lot of misunderstanding about when to apply it. First let me explain what it means. The red flag always has to be used by umpires together with a blue or yellow flag, never as a single flag. When red and blue are held up together it signals the blue boat they are penalized AND that they have to take the penalty as soon as reasonably possible, but not before starting. A normal blue penalty can be postponed until the blue boat thinks it is the best place or just before finishing. Not if the red flag is used. Then the blue boat has to take it directly!

You can classify this penalty as a little more than a 'normal' penalty, but a little less than a double penalty

signal penalty
1 colored flag (Y or B) may be postponed
2 colored + red flag shall taken as soon as reasonably possible
3 two colored flags one may be postponed, second penalty shall be taken a.s.a. reasonably possible
4 three colored flags = colored + black flag DSQ

When do you use a red flag:

From the ISAF Umpires and Match Racing Manual 5 Part B - Edition 6/05

Sometimes breaking a rule and getting penalized leaves a boat in a better position than she would have been if she had not broken a rule. In such cases the umpires have several options:

  1. To give the penalty as a red flag penalty (C5.3).
  2. To give an additional, umpire initiated penalty (C5.2)
  3. To display a black flag (C5.4).

A brief delay in making a decision may be justified when judging whether a boat has gained control by breaking a rule. The umpires may want to give the boat a red flag penalty if she has gained control. (C5, C6.5(b) and C7.3(d)). The additional, umpire initiated penalty is meant to take away an advantage gained by a boat that broke a rule, especially if that advantage was gained through a deliberate breach of a rule at a critical time e.g. breaking a rule to avoid being OCS, barging at the start and denying an inside boat room at the mark. It may also be given to a boat that commits a breach of sportsmanship, and in such a case, the umpires may initiate the penalty without any flag Y from a competitor. (C8.3 and CALL MR 31)

Many umpires have been reluctant to give a boat two penalties. Often, two penalties given for one incident early in the match meant the end of any real competition between the boats. The boat that was penalized was several boat lengths behind and did not have a chance to catch up while sailing in the other’s control and in its bad air. A match for whom there is no hope of winning is boring for all concerned. However, it is important that when the conditions for an additional umpire initiated penalty have been fulfilled, the umpires give such a penalty. The sailors do take 'calculated risks' - they barge in at the start and expect to either get away with it, or to get a red flag penalty. In case of a red flag penalty under such circumstances, the outcome is that the sailor will have to take a penalty and after the penalty will find himself in the same spot as before the incident - but with no outstanding penalty. With a double penalty, the boat gets back to where she would have been without the breach, but she also has to carry a penalty for the breach.

The race starts and BMW Oracle are carrying a penalty and a red flag. They must immediately carry out one of the penalty turns. Valencia, 19 May 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

When the umpires judge that a boat has gained control as a result of breaking a rule, but they are not certain that the conditions for an additional umpire initiated penalty have been met, they display a red flag with or soon after the penalty flag. The boat that gets the red flag penalty must take the penalty as soon as reasonably possible. If one boat has a penalty and the other receives a red flag penalty, the red flag penalty
does not cancel the outstanding penalty. (C7.2(e))

The red flag penalty is designed to restore the relative positions of the boats before the incident that resulted in the penalty. It does not relieve the other boat of an outstanding penalty the way that a double penalty (two penalties for the same incident) would.

If, after a boat has completed a red flag penalty, she still has an advantage, and the requirements in C6.5(b) are fulfilled, the umpires may give her another penalty, and this could be another red flag penalty. (C8.3)

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Breaking a rule or not breaking a rule?

I'm off for a day on the water in a Benetau 25 and some PC work (different event) later.

I'll leave you for this weekend with a case send by Leif Nybom, an IU/IJ from Finland:

LN case 080510

To avoid contact the windward Blue changes course and keep clear of Yellow. (White shows Blue holding her course).

Is one of the boats breaking a rule?

I'll give you until Tuesday to come up with the answer.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Windows Live Writer test post

Hmmm, just downloaded Windows Live Writer and am testing it, to see if this is a good program to make posts. First impression are promising. It has created a identical style (lettering, colors, background) as my blog and even follows the width of a post to the exact px.

I can preview the post as it would appear on the blog. This is already much easier than tweaking it, by first publishing it, check it on the blog and then editing it again, sometimes several times.

I can insert a picture:OVER

Give that picture a link:

And already I have a workable post!

In case you are wondering about the picture, follow the link to the Sailing Anarchy Forum and all will be revealed. Some great pictures and captions over there!

Something new, inserting a table:

10 25 On Opposite Tacks
11 25 On the same Tack, Overlapped
12 25 On the same Tack, Not Overlapped
13 26 While Tacking


All seems to be working fine. Remains the actual posting... Here goes.

Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 4.1

This discussion was started by AndraZ in this post Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 4
were he asked a question about RRS 18 and approaching to start.
In response I received an Email from Mike B, which I think merits a post on its own. He included the following text and picture:

I basically agree but you have to be careful with the wording.
What of the situation here shown as attached!

Here you cannot say the inside boat has no right to right to room in the initial position. It has the mark on the correct side, but cannot be approaching to start till it is in the correct tack (gybe) to enable it to do so.

What do you think?
Mike B

Yes, I am to curious about your opinion, so please leave your comments.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Helping Hands | 2

In case you were wondering about the sudden appearance of the personal stuff in the previous post, I was inspired by a post from Tillerman. He started a group writing project, asking for stories about Learning Experiences. I send him my post and today he included it, in the project. If you want to contribute, visit his blog for instructions.

Helping Hands

When starting to umpire beyond National level, you need experience and skill to get invited for International events. But you need invitations to events to get that skill and experience. A viscous circle. You need a helping hand to break it.

Unfortunately in 2005 there weren't that many local events for me, so I tried to use any and all contacts to get a place abroad. During Kiel-week I talked to some of the German judges and they told me about Match-Racing in Hamburg, in the heart of the city, on lake Alster. Hamburg is about 4 hours by car from my hometown. Perfect.

I contacted Manuel Hünsch, the guy in charge and offered to pay my own travel expenses, so they could gain an International Judge and an National Umpire for the "price" of a local National Umpire. And he said yes!
I could attend my very first International Match Race Event, the International German Championship for Woman on October 1-3, 2005

On the Aussen-Alster the Hamburger Sailing Club has a well run clubhouse and facilities and, most important for Match Racing, several Streamline boats to sail.
The event was very well organized and I learned how to operate in English and to Umpire with people I met for the first time. All were very helpful and I was invited back for a next event in November: Ladies Only Match Racing.
Since then I've been back there many times and feel right at home in HH.

HH stands for Hansestadt Hamburg.
For me it will always be the ‘helping hands’, who broke the circle and gave me my first opportunity.
But also ‘helping hands’, because I learned a valuable lesson on one of those occasions:

For match racing boats enter the race area, 4 minutes before the starting signal, by crossing a line perpendicular to the starting line, each on her own side. The Blue boat on the pin-end side and the Yellow boat at the committee-boat side.

After they have crossed, they have to "dip the starting line". That means they have to cross the starting line, from the course side to the pre-start side, between four minutes and two minutes before the start. Normally boats time this entry exactly, so they can engage in the pre-start maneuvers.
They must dip in that time!
If they are late and the other boat can prevent them from dipping, they get a penalty.
So timing - as with a start - is crucial. That means that both boats will sail pretty close to the marks, entering.

In one of these events the Blue boat entered so close, that her keel caught the anchor line of the pin-end mark. Hopelessly entangled!

In my enthusiasm and eagerness to get things going, I started motoring over to help them untangle it, so the race could get started.

Immediately the Chief umpire (Manuel) called on the radio, asking what I was doing? Helping?
No, no! I shouldn't help anyone!
The match had already started and it was the responsibility of the boat to get free.
She had already earned a penalty for touching the mark!

I felt like a beginner....
Of course! How could I forget! How stupid of me….

I motored away, and together with my fellow umpire, blew a whistle and showed the blue flag, indicating a penalty for Blue.

It felt like totally ridiculous, waiting some dozen meters away, seeing the sailors struggle to get that bloody line off their keel, doing nothing to help them.

Backward and forward, head to wind, heeling over, pushing the mark around the boat, nothing worked! That line was glued to the boat!

Minutes ticked away.
And yes, after two minutes because Blue hadn't crossed the line, we gave a second penalty.

Finally when the starting signal had gone and the other boat had sailed halfway up the beat, Blue indicated that they gave up. They lowered their sails and the support boat came over to help them to get unstuck.

We discussed the incident with the sailors afterwards. They were pretty casual about it, knew this was all in the game and it had happened before. Next time a little more distance from the mark, that was all.

I was a little more impressed by the incident.
I will forever remember when NOT to give a ‘helping hand’ in a Match Race.

Thank you, Manuel!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 4

Today another readers question from AndraZ. He wrote me in a mail:

Hi Jos!

I was umpiring a MR grade 3 this weekend when a debate between the umpires started about the meaning of "when are the boats approaching to start", as mentioned in 18.1(a).
Call UMP 13 covers the situation to an extent, but a statement from one of the more experienced officers (an ex IU) did not match my interpretation.

His words were, that the boats are approaching to start only when coming from the pre-start side to ste starting line. That the rule 28.2 says, you are approaching the starting line from the
pre-start side to start. In other cases the rule 18 applies with no exception. If an overlapped, inner boat, is between an outside, leeward boat, and the starting mark (race committee boat), she is entitled to room, even if only 5 seconds are to the starting signal and the boats coming there were sailing in a straight line for last 30 seconds.
Call UMP 13, question 1, depicts three situations, the last one the closest to the "boats approaching the mark from the course-side" but still, the leeward boat is already under the extension of the starting line. Those were the ex-IU arguments.

I did not agree with him, since I believe the approaching angle to the starting mark (race committee boat) does not play any role to the 18.1(a). Rule 28.2, in short words, explains which mark is to be left on which side, when you start. Full-stop. My arguments are that the intention counts, the distance of the boats from the starting mark, the time to the starting signal, not merely the fact that a boat is overlapped, inner on the mark, at that time. It's the risk of the inner boat to be there at that time.

You cannot bend a rule "just because it happened". Otherwise in a fleet regatta, it would be best to stay starboard of the race committee boat, bearing away to round it at the starting signal and have right of room. In my opinion, you cannot apply rule 18 if the boats (at least one) is above the starting line, otherwise act as if there were no rule 18.

To be more clear I've prepared a diagram showing different situations. Let's assume there is 15 seconds to the starting signal, light long wave, 10kn winds.

situation 1:
Boats coming in from the course-side, not overlapped, 18 does not apply. Blue must keep clear of yellow, she is not entitled to room.

situation 2:
Boats are overlapped at the zone, but in my opinion they are approaching to start, so 18 is off. Blue boat must keep clear under 11. If she continues between race committee boat and the yellow, yellow must not close the gate (RRS 16 and 14) but can protest. The risk is on the blue boat to enter such a situation. Most probable result is a double penalty or a red flag.

situation 3:
Boats approaching from the pre-start side, overlapped, 18 is off, yellow can close the gate before the yellow reaches the starting mark. Blue must keep clear under 11.

situation 4:
Pretty much the same as in situation 2. Blue must make sure soon enough, not to put herself in a position where she cannot keep clear of the yellow boat.

What is your interpretation?
Thanks in advance.

I wrote back to him:

Dear AndraZ,

I agree with you. The angle of approach should not have influence in determining if boats are approaching to start and Rule 18 is off or on.
In all your situation Blue has no right to inside room, if this is happening 10-15 seconds before the starting signal and the umpires have decided that the boats are approaching to start. Like you stated, the side which the mark is to be left is the determining factor, not the approaching angle.


Rapid Response Call for Team Racing 2008/003

You can say the RR-working party has been busy lately. Third Call in as many weeks.
This Call is about Penalties Initiated by Umpires—Breach of Sportsmanship.
You can read it here

Basically the call states that an emotional response to a penalty or situation is still ok, but if it escalates in abuse or insult, umpires should initiate a further penalty or protest.

My skin is been callused by "yellow flag duty" and I have 'closeble' flaps over my ears. So far I haven't felt the need to consider penalizing a boat for these issues. But I can imagine it will happen.
How about you?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Definitions | 12

Room The space a boat needs in the existing conditions while maneuvering promptly in a seamanlike way.

As definitions go, this one is perceived by most to make matters more complicated, instead of making things clear.However, because room is not a fixed 'quantity', the definition does need this. Room depends on a couple of conditions. Let's have a look at the three parts which define the space:

- existing conditions;
the waves, wind speed, the water (sheltered or open), but also type of boat; dinghy or yacht, centerboard or lee board. Any condition that influences the space.

- maneuvering promptly;
In the definition there's no regard for more or less competent sailors. Expected is an adequate skill to maneuver and competent crew. You can't claim more space because you are a beginner.

- seamanlike way;
with regard for safety of crew and boat; there should be no need to hit anything or the likelihood of damage to your boat or equipment. For instance if you luff a boat with spinnaker, it's is seamanlike to give that boat the opportunity to lower the spinnaker when you luff above half wind. Mind, you have to give the opportunity - wait a short time in your arc - but if the windward boat doesn't take it and does nothing, you then can go higher with the spinnaker still up.

In my experience Room at a Match Race is less than Room at a Fleet Race. Boats operate and maneuver closer together during, for instance, the pre-start.
Room normally doesn't include room to tack or gybe. But that gets added when normal part of the maneuver rounding a mark. So room for the inside boat is more than room for a windward boat. One of the reasons that in the next rule cycle the definition "markroom" will be added to the rule book.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Working sheet vs Control Line

RRS 49.1 regulates the position of the crew. In this rule it is permitted to use a "device" to position the body outboard, as long as this device is not specifically designed for it. (With exception of hiking straps and stiffeners worn under the thighs.)

For instance the jib sheet or the main sheet. Both designed to work the sails, not for hiking, therefore they may be used for that purpose. Then there are control lines, for instance the vang control line or the traveler control line. Can they be used for hiking?
What do you think?

Philippe Presti racing against Torvar Mirsky in the semifinals. Calpe, 12 April 2008. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

In Calpe I learned a good way to answer this question.
If the control line can be adjusted from the position the crew is in, it complies with rule 49.1. The line is in use to adjust the - in our case - vang or traveler. The fact that this may be infrequent, is not relevant, it still passes the test for 49.1. While hiking you can adjust them, same as the main sheet.

If that same vang control line cannot be cleated or uncleated from a hiking position, it is no longer a control line, but at that moment something specifically in use to project the body outboard. In that case the use of that same control line, breaks RRS 49.1.

When, confronted with a new boat you are not sure, find a crew when they are not racing and ask them to show you. Or ask members of the team who are more familiar with the boat.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Kleine Sneekweek 2008 Scoring

Up until now it has been a very quit event - at least from the PC's point of view. Only three protest so far.

Around ascension day and the following weekend my club always organizes a four day event. With Beaufort 5 on Thursday, 2 on Friday and 0-1 on Saturday the wind has let the RC do three of the four planned races. Today with Beaufort 2, the RC has planned to do the fifth race this morning and then directly afterwards do the postponed race four of yesterday.

Two competitors in the Pampus- class have exactly the same result
Pampus 900:
R1 - 1, R2 - 7, R3 - 2, R4 - 3, R5 - 1, total: 14p excluding a 7th = 7p
Pampus 980:
R1 - 7, R2 - 2, R3 - 1, R4 - 1, R5 - 3, total: 14p excluding a 7th = 7p
According to Rule A8.2 the scorer awards the first prize to Pampus 900 and second prize to Pampus 980

You are a member of my PC and we receive a request for redress from Pampus 980, claiming that the PC has made an error in scoring. The last race was race 4 (sailed this afternoon after race 5). And that Pampus 980 should be awarded first prize.

Write the facts found, conclusion, rules applicable and a decision.

Update 18:45 hours; just returned home from the event. When I wrote this post this morning, it was still hypothetical. But after racing today the first two Ynglings faced exactly this problem and we got a request for redress from the second placed boat. Since we already discussed this dilemma beforehand, we quickly came to a decision. I'm however not yet going to tell you what we decided, first I want to hear what you make of this......

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Rapid Response Call for Team Racing 2008/002

On the ISAF Website a new Rapid Response is published. Another one for Team Racing.
This one is about taking a penalties, either voluntarely or umpire initiated.
Read the call here

Friday, 2 May 2008

Winging it | 3

Some practical notes on Winging at a Match Race.
Go here for part 1 and go here for part 2

When on the run in a match race the overlap between two boats can be essential for the rules. If the boats use spinnakers it is sometimes very hard for the umpires to see the exact moment the overlap begins. At that moment not only rule 12 switches off and rule 11 on, but also the limitation under rule 15 starts. Rule 15 has a short "shelf-live" therefor it is important to know when it starts.
When winging on this leg the wing stays perpendicular to the front boat always at stern "hight." They start with communication at a distance of about one boat length apart calling the overlap.

Besides the overlap or clear ahead and clear astern, there's another position the wing communicates on the run. This is just between those two. This is called a technical overlap and the Wing communicates this with the word "TECHNICAL". It is an overlap, for instance with the spinnaker, but the trailing boat can change course from leeward to windward or visa versa without touching the leading boat.

This is especially important for rule 17. If the trailing boat gets a technical overlap to windward, then manages to change to leeward without breaking the overlap, rule 17 is never applicable and the trailing boat has luffing rights. If the overlap is broken and then again established to leeward the trailing boat has the limitation on luffing up to its proper course.

Overlap is also important approaching the leeward mark. Because of it's perpendicular position the zone distance is can much better be judged by the Wing. They call "clear at Zone" or "overlap at Zone" when the leading boat enters the two boat length zone.
The wing also - as with the windward mark - watches for rule 31.1 infringements.
Once boats have rounded the mark the Wing goes again to the right side of the beat to follow the boat on the right side.

Like earlier written, the Wing will follows (mostly) the leading boat, speccially when boats are far apart. If that is the case, then they also signal the umpire about anything they see in that boat, red flag penalty, yankee flag, rule 42 infringement etc. etc. They however never give the penalty. It is always the umpire of that match who decides if a penalty should be given.

Finally, as a Wing boat you do have all the flags with you. In case the umpire boat is unable to continue - because of mechanical problems for instance - the Wing takes over as umpire immediately, when asked to do so.

This concludes our three part series on "winging."
If you have additional material or useful tips on winging, please don't hesitate to comment.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

International Umpire Seminar Part 2

To catch up, you can read part one here.

The on-the-water part of the seminar was done during a actual match race event, in my case the Lugano Match Race act 2, a Grade 3 event.
This means that all the participants together with a chairman and two instructors, are the complete umpire team. All task normally performed at an event, are to be done by this group. Starting from an initial meeting going over the SI, getting specific tasks assigned (I had to keep track off and look after Umpire Boats) to preparing schedules and speaking at debriefs with the sailors. Because of the 'seminar' situation a couple of things were added to this; assignments with an assessor and time for debriefing and stuff like that. Otherwise a normal event with sailors who came for the event and wanted to win. The boats were Streamline, a very fast and quick turning keel boat, with spinnaker. Not the most ideal match race boat for a seminar, but certainly one which is used in more match race events around the world.

The wind was very light the first day but we could get a couple of flights in, that first afternoon. The second day was even worse, and we had to wait a long time before we could do some racing. Everybody was fearing we would not be amble to complete the assessments nor the match racing, but luckily the final day there was a good breeze and we could get things finished. If the wind wouldn't have come, the assessments would not have been completed, which meant that we needed another one at a different event.

It felt like your every move was watched and scrutinize. That may be an exaggeration, but the umpire assessment is definitely more than those ten minutes umpiring on the water. It also is based on your teamwork, attitude and general performance during the whole event. Leave it to yours truly, to go and pick a fight with one of the instructors about - you guessed it - boat assignments. And doing it in public in a group session, was not a good idea. I had a valid bone to pick, but should have done so in private with the instructor. Certainly a learning experience. We talked about it and I'm glad it didn't eventually influenced the decision to let me pass.

So umpiring at a seminar is different from 'normal' umpiring, that there is this third person aboard watching you. In order to perform as best as I could, I prepped myself to concentrate solely on the umpiring, try to forget about the assessor. "Relax, Jos, you can do this, relax, do what you do, the assessment will come later, relax." I repeated in my mind. Fortunately we were the second match umpires. So we started shadow-umpiring for the first match.

Let me explain: 'shadow umpiring' is doing all the things umpires do, but without following the boats and - of course - not answering any calls. It is a great way to get your mind into 'gear', concentrating on the umpiring, getting used to your fellow umpire. Because we were with 11 participants and only 8 of us had a job in any flight, some of us had to wait on the starting vessel in between. We were encouraged to do shadow-umpiring from there. Because of this, I soon was able to 'forget' about the assessor and concentrate on the match. In all my matches I was able to perform adequately, phew....

One of the things which was "forgotten" at this seminar was anything to do with "winging". No feedback on how the wing boat operated, no clues on where to be or what to say. More like, that is something you should know already, and we don't want to waste time. I think that is a mistake. A good wing can be very valuable for umpires and sometimes is crucial in making the right decision. A missed opportunity as far as I'm concerned.

As to the results; from the eleven participants nine managed to pass the written test, but only three passed the Umpire 'on the water' assessment. Seems like a very meager result, doesn't it? With that much effort by everybody, not to mention costs involved... only three?
I didn't have the opportunity to umpire with everyone and my own assessments have only gone as far as looking at National level umpires, but with one exception, I agreed with the result. Even with a good knowledge of the rules, sufficient skill to do the umpiring and keep on top of teamwork, I still felt like a beginner on the International level, and in need of learning a lot more.

Again, an Umpire assessment is a lot more then that part you do on the water. If you look at the assessment form, you are graded also on all other aspects of being an umpire at an international event. Who knows, perhaps standing up to the instructor wasn't such a bad thing after all?

To all future participants of IU Seminars my advice is to use any and all opportunities to practice. Whenever you are on the water, even just watching a fleet race, start shadow umpiring. Follow a boat for a couple of minutes while they round a mark and say what you would say if umpiring. Of course you should read the manual, study the call book and the rules, but foremost practice! Use video found on the Internet, watch television, anything. You can even do it in the classroom: Two people do blue and yellow with the models on the board, and two umpires speak and decide.

Once you've mastered the rules and communication automatically, you can concentrate on anticipation - what will happen next - and be in the right position for the next call.

Oh, if at all possible, do some match racing yourself!

This concludes my notes on my IU Seminar. Please don't hesitate to mail me, if you have specific questions.
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