Thursday, 31 July 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 7

I've not been able to post on the regular schedule this week, my apologies for that. I've a lot on my plate and some things have fallen behind. I do have a couple of days to get up to speed before the next event, so hopefully I will be able to catch up. This weeks post is again about rule 18;

18.2 and 18.5 are completely rewritten, 18.3 and 18.4 are only 'tweaked' a little:

18.2 Giving Room; Keeping Clear

(a) overlapped – basic rule

When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the inside boat room to round or pass the mark or obstruction, and if the inside boat has right of way the outside boat shall also keep clear. Other parts of rule 18 contain exceptions to this rule.

(b) overlapped at the zone

If boats were overlapped before either of them reached the two-length zone and the overlap is broken after one of them has reached it, the boat that was on the outside shall continue to give the other boat room. If the outside boat becomes clear astern or overlapped inside the other boat, she is not entitled to room and shall keep clear.

(c) not overlapped at the zone

If a boat was clear ahead at the time she reached the two-length zone, the boat clear astern shall thereafter keep clear. If the boat clear astern becomes overlapped outside the other boat, she shall also give the inside boat room. If the boat clear astern becomes overlapped inside the other boat, she is not entitled to room. If the boat that was clear ahead passes head to wind, rule 18.2(c) no longer applies and remains inapplicable.

(d) changing course to round or pass

When after the starting signal rule 18 applies between two boats and the right-of-way boat is changing course to round or pass a mark, rule 16 does not apply between her and the other boat.

(e) overlap rights

If there is reasonable doubt that a boat obtained or broke an overlap in time, it shall be presumed that she did not. If the outside boat is unable to give room when an overlap begins, rules 18.2(a) and 18.2(b) do not apply.

18.2 Giving Mark-Room

(a) When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the
inside boat mark-room, unless rule 18.2(b) applies.

(b) If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone, the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter give the inside boat mark-room. If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the zone, the boat clear astern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room.

(c) When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 18.2(b), she shall continue to do so even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins. However, if either boat passes head to wind or if the boat entitled to mark-room leaves the zone, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply.

(d) If there is reasonable doubt that a boat obtained or broke an overlap in time, it shall be presumed that she did not.

(e) If a boat obtained an inside overlap from clear astern and, from the time the overlap began, the outside boat has been
unable to give mark-room, she is not required to give it.

18.3 Tacking at When Approaching a Mark

If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them completes a tack changes tack, and as a result is subject to rule 13 in the two-length zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply. The boat that tacked changed tack

(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid her or prevent the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and

(b) shall give mark-room if the other boat becomes overlapped
inside her, in which case rule 15 does not apply.

18.4 Gybing

When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at a mark or obstruction to sail her proper course, until she gybes she shall sail no farther from the mark or obstruction than needed to sail that course. Rule 18.4 does not apply at a gate mark.

18.5 Passing a Continuing Obstruction

While boats are passing a continuing obstruction, rules 18.2(b) and 18.2(c) do not apply. A boat clear astern that obtains an inside overlap is entitled to room to pass between the other boat and the obstruction only if at the moment the overlap begins there is room to do so. If there is not, she is not entitled to room and shall keep clear.

18.5 Exoneration

When a boat is taking mark-room to which she is entitled, she shall be exonerated

(a) if, as a result of the other boat failing to give her mark-room, she breaks a rule of Section A, or

(b) if, by rounding the mark on her proper course, she breaks a rule of Section A or rule 15 or 16.

Like stated last week, rule 18 is now only applicable at marks! Obstructions will be dealt with in rule 19.

With the new wording a couple of the Q&A's have been sorted out once and for all. For instance: Rule 18.4 has no effect at the gate anymore.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Duisport Cup 2008

Returned yesterday from Duisburg where I was participating as an Umpire in the Duisport Cup 2008. Unfortunately the wind abandoned us the whole weekend. No sailing!

We were suppose to do some match racing in one of the side channels of the Rhine, practically under the Friedrick-Ebert bridge. The Rhine itself cannot be used because of a strong current, I'm guessing 4 knots at least.
We did one start (on Saturday) but had to abandon after a couple of minutes after entry, because of an approaching thunderstorm. So we all spent both days on shore, talking, drinking coffee and water, occasionally taking cover because of the rain. There were some diversions with the fair, some nice water skiing from the local promotion team and lots and lots of boats. I even managed to scare up a mermaid for David from Never Sea Land, but no sailing.
Disappointing for all, sailors - coming from six nations - organizers and public, nevertheless I met some very nice people and had a good time!

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

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Version 2.5E is released

Main changes are:

  • Curved Arrows (mark rounding, boat altering course...)
  • Diagrams can be saved as multiple JPG pictures (PowerPoint presentations)
  • Diagrams can be exported on a Repository on the TSS Web Server
Go here for download link

I've downloaded the update but somehow still version 2.5D is installed. I've contacted Henri on the forum to ask about this and will keep you updated if version E is actually available.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Race Management Manual

New on the Isaf Web site under documents and rules: Race Managment Manual.
I've been reading (browsing) in this document - specifically written for disabled sailing - and found many useful reminders and action points, whether for a disabled or a non-disabled event.

The jury appointed to IFDS-event has to deal with more issues.
The RRS have a basic premise that a person can operate a boat in a competent and seamanlike way. The PRO and his team have to create an 'environment' that this is also possible for disabled sailors.

I've never been to a specific IFDS-event, only to grade ones where disabled sailors also competed. Followed a couple of 2.4ms, a race or two. That is the extend of my experience.
How about you?

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 6

Section C has been completely rewritten and split into three rules: 18 -Markroom, 19 - Room to pass an obstruction and 20 - Room to Tack at an Obstruction

The preamble of part C covers all of them:



To the extent that a Section C rule conflicts with a rule in Section A or B, the Section C rule takes precedence.

Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them. When rule 20 applies, rules 18 and 19 do not.


In rule 18, room is room for an inside boat to round or pass between an outside boat and a mark or obstruction, including room to tack or gybe when either is a normal part of the manoeuvre.

18.1 When This Rule Applies

Rule 18 applies when boats are about to round or pass a mark they are required to leave on the same side, or an obstruction on the same side, until they have passed it. However, it does not apply

(a) at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its
anchor line from the time the boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them,

(b) while the boats are on opposite tacks, either on a beat to windward or when the proper course for one of them, but not both,
to round or pass the mark or obstruction is to tack


18.1 When Rule 18 Applies

Rule 18 applies between boats when they are required to leave a mark on the same side and at least one of them is in the zone. However, it does not apply

(a) between boats on opposite tacks on a beat to windward,

(b) between boats on opposite tacks when the proper course at the mark for one but not both of them is to tack,

(c) between a boat approaching a mark and one leaving it, or

(d) if the mark is a continuing obstruction, in which case rule 19 applies.

The rewriting of rule 18 is not so much a change, as to bring it into a more logical an structured order, so that the rule is better understood.

Note that the "about to round" part has been dropped and that one of the boats has to be in the zone, before rule 18 kicks in.

No more rule 18 outside that zone, only the other r.o.w. rules. And before you ask about conflicts with rules in part A and B (inside the zone); that is dealt with in 18.5.

We will have to see on the water what specific impact this will have.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Timing (in) the rules | 2

I've received a couple of interesting pieces and will post them in the coming weeks. (Please be patient if your piece isn't published straight away, I'll try to get to all of them).

The first is related to Timing (in) the rules, a post from friday a week ago. Paul Gingras asks a question:

Say you are sailing a leg of a course and another competitor hails "Protest" at you but you are not sure that you have fouled that other yacht. So you think about the situation as you complete that leg and begin to sail the next leg of the course. Halfway through this next leg you decide that yes, you did foul the protesting yacht, so you do your penalty turns at that time. Can you wait this long to do your turns?

Thanks, Paul Gingras.

I know most Protest committees will say that the penalty has been taken to late. On the next leg of the course is not "at the time of the incident". But I can perfectly understand someone not knowing straight away if a rule has been infringed. Hell, we need half an hour in the room to figure things out. Why is it that this two rounds penalty is not acceptable? Or, shouldn't it be?

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Link list for Week 29

For today a couple of interesting links for you to visit:


Starting, a link to a blog by Ewan McEwan, a fellow judge, umpire and a friend. Currently Ewan is in China as a rules-adviser for the China Team during the Olympics. You can read his insights and comments on his second blog: Ewan McEwan. Today he has a post about: Lots of 'zones' here in Qingdao, CHN


My Google alert on Racing Rules of Sailing pinged a rules question by Jim Hawkins on the Grafham Water Sailing Club web site: right of way rules on rounding a leeward mark.


I received an Email from ISAF drawing my attention to the LAST IJ Seminar which will use the current rule book 2005-2008. It is the one in Belgium; The KBYV (Royal Belgian Sailing Federation, in cooperation with ISAF and VYF) organizes a ISAF International Judge seminar and (the last) ISAF IJ TEST over the 2005-2008 racing rules. The seminar will take place in the Sports hotel in Bloso Ghent Belgium from Friday 24 until Sunday 26 October 2008. Go to the ISAF webpage or have a look at the Official Programme.


Finally a link to the Live Sail Die blog. Tom 'Johnsee' Johns wrote me an E-mail:

Hi Jos,
An avid long time reader and National Umpire in Australia. I also run an Aussie based sailing web site called Live Sail Die. I posed a Team Racing question to our readers that came up in discussion between umpires and judges at our recent schools Australian championship. The situation IS straight out of the call book, but I just can't agree with the call. I'd love to have your take on it:
Keep up the awesome work!

I'll have a go at his question later this weekend. ________________________________________________________________

Friday, 18 July 2008

FTBD (8)

Another month has gone by. A little shaky on the blog front. Due to some personal circumstances, I haven't been able to give writing my full attention.
Too much struggling to get new subjects, ideas and posts. Not enough research and almost no progress in the projects. And - which I regret the most - not enough attention to comments...
I will try to do better, but am very pressed for time - specially since some of the annual events where I'm actively involved, are in the coming months.
Perhaps you can help me a little with this?
I'm sure all of you have a multitude of stories about the rules and your dealings with them. In the Protest room, on the water, talking to sailors or to officials. You must have had situations where you though, I wish I could ask someone about this.
Or, how would someone else handle this?
Why can't I make this work?
Maybe: This works! I should tell others about this.
I never thought about that rule this way...
I know I have had these questions. Actually still have. Why not write some of them down and sharing them with others? I would welcome your stories very much. Don't worry about writing in perfect English, if that might hold you back. I'm sure I can help you with that. And as long as you talk about your problem, experience or question, I'm sure other readers will understand.
Send them to my mail address (see sidebar/contact button), I will post them on the blog - anonymously if you prefer - or with your name, just as you like.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Olympic Green Redress?

Qingdao Olympic regatta venue cleared of green algae

"Now that we have established that the request is valid, please tell the jury your case" the chairman said.

"Well, sailing today in race 2 we were in first place" the sailor started. After rounding the first windward mark we went left" He continued: "After sailing halfway down the leg we encountered seaweed on the water"

"Seaweed?" asked the chairman.

"Yes, that green algae, which was suppose to be cleared from the water by the OA" the sailor answered.

"We tried to get out of the patch immediately, but we had to clear our rudder three times before is was gone" He added: "I don't know how much got stuck on the centerboard"
"We lost five places in the second leg, it really slowed us down for several minutes, and we never got our original speed back the whole race"

The chairman turn to the representative of the organization: "What is you comment to this?"

The representative turned to the translator and rapidly gave off several sentences.
"All the algae has been cleared from all the waters" the translator began: "there should be no influence on the sailing by seaweed"

"We have done all that is possible to get all the green algae out out the area and there has been no breach in the barriers surrounding the Olympic sailing waters" the translator continued.

The chairman looked back to the sailor: "Do you have any questions?"

The sailor said nothing. He bent down and picked up a plastic bag from between his feet.
Reaching inside he came out with a handful of slimy green mass which he put on the table in front of the representative.

"I got this from the front of the centerboard when we got our boat on shore after the race" the sailor stated.
"Please tell me what this is?".......

I was just wondering if the Olympic Sailing Instructions should exclude redress on this bases.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Skutsjesilen 2008

All of you who are into sailing, who know a little about my home country and the region I live, must know about this annual event: "Skutsjesilen"

Last weekend the SKS started their series in nearly perfect conditions and we had three days of very exciting sailing. I've found a small video on you tube which captures a little how these big barges are sailed:

You can hear the starting gun at the beginning, at the end the boats are recalled because of a general recall...

The racing rules have been changed for these races, to better fit the temperament of the barges, to better accommodate tradition and because the men who sail, are stubborn old traditionalist who don't want anybody else understand what they are up to....

Nevertheless the racing is very popular in my neck of the woods for each barge sails for a town or region.

To top of that, the commentator on local radio who does the daily racing reports is very very enthusiastic and passionate. It comes trough and makes it more exciting. I listen to him working at my desk in the afternoon and keep wishing, I was where he is.....

More on (but only in Dutch)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 5

Rules 15 & 16 remain unchanged.

Rule 17 will change: 17.1 is now just 17 and 17.2 is deleted:


17.1 If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain on the same tack and overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

17.2 Except on a beat to windward, while a boat is less than two of her hull lengths from a leeward boat or a boat clear astern steering a course to leeward of her, she shall not sail below her proper course unless she gybes.

Rule 17.2 has been always a very difficult rule and hardly ever used. The fact that a windward boat will try to cover a leeward boat is used in close sailing like team- or match racing and a legitimate 'tactical' way to stop or slow down an opponent. The leeward boat has enough 'power' as a row boat to assert itself on the game.


On a personal note: You might have noticed a lack of daily new post lately. This is due to some personal circumstances in my family beyond my control which take a lot of time. Please bear with me. I'll try to get back to more involvement asap, but it might take a while.

I'll try to get to answering all the comments which have been left as well, for which I'm grateful, but don't have time to answer individually at the moment. I'm sorry about that. Please be patient.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Holland - Friesland Teamracing 2008 | 2

Just some action photo's from the racing Saturday:With a lot of breeze it was close racing indeed!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Holland - Friesland Teamracing 2008

Later today I'm off to go to the "Kaag" for some umpiring at the Holland - Friesland Team races.
These races are done in Regenbogen (Rainbows), the yachts you see on the front picture of this blog. Traditionally it's done with five against five, which makes keeping score a particular difficult issue. When is a team in a winning position?
In able to see this I've plasticized a Excel-sheet with possible winning and losing scores. You can download a copy here: Team-zeilen winst of verlies kaart.xls

New this year is, that after calculating the score for each race, the winning team is awarded one point. With six planned races, a possible tie will be sailed off by a seventh. Makes it a little more equal.
I'm suppose to be unpartial as an umpire and will flag (hopefully) without any prejudice, but being from Friesland, I can't but hope that team will win this year. (We haven't for a long time.....)

Friday, 11 July 2008

Timing (in) the rules

In rule 61.1 there's a critical timing in displaying the red flag and hailing protest with the words: "first reasonable opportunity for both".

PC's are asked to give a decision on that timing when the validity of an protest is being investigated. In my opinion there are a couple of criteria that should be considered before deciding this:

  • Where there any safety issues that delayed the hailing or displaying the flag?
  • What was said first?
  • Was the flag available to be displayed immediately?
  • What where the circumstances? I.e. waves, wind strength, type of boats, place of the incident, etc, etc.

After rule 61.1 there is another directly linked timing issue in rule 44.1: How much time does a boat get to decide to take a penalty after a protest has been hailed and a flag has been shown?

The wording in rule 44.1 is a lot less specific: "may take a penalty at the time of the incident" The penalty itself in rule 44.2 may have a specific short time: "... as soon after the incident as possible", but that time only starts after you have decided you may have broken a rule. Something that now has been emphasized by the other boat showing a red flag....

"... at the time of the incident" ?

Well, for sure, not half an hour later on a different leg or just before the finish. But a minute? Or maybe two? Or should it be within seconds?

Can we find a couple of criteria that should be considered when faced with this question? For instance: Is the other boat close enough to recognize that the hailing and red flag are about a specific incident? Is there a good reason for delaying in taking a penalty? Could a boat see and react?

A balance between common sense and the rules.

With a group of three judges the probability they will get that right, is about 85%. That increases to 92% with 5 judges (an International Jury) and even to 98% with 10 people (some appeals committees), but decreases to maybe 80% if there's only one (arbitration). And that is only if the members in all these panels are fairly competent....

Please think about this and give me your opinion:
What would you accept as " at the time of the incident "?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Finishing Second?

Some comments have been written on Finishing Third? Before I give you my opinion on the issue, I have something for you to consider:

In one of the qualification races the fleet is split into two groups, which start with a five minute interval. At the finish of the first race a boat in the first group hits the "pin-end"-mark of the finish line and drags it behind it's rudder some 30 - 40 meters downwind, before she manages to get it released.

The RO tells the mark boat to get the finish mark back to it's original position, as soon as group one are all finished and before group two get too close. The mark boat DOES NOT manage this due to miscommunication and the mark is left in it's altered place. The first three boats of group two are about one hundred meters from the finish, with two boats at the committee-boat side and one at the left side.

The first one (Yellow) finishes at the committee boat side and 40 seconds later the second (Green), finishes at the pin-end side. The third (Blue), crossing the line at the committee boat side, another 10 seconds later.

Blue request redress, claiming she would have finished second if the mark was put back in it's proper position. She states on her request form: "According to rule 34, the PC has to replace a mark in its correct position, if its missing or out of position"

Does this change your view on the issue in the first post?

How would you decide on this request for redress?

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 4

The next changes in part 2 after the preamble start in rule 14.
Rules 10 trough 13 have NOT been changed in any way.

In rule 14 a new definition has been added:


A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room

(a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark-room, and

(b) shall not be penalized under this rule unless there is contact that causes damage or injury.

Intent en purpose of rule 14 is not changed! Only a new "room" definition is added; the room at a mark.

Mark-room is defined as:

Mark-Room Room for a boat to sail to the mark, and then room to sail her proper course while at the mark. However, mark-room does not include room to tack unless the boat is overlapped to windward and on the inside of the boat required to give mark-room.

Room at the mark has not been changed by this. In the preamble of rule 18 in the current rule book this was already added to the definition of room. Now it has been structured by making it a defined word. The second sentence in this new definition gives a boat who is overlapped to windward and inside boat, the right to tack in rounding a leeward mark.

He has to to do it before he himself or the other boat has passed the mark. After that the outside boat is no longer required to give mark-room. A tacking boat would then be subject to rule 13.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Appealing the PC

This evening I'll have the opportunity to attend my first appeal committee meeting. As I posted before I was invited to attend this year as an observer.

Last month three appeals have been send in. Due to the confidentiality in this process I'm not allowed to tell you about the actual cases, just yet.

Appeals are the second layer provided in the rules, in case parties do not agree with the decision of the protest-committee. Only a party to the hearing can "appeal" that decision to the National Authority. In the Netherlands our MNA has formed "de Zeilraad" (translates as: Sailing Counsel) to handle those appeals.

Most PC's are done by more knowledgeable sailors or persons who have studied the rules, like me. But still we amateurs. And we do make mistakes or don't know everything. Therefore it's not something to feel ashamed of if your decision is appealed. Unless a PC has been very sloppy or made procedural mistakes, it should welcome the help of experts.

Appeal committees have a couple of options: (rule 71.2 RRS)

- They can uphold, change or reverse the decision of the PC

After collecting all the relevant papers and asking for comments on the appeal from all parties, they will give a decision. The facts found however are not open to appeal. This is because the appeal committee does not conduct a hearing finding those facts. That was the job of the PC and unless they are missing or inadequate, the appeal committee accepts the facts as found. On those facts they will draw a conclusion based on the rules and give a decision.

- They can declare the protest or request for redress invalid

If the appeals committee finds that validity has been compromised they will draw this conclusion.

- They can send the protest or request back for another hearing to the original or different protest-committee.

Typically this will be done when those facts are missing or inadequate. Sometimes because the procedure to get those facts were not adhered to. Like parties not present during the hearing or validity not established or witnesses not allowed. A new hearing is then conducted and the facts found, conclusion and decision are send to the appeals committee.

langweer valken 07 020

A picture of Valk 830 "Sledgehammer" sailed by Onno Yntema and Klaas Weissenbach jr. They won the National Championship 2008 yesterday!

In the past I have had a couple of appeals on protest were I was a member of the PC. With the first ones I felt a little anxious and nervous. Would the appeals committee agree with the decision? But lately that has not been the case. Those appeals were almost always about very tricky or seldom used rules, where I was glad more people looked at it and gave their verdict.

I didn't always agree with their interpretation, but that's not been a problem. The rules are complicated enough and we all have to accept that different insights will lead to different decisions.

How about you? Any appeals on your decisions?

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Finishing Third?

In one of the qualification races the fleet is split into two groups, which start with a five minute interval. At the finish of the first race a boat in the first group hits the "pin-end"-mark of the finish line and drags it behind it's rudder some 30 - 40 meters downwind, before she manages to get it released.

The RO tells the mark boat to get the finish mark back to it's original position, as soon as group one are all finished and before group two get too close. The mark boat only partly manages this and the mark is dragged back a good twenty meters. The first three boats of group two are about one hundred meters from the finish, with two boats at the committee-boat side and one at the left side.

The first one (Yellow) finishes at the committee boat side and 40 seconds later the second (Blue), finishes also at the boat side. The third (Green), crossing the line at the pin-end side, another 10 seconds later.

Green request redress, claiming she would have finished second if the mark was put left in it's position. She states on her request form that she specifically sailed to that end of the finish line to accomplish this

As usual, please write a conclusions and rules that apply, and give us a decision

Friday, 4 July 2008


Next to the rules, umpires always discuss passionately there pairing. With whom they are going to do the matches.Mostly because it reflects on where you are in the "pecking order". Are you considered to be experienced in this particular group or less so? I know it is subject where "long toes" are a factor. Where you stand is not very often talked about openly and with the whole grouping system shrouded in "secret" assessors, many of the umpires feel uncomfortable to share their thoughts.

SG's picture from Kiel Week Woman Match Race 2008; we did have some interesting obstructions

I've only just become a IU, but it already has an impact. As a National Umpire doing work with a more experienced IU, I could rely on that any mistakes and omissions I might make, where corrected by that IU.As an IU I now find that I'm more and more in a position where I am the one paired with a less experienced umpire. Any faults are contributed to me. Fair enough, I should know not to make them.

But this also means that my exposure to more experienced umpires is less and less. I can't first hand do matches with them and see and talk about how they do it. The ISAF has set up a MENTOR program to deal with this. I've applied and will shortly be assigned a mentor to help me continue to develop my skills.The umpire manual has a few examples how Umpires can be paired for matches. Although many variables are to be considered, the first thing one has to do, is make sure that the maximum of combinations is achieved.

I've made an Excel file where a couple of possible rotation systems are set up. Depending on the number of boats and matches in a flight and depending on the level of attending umpires, combinations can be found. In the spreadsheet are some of the examples from the manual and some of my own: 6 boats= 3 ump.teams + 1 wing and no wing, for different groupings of more or less experienced umpires. Also 4 boats= 2 ump.teams + 1 wing.

A 3 * jury chair
B 2 *
C 1 * chief ump
D 4 *
E 5
F 6
G 7
H 8

If you set up the names in the provided column, a pairing is automatically generated. * in this example the first four are the most experienced umpires.

UMP1 2 + 5 4 + 7 2 + 8 2 + 7
UMP2 3 + 6 3 + 5 4 + 5 3 + 8
UMP3 1 + 7 1 + 8 1 + 6 4 + 6
WING 4 + 8 2 + 6 3 + 7 1 + 5

You can find the file here: Umpire Rotations 2008 v1.xls

I've also added it to the download list.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


Just a page from the umpires manual; one you should learn by heart:

Who protests - how - for what ?

By a boat....... using a Y-flag...... against another boat [ rule C6.1(a) ]
  • rule of Part 2, including
  • Not keeping clear while taking a penalty [ C2.8 ]
  • Interference from a boat not racing [ rule C2.9 ]
  • Interference when taking a penalty [ C2.10 ]
  • Interference on different legs [ C2.10 ]
  • Interference from a boat in another match [ rule C2.11 ]
  • o BUT NOT : for Rule 14
  • o AND ONLY : if involved in the incident
By a boat..... using a red flag.... against another boat [ rule C6.1(b) ]
* All rules and sailing instructions, including rule 14 when damage results
  • The Y-flag matters ( as above )
  • Touching a mark [ rule 31 ]
  • Propulsion [ rule 42 ]
  • Incorrect position at preparatory signal [ rule C4.1 ]
  • Not crossing the start line from the course side correctly [ C4.2 ]
  • Not taking penalties correctly [ rule C7 ]
By the Umpires........ shall give a penalty: [ rule C8.2 ]
* Touching a mark [ rule 31 ]
* Propulsion [ rule 42 ]
* Incorrect position at preparatory signal [ rule C4.1 ]
* Not crossing the start line from the course side correctly [ rule C4.2 ]
* Not taking a second penalty as soon as reasonably possible [ rule C7.3(c) ]

By the Umpires........ may give a red flag penalty
* When the boat that broke a rule has gained a controlling position as a result of breaking a rule - and the umpires are not certain the conditions for an additional penalty have been fulfilled. [ C6.5(b) ]

By the Umpires........ may give a penalty OR a black flag
* Gained an advantage by breaking a rule after allowing for a penalty [ C8.3(a) ]
* Deliberately broken a rule [ rule C8.3(b) ]
* Committing a breach of good sportsmanship [ rule C8.3(c) ]

By the Umpires........ shall give a black flag
* If a boat has more than two outstanding penalties [ rule C7.2(f) ]

By the Umpires or Protest Committee.. through a hearing [ rule C8.4 ]
* All rules and sailing instructions
  • The Y-flag matters ( as above )
  • Matters which umpires can penalize on the water ( as above )
Umpires may black flag a boat after her opponent has started when they are satisfied that she will not start. [ rule C8.5 ]

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 7

Dear Jos,

Would you care to run the following as a reader's Q&A? (or otherwise give me your opinion by e-mail):

There is contact causing serious damage to P on port, in contact with S on starboard, who suffers no damage. P retires.  Protest Committee concludes that P did not keep clear of S.

P did not "cause" injury or serious damage, therefore she is not required to retire under rule 44.1. Rule 44.4(b) only protects a boat that retires, when rule 44.1 required her to do so. Is there any reason why P should not be DSQ? (rule 64.1(a))


Dear Brass,

This hinges around the question if any reason to retire, protects a boat from DSQ. I know there are different opinions about this. The Case book only offers us an inkling in case 99. Summary:
"The fact that a boat required to keep clear is out of control does not entitle her to exoneration for breaking a rule of Part 2. When a right-of-way boat becomes obliged by rule 14 to ‘avoid contact . . . if reasonably possible’ and the only way to do so is to crash-gybe, she does not break the rule if she does not crash-gybe. When a boat retires as required by rule 44.1, whether out of choice or necessity, she cannot then be penalized further"

In my personal opinion the reason for retirement is irrelevant, whether by she acknowledges her fault by taking this penalty or because she cannot continue for another reason. In both cases rule 44.4(b) protects her.

You cannot reverse the argument in rule 44.4(b).
Any boat that takes a penalty shall not be penalized further.
P did retire, so no DSQ.

If P had not retired she would have been DSQ for breaking rule 10, by not keeping clear of a Starboard boat, not for breaking 44.1. She was not the one in your example causing the serious damage. She chose to take a penalty, - in this case not a two turns penalty, which would have also been enough - the penalty to retire. And that retiring is a penalty, we can find in the Basic Principle.

Hope this helps,

PS: If there are other opinions please don't hesitate to comment.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 3

The preamble of Part Two has changed by deleting one sentence:

The rules of Part 2 apply between boats that are sailing in or near the racing area and intend to race, are racing, or have been racing. However, a boat not racing shall not be penalized for breaking one
of these rules, except rule 2

When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) or government right-of-way rules. However, an alleged breach of those rules shall not be grounds for a protest except by the race committee or protest committee. If the sailing instructions so state, the rules of Part 2 are replaced by the right-of-way rules of the IRPCAS or by government right-of-way rules.

When a boat racing fouls a boat that is not participating in the race - and I don't mean another boat that just is not racing at that particular encounter - only the PC or RC could protest that boat. That always struck me as not very fair. In most cases the RC, and let alone the PC, isn't on the water to look for this and hardly ever at the right place at the right time.

Now another boat who sees this, can protest. It will still be hard to get the non racing party into the hearing (as a witness - never a party, because that boat isn't under the RRS), but at least the likelihood that someone will sees this and can do something, has been increased.

In the four years this rule has been in effect I have never ever been in a protest involving a non racing boat. How about you?

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