Wednesday, 15 April 2009

MR Criterium, Calpe; Spain |003

Today we started doing the actual matches. First flight at 11:00 hours provided the wind would fill in… Well, it was around 11:30 before we could go.
Since the wind kept increasing steadily we ended up going from 12 knots around one o'clock to 18-20 knots later in the afternoon. The wing boat - to which I was assigned for the first four flights - had trouble coping with the waves. Not enough horsepower was our conclusion. But beside that it was also on the small side and therefore very very wet in the big swell.
Uncharacteristicly cold in the afternoon for "sunny" Spain, I was not at all sorry to see the wind rapidly decreasing and Ewan deciding that with the decrease in pressure, boats couldn't sail in the continuing waves any more. We went in around five.

Oh, I didn't do any actual umpiring, at all. For the flight 5 I was Ump2 with David, but because of a breakdown of one of the boats - the main sheet traveller went bust - we had blank start and after that our own umpire boat had trouble. Later the mechanic told us it was the fuel delivery that caused engine failure.
After motoring in at half speed and discussing alternatives, we were just about to do some umpiring in the local police boat - yes, siren and lights and all - when AP over A went up.

As a case I've made a diagram of a mark-rounding situation:

What should the Umpires signal in response to this Yankee flag from Blue?

For umpires it's essential to determine if the inside boat is "AT" the mark. If she continues straight on, she's breaking RRS 11. Because she's no longer sailing her proper course. She has only markroom to sail TO the mark and when AT the mark room to sail her proper course. If she does anything else she must keep clear under the RoW rules….

In the group discussion we came up with this description: A boat is AT the mark when she first can turn to round it. Something umpires should establish and agree on.


  1. @4 Y, Give, windward, keeping clear, outside proper course at the mark 18.5 OFF, You can luff me
    B, Agree, Y Flag, Green
    Y, Agree.

    A little bit further on, B will have closed the gap and Y might not be keeping clear.

  2. Maybe it's just your diagram but it looks like Yellow is keeping clear with 1 boat width between them. Green & White flag.

    I agree with your "at the mark" description but would use the words from the footnote of Team Race Call E8. "When a boat must alter course in order to round a mark, she is at the mark". These words also work well when you apply them to obstructions.

  3. It all hinges on the seperation of the boats - whether the windward boat is keeping clear. Windward is under no obligation from rule 18.2(a)to tack to round the mark as long as she is keeping clear.



  4. I don't think it is too difficult to decide when a boat is first _at_ the mark.

    More interesting is when does a boat _cease_ to be at the mark?

    I think there is some point when a boat that _was_ at the mark, ceases to be at the mark, and once again needs to sail _to_ the mark. I think Y has reached this point @4 in the diagram.

    Maybe we can draw a hypothetical 'proper course' around the mark (appropriate to the boat entitled to mark-room): inside or on that course-line, she is _at_ the mark; outside that course-line, she is at least not sailing her proper course at the mark, and thus loses her rule 18.5 entitlement to exoneration, and maybe can be said to be no longer _at_ the mark.


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