Friday, 29 May 2009

Fact Finding Friday | 013 Barnacle vs Coral

The aim of this series is to practice judges' skills in writing Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and Decisions as required by rule 65.1. These are not intended to be 'difficult' rules problems: concentrate on the writing skills. You are not expected to 'discuss' the rules or the scenarios, or enter into 'what-if' considerations. I suggest you write against the clock, and include a note of your time taken when you post your answers on LTW, to compare with others.

Hearing and Evidence
You are the scribe for the protest committee of the LTW Yacht Club, which races in Port Liberty Roads. You have received a written protest, decided it is valid, and have heard both parties and witnesses as shown.

Description of Incident
The description of the incident from the protest form is as shown. Barnacle and Coral are International 14's, approximately 4.25m long, with additionally, a 3.5m bowsprit carrying large asymmetrical spinnakers. Wind conditions were about 10kts. Sea conditions are slight waves. SI do not change the zone: it remains as defined in Definitions.

Barnacle reached the zone clear ahead at position 2 in the diagram. Barnacle protests Coral for not giving mark-room under rule 18.2(c) and as windward boat failing to keep clear under rule 11. Contact occurred at position 4 without damage or injury.

The Hearing
Barnacle's Description of the Incident:
I was steering Barnacle. We were on a hot port tack lay-line for the leeward mark to be rounded to port. About 50m from the mark Coral managed to get an overlap to windward. When I was between 30m and 40m from the mark, I bore away to break the overlap, and sailed into the zone clearly ahead of Coral until I was within 20m of the mark. 20m from the mark I hardened up on my course to the mark and lowered my spinnaker. When I was 10m from the mark I saw Coral had become overlapped inside me. As I was changing course to round the mark on my proper course, Coral's spinnaker, which was being eased or lowered, contacted the port after part of Barnacle without damage or injury. I hailed 'protest' and my crew immediately displayed a red flag. Coral then fell off behind me.

Coral's Questions to Barnacle
Q. Didn't you see Coral gaining an overlap on you at 15m from the mark?
A. No I did not. Once I was in the zone at 20m from the mark I was concentrating on the mark and boat handling.

Protest Committee's Questions to Barnacle
Q. Did you hail or otherwise signify to Coral that you considered the overlap broken and that you were clear ahead at the zone.
A. No. I considered it obvious.
Q. Did you do any penalty turns in respect of the incident?
A. No. I was in the right.

Coral's Description of the Incident
I agree that Barnacle broke the earlier overlap about 40m from the mark. When Barnacle headed up to the mark 20m from the mark, she must have re-established the overlap as the line through her stern swung with her change in course. Therefore the boats were overlapped when they reached the zone at about 13m from the mark. Coral was inside overlapped at the zone and entitled to mark-room. Barnacle failed to give Coral mark-room.

Barnacle's Questions to Coral
Q. If you were hiking out on the windward stern position on your boat, how could you accurately judge when the tip of your bowsprit crossed the stern-line of Barnacle to 're-establish' an overlap?
A. I didn't actually see and judge it, but it must have happened. I looked and saw when we were close to the mark at about 10m and we were certainly overlapped then.

Protest Committee Questions to Coral
Q. Did you hail Barnacle to claim mark-room?
A. No.
Q. Did you do any penalty turns in respect of the incident?
A. No. I was in the right.

Barnacle Summing Up
Barnacle reached the zone about 20m from the mark, clear ahead and was thereafter entitled to mark-room. Coral did not give Barnacle mark-room and as windward boat did not keep clear. Coral should be disqualified.

Coral's Summing Up
Coral was overlapped with Barnacle when she reached the zone about 13m from the mark and was thereafter entitled to mark-room. Barnacle did not give Coral mark-room. Coral should be exonerated for breaking rule 11 because she was taking mark-room to which she was entitled.

Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence
Your fellow protest committee members agree that Barnacle was clear ahead of Coral 20m from the mark, and that the boats were certainly overlapped at 10m from the mark, but that there is no direct evidence of when or exactly where they became overlapped.

Write Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable and the Decision for this protest. Please post your effort on LTW, for us all to share and learn. Don't be shy.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2009 | 02

We had an interesting discussion about mark room yesterday evening - which I'm going to publish in a separate post as soon as I've checked with the participants. I want to make sure that I got the viewpoints correct. More on that later.

I think everybody was a little anxious how it would go with Ynglings as the match race boat. Since the Elliot will not be arriving in Europe before Kiel-week, the organisers of DL Regatta had no choice but to choose another boat. Since our MNA owns several Ynglings from the previous Olympic campaign, the choice was not that hard.

Before coming here, I heard from several people having doubts about the suitability of the Yngling. I was watching the boat perform today, trying to find fault with it, as a match race boat.

First of all, this boat turns and accelerates fine for match racing. It is complicated enough to need three people to handle efficiently. They all have to hike hard to keep balance in these difficult wind conditions. Spinnaker set and down, gib sheet and main sheet, traveller & hiking all need attention. You can do tactically practically everything - except maybe sail backward with a rudder that doesn't hang off the back.

As far as I can see this boat is fine for match racing. The Elliot will be faster, more modern and even more manoeuvrable, but it will nevertheless depend on the skill of the sailor who will win the match. Like in the Ynglings at the Delta Lloyd Regatta.

And now for something completely different: Sailbiking
Today in front of the Regatta centre I photographed this nice piece of equipment:
I will have to visit their website and find out more:

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2009 | 01

From yesterday evening I am in Medemblik to take part as judge and umpire in the Delta Lloyd Regatta.
We have been very busy with preparations. It's a big team with 20 people. During the day we split up in a rule 42 Team and a Match Racing Team and in the evening we are assigned in several - even three if need be - panels.
This morning we had several meetings with the umpire group, with the skippers and crew and now with the complete jury.
I will get back to the blog as much as possible - the internet connection is fine here - but please give me some leeway. It promises to be a very busy event.

Monday, 25 May 2009

3 Lengths; Overall, Boat or Hull?

I received a mail from Greg who writes about the the wording in the definition of Zone and how sailors interpret those:



I enjoy using your blog to help clarify my own understanding of RRS.

Here is a local issue in my area that might be worth a post & response. This is not an issue from the elite levels, but I think a concern in recreational racing fleets. This is another area where careful wording in the rules needs to become careful wording in discussions, so sailors are not inadvertently lead astray.

Whether it was the previous rule, or the current definition of Zone, we continue to informally refer to the distance as boat lengths rather than hull lengths (as defined in RRS). This has caused some interesting confusion among local competitors in boats such as International 14s, which in the past used the informal wording of "boat" to define their distance from the mark. The sailors included both the hull and the extended bowsprit multiplied by 2 to determine the "circle" heading into a mark where the bowsprit was deployed.

When they were reminded in discussions of rule changes that RRS 2009 defines Zone as 3 "Hull" lengths, they responded that the 2009 revision would effectively decrease the size of the Zone compared to their past practice.

International 14


Is this an issue in other localities? Shouldn't we quit talking about boat lengths and say or write hull lengths when we talk about the Zone. From my perspective, using the term "hull length" consistently would help clarify the situation for competitors.



Hi Greg, thanks for you input!

You are absolutely right in referring to the zone in Hull-lengths always!

I know there are several rules which have to do with measurement or the position of boats, their equipment and the place it is normally used in (at starting, finishing or to determine the zone). But for the zone, the circle should be fixed for all boats in the same class.

The international 14, who has a retractable bowsprit, would otherwise have a different zone depending on how far the bowsprit is extended. The rule makers wanted to avoid any misunderstanding in that regard and (I suspect) deliberately chose to use hull length. You can find those in the class rules drawings and it should be fixed within a small tolerance. That tolerance should – at most –produce a difference in the zone of a couple of centimeters, not enough to make any difference on the water.

In some older rule books the zone was defined by two boat lengths or two overall boat lengths. Without a variable “length” – like with the bow sprit of the more modern 14 – that was also a fixed measurement. Carbon materials were not available generally and even the most seasoned hickory would have split in those dimensions. (Hickory is a wood used for hammers and axes – because of it’s tensile strength) To my knowledge, they did not have retractable bowsprits in those days… I’m talking about 80’s…

If in the previous rule cycle, sailors used to measure the zone with an extended bowsprit, they did not use the correct definition and that can lead to misunderstanding.

If the sailors in International 14 class feel that three hull-lengths is not enough to prepare for rounding a mark, they have the possibility to increase the zone to four hull lengths, provided it is clearly stated in the SI. Talk to the club and / or RO. I bet they are willing to provide amended SI’s to that effect. With four hull lengths the zone should come to a little bigger then two with an extended bowsprit – if I judge the dimensions correctly from the photo’s

Greg is also asking for responses from other local sailors. Please leave a comment if you have something to contribute.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

Sunday Rules Snap |4 関西学生ヨット春季選手権大会

From the other side of the Globe: Snipes and 470's

Dear Jos,
I always appreciate your great work in LOOK TO WINDWARD. Although you may not know, Japan intercollegiate sailing is very popular and has long history over 80 years. Its characteristic is that racing classes are only 470 and Snipe, and the format is a fleet racing. The KANSAI Intercollegiate Sailing Championship was held from May 5th through 6th at the Nishinomiya yacht harbour, where is located between Osaka and Kobe and which is one of the three famous yacht harbours in Japan.
KANSAI is a familiar name. KAN means a barrier, SAI means west and TOO means east. Therefore KAN-SAI is West of Japan. Its capital is Osaka, my city. KAN-TOO is East of Japan. Needless to say, its capital is Tokyo.
In this regatta, participating boats were 44 boats for 470 class and 43 boats for Snipe class. The student sailors in Kansai are fairly strong. Incidentally, a university 470 team won the 2nd place and a university Snipe team won the 3rd place in the last Japan intercollegiate sailing championship 2008. The condition was the wind, 5.4m/s to 7.6m, the first day and 3m/s to 4.5m/s, the second day. Two classes' races took effect at the same area and the starting sequence was made normally every five minutes because of 3 through 5 races per day. Since wind was weak on the second day, 470 and Snipe boats sailed together at the same time and rounding marks was thrown into great confusion. We were happy 'Zone' is three lengths for both.
Jury boats were three, two ribs and one SRV. Jury members were four senior judges, three judges and two probationers. The total number of Protests were seven and Rule 42 infringements were three. No comments in particular. The regatta was good success.
Attached hereto two photos and two results.
With best wishes,
Sen Yamaoka
Is that you in the Jury-boat, Sen?

Friday, 22 May 2009

Fact Finding Friday | 012 Anemone - Request for Redress

From “The Room” by Brass


The aim of this series is to practice judges' skills in writing Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and Decisions as required by rule 65.1. These are not intended to be 'difficult' rules problems: concentrate on the writing skills. You are not expected to 'discuss' the rules or the scenarios, or enter into 'what-if' considerations. I suggest you write against the clock, and include a note of your time taken when you post your answers on LTW, to compare with others.

Hearing and Evidence

You are the scribe for the protest committee of the LTW Yacht Club, which races in Port Liberty Roads. You have received a written protest, decided it is valid, and have heard both parties and witnesses as shown.

Description of Incident

The description of the incident from the protest form is as shown. Wind conditions were about 10kts. Sea conditions smooth.


SI indicate gate is between Committee Vessel and a mark of the course.

On the first lap we sailed between the Committee Vessel and the Finish Mark.

At the end of the second lap we finished correctly between the Committee Vessel and the Finish Mark.

We were scored DNF.

There was another additional laid mark in the vicinity of the Gate/Finish Line as shown in the diagram.

The Hearing

Anemone's Description of the Incident

As described in the protest form Anemone completed the course, passing through the gate as required at the end of the first lap and at the finish at the end of the second lap.

Anemone left the Laid Mark at the outer end of the Gate on the required side.

Race Officer's Description of the Incident

The Sailing Instructions say:

The Start Line, Finishing Line and Gate shall be between the flag mast displaying the Club Committee Flag on the Committee Vessel and the Laid Mark in the vicinity of Point Liberty.

Laid Marks shall be white inflatable cylinders with the sponsor's logo.

Two separate observation team on the Committee Vessel, whose duties were to observe and record boats passing through the gate at the end of the first lap, observed that Anemone passed outside the outer Laid Mark of the gate at the end of the first lap.

At the time when other boats were completing the second lap to finish, Anemone passed through the Finish Line/Gate. The Committee Vessel observation teams recorded this as Anemone passing through the gate for the first time and also recorded the time that Anemone passed through the Gate.

I have here the record sheets for these observations if the protest committee wishes to verify this.

The Committee Vessel remained on station until the time limit expired and Anemone did not pass through the gate a second time to finish.

Accordingly Anemone was scored DNF as required by rule A5 and ISAF Q&A 2009-026.

Protest Committee Questions to the Race Officer

Q. Please describe all racing marks in the vicinity of the Committee Vessel?
A. There were three racing marks in the vicinity of the Committee Vessel as follows:

  • A permanent racing mark, a yellow spar buoy;
  • The Laid Mark, a white inflatable cylinder with the sponsor's logo; and
  • A racing mark laid by another club, a yellow and black inflatable mark.

Protest Committee Questions to Anemone

Q. Describe the 'Finish Mark' that you say you correctly passed at the end of the first lap?
A. It was yellow with a sponsor's logo.

Q. Please describe the 'Additional Mark' you have shown on your diagram?A. It was a white inflatable cylinder.

Anemone Summing Up

Anemone sailed the course correctly and finished in accordance with the definition of finish. Anemone should be scored with her finishing time.

Race Officer's Summing Up

Anemone sailed through the Gate only once and thereafter did not finish within the time limit.

Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence

Your fellow protest committee members agree that there is no inconsistency between the evidence of Anemone and the Race Officer.


Write Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable and the Decision for this request for redress.

Please post your effort on LTW, for us all to share and learn. Don't be shy.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

KWS; Kleine Sneekweek

One of my local clubs (KWS) organizes a four day event each year from Ascension day until the following Sunday. I've been going to events outside my country for the last couple of years, but this year I decided to stay and do some PC-work at the "Kleine Sneekweek"
I've started up the work this morning by getting all the paperwork ready and after that was finished, I thought it would be nice to give you a virtual tour of our regatta centre:

It's a compact building on the edge of the lake; this is the view when you walk from the ferry.

Protest-room 1 (my work room for the next couple of days)

Hallway connecting protest rooms and information desk, all on the ground flour; to the right toilets and left the stairs

Information desk, with Fronie & Alet

This room covers the left-half of the building with a work bench and three information windows.

Same windows from the outside.
The covers protect against rain but also cover the windows at night.

The 'tower' with finishing rooms and terrace.

Second floor, scoring desk in a room separated from the club room with screens

The club-room

The other quarter of the club room with a small coffee-bar
and access to the front terrace

The terrace in front.

With a view over our lake: Sneekermeer.

Looking back toward the ferry, you see the restaurant
and partly the marina for smaller boats.

Two ladies from scoring and finishing looking at the starts, before their task is beginning

Same terrace, looking the other way. A brand new harbour for bigger boats...

The lower of the two finishing rooms.
The finishing marks still have to be lined up.
These rooms have been raised half a floor so that if the terrace is occupied
and full of guests, the view is still unhindered.

Corner window of the same finishing room.
Note: no corner stiles!

Third floor looking at the corner of the second finishing room on top of the first.
That way two separate teams can watch the same line.

Looking up at the tower from behind on the second back terrace.

I'm standing on the back terrace on level three looking at the marina

And snapping a picture looking down at the front terrace

The highest view. Can you see the starting vessel?

Ko- building /electrician / manager - should have cleared
the wires, but at least everything is working with new speakers.

Looking the other way with Sneek in the far background (my home town)


I tried to zoom in a little, to snap the starting vessel,
but it's to far away today.
It should be in the middle of the white cluster of sails.

This year the island got a little bigger, because the new (bigger boat) marina
was finished. Two 'Regenbogen' just leave to go to the start.

The box with signal flags... in case we need to signal from the tower.
On the third floor hallway

Going back down the staircase, along the wall the plates
from almost every year. Each year a picture is handpainted on 40 plates
and awarded to the winner of the Sneekweek.

And almost back on the ground floor.

This concludes our virtual tour.
Please leave any tips at the box next to the exit....

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The 3 least understood Racing Rules of Sailing.


I've restricted the number of least understood rules to three, because Tillerman instructed me to do that in his group writing announcement, but actually I sometimes think the title should be "the 91 least known Racing Rules of Sailing". Well, please forgive me, that's what I see on occasions watching a fleet race. Okay, maybe not 91, but 91 minus four or five. Port and Starboard and other basic RoW rules seem to have been absorbed by a slight majority, but not by many more.

I wonder if we should introduce a sort of 'driving licence' for regatta sailors. You can't participate in traffic, if you don't know the rules. Fortunately most contacts don't end up in personal injuries and only minor damage, unlike on the road. But the rules appliance is appalling in some fleets. I don't want to police sailors for every rules-infringement, other then with umpiring a match - or team race. But we are getting there fast, if I read the developments correctly...

Therefore I have chosen three rules you should DEFINITELY understand:

Basic Principle:
Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.

A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalized under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. A disqualification under this rule shall not be excluded from the boat’s series score.

Rule 14:
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.

If you enter a regatta you 'sign' a contract with all other sailors and the RC. The conditions of that contract are written down in the Sailing Instructions. Those include the RRS. What if someone didn't abide by a contract in your 'normal' live. You would scream bloody hell and say something, wouldn't you?
Or even worse. By breaking the rules you shout to all others: "I'm not going to keep my promises because I don't want to loose"

When all is said and done, it's only a sport. I understand it is taken very seriously by some (me) and a favourite and passionate pastime by others (me again). But to paraphrase one of the ground layers of the current rules, Paul Elvstrom:
"It is not worth winning a race if you to loose the respect of your fellow sailors by infringing the rules"

You might even be surprised!  Knowing the rules will improve your ability to interact with your fellow sailors on the water. Knowing your rights and obligations is definitely going to boost your confidence and ability to concentrate on sailing faster.

Please, learn a few rules and sail by them!


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Fact Finding Friday on Tuesday| 011 Xanadu Xylophonist v Zagreb Zitherplayer

From “The Room” by Brass


The aim of this series is to practice judges' skills in writing Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and Decisions as required by rule 65.1. These are not intended to be 'difficult' rules problems: concentrate on the writing skills. You are not expected to 'discuss' the rules or the scenarios, or enter into 'what-if' considerations. I suggest you write against the clock, and include a note of your time taken when you post your answers on LTW, to compare with others.

Hearing and Evidence

You are the scribe for the protest committee of the LTW Yacht Club, which races in Port Liberty Roads. You have received a written protest, decided it is valid, and have heard both parties and witnesses.

You have listed Facts Found and the protest committee members have agreed to endorse the attached diagram.



Orange:Xanadu Xylophonist

Purple:Zagreb Zitherplayer


Facts Found

1. Xanadu Xylophonist and Zagreb Zitherplayer were sailing close hauled on starboard tack towards a shoreline, ending in a point that was a mark of the course to be left to port.

2. Xanadu Xylophonist was to leeward and advanced on Zagreb Zitherplayer.

3. Zagreb Zitherplayer was fetching the point.

4. Xanadu Xylophonist hailed for water to tack and clear the point. Receiving no response from Zagreb Zitherplayer, Xanadu Xylophonist repeated her hail.

5. Zagreb Zitherplayer replied 'Fetching' and did not change course.

6. Xanadu Xylophonist hailed 'protest' and displayed a red flag.

7. Xanadu Xylophonist eased her sails then luffed head to wind to loose speed, then tacked behind Zagreb Zitherplayer.

8. Zagreb Zitherplayer fetched the point.

Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence

Your fellow protest committee members agree that safety required Xanadu Xylophonist to make a substantial course change to avoid the obstruction and that Zagreb Zitherplayer made no other hail.


Write Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and the Decision for this protest.
Please post your effort on LTW, for us all to share and learn. Don't be shy.


(This post was originally planned for Friday the 15th of May, but due to me being unable to get online it got sidetracked…. Original scheduling will resume (hopefully) on the 22th.)

Rules Answer for Tillerman

Tillerman asked a Rules Question on his blogpost today:

Here's a question for all you Racing Rules of Sailing experts out there…
When do you have to sail your proper course?

There are five rules where proper course is mentioned.
Most sailors will know the first one:

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.

The rule does not restrict your course in sailing lower then your proper course….. therefore in answer to the question: You don't have to sail your proper course.

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

Again, it does not say you have to sail your proper course….

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

This rule restricts you distance to the mark…
You have to gybe if you are inside overlapped right-of-way boat. You can sail higher or even to the wrong side if you want… So agian, in answer to the question, you don't have to sail your proper course….

Rule 18.5 Exoneration
When a boat is taking mark-room to which she is entitled, she shall be exonerated
(b) if, by rounding the mark on her proper course, she breaks a rule of Section A or rule 15 or 16.

Again, no restrictions, but if you break one of the rules mentioned, you better be on a proper course. But if you don't break any of the rules, you can sail wherever you want…

Rule 23.2 Except when sailing her proper course, a boat shall not interfere with a boat taking a penalty or sailing on another leg.

Interfering with a boat on another leg or taking a penalty may only happen if you sail on your proper course. But nothing in this fifth rule, restricts you from sailing another course…. as long as you don't interfere with another boat.

In answer to the question I would have to say: According to the RRS, you don't have to sail your proper course…. there's always another (worse) course if you want it.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Flog the Blog Day (18)

I’ve returned from Venice – starting my journey very early in the morning and went straight into a full workday and a committee meeting this evening.

I don’t have much energy left to write a special FTBD-post.

Most of you know what I’m asking, so please don’t hesitate to leave any comments on the blog, be it about layout or style or about content or anything

I’m preparing for a couple of bigger local events and am somewhat behind at the moment. I’m hoping to catch up in the next week(s).

imageOne last observation about Venice I do want to include in this post. Perhaps some of you have deducted, I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett. Well, if there’s any city comparable to Ankh-Morpork on Earth, it is Venice.

With it’s narrow streets, nooks and bridges, very commercial multi-cultured inhabitants and hot (smelly) climate, it is unique. Walking through the alleyways at four o’clock in the morning, I was half expecting to cross the path of the late vampire returning home or a early dwarf going to his work…. But fortunately, Bruntolino was walking with me, so that shouldn’t have been a problem.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

iShares Cup 2009 Venice | 05

We have a winner!
Gitane Extreme Groupe LCF Rothschild skippered by Yann Guichard, managed to score 140 points. Second was James Spithill and his crew in BMW Oracle Racing and third, surprisingly a newcummer, Renaissance skippered by Loick Peyron.

Venice is definitely a city to come back to; If they open up the racing to have a little more time we could have done 8 races today. We managed seven. Very wel done by Tim and his team.
Not easy in these reaching conditions. It was all about reaching the first mark and then the train started. Only Chris steering in Oman Red (Masirah) was able to take advantage of rule 18.2(c). And get an inside overlap on the front boat because they couldn't tack after passing the mark.

Most penalties were again at the start and with mark roundings. The new definition of overlap must still give some boats problems....

I'm typing this after the event and prizegiving. Together with David I'll spent one more night - although very short - in Venice by flying home tomorrow at 06:25.. It means we will have to get up at four to catch the bus at five.... And walking trough Venice for half an hour in the early hours of the morning.

I was again umpire 2 today with Thibaut. The most challenging part was to find a good place to be at the fourth mark in a special E course the RC came up with after the first race. It was reaching up and down in that first one. With the train of boats you have a hard time getting outside and making sure there were no mark touchings. Inside we could do rule 18 and 13 perfectly well, but we missed the markpassing after tack. Even getting very close to the mark was hard because then we had no oppertunity to bail out fast enough in case someone wasn't given mark-room and had to pass on the wrong side.

It was a great event and if I may make a personal observation, I felt definitly more relaxed then last year. Knowing what is expected and being certain of the rules makes difference.

I'm looking foreward to Hyeres in one month already.

iShares Cup 2009 Venice | 04

Saturday on the water with Jon was exhilarating. We pretty much saw things the same way and had a good day on the water. When the breeze picked up a couple of hairy escapes - with full throttle, but we managed not to be hit by any Xtreme 40.

We started at the right side of the start line and went up and down with the boats. Up was easy enough, if you looked out for port tackers, but going downwind they gybed at any unpredictable place.

The first race we penalized some port tackers for dubious crossings, only marginally making it. The were not very happy but it did send out a message to all boats that port would HAVE to keep clear. I did the driving and Jon did the flags and whistles. He sure has a loud voice which carries.

It's now Sunday morning 10:53 and it promises to be a hot and sunny day. There's little wind and we hope it will last. As previously we only have a small window to do the actual racing. Between 14:30 and 17:30 the water is closed off.

As to the rules we looked up what sailors can do if the helicopter - who's due to be filming today - interferes with there racing. There's a sentence in addendum Q addressing this.

"A boat may not base a request for redress on a claim that an action by an official boat or helicopter was improper. The jury may decide to consider redress in such circumstances if it believes that an official boat or helicopter, including an umpire boat, may have seriously interfered with a competing boat."
In other words, only if the Jury thinks it has had an influence, any sort of redress could be awarded.

One thing more: The helicopter has to display a flag to be identified as part of "boats" under control by the organising authority. I wonder how they will manage that.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

iShares Cup 2009 Venice | 03

You must be wondering what I'm doing! It's very frustrating at the moment, I'm not able to connect to any wifi network. It's now 12:49 on Friday and no connection since yesterday evening.

I'll keep writing and will post as soon as there's an opportunity.

Venice is spectacular. A very special place with old and new mixed together, boats everywhere, big and small, official and working, choppy water and white coloured water (not to clean). I feel privileged to have to have the opportunity to come here.

This morning Thibaut (yes, the guy who writes Boat Scenario) an I went out with the ribs. We had to drive trough the big canal to get some fuel for our umpire boats. We went past all the famous sights - with piazza San Marco as the most prominent one - all packed with people.
Water taxis left and right, but no vaporettas (that's the public transport boats - instead of buses), who are on strike today.
Cruise ships 8 decks high sliding by, between two tugs, carabinieri and police all over the place. One thing we must definitely do is put up an Italian courtesy flag!

This afternoon we are going racing in very narrow water, a little more to the east then I showed on the map yesterday. The channel where we can race is cordoned of between 1430 and 1730 and only 200 meters wide… Hopefully we will have an up- and downwind course.

Rules. Well a lot of changes to the SSI, amendments left and notices right. A bit on the heavy sight I would say. A lot for all the sailors to soak up. We didn't have many questions, but that's more to do with lack of understanding then anything else, I suspect. I'll ask for permission to post them, since a couple of you have been mailing me asking this

Friday 19:01; still no connection. *&^*&$&^@&^#
We went out and had five races. Pretty good in these light conditions. The canal was completely cordoned of and all the traffic was directed to a side canal. Only very big ferry's and cruise ships were allowed to pass. In between we did our course A and B races…
Shortened to two laps to stay within target time of 15 minutes.

Today I went with David and we did the windward roundings. Staying pretty much up there. A couple 18.3, a couple Port-Starboard and other incidents.
In the fifth race there was a collision between two boats. Rule 11. One going downwind to the finish, one still on the beat going upwind.
We had a pretty fundamental discussion about rule 14 in the hearing afterwards. What does the rule actual say? When should the keep-clear act to avoid the collision?
One direction is that the keep clear boat always has an option before going into this situation to go another way. Not choose the "risky" option and thereby avoiding the collision. Besides breaking the appropriate right of way rule - he then, in this school of thought, would also break rule 14

The other approach to this issue is that we only look at rule 14 at the moment the collision course is established and find out what a boat has done from that moment on. Both boats need to be scrutinized from that exact moment but not before.
The keep clear boat has an obligation to avoid contact from that moment forward. The right of way boat only after is becomes clear that the keep clear boat isn't keeping clear and a collision is imminent.
I'll get back to this issue later this month.

Gitane, the leader of the regatta at the moment. I've lot's more pictures, but those will have to wait. In the mean time visit the official website: iShares Event Site

It's now Saturday 18:34 and since I'm finally been able to go on-line myself I've posted this. I'll try to keep you updated from now on. But tomorrow is already the last day! Time flies when you are having fun.

iShares Cup 2009 Venice | 02 (NOT)

I seem to have no luck getting onto the network (wifi) at Venice. I´m writing this on a borrowed computer but will have little time to post. You will have to be a little patient and wait until I´m back home before I can post properly.
Fact Finding Friday also will be late a couple of days due to this. Sorry about this.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


I've send an Email to Kirk Brown asking him about the issue discussed in this post:
DAIL UP; USMRC Newsletter Vol2, Issue 1

It was about this situation:He has written back:

I have sent a RRC on this. I am aware that there are others as well. The proposed call I sent shows Blue closing the door and a collision. The question is: may Blue close the door?
I am coming to believe that the second sentence of rule 18.2b allows Blue to close the door and Yellow must continue to give Blue room to sail 'to' the mark, even though Yellow initially gave Blue room to do just that.

I spent the better part of a weekend last month setting this up on our Catalina 37s. The tactic I used as Yellow was to follow Blue, and when Blue gybed back to the RC boat, then continue on starboard over the top of Blue, falling off when Yellow can clear Blue's transom, or if Blue gybes underneath, then Yellow gybes and Blue will never be able to get to Yellow.

Yellow merely needs to follow Blue and not get trapped and the boats will drift across the finish line. The strategy for Yellow is to get inside the "H" by driving Blue to that point. Once Yellow does that, she cannot lose.

In conclusion, I think the RRC can leave the 'mark trap' in the game, but Yellow has a winning strategy as long as she doesn't get trapped and can drive Blue inside the "H".

But, we'll see.
Best, Kirk

iShares Cup 2009 Venice | 01

Tomorrow at this time I'm hoping to have arrived safely and drank a few cold ones on a terrace in Xtreme-40 city of the weekend: Venice!

I'm going to do some addendum Q umpiring for the first iShares-cup regatta there. I've never been to Venice and am looking forward to visiting. The race venue is very near San Marco Square and since in the morning we don't have many obligations, I'm planning to soak up that special city, first hand.

From the official press release:
" Venice to provide a dream backdrop to the opening event of the 2009 iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series to be staged between 15-17 May, during which 10 world-class international teams will battle it out in prime European venues. It's all coming together with less than two days to go to the official kick-off. Between 6-8 races will be held daily on the Bacino San Marco commencing at 14h30 local time. An unprecedented world-class line-up of 40 sailors across 10 Extreme 40 teams racing within meters of the shore with outstanding viewing from the Riva dei Setti. Visit the iShares Cup Venice event microsite at - this 'one-stop' site contains all the latest event news at a glance, information for the pubic on timings and best viewing spots, latest photos and video."

Beside the official site you, as faithful LTW-readers, will get a first hand briefing on the rules issues and happenings in the umpire team. I'm loading my spare battery for the camera as I type this. There's Wifi at the venue and I'm taking my Lap-top, so stay tuned!

I've studied the SI, and plan to bone up on addendum Q on the plane. So far only rule 18.3, as changed in appendix C (match racing) has been added to this regatta. That's because - however large these cats may be - they still need a long time to tack… and doing that inside the zone while another is screaming up to you, might cause a couple of head to wind luffs.

Now, where did I keep that extra bottle of sunscreen?….

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

LTW Readers Q&A | 025

Hi Jos,
I am a frequent reader of your RRS blog from Hong Kong. Yesterday, we held a friendly regatta with 4 races and a conflict arose in scoring as the race committee's intention differed from the Sailing Instruction. We are all amateur sailors and we hope you may give us some advise.
The intention of the race committee is to use the total scores from all 4 races to rank the competitors. Unfortunately, race committee made a mistake in writing the Sailing Instruction as the SI stated that low point system of Appendix A (RRS 2009-2012) will be used. Appendix A2 states that each boat's series score shall be the total of her race scores excluding her worst scorer, i.e. with 1 discard.
Prize giving was done on the same day right after the regatta and no one has requested for redress (RRS 62.1a) on this issue within the protest time limit (RRS 62.2)
This question was raised the next day and we are not sure whether the race committee shall re-calculate the score based on Appendix A2 or the score that have been worked out shall remain unchanged.
According to RRS 63.7, (the committee shall apply the rule that it believes will provide the fairest result for all boats affected), the race committee believes using scores of all 4 races is fairest to the competitors.
I hope you may shed us some light before we have a heated debate.
Best regards,
David Fan
Hello David,
I understand the dilemma, but in my opinion there’s actually only one solution. According to the RRS 85, the RC shall be governed by the rules in the conduct of the races.
That means that you will have to follow the SI and recalculate the result with one discard. I would suggest the RC does this regardless if there’s a request for redress or not. If this means that the prizes have to be re-awarded to others, so be it. The contract everybody agreed on to sail under i.e. the Sailing Instructions, state that A2 is applicable.
Rule 63.7 is only applicable if there’s a conflict between the NOR and the SI and only if that conflict has to be resolved before a request for redress can be decided. Did the NOR state that there would be no discard?
Intentions – however well regarded or perceived – are not rules. And if a RC would base decisions – which are dictated by a rule -  on intentions, there is no end in sight.
I would regard this as a valuable lesson for the future. The person or persons writing the SI, will never make this mistake again. But to leave the results as is would be far worse. Then sailors would need to ask the RC about their ‘intentions’ before trusting was was written in the SI……
I hope this is of some use to you,
Google produced this under Hong Kong Sailing: (note the date!)
HongKong Regatta Victoria Harbour
Boats sail across Victoria Harbour during a regatta in Hong Kong, 12 May 2007

Mark-Room – Revisited

A guest post by Mike Butterfield

I have been reflecting on the position of the boat giving mark room as has been discussed. A lot of friends have shared their thoughts with me and I am revisiting the position.
The simple one first!

On leeward marks.
Generally RRS 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.
When does it end?
Clearly the right to mark room has ended when both have left the zone but in reality it ends when the boat entitled to mark room has been able to sail her proper course at the mark. See Definition of mark room.
If this is when it applies, are the relationships between the boats changeable?
Well no not really once the relationship is established it remains, 18.2(c) even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins.
The exception is when the boat entitled to mark room leaves the zone or if either boat passes head to wind.
In this circumstance we rely on 18.2(a) unless the circumstances for 18.2(b) become applicable again. Here basically an inside overlapped boat is entitled to mark room.

What is mark room?

MB markroom REV
Well it is a two sided advantage.

Initially Room to sail to the mark. I look on this as giving the boat a corridor of opportunity. If it stays in that corridor (even if give way) it is protected. The protection is in 18.5, this is protection from breaking a rule of section A.

If she strays out of the corridor and the Right of Way boat has to take avoiding action then she has taken too much room and is subject to a penalty as the exoneration is not available. Just as before I believe if the right of way boat freely gives additional room and that is taken by the boat entitled to mark room she may not be in breach, this was the same under the old rules.
When at the Mark there is the right to sail a proper course while at the mark. There is extended exoneration here as it covers not only part A rules but also 15 and 16.
This allows for a sudden course change at the mark to sail the proper course which may be a luff at a leeward mark or a bear away at a windward mark.

Overriding all this, is the obligation of the boats under rule 14 to avoid contact, there can be no exoneration here. The rule itself though assists the boats in that a boat that is right of way or entitled to room or mark room need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving mark room, and shall not be panelized unless the contact causes damage or injury.
There will be other scenarios but this gives the basic idea.

Time factor?

I still think there is a time factor in the concept of Room, so if a boat entitled to mark room goes too slowly and a right of way boat has to alter course, she is at risk of losing her exoneration. You have mark room but I believe you have to use it or lose it! On this point we will see.


Monday, 11 May 2009

Sunday Rules Snap |3

Very close quarter Match Racing
Two pictures from Hedwich who umpired at a Match Race Event in Delft this Sunday.
You can see it's very narrow and small in "de Kolk" which no doubt has resulted in some mixing of rules 18, 19 and 20.

The event is organized by Broach

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Team Race Training Lelystad

Been on the water today for a Team Race Training with "Regenbogen".
Team 'Friesland' against the rest of the World...

Nice breeze (a little slow at times) and good venue. With coaching by Roy Heiner for the team.
I was there with two other umpires. Explaining our point of view and answering questions and calls on and off the water.
But since Team racing is not at all that frequent over here, we needed the training as well. First get rid of the differences between team and match racing and then training to have eyes in the back of your head....

Now I have a question of my own, which we couldn't find an answer to:
Appendix D1.1(d) Add new rule 23.3: 'A boat that has finished shall not act to interfere with a boat that has not finished'

First of all, does this only apply to a boat after she's crossed the line, but before she's cleared the line and finishmarks? Or does this rule also apply to a boat after that? Or do we then go back to RRS 23.1?
If RRS D1.1(d) applies also after clearing the line - say for a boat going back to slow down a boat from the other team, what is the penalty?
Red flag penalty has no effect and it is clearly not a points penalty.
Do we penalize another boat of the same team?


Friday, 8 May 2009

Fact Finding Friday | 010 Ankara Absinthe v Vilnius Vodka and Washington Whiskey

By Brass from “The Room”


The aim of this series is to practice judges' skills in writing Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and Decisions as required by rule 65.1. These are not intended to be 'difficult' rules problems: concentrate on the writing skills. You are not expected to 'discuss' the rules or the scenarios, or enter into 'what-if' considerations. I suggest you write against the clock, and include a note of your time taken when you post your answers on LTW, to compare with others.

Hearing and Evidence

You are the scribe for the protest committee of the LTW Yacht Club, which races in Port Liberty Roads. You have received a written protest, decided it is valid, and have heard both parties and witnesses.

You have listed Facts Found and the protest committee members have agreed to endorse the attached diagram.


Orange: Ankara Absinthe;
Yellow: Vilnius Vodka;
Green: Washington Whiskey

Facts Found

  1. Vilnius Vodka and Washington Whiskey were sailing on a downwind leg on starboard tack.
  2. Vilnius Vodka became overlapped to windward of Washington Whiskey from clear astern and Washington Whiskey luffed to defend her position. Vilnius Vodka responded, with the result that both boats were sailing well above what would be their proper course to the next mark.
  3. Vilnius Vodka's course was converging on Ankara Absinthe, which was sailing lower and slower.
  4. Vilnius Vodka became overlapped on Ankara Absinthe from clear astern within two boat lengths.
  5. Washington Whiskey did not come within two boat lengths of Ankara Absinthe until after position 3 in the diagram.
  6. Ankara Absinthe changed course to windward to keep clear of Vilnius Vodka.
  7. Ankara Absinthe protested Vilnius Vodka and Washington Whiskey for sailing above their proper course under rule 17, with timely flag and hail.

Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence

Your fellow protest committee members agree that Vilnius Vodka and Washington Whiskey, throughout, are sailing above a course that would enable them to reach the next mark as soon as possible in the absence of other boats, but that Vilnius Vodka did not sail higher than was necessary to keep clear of Washington Whiskey.


Write Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and the Decision for this protest. Please post your effort on LTW, for us all to share and learn. Don't be shy.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Apparant Wind: The RRS in 7 stages

A very incite full post on a fairly new sailing blog was posted yesterday, which I think every PC-member and Judge should read:

A short quote:
"Stage 5 "We need a team lawyer!
Our developing sailor has a decent grasp of the rules but now realizes that the facts according to the protestor are frequently different than the facts according to the protestee. Kids realize that they need to clearly explain themselves and present a coherent version of the incident. Being able to cite the appropriate rules also wins points in convincing a protest committee that one knows what he’s talking about. In the early part of this stage, the focus is on writing up the protest, which becomes a team effort with the best lawyer on the team helping the others. Toward the end of this stage a wonderful thing happens – the sailors start to clarify things with each other on the water! They talk about the overlap several boat lengths before the zone, and they negotiate luffing with statements like “you have to give me room to go up.”

Some of it I recognize straight away, some of it is something I will in future pay attention to.

You can read the whole post: Learning to Embrace the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS)
I've added Apparent Wind to my Bloglist.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sunday Rules Snap |2

Two very different pictures this Sunday.

The first a little bleak - perfect for today (it's been windy, cold and raining here all day) - also signifying no sailing.

No wind - no sailing
Taken on the second day of the Tulip race 2009 (first weekend of April) by Hedwich

The second one send in by Manuel, who attended the IRO Seminar in the last weekend of April:
Enclosed I send to LTW a photo of a relax moment with LRF Laser RangeFinders. The seminar was organized by the RYA/ISAF in Southampton (GBR)

If you have a picture, please send it to rrs-study ed home dot nl and perhaps it will be posted in a next episode of Sunday Rules Snap....

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