Tuesday, 14 September 2010

LTW Umpire Call (9)

A short one. In an umpired match race:

  • Blue leaves the box five seconds to soon and crosses the perpendicular (H)-line at minus 4’05”
  • She touches the pin-end mark at minus 4’03”
  • The preparatory signal is given exactly at minus 4’00”
  • By that time she’s no longer touching the mark.


You are the umpire in that match and you give:

  1. A green flag
  2. One blue flag
  3. Two blue flags
  4. A red and a blue flag
  5. Nothing

Right, you have 20 seconds to decide.
Give me your answer (and motivation) in comment…… please.

I’ll wait a bit before publishing the comments so everybody has a chance to make up his or her own mind.

Don’t forget to whistle!


  1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon14 September 2010 at 21:39

    One blue flag for entering the box early.
    The other boat may NOT protest: the umpires must do so under C8.2
    The mark is not a mark of the course at the time of the contact ( she is racing from the 4 minutes mark, and the start mark is not a mark of the course until then: Rule 31), so no penalty for touching it. The exception in C8.2 is irrelevant.

  2. touching the mark was not when racing
    one blue for infringment C4.1
    if blue is able to cross in front of yellow because of the the infringment give red and blue

  3. One Blue for entering early.

    Rule 31 only applies while racing: no penalty for hitting the starting mark before the prep signal

  4. One blue flag (C4.1)

  5. Jos,

    In the picture, what is the purpose of the L Flag in the competitor boat flag kits?

  6. The L-flag is used to indicate a breakdown or failure in the gear.

  7. One blue flag for breaking rule C4.1 given under rule C8.2.

    Before her preparatory signal Blue was not racing, so rule 31 does not apply. No penalty for touching the mark.


  8. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon,

    One small issue. You said...The mark is not a mark of the course at the time of the contact ( she is racing from the 4 minutes mark, and the start mark is not a mark of the course until then: Rule 31)

    I disagree.

    Firstly, 'mark of the course' is not used anywhere in the rules, so I assume you mean mark as defined in Definitions.

    Objects defined in Definitions (mark, obstruction, zone) do not begin or cease to be what they are depending on whether starting signals have been given or whether boats have started or finished racing.

    A mark is a mark from the time the SI define it, or it is laid, whichever is later, until it is lifted or the regatta is over.

    What does change, depending on time and location of boats is whether there is an obligation in respect of an object.

    Thus rule 31 refers to marks, both before and after boats are racing, but only forbids a boat from touching a starting mark while she is racing.

  9. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon17 September 2010 at 22:51

    @Brass: Well this is deep dish semantics.
    I use 'mark of the course' to delimit a mark which also has the status of presently having a required side, and which may not be touched. Other "marks" are really obstructions which may become full marks as some future point in time, and later cease to be so. The rules define all of these states by ONE word.

    "Mark: An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side...".
    Since she is not yet racing the sailing instructions cannot require B to do anything in particular wrt her course. The *obstruction* has NO required side and may be touched or fondled without limit, UNTIL the 4:00 gun, at which point, B is racing, the object has status as a "mark", and has a required side.
    Note also that until that gun, there is also no course, so the object (about-to-be-mark) does not begin, bound or end a leg of the course:
    it is not a mark of the course *at that point*.

    The problem is that the definition of MARK hides the fact that there are 2 classes of 'mark': those that begin,bound or end the leg and those that do not. Those in the latter group have no real status, except as prospective marks. They may be passed on either side, and touched with impunity: Rules 28.2 and 31.1.

    You are focussing on definition 1, while I am using definition 2 (which can be viewed as the 'anti-definition' of Rule 28.). I haven't been able to come up with a definition of mark which avoids this overloading of concepts, without introducing another word to distinguish the concepts....so we will have to muddle along, remembering to distinguish between a 'mark' that the RC sets, and one that has been set and has extra attributes at this point in time.

    Objects "cease to be what they are depending on ...." This is the semantic problem you and I have: the object, say a tetrahedron, *never* ceases to be exactly that, at any time. What does change is its status at the time racing commences and when B rounds the weather mark. Outside that period, B may leave it on either side (Rule28.2) or touch it (Rule 31.10.

    Rule 28.2 contains an exception which should be contained in the definition:

    But it commences being a *MARK* when *RACING* starts. In this case, it would cease to be a MARK, when B rounds the next mark of the course (weather mark, normally) because

  10. Ah, but a tetrahedron has flat sides, whereas an inflated mark has curved sides. I think 'sub tetrahedral' might be the correct adjective.


  11. Thank you Wag. I hope your contribution convinces Dyspeptic that his approach is not all that useful.

    I think Dyspeptic's approach is problematic because he is inventing concepts that are not in the RRS and that are not necessary to apply or understand the rules.

    In particular, the notion of marks switching on and off like lighthouses is, in my opinion, potentially confusing and likely to distract readers from the quite simple structure and content of the rules.

    The pattern of the rules is to:
    1. define (in Definitions) some objects, without limitations in time; then
    2. impose obligations on, or give entitlements to, boats, with respect to those defined objects, which may be subject to time limitations contained in the relevant rule.

    In my opinion it helps everyone to develop their knowledge and understanding of the rules if we stick, as far as possible, to the language, grammar and concepts used in the rules and not go off inventing idiosyncratic concepts of our own.


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