Saturday, 9 October 2010

Extreme Sailing Series; Almeria 2010, Day 1

Friday the 8the of October was Media Day for the Extreme Sailing Series in Almeria, Spain. The first day of a five day event – final in the series.

Eight boats came to the start, with as newcomers Rumbo Andalusia & Fly Emirates Team New Zealand. And there was another first – for me that was.

I got to sail as fifth man on one of the Extreme 40s in a race! Ecover had a spot for an umpire in the second race. I’ve been with the circuit for four years but this was my first time on a boat. Although the wind could have been stronger – specially with my weight – Ecover did not do so bad with a third place.

I was impressed indeed. Everything but a small part is happening on a bouncing net between the hulls and every minute of the race the four man crew have a task. cranking the sheets, trimming the mast, taking care of the travellers or looking for wind. Discussing tactics, looking for an opening and maintaining a steady racing pace. Creaking and cracking from the spars and mast, trying to get one hull flying, exhilarating from start to finish.

We did end up in a couple of rule situations, but the view from the boat is quite different then the view from an umpire boat, I can tell you that.

I was very glad to have gotten this opportunity, to see the boat tack and gybe, see them luff and bear away, feeling those big hulls slicing through the water.

I’m certainly going to try to go again if possible, but first we will do this event. Keep tuned, the plan is to go match racing as the final race of each day.


As an umpire call I have one which is actually very uncommon. It involves an downwind start and a boat over early trying to return. Here’s the situation:

101009 ESS Almeria 01

Now Windward (Green) is putting up her Yankee flag in position 6; What is your response?

Secondly, would that response change if Leeward (Blue) had a rule 17 restriction?


  1. 1 Green flag. Although Blue may have ti return to start she is not returning until she is sailing a course towards the prestart side of the line. Until then other rules apply and Green as windwar dboat should keep clear as she does.
    2Yes If 17 applies then Blue might be adjudged to be sailing above her proper course.

  2. I should have included that this sailing is done under addendum Q.
    In normal fleet racing Blue can luff up to a beam reach course before she's returning to start, even with a 17 restriction. For her that is her proper course. If Green would have not been there she would luff up also.
    But under addendum Q she can only do that if she has no 17 restriction. It hinges on the fact that returning to start is a penalty - look at the title this rule is under. And like in Appendix C, you are not sailing a proper course when you take a penalty. So with a rule 17 restriction Blue can not luff at all.

    I admit we figured this out in the debrief. Like Anon I was watching the angle of Blue to determine if she was returning or not.
    We gave a Green flag

  3. Assuming that the starting signal was about @2.5

    I agree with Anon. @6, B is NOT sailing 'towards the ... starting line': she may be sailing parallel, but not towards. B does not break rule 21.1.

    I don't think rule 17 would affect this. I don't think that it could be said that B's proper course to return to start correctly have been to gybe before tacking back, especially in a cat which would scoot off to leeward. Therefore B's proper course, in the absence of G, is to luff to close hauled and possibly to tack. B is not sailing above her proper course. B does not break rule 17.

    I have some questions about Jos' response.

    Why do you discuss B's right to luff up towards the starting line in terms of whether she is on a beam reach or not? The quesion, as I understand it is whether or not she is sailing 'towards' the starting line: her point of sailing is irrelevant.

    As I read the diagram, the pin is a little 'north' of the RC Boat, so B, sailing 'due west' is still sailing away from the starting line. B does not start sailing towards the starting line until @8.

    I seriously disagree that a boat changing course to return, or returning to start under rule 21.1 is taking a penalty. The heading to rule 21 is in three distinct parts, separated by semicolons: Starting errors; taking penalties; moving astern. These three parts of the heading exactly correspond to the three separate paragraphs of the rule. The only 'penalties' imposed in relation to starting are under I, Z and Black Flags in rule 30. Otherwise, a boat may approach the starting line from any direction at any time.


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