The event in Bayone is coming to an end. Today we'll hopefully do the Finals and Petit finals. The last four are sorted and we can go racing as soon as the wind will let us. It's very soft at the moment.
In the last couple days we've been discussing several subject related to either mistakes or omissions by the OA, RC or us. Mistakes by sailors are penalized on the water, they get flags. The others involved in an event need to sort this out themselves and need to do better next time. The axiom 'Never to old to learn' comes to mind
I'll explain: The barberholer for the spinnakersheet has two purchases, but somehow a boat got changed to only one. Verbal instructions at the beginning of the event to the sailors, stating that they always should be two - how well intentioned they might be - have not the same 'weight' as written instructions.
In the protest and subsequent request for redress that came up, when one of the sailors brought this to our attention, the sailor on the infringing boat claimed, he could not change it back to two because he is not allowed to change the boat - written in the sailing instructions - and besides the line was to short for two purchases anyway.
Although we found that he not should have sailed with this configuration, we could not find a rule that he broke. Consequence of not putting things in writing. It had no influence on the outcome of the match, not in these light conditions. But the boats were no longer equal - something that is sort of mandatory in Match Racing. The race stood.
Next time we will make sure that things are written down.
The next up was something we - as umpires - did wrong. For one of the races we were in the wing position to check the entry of the yellow boat. And on the four minute sound signal the boat was over the line by maybe two meters. We measured the pole on the starting vessel, not the bow, but it was clearly entering too soon.
Of course we signalled as such to the umpires and a yellow penalty was given. The sailors were not happy and said something back we could not understand. As it was not our race, we didn't inquire untill after they finished - loosing the match on a penalty at the finish - what they were talking about.
The sailors claimed that the sound signal was late - several seconds late, perhaps even three seconds after the flag was raised. When they said that, I must admit I realised with a dreaded feeling, that I hadn't watched the flags, but solely had judged the entry on the sound signal. (*(^%(*&#!)
We told the crew that we would enquire. But also asked why they had not raised a red flag, requesting redress?
After we asked the RC they confessed that the sound may have been a second or two behind the flag. So the boat did not enter too early in all likelihood. Of course there were other factors determining the outcome of the race- more penalties, yellow as well as blue - but for certain that first one had an impact.
Learning we might have made a mistake, we went back and informed the match race umpires. It is their prerogative to do something if they feel it should be done. Normally there's no redress from a umpire decision, so they decided that they would not. But we talked to the sailors afterwards and apologized for our mistake.
I'm greatfull for there gracious response.
I'll watch the 'ing flags from now on, that is for sure!
How about you?
Any mistakes you want to share, that made you learn the 'hard' way?