Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Catching Up on Cases II

This weeks (pillow)Cases: Click on the W-link to read the post.






On Opposite Tacks

Avoiding Contact

Keep Clear



  Deleted in the Casebook





Protest Requirements: Informing the Protestee

Changes to the Racing Rules




Deleted in the Casebook  

Monday, 30 August 2010



GWS (Grouster Watersport Schouw) ready for the start….


KWV Langweer, one of my local clubs, organizes an annual regatta for open one-class sailboats. Last weekend we did the 151st edition. It was difficult this year. In response to comments from previous years I added a fourth race (two each day) and shortened the races itself. That is a busy schedule for us. Two times eleven classes to start, every five minutes (with two breaks of five minutes). But with enough volunteers you can accomplish a lot.

What made it more difficult was that the weather was not very, well, consistent..

Showers and wind one minute and calm and lack of wind the next. Add the threat of thunder and lightning, made me look for the N-flag on both days.

On Saturday the rain-detection radar on the internet predicted a very nasty one at the end of our first starting cycle. We postponed the last two classes and told them to seek a little shelter. Monitoring the approach of the dark clouds and counting the distance for the next 45 minutes made us realize that the hart of the cloud would pass the lake at least for a couple of kilometers.

We recalled the last two classes and started them an hour and fifteen minutes late.


On Sunday the weather predicted was that the really bad stuff would come late afternoon/evening.

But as always a few ‘front running clouds’ made life difficult. We measured Beaufort 7 in one of them.

Every sailor knows that stronger wind itself is not a problem. You rig your boat for it and adapt your sailing. But sudden unpredictable gusts are killers. You almost have no time to respond and every mistake results in punishment immediately. I’m afraid some of the boats did score DNF’s due to capsizing.

Well we sent out all our safety-boats, towed the unlucky boats to shore and continued racing with the rest. I did however shortened the race to just under an hour. That was enough I thought.

My brother found time to shoot a couple of pictures from the starting vessel. You can have a look by clicking on: Langweer 2010

image The Regenbogen had a hard time coping with the gusts… only two of the original eight showed up for the last race. But these two had a great race!
The photo also shows you also who won and who came second in the series.

We use to have such nice late summer balmy weekends….. ( deep sigh.)


(pillow)Case of the Week (35) – 78;

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 78

Rule 2, Fair Sailing
Rule A2, Series Scores

A boat may position herself in a tactically controlling position over another boat and then slow that boat’s progress so that other boats pass both of them, provided that, if she is protested under rule 2 for doing so, the protest committee finds that that there was a reasonable chance of her tactic benefiting her series result. However, she breaks rule 2 if she intentionally breaks another rule to increase the likelihood of the tactic succeeding.

Assumed Facts for Questions 1 and 2
Boat A was well ahead of B. Both boats were on the last leg of the course in the final race of a one-design class series. Suddenly, A changed course so that she sailed back down the course towards B and positioned herself in a tactically controlling position over B. A then slowed B’s progress, resulting in three boats passing them. While A was controlling B and slowing her progress, both boats remained on the last leg of the course, and A did not break any rule, except possibly rule 2. A had calculated her own and B’s series scores, and had determined that if B were to be passed by three boats A would defeat B in the series.

Question 1
Did the tactic used by A, turning back and slowing another boat’s progress, break rule 2? Is this tactic acceptable at any time during any race of a series?

Answer 1
A’s tactic was in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play because the tactic was intended to benefit her own series result. A boat may use such a tactic at any time during any race of a series without breaking rule 2, provided that, if she is protested for using the tactic, the protest committee finds that there was a reasonable chance that her tactic would benefit her series result. A boat will usually be unable to meet this criterion unless she is in the final race or races of a series in which the scoring system permits one or more race scores to be excluded when series scores are calculated. If she fails to meet the criterion, she breaks rule 2.

Notwithstanding the argument in the paragraph above, a boat also breaks rule 2 if she intentionally breaks another rule to increase the likelihood of the tactic succeeding.

There are several formats for a ‘series’ of races. Most are simply a single set of, for example, seven races, where the winner is the boat with the lowest series score (see rule A2). Others, such as one-design class championships with large fleets, involve a qualifying series followed by a final series. For the purposes of this case, a ‘series’ is a set of races, including the race in which the questionable tactic was used, governed by a particular notice of race and sailing instructions.

Question 2
Would the answer to Question 1 be different if A had been unsuccessful in
her tactic – i.e., if three boats had not passed B?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

LTW Readers Q&A | 043; Approaching a mark?

Send in by Brad this readers Q&A is about rule 18 and approaching a mark.

Here’s what he wrote:


I have searched for ISAF rules interpretations in the past and have been directed by Google to your blog on many separate occasions.
I am not sure if you answers questions.  In case you do I will send you my question about a windward mark rounding below.  If you do not answer questions, can you recommend a  good site or blog where I might be able to get an answer from ISAF judges?

Thank you in advance for your help,

I overheard this situation that took place recently at my yacht club.  I was asked my opinion.  I gave my opinion but after I heard what the PC decided and re-read the rule book, I have some questions.  This is what happened:

Two 28 foot E-scows are sailing on port. They are sailing to windward, towards a mark to be rounded to port. Boat A is clear ahead and 1+ boat length to leeward of boat B.  They both enter the zone on port, boat A ahead of boat B. Boat A tacks onto starboard (according to the protest approximately 60 feet from the mark).  Boat  A arrives at a close hauled course and Boat B has enough time and room to respond.  Boat B tacks directly in front and slightly to leeward of A.  Boat A has to take avoiding action and heads up to avoid contact with B.  (Boat A was able to avoid in a seaman like way).   It is in question as to weather boat A had to sail above close hauled, as she was reaching slightly towards the mark at the time.

Boat A protested boat B under rule 18.3(a)

The protest was denied since boat A neither hailed protest or flew a flag.  However they heard the protest and decided if the protest had been filed properly that under rule 18.3(a) boat B would have been given a DSQ.
I question this ruling.  How would you rule in this situation?

Rule 18.3 has language that seems ambiguous.
If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them changes tack is it possible for a boat to enter the zone on port, tack onto starboard, and still be considered to be approaching the mark on starboard?

If you tack in the zone from port to starboard is your tack considered part of the rounding procedure and therefore you are approaching from port, or as soon as you tack are you then approaching the mark from starboard?

Is there a definition of approaching the mark?

Is it ever possible to be on port and approaching the mark from starboard; or on starboard and approaching the mark from port?

APPROACH is not in the definitions so I am not 100 percent sure about rule 18.3. Also if a boat enters a windward mark and 18.2 is in effect is it possible for 18.3 to come into effect at that same mark without that boat leaving the zone?

Thank you in advance for either trying to answer my questions and/or directing me to where I can get the question answered.

Catching Up on Cases

I've not provided you with a (pillow)Case in some time.
Therefore I'll post two a week until I'm caught up again and we can resume regularly scheduled posts on Monday. With all the holidays you probably would not have found time to study them anyway (EG)

This weeks (pillow)Cases: Click on the W-link to read the post.

43.1(a) Competitor Clothing and Equipment
On Opposite Tacks
Avoiding Contact
Keep Clear

Monday, 23 August 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (34) – 79;

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 79

Rule 29.1, Recalls: Individual Recall
When a boat has no reason to know that she crossed the starting line early and the race committee fails to promptly signal ‘Individual recall’ and scores her OCS, this is an error that significantly worsens the boat’s score through no fault of her own, and therefore entitles her to redress.
Assumed Facts
At the start of a race for one-design boats, ten boats near the middle of the starting line were slightly across the line at their starting signal. The race committee signalled ‘Individual recall’ by displaying flag X with one gun. However, these signals were made approximately 40 seconds after the starting signal. None of the boats returned to start, and several of them lodged requests for redress upon learning after the race that they had been scored OCS.

Question 1
In rule 29.1, what does ‘promptly display’ mean?

Answer 1
No specific amount of time will apply in all circumstances, but in this rule it means a very short time. A race committee should signal ‘Individual recall’ within a very few seconds of the starting signal. Forty seconds is well beyond the limits of acceptability

Question 2
Is it reasonable for a boat to request redress because of a less-than-prompt individual recall signal, even when she did not return to start?

Answer 2

Question 3
Why should a boat be given redress because of the committee’s failure to signal promptly, when the rules say that failure to notify a boat that she is on the course side of the starting line at her starting signal does not relieve her of her obligation to start correctly?

Answer 3
The rules do not say this. Rule 29.1 obligates the committee to signal all boats that one or more of them are on the course side of the starting line at the starting signal. Rule 28.1 and, if it applies, rule 30.1 obligate each boat to return to the pre-start side of the line and then start, but this assumes that the signals, both visual and sound, have been made. When a signal is not made or, as in this case, when the signal is much too late, it places a boat that does not realize that she was slightly over the line at the starting signal at a significant disadvantage because she can not use the information the signal provides, in combination with her observations of her position relative to other boats at the time the signal is made, to decide whether or not to return to the pre-start side of the line.

Question 4
How can a boat that fails to start properly be entitled to redress when rule 62.1 requires that her score be made significantly worse ‘through no fault of her own’?

Answer 4
A boat that has no reason to believe that she was on the course side of the line at her starting signal has the right to assume that she started correctly unless properly signalled to the contrary.
As Answer 3 indicates, a boat can be significantly disadvantaged by a delay by the race committee in making the recall signal. That error is entirely the race committee’s fault, and not that of the disadvantaged boat. (See Case 31 for a discussion of appropriate redress in a similar situation.)

USSA 1992/285


Most sailors will state they did not know they were ‘over’ when asked. 
And in many cases I believe them. It’s very hard to judge when you are close to the line. So with a less then prompt signal, I tend to grant the redress.

However, when it is obvious that the boat was over, or even completely above the line, I do not permit redress for a less then prompt displayed recall flag and horn. The ‘through no fault of her own’ part of the rule kicks in and prevents this.


Saturday, 21 August 2010

Polish Match Race Tour

After spending the whole day on a boat, we are spending the evening on a .. .. .. boat! Taking the tour on the lakes around our venue in Poland: Gizycko. The mood on board is very good, although a bit loud. These polish guys and girls sure know how to drink. The vodka is on every table! We spend the day match racing and did fifteen flights. For us as umpires it was a long day but nevertheless it's a fine evening and worth the trip. In this grade 3 there are only some surprises by the rookie match race sailors, but even their level is very good in boat handling. As the only IU I'm currently also chump, something I did not expect, but there you are. With a team of four umps it's not that hard a job anyway. More later. - [Written on my phone and later edited on the blog]

Monday, 16 August 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (33) – 80;

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 80

Rule 60, Right to Protest; Right to Request Redress or Rule 69 Action
Rule 61.2(b), Protest Requirements: Protest Contents
Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Rule A5, Scores Determined by the Race Committee

A hearing of a protest or a request for redress must be limited to the alleged incident, action or omission. Although a boat may be scored DNF if she does not finish according to that term’s definition, she may not be scored DNF for failing to sail the course correctly.
Summary of the Facts

When boat A crossed the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark, the race committee scored her DNF because it believed from its observations that she had not left one of the rounding marks on the required side and, therefore, had failed to sail the course correctly. A requested redress on the grounds that, even though she had finished properly, she was not given a finishing place. The protest committee did not give A redress, deciding that rule 62.1(a) did not apply because A failed to sail the course correctly, and that her failure to do so was not due to an act or omission of the race committee but was entirely her own fault. A appealed.


A’s appeal is upheld. The race committee acted improperly in scoring A DNF when she did finish according to the definition Finish. The race committee could have scored boat A as DNF only for failing to finish correctly (see rule A5). Since A crossed the finishing line from the direction of the last mark, she  should have been recorded as having finished.

A fundamental principle of protest committee procedure is that a hearing must be limited to the particular ‘incident’ alleged in a protest (see rule 61.2(b)) or to the particular incident alleged to be ‘an improper action or omission’ in a request for redress under rule 62.1(a). Although the incident that was the subject of A’s request for redress was that she had been incorrectly scored DNF, the protest committee turned to a different incident when it considered whether or not she had failed to sail the course correctly and therefore broken rule 28.1. Since that incident was not the incident alleged in the redress for request, the committee acted improperly.

If a race committee believes from its observations that a boat has not sailed the course correctly, it may protest the boat for that breach as permitted by rule 60.2(a). In this case, the race committee did not protest A. Because A had not been protested for failing to sail the course correctly, she could not be penalized for that failure.

In summary, the facts show that A finished according to the definition Finish. She should not have been scored DNF and was therefore entitled to redress under rule 62.1(a) for an improper action of the race committee. The decision of the protest committee is reversed and A is to be scored as having finished at the time she crossed the finishing line.

USSA 1993/289


This principle of sticking to the issue at hand, has frustrated many a hearing.

And the question about how to score a boat that hasn’t rounded all the marks is asked by perhaps all Race Committees. Therefore a useful case, imho.


Thursday, 12 August 2010

When is a DSQ not enough?

The protest committee sometimes has the obligation to look beyond a DSQ. During this year’s edition of the SNEEKWEEK we encountered some examples. It is sometimes not easy to decide nor think about this issue, during the hearing.

Here is what happened:

Someone sailing at the back of the fleet decides to skip not one, not two, but four marks in order to get just behind the front of the fleet. The PC decided - in absence of the party, who did not come to the hearing - that this must have been deliberate and goes to rule 2. The DSQ becomes a DNE.
An eight meter keel-boat sails above the layline to the mark and approaches on Port-tack the mark to be left to port. There are more the a few boats already approaching on Starboard and more then a few already rounded and on a reaching course to the next mark. While some see the port boat approaching they start to avoid her and keep a little higher other still follow the ‘train’ downwind.

The port boat (red) sails into the triangle in the hope she can find a space in between:

And this was what happened after that :http://sneekweekjournaal.klikenco.nl/

The committee found in the subsequent protest that indeed the port boat did not keep clear, but no penalty could be given, because the boat retired from the race (due to the extensive serious damage).

They did not consider going beyond that.

But should they have?

Is this reckless behaviour with serious damage and not a small change off personal injury, not something that should be at least or even more penalized then someone who skips a couple of marks?

The first argument that presents itself is about intent. Was the infringement deliberate? In case of the marks it was – according to the PC, but couldn’t the same be argued about sailing into such a impossible situation?

Is there a rule in the book that can do this?
The PC is still discussing it…..

Monday, 9 August 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (32) – 81;

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 81

Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 18.2(b), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room
Rule 18.2(c), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room

When a boat entitled to mark-room under rule 18.2(b) passes head to wind, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply and she must comply with the applicable rule of Section A.
Summary of the Facts

Two boats, A and B, close-hauled on starboard tack, approached a mark to be left to starboard. A entered the zone clear ahead and to leeward of B, and tacked onto a close-hauled port-tack course in order to round the mark. B, still on starboard tack, made contact with A, then on port tack, causing no damage or injury. Both boats protested.

Citing rule 18.1(b), the protest committee decided that rule 18 did not apply because just prior to the contact both boats were on opposite tacks and B had to tack to pass the mark on her proper course. Having decided that rule 18 did not apply, the protest committee disqualified A under rule 10. A appealed.



B was clear astern of A from position 1 to position 4. While B was clear astern, rule 12 required her to keep clear of A. Also, from the time A reached the zone until she passed head to wind, rule 18.2(b)’s second sentence applied, requiring B to give A mark-room. B fulfilled both these obligations. Shortly before position 5, when A passed head to wind, rule 18.2(b) ceased to apply (see rule 18.2(c)). At that time B acquired right of way and A became obligated to keep clear of B, first by rule 13 and later, after A was on a close-hauled course, by rule 10. Rule 15 did not apply because B acquired right of way as a result of A’s tack.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Xclusion Zone & rule 14

Two day’s ago I told you about the exclusion zone the extreme sailing series had to use in order to be allowed to sail during Cowes week.
One of the sailors came to us with a question about rule 14. And I thought it useful enough to also inform you. He asked:
”Is there a difference between the way rule 14 is used at a ‘virtual’ obstruction and at a real physical obstruction?”
Instinctively we started to say no, but then thought it trough. When contact could have been avoided, by sailing over the line of the exclusion zone, is a boat obliged to do that? Even if she’s right-of-way, just because she has to comply with rule 14?
Or, reversely, if there’s damage, can a boat be disqualified, if she does not sail over the exclusion line?
We decided that there’s indeed a difference. Virtual walls are not the same as actual walls – for the purpose of rule 14. It is reasonably to expect that boats would avoid contact (read damage) by sailing over any virtual line.
But perhaps you have a different opinion?
In answer to Sen’s question at my Wednesday post: I’ll scan the drawing of the exclusion zone and will post it asap.

I finally brought the drawing to work so I could scan it:
The paper got wet, so I hope you still can read most of it.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Xtreme Xclusion Zone

I’m umpiring the Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes this week. With Addendum Q (like in the Medal Race) we follow the big cats and try to keep up. Sometimes it’s neigh impossible in the bumpy Solent, even at full speed in our small umpire ribs. But then we go to zone system and hope to catch all the infringements.
The biggest problem we have is not so much the rules of Part 2, but something called “the exclusion zone”.
Because of Cowes week the Solent is filled with fleets racing and they all have to pass the race area of the extreme forties to the finish. The solution the organisers and the Cowes harbour authorities have come up with, was to create a box where the extreme forties have to stay within to race and all the Cowes week’s sailors have to stay out.
Marked by orange cylindrical buoys parallel to the shore from Gurnard North Cardinal buoy, the box was to keep everybody separated.
Now add 20 knots of wind, high flying cats, a tidal current of 3 knots and lots and lots of seaweed gathering on the ground tackle.  The first day the buoys completely disappeared below the water…. No more zone.
The second day the orange cylinders where tied to bigger marks hoping that that would keep them afloat. But now the seaweed gathering on the ground tackle started to drag the marks…. fist more north and then effectively far outside any reasonable position. No more Zone again.
Hoping that this would eliminate the shifting marks, the next day the outside line was defined by the line between and extension off, two points. The race committee boat would anchor below Gurnard and those would be the two starting points.
In comes the tide and the committee boat starts swinging on its line. Changing the angle considerably. One moment a boat is sailing legally inside and the next it is outside. Not good either…..
Then there’s the speed of the boats. One look astern and deciding you are approaching the line, before you’re ready to tack, it is 3 seconds later and now you are outside.
All in all it has been an issue for the whole week and we as umpires are getting fed up with it. Sometimes because we are not able to get to the boats quick enough, sometimes because we ourselves unsure of the infringement. And because sailors have a lot of trouble complying with the rule.
Because the punishment has to fit the crime, we now accept a tack penalty as being adequate for infringing the zone.
All in all this “Xclusion Zone” defined in a Notice to Mariners (& in the SI) has been a challenge, indeed.

Monday, 2 August 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (31) – 82;

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 82

Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Definitions, Finish

When a finishing line is laid so nearly in line with the last leg that it cannot be determined which is the correct way to cross it in order to finish according to the definition, a boat may cross the line in either direction and her finish is to be recorded accordingly.
Summary of the Facts

At the finish of a race boat A crossed the finishing line in the direction, she believed, of the course from the last mark, leaving mark F to starboard. She recorded the time she crossed the line. The race officer did not record her as having finished and did not make a sound signal. Hearing no sound signal, A sailed the track shown in the diagram and finally crossed the line leaving mark F to port, at which time the race officer recorded her as having finished and made a sound signal. A requested redress, asking that the time she recorded at her first crossing be used as her finishing time

The protest committee found as a fact that the committee boat was swinging back and forth across a line parallel to the last leg, but believed that the race officer was watching closely to determine the correct direction for each boat to cross the line. Redress under rule 62.1(a) was denied and A appealed.


A’s appeal is upheld. Positioning the finishing line marks so that boats cannot easily determine in which direction they should cross the finishing line is an improper action on the part of the race committee. When a boat cannot reasonably ascertain in which direction she should cross the finishing line so as to conform to the definition Finish, she is entitled to finish in either direction. A is therefore entitled to redress under rule 62.1(a). She is to be given her finishing place calculated from the time she herself recorded when she crossed the line for the first time.


This case always has me wondering if this finish was a ‘normal finish’ or if the committee vessel was there to shorten the race.

Not that it changes the decision, in both instances the position of the RC-vessel could not have been worse, but then the sailors at least would have a reasonable change of determining how to cross the line equally. They would just sail the course and go to whatever side mark F should be rounded.

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