Tuesday, 21 June 2011

SWC Kiel 2011; Day 4

Quarter finals done, Sail offs done and Semi finals done. Only the finals and petit finals are left  for tomorrow. I will however, not be umpiring those, nor buzzing around the match race boats as one of the wing boats.

For the Olympic part of Kiel-week, tomorrow is also Medal Race day and apparently they need a few extra umpires to do addendum Q umpiring. I’m a bit disappointed but not surprised to be out of the MR-Team.

I’ve already brushed up on Addendum Q, but since the extreme Forties are also using them, I’m already quite familiar with them. The trick will be to wait and wait and wait before showing any flag. Unlike in MR umpiring the protested boat must be given the opportunity to take a penalty voluntarily.

Anyway, that’s tomorrow…. Back to day 4, and…..


In shifty wind conditions most match race officers use the three windward marks solution. Besides the ‘regular’ mark they put in two extra coloured marks on each side. And then start the matches according to the shift at the entry to one of the those three windward marks by using a Charlie flag with a coloured flag (corresponding with the colour of the windward mark the match should sail to).

So far, so good.

But with each shift the starting line is also biased. Either Blue or Yellow has an advantage, not so much at the start, but at the entry on the preparatory signal.

The RO however cannot shift the pin-end mark. Boats already racing are using that same line as a finishing line and have planned there strategy according to how the line was, when they started. Changing that would unfairly influence the match race…….. or does it?

MR entry1C

The Entry (with dail-up) in a Match Race

One school of thinking is to change the pin-end according to each wind shift, so that the entry is as equal as possible for Blue and Yellow. Another is more inclined to not touch the pin-end during the whole flight, for reasons I described above. And also for another reason;

The rulebook says a mark of the starting line may be moved no later then the preparatory signal. So between the start of one match and the entry of the next, the RO can move the pin-end according to the rules. That is not restricted in Appendix C. But is that fair? The Blue boat has timed the length to the pin end to the second. So I’m pretty sure redress will be asked when a mark boat is towing the pin-end to a new location just before entry.

What do you think?

Give me your solution to the Pin End Problem.


  1. I know there's potentially a problem of hitting any extra buoys- but what about as well as extra windward marks, matching extra pin marks? Ideally, would require the windward mark/pin mark combination to be signaled a bit earlier I guess. The match would then use that windward mark and pin mark for the whole race (including finish). Requires a bit more thought, but does mean no picking up marks or changing an ongoing match's course.

  2. Jos,

    Why not have multiple Pin buoys, just as you have multiple Windward marks? The Pin Boat simply drops one anchor line with a small float attached and moves to the one either to windward or leeward. There would only be a short period of uncertainty. Indeed, the Pin Boat driver might be able to do the move without anyone actually noticing.

    Of course in place with simple conditions (not like here in SF Bay where there are strong currents) people may notice, but the distance involved is quite small (a boat length or two).

    One could set three anchors, or more reasonably set one anchor with three floats tied off at different positions on the anchor rode. The Pin boat doesn't even need to use an engine, they simply pull up the rode, and either pull themselves forward (up wind) or drift backwards to the correct location.


  3. I see no reason why the committee boat could not pull up or let out some of the mooring line to square up the line. this does not (except in tide) affect the line length. If there are extremes others methods should be used.

    I see no reason why the finishing line cannit be trued up the boats anre not on that leg, but an SI to say this would be done or a mention at the briefing would help.

    The starting procedure is much more prescriptive for match raing then for multiple starts for fleet racing.

    In RRS 26 the warning signal can be with or after the starting signal but in Match Racing the starting signal shall be the warning signal.

    Mike B

  4. Boris Kuzminov23 June 2011 at 19:04

    Sorry, I don’t know as to solve this problem…
    Jos, what sense at the words «an improper action or omision" in the rule 62.1 (а)? Only, that RC should not break written in the Rules, or their sense is wider (fair, etc.)?

  5. Interesting solution with three pin-end marks.
    I'm not sure it is practical because they need to be fairly close, but I'll talk to some MR-Race Officers about it.

    Moving the starting vessel has the same impact as moving the pin-end, only now Yellow will not like that.

  6. Boris,
    An omission or improper action of the RC can be anything that negatively influences the regatta or series. It must be however something that they have control over.
    For example, a couple of years back we had a match race event on a lake, the depth was adequate for the chosen boats. Overnight the Waterboard however, let out circa 20 centimetres water from the lake and now boats were hitting bottom.
    Was that the fault of the RC?
    NO. They had no control over the water depth.

    But if they would have chosen an part of the lake that was to shallow to begin with; Then YES!

  7. Pin end is important for start, where boats choose their starting position. If the finishing line is not ideal, it goes the same for both boats, since they sail from the same point - windward mark. The same goes for the leeward mark - a few degrees off is nothing special.

    Too much complications. Even if you set the starting line correctly and then the wind shifts, you have the same dillemma.
    Average it out and leave it as it is.

    If you have a succession of starting procedures it is in the RC interest they choose the best conditions/timing and the tolerance should be accepted by the competitors.

    Moving the pin end before the preparatory signal cannot be directly ground for redress, but it is not nice in sense of messing with the competitors plan.
    How would you deal with the RC explanation that it was doing it for the competitors interest for a better staring line?


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