Sunday, 23 October 2011

Platu 25 Match Race 2011, Greece; We have a winner!

In front of the harbour at Piraeus, the two Greek crews of Stratis Andreadis and Andreas Karalis match raced today in the Platu 25's for the first spot in the 2011 championship. A nice steady breeze and plenty of action and emotion. It took four matches but Stratis and his crew managed to get first to the necessary three points to win.Well done and congratulations to the whole crew!

For the umpire team it was all hands on deck - specially since the Platu is a fast turning boat in these circumstances with plenty of boat speed and acceleration. And then the transitions become the issue.

Umpiring in match racing is not about rule 10, 11 or 12. Who has right-of-way or who has to keep clear is not the difficult issue at a certain point. It is rule 15 en 16;
Is the the keep-clear boat given room to respond when the right-of-way switches?
Or, does the course right-of-way boat change course so fast, that the keep-clear boat has no opportunity to keep clear, however best she tries?
Transitions is the thing.

Some calls are decided because a boat does not respond, or is not giving enough room to the other to keep clear. Those calls can be decided fairly easy. But most calls are in the fine line between doing enough to keep clear and giving enough room to do so. And then the difference can be in seconds. Or both boats are to blame.....

From the umpire (MR) manual: 
D 16 Umpire More Consistently
Another contribution to improve our umpiring is to strive for consistency. The aim is to provide the competitors with the same call for the same situation. The figure below illustrates at the top how decisions may vary in a certain situation like the luffing maneuver illustrated in Figure 2
If Blue reacts too slowly she will be penalised. On the other hand, Yellow will be penalised if she luffs too quickly. In between, there is a “grey” area where we have difficulties deciding who should be penalised, and, therefore, we wave the green flag.

As our umpiring is improved, the 'grey' area will gradually shrink. And we can imagine that one day we never have to wave a green flag in this situation; we give either a blue or yellow penalty. At the same time, we may expect the competitors to improve their sailing so they can drive it right to the edge. With this development we end up in a position where we may decide to give a blue penalty in a certain situation, but with just a tiny change in the maneuvering of any of the boats we give a yellow penalty instead. We arrive at the paradox that seen from the outside, the penalties given in match racing seem more and more random as competitors and  umpires improve their skills. Such a development clearly contradicts the ambition of making  umpiring more clear and consistent.

In order to avoid this development, we should in certain situations penalise both boats, a Twin penalty. (A double penalty is two penalties on one boat) In doing so, we get an intermediate area where we decide that both boats have broken a rule. This development in our umpiring can be illustrated this way: 

With a luffing maneuver like the one illustrated in Figure 2, there may be occasions where we decide that the contact occurred both because Yellow luffed too quickly and because Blue responded too slowly. A green flag in this situation may be misinterpreted to mean that no rule was broken, whereas our decision in fact is that both boats broke a rule.

We can signal this decision by waving both the yellow and blue flag. Considering penalties, it makes no difference, but we clearly communicate to the competitors that they are inside the 'grey' area. When there is clearly contact between the boats, somebody should be penalised. If the umpires cannot decide, after using all the principles of GEN CALL 1, they should consider penalising both boats.
I'm clearly not doing enough Match Racing - I had way to much fun today getting to give a twin penalty.....
I was almost there, but then my fellow umpire blamed his boat.....

aaaaah, foiled again....

Life is hard.


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