Thursday, 28 July 2011

LTW Readers Q&A (51): Loosing the flag?

Gaston asks:

I had the following situation once before. I wonder what the umpires think about this:

During the pre-start my opponent lets his (only) Y-flag fall in the water. He can no longer protest. The rest of the pre-start I'm trying to prevent him from picking up the flag from the water. (Unfortunately he eventually succeeded).

Imagine this situation: My opponent has no Y flag and I violate the rules in the pre-start time and again and then win the race. How far can I go? Will there be a time when the umpires will decide enough is enough and go for rule 2 without any Y-flag being displayed?

To answer your question I had a look at rule C8.3:

C8.3 When the umpires decide that a boat has
(a) gained an advantage by breaking a rule after allowing for a penalty,
(b) deliberately broken a rule, or
(c) committed a breach of sportsmanship,
she shall be penalized under rule C5.2, C5.3 or C5.4.
If the umpires decide that you deliberately break the rules and/or commit a breach of sportsmanship, because you know your opponent cannot protest, they will use this rule and start handing out penalties. Preventing someone to pick up a flag - using the rules - is fine in my book. That falls under the same heading as preventing someone to enter. As long as you stay within the rules, perfectly legal. But if you start breaking rules to prevent the other boat from picking up its Y-flag, you break rule 2 as well. (See also Case 78)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

40 year old Norwegian rules in the AC34?

One of my readers provided a link to a site with simplified Match Race rules for taking a penalty: (thanks G J!)
According to the text already in use by the local clubs on the Inner Oslofjord since the 1970s.
An exerp:

15.1: It will be umpiring in accordance with RRS App.C, deleting the system in RRS App. C 7.2, C 8 and C 9, and adding: A penalised boat shall always exonerate herself as soon as possible, on the same leg as the opponent, by crossing the extended midship-line astern of the other boat, with any part of her hull, crew or equipment in normal position.

15.2: RRS App. C 10.2 regarding RRS 31, is altered to: " No penalties for mark touching with only one boat within the two-length zone (applies even to starting marks). "

The complete rules you can find here:

Did I not read something similar in the new AC34 rules?

You can read the complete rules here:  RRS AC 43 Edition

In both rules the basic idea is to put the infringing boat behind the other....

In nine day's the sailing world will see if this 40 year old idea is working on the most innovative competing racing boats on the planet....

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

WPIR Test Event Preparations

As I've posted earlier, I'm going to Weymouth next week for the Olympic Test Event. Its official name is Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011 (WPIR for short).

The website has been opened and on it all the essential documents have been published. NoR, SI, Coach boat regulations, Entry list, etc., etc. I'm currently studying those, to be well prepared. You can find them at: and then click on Documentation.

You can imagine that this event is regarded by ISAF (and also the RYA) as a very imported regatta to test out all the features for the Olympics next year. Members of the jury have been instructed as if it were 2012. I've been asked questions that I never before had to answer in preparation. A complete form on Conflict of Interest based on ISAF regulation 34 for instance.

Conflict of Interest
34.1 A conflict of interest exists when an ISAF Race Official has, or reasonably appears to have, a personal or financial interest which could affect the official’s ability to be impartial.
34.2 When an ISAF Race Official is aware of a conflict of interest, he/she shall decline an invitation to serve at a regatta at which an International Jury is appointed.
34.3 When the ISAF Race Official has any doubt whether or not there is a conflict of interest, the ISAF Race Official shall promptly consult the ISAF, prior to accepting the invitation and be bound by its decision.
34.4 When, at an event, an ISAF Race Official becomes aware of a conflict of interest, the official shall disclose the potential conflict to the International Jury which shall take appropriate action.
Now I suspect questions based on this regulation will be asked a lot more in the future, but nevertheless it highlights the special nature of this regatta.

Second issue will be my blogging. Although the official letter has not yet reached me, I've been given a set of guidelines about what I can and cannot blog about. I sort of already followed these guidelines, more or less, but sometimes I slipped and wrote a too critical or too inaccurate post. I expect to be given a clear guideline for the WPIR - since it is on the agenda of the first jury meeting. I will do my utmost to stay within these 'rules', but that will mean I cannot post about a matters still for the jury - or about 'inside' information.

Nevertheless I will endeavour to keep you in the loop...


This is a test post from my new iPhone to LTW. I have configured the settings and it should work.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Yesterdays Post Zoomed

Yesterday's post has generated a couple of comments. I've approved them, so you can read for yourself.
Unfortunately the animation is not clear enough, something I already feared.
I've attached a new picture, zoomed in at position 3 and 4. This should give you a HINT what happened.

Please give me your opinion which flag the umpire have to show.
They find as fact that one of the boats in situation 6 is not keeping clear, so Green/White should not be your choice, unless you really do not know.

Please try again.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

RF ISAF Nationscup; Gdynia, Poland, Day 3 & End

Yesterday we sailed the final day of the Regional Qualifier in Gdynia with good conditions. Steady increasing breeze and all races done and dusted. Today I’ve travelled back home and am now catching up on my desk computer.

In the Open event the Polish team was first, followed by GBR and NED. In the Woman’s Event first prize went to NED, second to Poland and third to GBR. A good result with close fought matches. All in all a very good event. ISAF informed us and the competitors that the first TWO in each event will go to the Finals in the USA.

Foto0165 Foto0174

During one of the matches we gave a penalty to one of the boats. I’ve been trying to recreate the situation in Boat Scenario, but the program was not designed for this. You need to look very, very closely to figure out what happened. Besides the animation I’ve also uploaded the actual Boat Scenario file: Perhaps if you play it on your on computer, things will be clearer.

This is the animation:

110723 MR13 Gdynia3

And here is the file: 110723 MR13 Gdynia3.xbs

Please give me your opinion which flag the umpire have to show. They find as fact that one of the boats in situation 6 is not keeping clear, so Green/White should not be your choice, unless you really do not know.

Good luck.

Oooh, I’ll not straight away publish all comments, so people have a change to make up there own minds.

Friday, 22 July 2011

RF ISAF Nationscup; Gdynia, Poland, Day 2

NationsCupGenericLogo_360 The weather predictions were wrong!
We had a very good sailing day with enough wind to finish the round robins in both events. It did mean we had a long day on the water, but we are all happy we will have all day tomorrow to sail only the semi-finals and finals.

In the Woman’s event NED, POL, GBR and DEN will sail for the first four places, and in the Open event the same four nations are qualified to sail. The winner of the round robin(s) in each event will choose his/her opponent and the one who gets three points will go to the finals. The other two sail against each other and will also have to win three points to go trough.

I’m not involved in umpire pairing and assignment in this event, but already know that for any match with a Dutch team I will not be umpiring.

Not that that would make any difference for me, but to avoid any sort of bias (positive or negative), the same nationalities in teams and umpires are usually avoided in this stage of the event.

Please forgive me for not having a rules issue this post – I’m beat and can hardly keep my eyes open. I’ll get back to it next time.

In the mean time, have you answered yesterday’s question?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

RF ISAF Nationscup; Gdynia; Day 1

Actually it was not a full match race day at all. We had no wind to start with!

After waiting on the water for almost two hours we went back to the harbour, hoping the sea breeze would fill in in the beginning of the afternoon. It didn’t. But we did get wind from the North and managed to sail five flights on the Open event and four in the Woman’s, before debrief, dinner and the official opening ceremony.

As a rules issue I’m going to ask you the following question that came up during the debrief; Provided that there is no restriction in setting the spinnaker pole in the SI, what can a right of way boat do and what can it not do, if the spipole is set but has swung out to an angle of ninety degrees from the mast – actually almost doubling the width of the boat?

You will have to look at the casebook and give me a relevant case to support your answer.

Tomorrow we will try to finish the round robin – ten flights, running late if necessary.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Regional Finals Nationscup, Match Race; Gdynia, Poland; Day 0 – Practise day.

Arriving one day earlier has the benefit that you can acclimate al little before the tournament begins. It is actually a short event – only three days, but we have ten competitors in the Open event and seven in the Woman’s. That means a full program for those three days. We are with fourteen umpires on two courses, plus two. With three matches in each flight we need an extra driver to be able to have a wing-boat on both courses.

Because of the qualifying nature of this Regional Final, we do need to have two winners at the end. They are going to the Nationscup Finals.

We have planned a full round robin for the Open Event followed by a short knockout stage for two Semi Final spots. The winner and runner up of the RR automatically qualify for the Semis.

The Woman event will do two round robins and then go to Semis and Finals.
Those are planned on Saturday for both.

Today I worked on some personal stuff and had a look at the Sailing Instructions. You would think that those are pretty much flawless by now, wouldn’t you. It is amazing how many little things still are to be found that potentially can create problems. And – when has it ever been otherwise -  there’s always the way things should be ‘interpreted’

I’m a big supporter of standard Sailing Instructions!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

National Championship FLITS 2011

Today I travelled to Gdynia in Poland for the Regional Finals of the Nations Match Race cup. During that time I thought about what to report about my experiences from the last three days. At my local club we did the National Championship "Flits" - a national youth class (probably most comparable with Cadets) on our lake the "Langweerder Wielen". Three days with lots and lots of wind and therefore difficult circumstances for all sailors, especially for the less experienced.

This class has a three tier solution to get some fair racing. Group C are the first year sailors, group B are more experienced with two or three year sailing done, and group A are the top. But during a National Championship there is no difference. All start at the same time, all sail the same race, all are potentially able to sail to the first place.
With the wind conditions we had it was however very difficult for the first year sailors, whatever they already had sailed in this year. We had lots and lots of capsizes and also - in the final races - lots of boats that did not come out to sail.

With eleven races scheduled it was a long tournament, but also one where the champion has really really earned that victory.

I was RO and really struggled with the question to keep racing - particularly on the final day (Monday). Wind averaged 18-20 knots, during showers picked up to 24 knots and all the time with gusts up to 30 knots.

I do not know what your experiences are, but I can tell you that you get a lot of people second guessing your decisions it those circumstances;

"You already have more then enough races to make it a valid championship"
"It is irresponsible to go racing in these circumstances"
"How can you do a race when half of the boats do not come to the start"
"You need to remember that this is a National Championship"
"Focus on the best sailors, don't base your decisions on the weakest"

We did all races and I never had any moment doubt about the safety of anyone on the water - due to a fleet of ten to eleven support ribs - but I still struggle with the that question. You feel vindicated afterwards if nothing goes wrong - but an accident is only an incident away.

What do you think?
This photo is of the runner up, who capsized in the final race in the second beat.....

For more photo's and the result:
Visit my club's website:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

ESS 2011; Act 4: Boston, Race day 4 & 5

With a full days 4&5 I didn’t have a chance to write a meaningful post. Anyway you are still busy with Greg’s post about Rule 20.
The last day of Act 4 was certainly exciting. Lots of action, fast races and a climactic finish in the last race were Emirates Team New Zealand grabbed the first price in the last race on the last leg to the finish. Or better said, Artemis chose the wrong side and was passed by several boats, costing them the victory. The points difference was 8 going into the final (double point race) but that was not enough. They ended up four points behind.
Strangely enough the rest of the order was exactly the same as the order in the morning. Now, don’t say it wasn’t worth sailing. During the seven races the order did change often enough – just at the end it came back, except for one and two.
We had a parking situation at the windward mark – Pindar got stuck – and the other boats had to round them with mark and all. It made the RO jumpy and considering abandonment.
So I have a question for you: What do the rules say about mark-room when a boat on a different leg of the course catches up with someone who’s stuck to the mark?
Today I’ll travel back across the great pond and will be home sometime Wednesday afternoon. With a big thanks for all the local people, signing off from Boston …… until next year?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

ESS 2011; Act 4: Boston, Race day 3

Today a guest post by one of my fellow umpires here in Boston, none other than: Match Race Greg !

Every morning during the Extreme Sailing Series the competitors and umpires meet for an informal debrief called "coffee with umpires."  This morning a situation was presented to the umpire team that focuses on the application of RRS 20 while approaching the course limits on a beat to windward.

In this situation three starboard tack boats are overlapped in close proximity to the course limit.  The leeward boat (yellow) hails and makes the appropriate arm signals to hail for room to tack.   Immediately after this hail the middle boat (blue) hails and signals to the green boat for room to tack.  The windward boat (green) responds by hailing and tacking.

Once the three boats have completed their tacks onto port they find themselves approaching a starboard tack boat (red).  The competitors and umpires determine that there is neither room nor time to keep clear by tacking or by ducking.

The Red boat protest for rule 10. To avoid a collision he will have to tack if Green will not respond….
Which boat(s) should be penalized and under which rule(s) should they receive a penalty.
Leave your comments below, Greg has promised to follow the discussion closely and answer asap.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

ESS 2011; Act 4: Boston, Race day 2


Whenever there is contact between boats in this Extreme Sailing Series the umpires must do a couple things. First is the on the water part. After a Yankee flag from one of the boats, we go to the rules of part 2 and penalize one of the involved boats for breaking one of these rules.

Second comes after the race. The Umpires asses the damage. Like in Match Racing we have a scale of three levels; A, B or C. Level A has no consequences. Boats can still race and it has no influence on the performance of boat or crew. Level B is more serious. The boat can still race but only after some (temporary) repairs. Level C puts it out of commission – it’s structural damage that cannot be repaired on the water. Usually it will take a lot of work by the shore crew during the night – even lifting the boat out of the water.

Depending on the level the boat that has broken the rule is given penalty points.

After all racing on that day is done follows part three: A rule 14 hearing (for levels B or C) slash Request for Redress.

In that hearing we determine which boat has broken rule 14. If both, redress is not granted because it’s partly the boats own fault. If only the other boat, we can grant redress. Usually average points for the race(s) not sailed from all other that day (or previously sailed in the Act)

Today we had such an incident between Pindar and Red Bull. The last three races Red Bull couldn’t compete because of a broken rudder connection to the hull. They had to go ashore to do the repairs: Pindar minus 3 points.

The decision in the hearing: Redress granted, average points (rounded up to the nearest one decimal point) in race 12, 13 & 14, calculated from all races before Race 12. Which comes to 6,4 points.

Hopefully we will not have too many of these. But in Extreme Sailing crashes are not that uncommon…….


Friday, 1 July 2011

ESS 2011; Act 4: Boston, Race day 1

The setup here in Boston is full on. A huge race village with lots and lots of activities, a big race area in front of Fan Pier and fantastic weather to boot. The only obstacles in the racecourse are the moored boats of the local sailors. Space between the boats is enough for an extreme 40 to go trough, but only one way. No turning or sailing back. Once in, the catamaran will have to sail to the other end of the ‘field’ before getting out again.

At 14:00 hours the races started on schedule. We did seven upwind – downwind races with lots of action and sometimes very difficult wind conditions.

As usual the Yankee flags were most frequent at the marks. The following situation will probably come up in the debrief this morning:

110701ESS A4 WW1

We use the Match Race version of rule 18.3. Blue puts up her Yankee flag in position 6. What should the umpires response be?

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