Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ultimate trapeze?!?

A picture send in by Stevie Kouris I think you shouldn't miss:

He had the following questions:

Then I went to the IJreport website to read the report from the regatta and there was a protest against that boat but the protest was dismissed because no rule was broken. Thinking it over and over and reading the Rule book it seems that actually they don't break any Rule, but the following question (more like a curiosity) came to my mind.
Is the helmsman considered to be on board? If yes, what does being on board mean? Is he considered to be on board only because he is not in the water? If a crew member is in the water holding himself onto a sheet is he considered to be on board?

Stevie is referring to rule 47.2 which states: No person on board shall intentionally leave, except when ill or injured, or to help a person or vessel in danger, or to swim. A person leaving the boat by accident or to swim shall be back on board before the boat continues in the race.

One thing is for sure. These guys will have a hell of a climb to make when they tack.....


  1. Could be interesting when the Sydney Harbour skiffs try it.


  2. Sounds more like a 49.1 infringement to me: 49.1 Competitors shall use no device designed to position their bodies outboard, other than hiking straps and stiffeners worn under the
    thighs. Hmm...

  3. This technique gives a clear performance advantage and will require other to emulate it to stay competitive.

    The rules should not be interpreted to allow dangerous or foolhardy behaviour.

    My view is that your feet or some part of your torso should be in contact with the boat. So what they are doing is breaking Rule 47.2


  4. Boats with skippers (and crews) on trapeze were the the norm for Australian and NZ dinghy and catamaran classes from the late 1960's. It is much easier to steer an 'overpowered' boat from the wire and why would one ever want any other sort of boat.

    It was standard fare for the cat week regattas to show off by sailing like the 49er boys photographed. It only works on flat water as the skipper needs to trapese legs splayed or the tower collapses whereas it is always faster to trapeze with all load on one leg and ensure the crew is 'un-sprung' weight swaying as the boat is steered through the waves - like a laser of fin sailor without the pain.

    There was however a major controversy at a 505 worlds here when both skipper and crew wore harnesses and changed who would trapeze to suit the conditions and the manouvre. they won the protest but there was much gnashing of teeth.

  5. Hi All

    Here are a couple of videos of the techniqe:

    First is only on facebook and shows the techniqe when tacking. My concern here could be if coming back in to the boat could cause issues in regards to RRS 42, but this is not clear to me in the video since we cannot see if there is an effect in the sail:

    From my point of view RRS 47.2 is ok here since:
    - Both members of the crew are on the trapeze and sailing the boat.
    - No person on board shall intentionally leave: does not state that there must be contact between the crew and the hull at all times.

    Noodle: The 49'er class changes RRS 49.1 in their class rules:
    C.1.1(c): RRS 49.1 is amended such that both members of the crew may use trapeze.

    1. Thanx Jacob. I read those changes. What if one or both members of the crew used "high heels" or stilts? Would that be ok?

  6. Didn't Paul Elvstom win a 505 Worlds helming from the wire. I am sure he thought of standing on his crews shoulder.

    As 2 trapezes are allowed by the 49er class rules and both helm and crew are using devices allowed by class rules then there is no 49.1 infringement.

    The crew is still firmly attached to the boat via the trapeze. It seems difficult to argue that he has left the boat.

    Has a crew member standing on the shoulders of another crew member to recover a lost halyard or spi-pole topping lift (been there, done that, I was the lower crew!) "left the boat" because neither their feet nor their torso is in contact with the boat? Should the boat (a keelboat in this instance) cease to race while the crew is in the air? I think not.

    Looks like the class will have to draft a specific class rule.


  7. Even of no rule is broken, can the crewman be said to be in "normal position" vis-a-vis finish lines, the zone, overlap, mark-room?
    What an "obstruction" to a boat at a different speed!


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