Thursday 31 January 2008

Useful Books?

In the little time I've left, I'm currently trying to read two books which might benefit my understanding of the rules and and help me in the protest room.
Totally different and - being a fiction reader all my live - somewhat challenging.

The first one is "Room at the Mark" by Robert C. MacArthur, A history of the development of yachts, yacht clubs, yacht racing, and the racing rules.

Excerpt from page 2:
The word "yacht" came into the English language through one of those accidents of history only peripherally related to the subject. In 1649, upon the beheading of Charles I by Oliver Cromwell's followers, his young son fled in disguise and went into exile in Holland, where he remained until 1660. There he learned to sail. Shortly after the death of Cromwell in that year, the young prince was invited to return to England and ascend the throne. Thereupon, the City of Amsterdam and the Dutch East India Company, perhaps making a hopeful investment in future corporate advantage, gave him a small jaghtschiffe of about 50 feet to sail home in. He called the vessel a yacht. He soon had another sent from Holland for his brother, the Duke of York, and the two of them spent many a happy afternoon racing up and down the Thames. During their lifetimes, they owned a dozen more yachts. All built in England, they were built deeper and deeper until the last of them did not require the standard Dutch accessory for windward work - leeboards.

I knew we did something right, investing in the future....

The second on is "The Definitive Book of BODY LANGUAGE" by Allan & Barbara Pease.
From page 153:

Sailors beware, from now on I can tell if you are uncertain....

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Spanish Matchrace website

If you have a few minutes you should take a look at this Spanish Matchrace site.
Full of interresting cases, rules, idioms, appeals and some great photo's. I especially like the series on ENGLISH for ... Each month new English words with an explanation, on anything to do with sailing, water sport and maritime life, even swearwords.
They have even taken the effort to let you hear the rules! If you click on a link in that section someone starts reading out loud the Racing Rules of Sailing. Very good for improving your own language skills.

Kieler Woche 2008

Picked up on a news story about exciting things which are going to happen at Kieler Woche this year. Go to Kieler Woche extravanzaa: Moths, Women Match Race, legendary Twelves, Farr 40 debut, X-35 Europeans & German Offshore Championship on BYM Sailing & Sports News.

Now I understand why the chairman needs 30 instead of 23 judges and umpires. Looks like an exciting year. Kiel still is capable of innovation, after 126 years!

Tuesday 29 January 2008


In this part of the ISAF regulations, among other things, the requirements for appointment as an International Race official are regulated. A new version is just published on the ISAF web site: Go here to download the pdf-file.

I tried to make sense of the requirements of the different disciplines and find some comparison. The list is quite complicated and I had to go back and fort to get it right (hope I have):

(for initial appointment, in four years prior to application)
  • Served on three PCs for principle fleet race events, of which two on Int.Juries and one outside own country group. Reg.33.11.1(c)
  • Attended a IJ Seminar and Passed the IJ Test. Reg.33.11.1(a)&(b)
  • IJSC REFERENCE FORM (three by Chairman of Int.Jury) Reg.33.11.1(d)
(for re-appointment every four years)
  • Served on six PCs for principle race events, of which at least four fleet race events, three on Int.Juries and two outside own country group (this means if you are also an IU, you can use two principle match race events) Reg. 33.11.2
  • IJ REPORT FORM (every event)

(for initial appointment, in four years prior to application)
  • Acted as Umpire for eight principle match race events, of which one outside own country group or MNA (depends on your own MNA's group)Reg 33.12 (f)
  • IUSC REFERENCE FORM (three by Chief Umpire of a main event, but not for events prior to 7 November 2007). Reg. 33.12.(g)
  • Attended an IU Seminar and Passed the IU Test Reg 33.12 (c)&(d)
  • ISAF PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT FORM (passed once) Reg. 33.12.(e)
(for re-appointment every four years)
  • Acted as Umpire for eight principle match race events, of which one outside own country group or MNA (depends on your own MNA's group). Reg 33.12 (f)
  • IU REPORT FORM (every event)
  • Passed the IU Test. Reg 33.12 (d)
  • IUSC REFERENCE FORM (three by Chief Umpire of a main event, but not for events prior to 7 November 2007). Reg. 33.12.(g)
  • Assessment by one or more members of the GROUPING PANEL (secretly at main events every year, if a grouping panel member is attending). Reg. 33.19

(for initial appointment, in four years prior to application)
  • PRO in four principal and four other events Reg 33.14 (a)&(b)
  • Attended an IRO Seminar and Passed the IRO Test. Reg. 33.14 (f)
  • IRO REPORT FORM (every event)
  • Letter of recommendation from Class Association or OA. Reg 33.14 (c)
(for re-appointment every four years)
  • PRO in four principal and four other events Reg 33.14 (a)&(b)
  • IRO REPORT FORM (every event)
  • Letter of recommendation from Class Association or OA. Reg 33.14 (c)

Perhaps an excel-sheet makes more sense? This is what I came up with:Most of the requirements are the same as last year, with one major exception. As far as I can ascertain to be re-appointed as an IU, you need 3 IUSC Reference forms filled in by the Chief Umpire. I wonder how a chief umpire fills this requirement. He or she must do at least 3 events not as a chief, as far as I can see.
I've looked for the FORM on the site, but it is not available as of yet.

If you think I got it wrong or have improvements, please use the comments button. This is almost more complicated than the rules......

RYA Winter Challenge Act 4 (2)

UPDATE: Regatta report on the RYA site: Green wins chance to defend Winter Challenge crown.
As promised a post about the Match Racing at Queen Mary Sailing Club last weekend. This was act 4 in the RYA Winter Challenge. We had a great weekend with very good sailing conditions on the Queen Mary Reservoir. With my brand new digital camera I took some pictures and if you are interested, you can see them all on Flickr. Go Here
Please excuse the lack of professionalism in my photos and leave me some room for improvement.As for any rules issues, I'm always amazed that each event seems to bring something new. This time it involved a couple of questions about an incident on the finishing line. Let me first tell you about the incident:
In the final run of a match, two boats separated about half way down the leg. At about 6 or 7 boat lengths before the finish they came together again and after both gybed a couple of times ended up with Yellow clear ahead and Blue clear astern entering the two BL-zone. The distance was however minimal. In the 2BL- zone the spinnaker of the trailing boat sometimes overlapped the front boat and then, a few seconds later, did not. After Yellow crossed the finish, her crew started to prepare to pull down the spinnaker. She luffed slightly. Blue, who was trailing her, within a distance of less than a meter, preliminary wanted to pass to windward, decided, after seeing that slight luff, to go to leeward. By that time Yellow had cleared the finish line completely and her spinnaker was no longer pulling. Just after Blue crossed the finish line, but not yet cleared the line, there was contact between the bow of Blue and the starboard side of the tiller of Yellow.
Blue kept her spinnaker full and ran into Yellow. There was damage, which later was estimated to exceed repair costs of more than a 100 pounds.

Together with another umpire I was following this match. We waited for a call from either boat. It did come, but - in our opinion - much to late. It took Yellow about 30 seconds and came after the spinnaker was lowered completely and she was close hauled. The Yankee flag was hoisted together with a red flag, indicating a red-flag protest by Yellow.

We did the protest hearing after racing on shore and under RRS 14 the PC decided that the trailing boat was the only one who could have prevented the collision and she was penalized with half a point in her results.
I've captured the incident in a TSS-diagram:

And here's the download link to the original TSS-file: UMP_LTW004.tss
Talking with the helm of Yellow he claimed his crew needed to bring down the spinnaker and he himself went to fetch the Yankee flag, a task normally performed by one of the crew. The finish line was fairly close to shore (about a 100 meters) and the flag was in front of the boat.
We discussed the incident in our Umpire debrief and had the following questions:
  1. Should we have acknowledged Yellow's Yankee-flag and penalized Blue as keep clear boat? RRS 18.2(c)
  2. Rules of Part 2 still applied, but one boat (Yellow) was no longer racing. Can you protest another boat in a Match Race when you are no longer racing?
  3. Rule 22 states that: if reasonably possible, a boat not racing shall not interfere with a boat that is racing.... Should Yellow have kept up her spinnaker in full until after Blue had cleared the line, and thereby diminish the chance that Blue ran in to her transom?
In our discussion we did not come to a clear answer and tabled the matter for later.
Please give me your comments.

Monday 28 January 2008

US Sailing Judges Study Questions 2003

For this weeks rules test I've dug out another golden oldie: from 2003; the US SAILING Judges Workshop Study Questions. In this test you have to answer 100 statements/questions with True or False. If you want, you can also find out in addition, which rule is involved. There are a couple of questions regarding specific USA regulations, only interesting for those of you who participate in PCs in North America. If you don't, just skip those.
As always, if you need help or have comments, don't hesitate to use the comments-button below.

This evening I'll prepare tomorrow's post about the RYA Winter Challenge act 4, I've been to this weekend. We did have a couple of interesting calls. I'll also upload my very first - self made - event photos. Please be patient.

Friday 25 January 2008

RYA Winter Challenge Act 4

Later this afternoon I'm off to London for a weekend of Match Race Umpiring at the RYA Winter Challenge Act 4. I'll try to work on my lap-top on some of the comments received yesterday and a couple of new posts for next week, but don't think I will be able to post on Saturday or Sunday. If I can, I'll bring back a couple of action shots and a rules issue or two, from the races at Queen Mary Sailing Club.

Appendix P changed in 2008

Instead of waiting for the next rule cycle after the Olympic Games, the council of the ISAF approved that the anticipated change in Appendix P, can be used already in 2008 by changing the Sailing Instructions (SI)
As a result of these decisions, the Racing Rules Working Party has written a new version of Appendix P in Sailing Instruction format that can be used at any event by a simple sailing instruction. They called it ‘SI Appendix P’ in order to minimise confusion, especially for competitors. This new version was used at the 49er/29er World Championship and Sail Melbourne without problems and with the support of all the classes sailing.

There are a number of key differences from Appendix P in the 2005-2008 rule book. The automatic ‘retire from all races in the series’ has been removed for the third penalty, unless the competitor fails to retire from the race.
Judges on the water now ‘penalize’ a boat. They no longer ‘protest’ the boat. This is really how the vast majority of sailors see the Yellow flag and how many judges talk. So now the boat has no option but to take the appropriate penalty as in the table above. Judges can no longer hide behind the competitors ‘acknowledging the breach’!

You can download the complete ROC Newsflash here.

Holland - Friesland Team Racing

Yesterday evening I went to a rules-lecture for some local Team Racing sailors.
Twice a year two Dutch provinces, Holland and Fryslan, compete in a couple of team races in a National Class boat called "Regenboog" The boats are among the biggest wooden boats sailed here on the inland lakes. Both teams designate 5 boats from there fleets to sail against each other and we as umpires, chase them in 5 rubber boats with 2 umpires each. Normal team racing is done in teams of 3 boats, but tradition dictates these guys use five. This means it gets complicated and hectic very quickly. Not only for the sailors themselves, but for umpires as well.
It is, however, a sight to see. A lot of spectators, who of course want to be as close as possible, and when there's a little wind, big waves. Spectacular!

We discussed the casebook for team racing extensively yesterday evening. I was not there to give the lecture, but to tell the team about the viewpoint of the umpires. In direct judged sailing this has an impact on how you should treat some of the rules.

There was a discussion on the obligation of a boat who had received a penalty, to sail well clear of the other boats as soon as possible. Can such a boat force a opposite team boat within the rules, say to windward. A boat does not loose her rights under the rules as long as she is not taking the penalty, but if she luffs an opponent head to wind, is that still " sailing clear as soon as possible"? She could have gybed and luffed the other way, that would get her well clear much sooner.
What is your view?

Thursday 24 January 2008

Facts Found

In continuation of yesterdays post a new TSS-diagram.
A little different than usual, because the appropriate rules are included in each position, and I'll give you the decision: Yellow is DSQ for breaking rule 11
Here is the animated and static picture:

The purpose of this exercise is to write the facts found and draw a conclusion which matches this decision.

When you are in a real protest-hearing this is something which you should never do! It is called "cooking the books". When you have a conclusion and/or decision, you can always find a way to write the appropriate facts. And it should be the other way round. However, for the purpose of this exercise - it is allowed.
Try to write a list of facts covering each position, without drawing any conclusions in that list.
Use the comments button to publish your view on facts found and then draw a conclusion.

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Efficient Protest Hearings

There's always a certain time pressure on the PC when doing protest hearings. The sailors don't want to spend waiting longer than necessary, the scorer wants to finalize the results asap, and the organizer has the sponsor giving prizes at 16:00 hours. In short, if a hearing can be conducted efficiently and in as short a time as possible, the better. The PC however needs a certain amount of time to give all the parties and witnesses the opportunity to tell their side of things, there's a procedure which must be followed, and a few minutes to discuss the rules would be appreciated as well.

In an International Jury you have the luxury to be with 5 people. To be as efficient as possible you can designate a couple of tasks individually. There's a designated panel chairman (not necessary the same as the chairman of the jury), you can have a people fetcher, the person who calls parties, witnesses etc and runs interference between RC and PC, and there's someone who's designated a scribe. It is not necessary that every jury member asks questions, if all issues have been covered by others, there's no need. Therefore a scribe can concentrate on writing the facts found during the hearing when parties and witnesses tell there stories. He will have already a list of facts found prepared together with a preliminary conclusion and decision, when the hearing part is finished. If the issue is clear and nobody has any doubts or wants to talk about a particular detail, the protest can be decided very quickly. Sometimes the issue hinges on one fact, i.e. there was an overlap at the 2 BL-zone or not. The scribe prepares his list with an or/or option. and prepares two conclusions/decisions.
Instead of loosing a lot of time after the hearing in writing all the facts found, this can reduced to only one or two key facts, which need to be discussed. After the decision is reached, you can immediately call back the parties and use the list already prepared to read out the result to them. Filling in the protest-form is something you can do afterwards.

In your PC with only 3 persons this is a little harder, but still it's a good idea to designate a chairman, a scribe and a question-asker. That way - at least partly - you can reduce protest time.
To be a scribe takes practice. You must be able to write down what is said in the format of facts found, while still listening to the parties. You must ask a question you need to know if the others haven't. But if you do a little preparation it is certainly do-able. Of course some people are better at it than others, but why not try?
To be able to write quickly I use a hearing- form where I can keep track of who's saying what. You can download an English copy here and a Dutch version here

Tuesday 22 January 2008

International Judges Seminar and Exam (3)

Continued from this post.
The IJ Test is composed in 3 parts: The first part (A) is about rules in Part 2 of the Racing Rules of Sailing, the second part (B) mostly about procedures and the other rules and finally the third part (C) in which you are required to write 2 protests including facts found, conclusion, rules that apply and a decision.

Part A is about the right-of-way rules and definitions. You are presented with a situation / diagram and a couple of facts. You have to answer 5 or 6 questions about that situation. Each right answer earns you points, each wrong answer gets you negative points which are deducted. I still have a couple of test-question - which I'm not allowed to publish - so I'll try to make a few similar in the future and publish those, to give you a idea of the structure and level.

Part B is about all those procedural issues, who's allowed to protest who and why or why not. How a Jury is suppose to be composed, how a hearing is to be conducted, all kinds of request for redress, OCS, BFD, etc. etc. That kind of stuff. Not the most glamorous - I know - but essential if you want to be an IJ. At International Events there's no possibility of appeal, therefore all issues must be decided by the Jury. Measurement issues, class rule interpretations, entry requirements, NoR, SI's, scoring etc. And lets not forget, all rule 69 issues. In short, you become the final say so in all matters and better be ready for the task. A jury can overrule the Organizing Authorities or the Race Committee if need be, and you need to know why you have to reach that unpopular decision.
Again, as in part A, a case is presented on which several questions are put to you. Don't expect to pass on the multiple choice principle. Answers are similar enough to have to know which one is correct, instead of guessing.
Best advice I can give you in answering part A and B, is to read very carefully what is asked, don't assume it is a trick question, don't assume anything that is not stated, other than it being a normal situation. The rules are to be used as they are written, not as you think they should be. The same is true of these exam questions.

Finally Part C, writing two protests. You are presented with a situation and a couple of facts, by means of a diagram. One or both boats have handed in valid protests and you are asked to write it. Now, because you cannot ask the parties or witnesses, you will have to "guess" a couple of facts. That's perfectly alright. Try to stick to the diagram, but even if you don't, that is not the issue.
First, you need to write down all relevant facts to make a decision based on the rules. Don't leave one out. If a boat has changed tack, somewhere in between, she either passed head to wind or she gybed. Include those facts in your list if they are relevant to your conclusions and decision.
Secondly, you need to be consistent. If you draw a conclusion which is not based on a facts found, you are in trouble. Any fact found should have meaning i.e. is needed to draw a conclusion. Simply put, if you disqualify a boat on rule 10, you better have a fact stating one boat is on port and one boat is on starboard tack. Sounds obvious, but needs practicing to get it right. Again for instance, if there is not a fact stating that a boat touched a mark, you cannot use rule 31.1 in your decision.
Third, in your facts found, you should not have any conclusions. For instance, stating that a boat luffed to avoid the other, is already a conclusion. Better is to find as fact that at x meter apart, boat A luffed and that boat B didn't change course. You can then in your protest conclusions state that A complied with rule 14 by luffing to avoid the contact. Finally, stick to the terminology of the rules. Use the words of the relevant rule(s) to state your conclusion. (Look at this posts how to do that)

My advice on how to use your time: go over part A and B in about an hour each, you'll have 30 minutes to do part C. (60-60-30 for Non-English and 50-50-20 for English) Don't dwell on a question to long, there are plenty more. Bring your watch and check. You'd be amazes how quickly time flies, when you are concentrating.....
You are allowed to use a (clean) rulebook in your language, but I would suggest you bring an English one (or both). Don't expect that you have time to look things up, but for short checks it's handy. You should be totally familiar with the structure if the rulebook, so you don't waste time finding what you want to check. Basically you should be able to answer without a rulebook, but you can check for instance, a rule number or the maximum weight of clothing or stuff like that. If you are not sure about an answer make a small circle at the top of the page. If you have time at the end, you can back to the pages with a circle and think some more. In my experience however, it doesn't help second guessing yourself. But sometimes it's the other questions who have given you the insight in answering that one.

Passing grade is 80% for each part. Which means that you need to score 80% of the questions correctly in each of part A and B, and have a 80% score in part C.
Fail one part - no matter how good the others - and you fail the exam. My latest information was, that you then only had to resit the failed part, not the whole exam, but that turned out to be incorrect: When you fail one part you have to do the whole exam again, but not within 6 months. Most seminar-exams have a pass-rate of about 20-25%. One in four or five. Results are confidencial. If you want to know, you'll have to ask individual participants, ISAF does not give information on that subject. They do publish a general report on the website about conducted seminars.

This post concludes the series on IJ-seminars. Don't hesitate to ask if you want to know more. If I don't know the answer, I'll try to find out, or point you in the right direction.


Version 2.5C is released
Main changes are:
  • Spinnaker (symetric and asymetric)
  • Animated GIF with only one situation at a time
  • One situation or cumulative display while Step by step or Animate
  • Boats are displayed according to situation number (Last on top)
  • Better boat selection when multiple boats in the same place
  • Help still available when TSS is started from a mail or a web page
Go here for the download link

UPDATE: 22 January 2008; 20:28
TSS has also opened up a Forum to discuss all things related to the program.
You can report bugs or make suggestions on how to improve.

Go and have a look and register at:

Monday 21 January 2008

Pre Event Checklist (Match Race)

New on the ISAF Site: Pre event checklists for Chief Umpires:

Following is a set of issues that need to be addressed before the event. This check list is helpful for the OA in planning the event, and should be communicated with the OA Umpire Liaison as soon as you are appointed. For lower graded events and local events, this list may be too formal and detailed. For a local Grade 5 one day event, many of the items on this list will not be necessary. Feel free to modify as appropriate. Many times, the details can be covered in a phone call to the OA.

For higher graded events or events with a long history, likely these items have already been taken care of; however, this check list helps to establish a working relationship with the OA.

I've put the download page in the FORMS list in the side bar, or go here

Nationale Umpire Opleiding 2008

Nieuwsbericht van het Watersportverbond over MATCH RACEN;

Umpire opleiding start op zaterdag 9 februari 2008

Op zaterdag 9 februari a.s. start de Umpire-cursus op de Braassemermeer. De cursus bestaat uit 6 dagen en zal worden gecombineerd met de training van de Dames Yngling Talentploeg en de matchrace evenementen van de J22 klasse. De cursusdata zijn 9/10 februari, 16 februari, 23 februari en 1/2 maart. De onderdelen die zullen worden behandeld zijn:
• het besturen en positioneren van de rubberboot;
• de tactiek en regels van het matchracen
• de communicatie aan boord.

Naast een aantal theorieblokken zal het grootste deel van de cursus op het water worden gegeven. De cursus is zodanig opgezet dat het eerste weekend intensief zal worden getraind in combinatie met de matchrace training van de Dames Yngling Talentploeg. De twee zaterdagen die volgen zal de training worden gecombineerd met de matchrace evenementen van de J22 klasse. Het laatste weekend moet alle opgedane kennis en ervaring worden ingezet tijdens de Matchrace Spring Cup. Een ISAF Grade 4 evenement van de J22 klasse.

De cursus biedt plaats aan maximaal 9 cursisten. Minimale eisen zijn het diploma Wedstrijd- en protestcomitélid, of voldoende aantoonbare ervaring met jureren en/of umpiren. De kosten bedragen € 70,- (niet-leden € 100,-).

Via onderstaande link komt u op de pagina waar u een inschrijfformulier kunt downloaden.


ISAF Race Official Appointments 2008

New on the ISAF Web site: Race Officials appointments for ISAF Events and Regional Games.
  • 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition
  • 38th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2008
  • ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2008
  • 2008 Paralympic Games
2008 Olympic Classes World Championships:
  • 49er World Championship
  • Laser World Championship
  • Laser Radial World Championship
  • RS:X Men’s and Women’s World Championships
  • 470 Men’s and Women’s World Championship
  • Finn World Championship (Finn Gold Cup)
  • Yngling World Championship
Download page:

RRS Test NASS 2002

This Monday another Navel Academy Sailing Squadron rules test. This one is from 2002. NASS Rules Test 2002. I particularly like part IV, where you have to fill in the additional facts or options.
Again, this was written under the previous rule cycle (2000-2004). Nevertheless you should try to answer as if it the questions are asked today.
I've put the complete NASS Test 2001 from the last two weeks under FILES in the sidebar.

Sunday 20 January 2008


The third Umpire Call for you today, is derived from a America's Cup incident:
As before, click on the picture to see the animated sequence.

What is your decision?

Static image: UMP_LTW003s.gif
Answers after the break
Umpire Calls Directory


Tactical Sailing Situations diagram: UMP_LTW003.tss
What the umpires saw:

* Before the start Blue was sailing down wind on port tack.
* Yellow completed a tack onto starboard , reached a collision course at position 3
* Blue did nothing until position 3 and gybed in position 4.
* Yellow had to alter her course in position 4 to avoid a collision.

Rules applicable: Rule 10 and 15
Blue keeps clear and Yellow has to give room, which she does
No rules broken, no penalty; Green/White Flag

Saturday 19 January 2008

An unusual Mark rounding

A couple of years back at Kiel we (the portest panel I was in) had a very unusual case involving 3 boats and a leeward mark rounding. I've put it in a TSS-diagram and here are two pictures. static and animated.
Facts Found:
  • Yellow, Green and Blue, all Finns in Race 3 on Course E with 2 Beaufort and calm Sea, all approaching the leeward mark (4) on Port Tack.
  • Yellow entered the 2 LZ when Green was 4 BL and Blue 6 BL astern.
  • There were several boats in front of Yellow, with very low speed, rounding the mark.
  • Yellow luffed beside the mark, inside the 2 BL zone, to head to wind.
  • Green entered the 2 BL zone with Blue 1 BL astern
  • Yellow passed head to wind and bore off.
  • Green sailed a course between Yellow and the mark
  • Yellow gybed when Green's bow was next to the mark
  • Green rounded the mark, Yellow luffed to a reach
  • Green passed the mark, Blue sailed a course between Yellow and the mark
  • Yellow luffed to close hauled, Blue also luffed very hard and hit the mark
  • There was contact between the starboard front end of Yellow and the port front side of Blue, no damage.
  • Both Yellow and Blue protested, no two rounds penalty were taken by either boat.
You can download the TSS-diagram here. If you play it in animation, perhaps it gets a little clearer.

The reason that Yellow didn't round the mark when she first arrived, was that there were a couple of boats parked there, and rounding at that moment for Yellow would have taken her a long way round, with the added disadvantage that she would have come out leeward of them as well. Instead Yellow decided to wait and do a circle inside the two lengths zone next to the mark. The panel I was in, all but decided - including me - that Blue had broken 18.2(c) , when one, who also was an IU, asked: What about Yellows tack?. Yellows tack? He entered clear ahead.... but wait, you are right, he did a full circle including a tack and a gybe.
Can you figure out who was disqualified?

International Judges Seminar and Exam (2)

Continued from this post.
Most Seminars run for 3 days. First two days you'll spend in the classroom going over all the aspects of becoming an IJ. How Jury's operate, how you, as a member, should behave, what is expected of you in the team and a lot about procedures. You'll go over how to write a protest, the difference between facts found and conclusions and so-on. But don't expect to much about the rules and cases. At that level you are expected to know them already. Of course some complicated cases and rules are presented, but mostly it's about the stuff in the judges manual. You'll get the opportunity to practice a little with a short test or an assignments in groups. There will be some time for discussions, but basically you have to stay alert in a class room from 9 till 6 with few breaks. Most seminars are done by two instructors, so while they play tag, you have to keep up all the time. The presentations however are very good and entertaining, so it is not all a drag .

Do however find a place to stay as close as possible to the class-room. Preferably within walking distance or at the same venue. You can then use the little time you have left over as best as you can. Either gathering your thoughts, or going over the days events or just getting enough sleep, instead of traveling to and from the venue. In all likelihood there will be a diner organized for all, on either the evening of the first or the second day, by the local club. If at all possible try to arive a day earlier. Most of you will have traveled a long way and to do a full day class-room on top of that, is not a good idea.

On the third day after a short morning class room session, you can do the IJ-exam. Everybody who has English as there mother-language, has two hours to do it and everybody who hasn't, two and a half hours. I can assure you, unless you are very very quick, you will need that time in full!
Most people who fail the test, say it is because the have not enough time to read the question and understand what is asked. If you practice that skill - reading and answering test questions in English - you will have less problems with time and can concentrate more on coming up with the correct answer(s). So my first advice: start writing protest in English, start reading all you can get your hands on about the rules, in English, do everything in English. International Jurys operate in that language and it is essential you develop your skill in that area.

After the exam you'll get a short breather and lunch and then you'll be giving the opportunity to go over the answers of the exam. (You can opt out, some of my fellow participants did that). Now let me try to alleviate some anxiety you might experience. I was very confident about the results after I finished the writing, and I passed the exam with a good grade, but after that answer session, I was convinced I had failed! Because you don't know how each question is scored (there are more points in difficult questions) each wrong answer gets blown up in your mind, as being one too many. I felt like shit, pardon my language. The results are send out some weeks after the seminar, and it was a big relieve to get a positive result. In hindsight, I now know why some didn't want to hear the answers.
So, as a second advice: don't let the answers get you down. You either passed or you didn't. Treat them as another opportunity to learn or just don't go.

Next time I'll tell you about the actual IJ-exam.

Friday 18 January 2008

'Flog the Blog' Day (2)

I've been blogging now for 2 months and counting. 1694 visits with an average of 27.46 a day, 498 unique visitors so far from 44 countries and 332 places, who stayed on average 5,42 min and looked at 2,47 pages.
I'm not sure if this is good or shabby. Seems to me, there are a lot of sailors out there, but perhaps not to many who have the same passion for the rules....? Anyway, this subject will probably be only interesting to a small percentage, but that's fine
As before, you my readers, are urged on this day to tell me what I'm doing wrong, tell me what you want changed, tell me what you think is an interesting subject to discuss, or just tell me to shut up en get on with it.

Do you want more Umpire calls or do you want more personal experiences posts? Posts for the coming weeks will include some more on IJ-Seminars and Exam, the usual test questions on Monday's and some history of the rules. I've also decided to actually buy a camera and hopefully do some decent pictures of events.

I've put a reminder in my calender on the 18th each month and this is the second time after starting, that sweet 18 has come around. Don't spare me, I can take it.

Thursday 17 January 2008

Rule 18.2 (a) discussion

A fellow judge send me a couple of TSS diagrams with rule 18 situations. This one is a representation from the slide with case 3 in the Rule 18 Workshop you can find under FILES. When I looked at it, I got caught by the fact that Yellow also could be at fault...
Here's the diagram - I changed it slightly to make the point - animated and static:
These are the facts:
Yellow entered the 2 length zone windward and overlapped with Blue on starboard tack. Windward mark was to left to starboard. Blue went head to wind, Yellow had room between the mark and Blue. Yellow changed course abruptly and her stern hit Blue starboard side. There was no damage and Yellow tacked around the mark.

Now here's my question: If Yellow just did a normal tack, you would disqualify Blue for not giving enough room as the outside boat (RRS 18.2(a)), but what if Yellow changed course so abruptly that contact occurred, which would not have happened if Yellow would have tacked normally? Under which rule would or could you disqualify her? Or is Yellow free to do as she pleases?

Please give me your view by using the comments.

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Finished? Results of the POLL

In last weeks poll, which ended today, in total 13 people voted, with the following answers:While this is clearly a dare for most visitors to commit to an answer, because only a handful of people voted, I'm having fun with it, so polling will return. Perhaps I should include a grand prize? Anyway, here's my view on the answer of the Poll question: When does the RC Score the boat as finished? If you want to look at the question again first, go to this post, otherwise read on:

If the committee-members on board of the finishing vessel are up to par, this boat will appear twice on the finishing list! Once in position 4 and once in position 10.
Both times she crosses the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark. But, you cannot score a boat twice in a race. The definition of finish goes on:.... , either for the first time or after taking a penalty under rule 31.2 or 44.2 or, under rule 28.1, after correcting an error made at the finishing line.
I would not hold it against the committee that they don't know what the boat has done between position 4 and position 10. They are there to finish. In all likely hood a couple of other boats will have finished in between and you can't expect them to follow each boat after they have crossed the line. But you can depend on the fact that if a boat has crossed the line twice, she has done something in between to comply with the last part of the definition. From this particular diagram she's corrected a error under rule 28.1 (sailing the course) made at the finish. So the committee should cross out the finish in position 4 and tell the scorer to record the second finish. In my opinion the correct answer is answer 3 : in position 10.

If I have to input a finish list as a scorer, with twice the same number on it, I always record the second position. If that turns out to be a mistake in writing, I will have one boat left over at the end. I can then check against the second list or ask the finish committee. Or the sailor will claim redress after the result is published. In 90% of the cases however, it is because the boat had to take a penalty or correct a course error.

Have a look at Q&A 2006-003 on this page, which deals with this issue also.

Tuesday 15 January 2008

International Judges Seminar and Exam (1)

I've received a mail from a Canadian Judge who wanted some information about the International Judges Seminars and IJ Exams. I've promised him to do a couple of posts on my experiences in that field. My IJ seminar was a couple of years back, but according to my information, it is still basically run the same way.

Before I talk about the actual seminar, I want you to answer a question. Are you ready to go? Or, to put in another way, what do you expect of a seminar?
The personal level and skills needed to become an IJ and pass the exam, is high. ISAF expects candidates to have a whole list of prerequisites. Which ones, can be found here: ij_guidelines_attendees.pdf. The application to attend is screened by the ISAF and they will, dependent on how many have applied, look for the best "prospects". Maximum number of participants is about 24 and minimum about 12.

One of the ways to make sure you are ready - if your local structure doesn't provide you with enough feedback - is to go to an International Judges Clinic. At a clinic there's lots of room to talk about the rules, call books, cases, manuals and becoming an IJ. There's no test and you can use it to become aware of what you still have to do and must concentrate on, to reach the required level.

If you want to go to a seminar just to get the experience and learn as much as possible before starting your International career, please feel free to do so. My personal opinion is that you should only attend one, after you've had plenty of local experience, and after you've done a couple of events in an International Jury. But I realize that is not always possible. All I can tell you, if you need help getting appointed to a jury, is to use your contacts. Express your desire to reach that level and ask for guidance and help from your fellow countryman/woman who already are IJ's. Jury's for events are mostly composed based on who knows who. You can also ask ISAF for help. Or use the Eurosaf - exchange program. If you cannot get enough experience locally, be prepared to pay your own travel-expenses, that way the organization/club gets a foreign judge, for the price of a local one. That might tip the scale in your favor because of the requirements of Appendix N. You can expect that they give you a place to stay and feed you.

If you do get appointed to an international jury, have a look at the IJSC Reference Form and talk to the chairman before the event, so he knows you want his opinion on your behavior and skill at the end. Best way is to E-mail him or her before the event, that way he/she can give you some advice and tell you what to expect. At events you'll meet more IJ's and if they like what you show them, will try to help you get more opportunities, if asked. Also have a look at Becoming an International Judge on the ISAF website.

Next time something about how the seminar is structured.

Monday 14 January 2008

Favorite Sailing Photos

In response to this post from Adam on Messing About In Sailboats, here are my Favorite Sailing Photos of 2007
iShares Cup, Amsterdam, Day 2: Tommy Hilfiger racing along the IJ Haven canal. ©Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/OC Events
You can find more at ocvision

RRS Test NASS 2001 (2)

This Monday's post is the second part of the test made for the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron in 2001: NASS Test 2001 part IV-VI.
I'm also preparing some information about the IJ-Seminars to answer a question from a Canadian Judge. This takes a little longer than I anticipated, because I want to verify some new issues. I'll get there asap.
The poll (see sidebar) will run out in two days. All of you haven't voted yet, take a guess.

Saturday 12 January 2008

Sail Regatta Scoring Program: ZW

If you are looking for a good Sail Regatta Scoring-program have a look at ZW. We use it for our local regatta's big and small. One of the features I like is that the competitor -entry list can be set up in almost any program (we use Excel) and then imported into ZW. No need for painstaking type work. This is what the programmer himself says on the ZW homepage:

The Sail Regatta Scoring program ZW is used for the administration and scoring of regattas. ZW can handle results upto 60 races per series. There are no limits for the number of competitors, the number of classes or the number of fleets. ZW supports the following languages: English, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. Support for other languages is possible.

The following scoring systems are supported:
  • Bonus-Point System (formerly known as Olympic)
  • Austrian scoring (starters)
  • Austrian scoring (registration for series)
  • Low-Point System
  • Low-Point System with .75 score for place 1

The program is based on the regulations of ISAF, as described in the Racing Rules of Sailing. The program can calculate with discards. The number of discards is completely user defined. Results can be calculated with the following handicap formulas: IMS; ORC-CLUB; SW-factor; Texel Rating; ISAF SCHRS; Portsmouth; PHRF; IRC; IRM

Much attention has been given to the entry of finishing sequences. Finish lists need not be separated per fleet. ZW will match the fleet for each entered boat. In most cases the entry of just the sail number will be sufficient. Only if a sail number is duplicated in the regatta, the program will ask for the complete sail number (incl. Class and Country). After decisions of a Jury, you will be able to quickly present revised Results. Competitor listings by fleet or by sail no, finish lists and results can be printed. In addition, lists of not yet paying competitors (black list), lists of duplicating sail no's and address labels can be printed. ZW can prepare HTML pages with results for immediate publication onto the Internet.

You will have to register to download it, but it's free and because the Dutch National Authority supports it, it will be maintained and updated. There's even a forum (although not very active) for questions, tips and tricks.


_______animated image______________________ static image________

The Rapid Response Match Racing Call 2007-002 has resurfaced on the ISAF website. It was - and still is - not reachable on the dedicated response calls' page, but has appeared on the recent document list. Go here: RRMRC 2007-002
The call itself talks about rule 18.1, 18.2(c) and 18.2(d)
- Rounding and Passing Marks and Obstructions: When This Rule Applies,
- Rounding and Passing Marks and Obstructions: Giving Room; Keeping Clear
Interesting is that rule 18.2(c) applies to the boat who entered the zone clear ahead, much longer than 18.2(d)! As long as the clear astern boat is still passing the mark, the clear ahead boat can gybe in front of it, protected by 18.2(c), only restricted by 16.1. The latter, because he's no longer changing course "to round or pass" the mark, and 18.2(d) ceases to apply.

Friday 11 January 2008


Another Umpire Call for you today:
As before, click on the picture to see the animated sequence
J22; Beaufort 3; Calm Sea.
Blue & Yellow approach windward mark.
Blue enters 2-length zone clear ahead.
Yellow establishes an inside overlap in pos 3.
Blue protests in pos 5.
Yellow leaves the zone clear ahead..
What is your decision?
Static image: UMP_LTW002s.gif
Answers after the break
Umpire Calls Directory

Rules applicable:
RRS 18.2(c) (pos 1, Yellow keeps clear)
RRS 18.2 (c) switches off in pos 3 because Blue passes head to wind
RRS 18.2 (a) Yellow becomes inside boat in pos 3
Blue keeps clear.
No rules broken, no penalty
; Green/White Flag

Thursday 10 January 2008


Het komt vaak voor dat een protestbehandeling niet in de eerste plaats gedaan wordt omdat men de regelovertreder wil straffen in de wedstrijd, maar omdat men de schade wil verhalen die is ontstaan bij een aanvaring. Als protestcommissie ben je echter niet aangesteld om aansprakelijkheid toe te wijzen, je bent alleen maar verantwoordelijk voor toepassing van de regels. Dus, om een boot te diskwalificeren bij een regelovertreding.

Regel 68 verklaart verder dat schadegevallen die het gevolg zijn van een overtreding van enige regel, moeten worden geregeld door de bepalingen, als die er zijn, van de nationale autoriteit. Het Watersportverbond heeft geen bepalingen hierover.

Kortom, het is aan de Verzekeringsmaatschappij van de boot, om aansprakelijkheid toe te kennen of te accepteren. Veel wedstrijdboten hebben in hun verzekering een clausule dat er aan wedstrijden zal worden deelgenomen, met de implicatie dat de Regels voor Wedstrijdzeilen de bepalende regels zijn voor toekennen van aansprakelijkheid. Als de zeiler dus met de uitspraak van de protestcommissie zijn claim kan onderbouwen, zullen 8 van de 10 verzekeringen dit als voldoende vinden om schade te vergoeden.

Echter, daartoe heeft de partij in het protest een schriftelijke uitspraak nodig. Hij wil daarmee niet in Hoger Beroep, maar hij wil daarmee naar de verzekering. Als protestcommissies dus een volledige schriftelijke uitspraak verstrekken is dat eigenlijk al een stap te ver. In de afgelopen jaren verstrekken wij in zo'n geval geen schriftelijke uitspraak, maar een zogenaamde "Verklaring voor Verzekering". Dat is niet meer dan een schriftelijke verslaglegging van het protest, samen met de conclusies en de van toepassing zijnde regels. Geen vastgestelde feiten en geen beslissing. Geen feiten, want dat kan de zeiler best zelf aan de maatschappij uitleggen en geen beslissing, want het is niet interessant voor de maatschappij of iemand in de wedstrijd al dan niet is gestraft.

Ik heb een file gemaakt hoe zo'n verklaring voor de verzekering er uit zou kunnen zien. Als je de velden naloopt en invult heb je een verklaring die in de meeste gevallen geaccepteerd wordt.
Verz verkl P01-2000.doc
Ik heb pas één keer daarna aanvullende vragen van de verzekering gekregen.

Wednesday 9 January 2008


Trying out a new feature: Polling
You can answer the following question in the sidebar:
(click on the picture)

Answers after the week has run out.

Tuesday 8 January 2008


In a Post a couple of weeks back on Desert Sea by Pat a comprehensive list for Race officers on Race Equipment was published. I've asked Pat and he provided me with his files; I've given them a place among the files so you can all download a copy and start using them. There are 3 variations:
Race Equipment Checklist.doc ; the complete checklist in Word
RC Equip Checklist.xls; the complete checklist in Excel
Race Equipment Checklist limited.doc; a limited checklist in Word

Monday 7 January 2008

RRS Test NASS 2001 (1)

For this Monday the first part of a test made for the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron in 2001. It is therefore a little old, but you can still get some practice from it: NASS rules Test 2001 part I-III.pdf
Half the skill you need as an IJ is to be able to answer questions you've never heard before. And sometimes the question asked is not specific enough, and needs to be reformulated before it can be answered. What is the expression: "Think outside the box?". If you don't know what the answer could be, translate the question to the current rule-book and try to answer that. And as always, please don't hesitate to comment or let me know what your solutions are.

If you have the time you can also have a look at the website of the NASS. True to there nature, you can find - with a little digging - a lot of information about procedures, safety and boat handling.

Sunday 6 January 2008

Grinding till it Squeals

It seems my understanding of all those Sailing terms is lacking. On this website page from the correct meaning is displayed.
For instance; a Shackle = a device even harder to open under pressure than a virgin's bra! or Inside Overlap = The part of a race that resembles a political debate. And what about Winch: A thing you grind till it squeals and Wench: A thing you grind till it squeals. I'll spare you who's designated the nut attached to the rudder through a steering mechanism.
I wonder what these guys would make of the definitions Overlap or Two-Length Zone?

Saturday 5 January 2008


In the coming time I want also to do something for Umpires on this blog.
Since umpiring revolves around making a call after a boat has protested, I'll draw up a situation in TSS and give a - limited - number of facts, after which you can then decide. In each situation you can use all flags available to umpires: green/white, blue, yellow, red and black. To start with, you can look up what all the flags mean.

Please study the diagrams carefully. They are as accurate as I can make them, to describe the case I want to present. I'll give you a link to the original TSS-diagram file to download and the you can play those on your own computer. Here's the first one: (click on the picture to see the animated situation)

Light breeze; Beaufort 2; J22's in a calm sea:
After the four minutes signal Blue and Yellow enter and do a dial-up.
Blue and Yellow end up with very low speed at a distance of 2 meters in position 6 with half a length overlap. Yellow drifts slowly closer and closer, and protests by showing a Yankee-flag in position 9. What is your decision?
Static image: UMP_LTW001s.gif
Answers after the break
Umpire Calls Directory


Green/White Flag: No Penalty.

Blue Flag: Penalty on the Blue boat.

Yellow Flag: Penalty on the Yellow boat

Red Flag; Always together with a Blue or Yellow Flag.
Penalty on the identified boat, which must be taken as soon as reasonable possible but not before starting.

Black Flag; Always together with a Blue or Yellow Flag.
The identified boat is disqualified, and the match is terminated and awarded to the other boat.

Rules applicable:
RRS 10 (pos 4, Blue keeps clear)
RRS 16.1 (pos 5 & 6, Yellow gives room to Blue to keep clear)
RRS 13.1 (pos 5 trough 9) Blue is tacking.
Because Blue never completed her tack, she stays the keep clear boat.
Penalize Blue.

Friday 4 January 2008

Is reasonable doubt in RRS 18.2(e) for PC only?

In many protest involving rule 18.2 of the Racing Rules of Sailing the crucial fact revolves around whether an overlap was obtained or broken in time. What is allowed within the rules, after the first boat enters the two-length zone, depends on that. If the sailors disagree and there are no witnesses, who were in a good enough position to see, there will be doubt. The protest committee will then ask more questions to resolve that doubt, or conclude that this doubt is reasonable.

In the latter case the protest committee will apply rule 18.2(e) to resolve the protest. They go back a couple of boat lengths - as far as needed - and ask again how the overlap situation was. Somewhere in the leg leading up to the mark rounding, there will be a point where both boats agree on a overlap position.

For example, there was an overlap at that position. After that, one sailor claims the overlap was broken and the other says it wasn't. Rule 18.2(e) states: it SHALL be presumed that she did not - in this case - break the overlap. The protest committee has no choice and must follow this rule. If the starting position, which both boats agree on, is one without an overlap and after that one sailor claims he did establish one and the other disagrees, the same is true. The PC must find that there was no overlap at the two-length zone. Once reasonable doubt has been established, they have no other way to go.

Some of the sailors, who have been in such a protest-hearing, are very disappointed that their word is not good enough, that they are not - in their eyes - believed. They forget that committee members have not seen the rounding themselves and must judge on the stories of both sailors. Instead of relying solely on their own observations, they should apply the principle of rule 18.2(e) on the water. If there's reasonable doubt, i.e. when the other boat disagrees with your assessment of the overlap situation, assume that the PC will also have that doubt, and handle accordingly.

Thursday 3 January 2008

Expandable post back again?

Thanks to this post on Patrick D's Training Journal I've been able to bring back the expandable post, without influencing older post. I can use it when it is needed, but can leave it out, just as easy :Updated 11:42

It takes a little more time because you always have to edit a post, but that's a little effort for a good result. The only glitch I've so far discovered, is that the "read the full article" also appears at the bottom when displayed on a individual page. It should disappear, or even better, link back to the home page
Updated: Patrick mailed me with an new adress to a blog with an even better code by Ramani from Hackosphere, which I've implemented. Go to
Now the link disappears when the post is expanded!

Q&A 07-008 about rule 2

On the very last day of 2007 the Race Officials Q&A Service has published a new Q&A 07-008. It is about rule 2 and a further explanation of Case 78 which states that a boat does not break rule 2 by slowing another boat’s progress in a race, provided that this tactic is intended to benefit her own series result, that the boats are on the same leg and lap of the course, and that in using it she does not intentionally break a rule. According to this new Q&A, if a boat does this for any other reason, she breaks rule 2.
The snag however is that this is valid for competitors in a regatta or series of regattas. If this is done by an "outsider", i.e. a boat who's not a competitor, than the racing rules of sailing cannot touch that boat or crew. I've had one such a case in the past, were a competitor who didn't enter on time, disagreed with our rejection, still sailed in the races. My club organizes an annual regatta for national classes and with 14 classes and 250+ competitors, we can't check every boat all the time.
Of course this boat was not included in the results, but my protest (as the RC) was not accepted by the protest committee, since the boat wasn't a competitor. After a unsuccessful attempt to get the protest heard by our National Authority, we only succeeded in getting our disapproval across by going to the club where the sailor was a member, and asked them to speak to him about his behavior. In addition we wrote a letter to his class association and he was banned from participating in our annual regatta for 3 years.
I would be interested if anybody else had a similar incident with a non-competitor and how that was dealt with?

Wednesday 2 January 2008


Some unfinished business from 2007:
Fourth and final part of a four week series on Mondays. Every week a part of ISAF 100 Questions about the Racing Rules of Sailing; Today part 4; questions 76 - 100.
Answer each question by writing T(=true) or F(=false) after it, and find the appropriate rule.

The last two columns appear to be empty; but if you change the character colour to anything but white, the answers and rules I think are applicable, will appear. But beware, I might be wrong.
NB: These questions are written under the RRS 2001-2004 rulebook. Let me know if you think the answer is different under RRS 2005-2008.

For part 1 go to this post
For part 2 go to this post
For part 3 go to this post

Welcome in 2008

Welcome back in 2008 to Look to Windward.
It promises to be an interesting year with new developments in ISAF race-official administration. According to the minutes of the ROC several projects will come to results in the beginning (first quarter) of 2008. I'll will try to keep you up to date with news on that front.

At the moment there are also several Seminars en Clinics planned. Go to forthcoming events for details. According to the minutes of the IJ Sub Committee meeting, there are additional seminars planned in Belgium and Bulgaria. I'm hoping participants to seminars and clinics will find the way to this blog. If you know people around you in your country who will attend, don't hesitate to steer them this way. They can use all the help they can get.

Later in this year I'll will try to pester my contacts in the racing rules committee for updates on the rules-changes in 2009.
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