Monday 31 March 2008

NYYC Judge's Roundtable

Yesterday evening I received a mail from Ron Hopkins telling me about a rules-day he and Dan Davis organized. On Saturday 29/03/08 they organized the 'New York Yacht Club Judge's Roundtable'. Back in January when they first thought about doing this, they contacted me asking to use some of the material on the blog. Of course I said yes immediately. I think this is a great initiative which deserves following.

Some of what Ron mailed:
` We had a great day and a fun time. When we started planning this we though that maybe we'd get a dozen or so interested. We ended up with 36 Judges and Judges in Training in attendance plus a few observers. Considering that there are around 290 Judges in the US total, our group amounted to nearly 10% of the countries judge pool. An interesting and very talented group for sure.

As we planned, our focus during 3/4 of the time was discussing 'facts", conclusions, terminology and proper decision writing. The last hour was an open forum and it provoked some very interesting discussion. The feedback we received was positive and most all agreed that we need create and provide more training. There were several judges who felt they were not hearing as many protests as in the past, and wanted more rules exposure and process training. All said they'd like a full day (more time), so we're working on an outline for the fall.

In the open session, Rule 44.1 brought the most conversation. Many were interested in discussion on "serious damage". We never reached a consensus but agreed that the term might apply differently to events of different types, where one might consider intrinsic value, and a different event might rely on the ability to continue sailing, or safety issues. Something that needs to be discussed with the OA for guidance prior to an event perhaps.

The other interesting discussion was about the protest forms "diagram". In the heat of a regatta, most are poorly drawn, and by only one party. If not contested, what weighting as a fact is the diagram? If not endorsed by the PC, is it still considered a "fact", especially when forwarded on appeal? Is the PC obligated to draw it's own diagram, if it feels the provided one is not proper or correct? Some in attendance felt uncomfortable in drawing a diagram if they "did not see" the incident, where others felt comfortable providing a diagram from the facts found. Might be an interesting topic for your blog. `

Here´s a photo of the group.

Sound sure like a interesting discussion on the diagram issue. Personally I always draw my own diagrams, several in fact. For both parties as they tell their side of the incident and one I believe fits the facts. But I´m biased, because of my profession. I´ve done drawings and diagram all my working live. Not about boats, but still.

One of the exercises I use in teaching new PC members is to split the group in two give each a different diagram and ask them to write down the facts found. After that is done, group one gets the facts found from group two and vice versa. Without the drawing, only the written part. They then have to draw a new diagram based on those words. Finally we compare the two diagrams to see where the facts founds were not sufficient and produced a different drawing.

But back to the discussion during NYYC JR. What is your opinion?
Should the PC always endorse or make a diagram?
Has a not endorsed diagram from one of the parties any standing in an appeal?
How consistent are you in a protest-hearing in drawing a diagram?

Sunday 30 March 2008

Hear Yee, Hear Yee, ... Amorita vs Sumurun | 2

I was hoping to have some more news for you by now, but I only have a few new tidbits.
A reader sent me some regatta papers (Thanks Stephan!). Among them a 'Waiver and Release of Liability' form which has to signed by the person entering the boat in the regatta. I noticed two things which may have an impact on our discussion in the original post.

I quote:
" The undersigned acknowledges that participation in the sport of sailing or in this regatta involves substantial risk of personal injury or even death, and the undersigned hereby assumes the risk of any such injury to his or her body arising while practicing for or participating in said MoY Robert H. Tiedemann Classic Yachting Weekend, and forever gives up and relinquishes any claim for liability against MoY, their respective officers, directors, agents, volunteers, or employees, that I may have by reason of participating in the above event."

I can certainly see this pertains to the Organizing Authority. But does this include the Race Committee? If you look at rule 88.1 and 88.2 there also should be a club involved. Where's the waiver and release of liability for them? Or am I reading this wrong?

Secondly, again quoting:
"By signing this waiver I also attest that my boat carries a minimum of $300,000 Insurance Protection and Indemnity (Liability) Insurance Coverage."

The notice of race only states the need to carry a liability insurance, but not the amount. This waiver does. In light of the claim and all boats involved in the regatta. $300,000 doesn't look like nearly enough.

In the mean time the owner of Sumurun has been served on 27/03/08 with a summons from the court. He has 20 days to respond.

I am still looking for a copy of the Sailing Instructions. Can anybody help me with that?

UPDATE: continued in part 3

Saturday 29 March 2008

Returning to start?

I have been doing some research on a question put to us at a rules-evening last Thursday. The evening was for members of a team involved in team racing. So the rules applicable are the Racing Rules of sailing and Appendix D.
I also want to look at this under normal Fleet racing rules (RRS) and under Match racing appendix C.

Here's the situation. Two opposite team boats have been engaged before the start and end up some distance above the starting line. Yellow changes course and returns toward the line. Blue does the same and gains a windward overlap of a about quarter boat length.
When the boats are at a distance of three or four boat lengths from the pin-end starting mark, the signal goes. Yellow at full speed wants to take the pin end mark efficiently and doesn't want to leave room for Blue on the inside.

The questions:
Does rule 18 apply and is Blue entitled to room or not?
If Yellow doesn't round the pin-end, but instead chooses to go for the line between the starting marks, is she entitled to room and has Blue to keep clear?
When does rule 20.1 come into play?
Does any of the answers change when only Fleet racing rules or Match racing appendix C apply?

I'll keep working on this and give you my view in a weeks time. In the mean time, you can do the same and leave a comment, OK?

Friday 28 March 2008

Overlap or Clear!

Just a 'quicky' today. New analysis by Dick Rose in Sailing World: Analysis of a Leeward Mark Gamble
In it the pro and cons of breaking the overlap when entering the 2 BL Zone and the perils of convincing the PC.

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Le Regole di Regata - RRS Italian style

I visited a very nice site about the rules made by Ezio Fonda. I was given the site-address in an E-mail from an Australian blog reader. Thanks, Brass!

Now, my knowledge of the Italian language is zero, oke...not zero, I can say 'ciao' and 'molto bene', but so can you. So what is a site about the rules in Italian going to do for me?

This site offers something in the form of animations and cases. They are very good!
If you have the rulebook or casebook open, you can follow the action. And not knowing the answer - not even by sneaking a peak - forces you to think about it yourself...

Also, I'm going to Brindisi later this year and it might be very useful to learn a few words....
So, have a look at:
Le Regole di Regata

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Appendix P 2008

On the ISAF site a new version of Appendix P has been published.
I've reduced the document in size and lettering so that you can print it small enough to fit in your rulebook. SI_Appendix_P_2008-[5342] Rulebook size.doc
This new appendix has been in use in several regattas around the world already.

In this new version a boat is no longer protested for breaking rule 42 by a member of the protest committee or its designated observer, but instead is penalized. This means she has no possibility of redress, unless the action was improper due to a failure to take in account a race committee signal or a class rule. A boat can ask for and be given redress, if a judge hasn't seen or missed an O flag and has penalized that boat.

The penalties are different too. Instead of having to leave the whole regatta after a third infringement of rule 42, a boat shall promptly retire from the race. She's scored a DNE if she does, but can sail in the next race.

Less noticeable, but nevertheless changed in the wording, is the word 'series'.
Because series can mean a whole regatta, but also a part of a regatta - for instance opening series - this was changed in 'regatta'. There was a Q&A about the distinction in 2006. Q&A 06-001 Published: 9 March 2006

Definitions | 7

Mark An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side, and a race committee boat surrounded by navigable water from which the starting or finishing line extends. An anchor line and objects attached temporarily or accidentally to a mark are not part of it.

The temporary part is a bit tricky. For instance a race committee boat at one end of the starting line. Before the five minute gun it isn't a mark. It's only an obstruction. The start line does not extent from one end, as long as the race hasn't begun. Therefore it's not a mark according to the definition.
After the start signal the committee boat only has a purpose as a mark, until all boats have started or - in most SIs - after five minutes. So the time the committee boat actually is a mark, according to the definition, is very short. What if someone attached a rubber boat at the stern in that period? Can you still maintain that it is attached only temporarily? Even if it's there for the whole starting procedure?

Most sailors will tell me that the rule prohibiting them from touching a mark is stupid. Most of the times it doesn't make a difference if they do or don't. The boom brushes along and that's it. They make sure that no part of the hull touches the mark, because that would slow them down. So why not scrap this rule - like in windsurfing?

From: 'Room at the Mark' by Robert C. MacArthur:
"One of the very first rules in yacht racing - when it was still in it's very first beginnings - only three members of the Yacht Club were skilled enough to race. This was before 1817 and before it became the Royal Yacht Club by decree of George IV. They sailed only speed races, sailing from A to B and back, so there was little need for rules. Depending on the wind direction a local work boat was hired to go to the desired location and anchor there as a mark. In one such a race the competitors found that they did have need for at least one rule. It was a hot day, and the man sitting as a mark had rigged a canvas awning over his cockpit to provide shade. One of the 125-foot cutters rounded so close that, while missing the boat itself, the end of her boom carried away the awning. The man was not amused. Henceforth, then, they would be most careful not to hit a mark. Otherwise, they might not be able to get anyone to sit for them."

Most rounding marks aren't boats anymore, and carry no people..... well, didn't the AC experiment with floating platform for photographers, just recently?
Anyway, starting vessels are frequently used as marks. I can assure you, the club member who's boat has been volunteered for that duty, is still NOT amused when someone hits it.

There are other arguments for not scrapping this rule. Like, if you can touch a mark, what prohibits a sailor from pushing a mark away to make room for his boat to round it at the right side?

A couple of weeks back I got a question about 'stand-off buoys" like an inner limit mark. They are there to keep boats away from the committee boat. They must be defined in the SI as such, as a mark with a required side, otherwise they are meaningless in the rulebook.

Note, you are allowed to touch the anchor line of a mark, but not the part that is underwater.

AC: Bruno's Buoy
Picture off 'Bruno's buoy', way back in the good old days, when it was fun to follow the AC....

Monday 24 March 2008

Rule 19 Protest Sybesloot

In one of the 'Sneekweeks' I've been involved in, we had a protest involving the shore as an obstruction. Between two '16m2's - a Dutch national class 6 meter keel boat. (The 16 square meters is how much sail they have). No spinnaker and very popular because you can build them yourselves. (See photo below)

Anyway, Yellow and Blue approach the shore, to enter the Sybesloot connecting two parts of the lake. Blue hails for room to tack. Yellow response is: "You Tack" and continues sailing. Blue luffs but not as fast as she wants and clears the stern of Yellow when passing head-to-wind. Because she lost speed, ends up half a boat length lower than Yellow. Blue protests and puts up her red flag.

You're in the protestroom and hear the testimony from both sailors. Write the protest with facts found, conclusion and rules that apply and a decision.
Oh, in the original protest Blue categorically denied ever hearing Yellow's hail, but Yellow asserts she hailed loud and clear.


Sunday 23 March 2008

Windward Gate Rules Analysis | 2 (for real)

Boats approaching on the same tack: both on starboard and not overlapped
Entering the 2 BL zone there's no difference between left or right hand gate mark; in both cases rules 12 and 18.2(c) dictate that the clear astern boat shall keep clear. Rounding the left mark the clear ahead boat has no limitations. Rule 16.1 is off, she can round the mark anyway she wants.

At the other side, at the right hand mark, the clear ahead boat faces a dilemma. As soon as she passes head to wind, rule 18.2(c) switches off and stays off. If the clear astern boat is close enough, the boat passing head to wind has to keep clear under rule 13 (tacking) and on top of that, if the boat from clear astern manages to create an inside overlap, she has to keep clear after tacking as well.
There is a solution for this problem, one that most sailors find hard to execute. Slow down when your next to the mark luffing head to wind, but not passed that. As soon as the boat from clear astern gets an overlap on the OUTSIDE and passes head to wind you can go. Because then both boats are tacking and the one on the right has r.o.w. Once tacked the boat on the outside has to keep clear under 11 and give room under 18.2(a).
This course of action - or better lack of action - also gives you some protection, if the boat from clear astern does create an inside overlap. The second part of rule 18.2(e) states, 'If the outside boat is unable to give room when the overlap begins, rules 18.2 (a) and rule 18.2(b) do not apply'. Also when you are stationary and can hardly change course, the other boat has to give you time to move under rule 15. But remember all of this depends on you NOT passing head to wind!

From good to bad, your best course is:
course D; staying r.o.w. boat all the way round, even toward approaching port takers, once you've rounded

course C: but you have to stay alert and either be fast enough or play it clever

course A: you have a chance, if you are close enough to the boat in front and can get an inside overlap at the right moment and not too soon.

course B: you will have to keep clear all the way round, and better not gybe after, because then port close hauled tackers go first as well.

Next week part 3 of Windward Gate Rules Analysis.
If you want to go to part 1 click here


Again a three boat situation, now at the windward mark.
In position 4 the yellow boat shows his Yankee flag. What is your decision?

TSS diagram: UMP_LTW007b.TSS
Static image: UMP_LTW007bs.gif
Umpire Calls Directory

Secondly: Where should the umpire boat be in this situation and why?

Saturday 22 March 2008

Rulesguide by Wim Thijs 1989 | 2

For all of you who have been mailing me asking for a post in English today, here's the translation. I will keep in mind that the majority of readers is no longer 'local', so sorry about that and I will do better in the future.

From my archive I rooted out a picture and scanned it. (see previous post) It is a smaller version of a big poster (A1-size) made by Wim Thijs and published in 1989 by the KNWV (our MNA). For years I've been looking for this poster. If there's a reader who still has a copy and doesn't mind parting with it, I would appreciate to hear about it. We can alway negotiate a fair price.
The rule numbers are no longer in use. I'm thinking about making a new updated version.

How many of you were able to get the gist of the post just from the Dutch version?

Regelwijzer van Wim Thijs uit 1989

Uit mijn archief heb ik bovenstaande kaart opgezocht en gescand. Het is een verkleinde versie van een grote poster (A1-formaat) gemaakt door Wim Thijs en in 1989 uitgegeven door het KNWV. Ik ben al jaren op zoek naar die poster. Als er iemand onder de lezers is, die deze misschien heeft bewaart, maar toch wel wil afstaan, hoor ik dat graag. Over een prijs valt altijd te onderhandelen.
De gebruikte regelnummers zijn allang niet meer geldig. Ik zit erover te denken een nieuw versie te maken.

Thursday 20 March 2008

Why membership to a National Authority should be mandatory

In my small country we have about 400.000 people who recreate on the water in one way or another. Boating, canoing, sailing, windsurfing, or whatever. We have inland water with lots of smaller lakes, the bigger IJsselmeer and 300+ klicks worth of seashore.
All accessible - more or less - for doing what we love doing.
Unfortunately only about a quarter of those are members of a club and by that, contributing members of the Watersportverbond, the National Authority of the Netherlands.
However, they are the ones who represent all those 400.000 when it comes to regulating the use of the water. And we do need a voice in this overcrowded place.

Otherwise all those other "interested parties" will restrict my participation in the Harlingen-Terschelling race, because I'm sailing on 'the breeding ground' for all fish in the North Sea. Or tell me I can't take a trip from say Amsterdam to Den Helder, because you can't have a bridge in a motorway and a tunnel is to expensive. Or gobble up my entry fee for the club's annual regatta, because I need a license for doing that and someone has to pay. Or tell me I can't have a VHF-radio with me when I go umpiring, because it's not fixed to a boat. And so-on and on.

Because I am a member of a member, I have a voice.
I wish those other 300.000 were members too, then my voice would be louder!

Wednesday 19 March 2008

When the Race Committee Postpones or Abandons a Match.

Received Issue 1 of the ISAF IU newsletter in my mailbox yesterday. In it an explanation about abandonment by the RC in a Match Race. A nice addition to our discussion about the US Sailing Appeal decision about abandonment after finish in a fleet race. You can read the whole newsletter here

When the Race Committee Postpones or Abandons a Match.

At several events last year, the race committee postponed or abandoned a match without consulting with the match umpires. This occurred in situations where something unexpected happened.

One example was an incident where Yellow got entangled with the race committee starting vessel's anchor line as she attempted to enter. Blue entered correctly, but the race committee postponed the match. Blue was understandably quite upset about this, because she was in a very favorable position with Yellow stuck on the committee vessel and likely to pick up one or two penalties before she started - if indeed she would have been able to start at all.

Some have argued that in such a situation, the fairest solution to all involved would be to have Yellow start the re-sail of the match with a penalty. There is at least one example of an International Jury that has made this ruling last year. Since then, there has been a strong pressure upon umpires/protest committees to make the same ruling, when a match is postponed or abandoned in a situation where one of the boats is clearly in a position to win. There have even been situations where sailors have requested to start a re-sail with the lead they had at the time the match got abandoned.

The purpose of this article is to make all umpires aware that the ruling described above is not in accordance with the rules.

For a protest committee to give redress because of a race committee action, there has to be 'an improper action or omission by the race committee' (rule 62.1(a)). Thus the question is whether the race committee abandoning the match in the example above was an improper action or omission? Let us look at the rule that applies:

Rule 27.3 says: 'Before the starting signal, the race committee may for ANY REASON postpone or abandon the race.'

Since the race committee could abandon for any reason, the postponement could not be an improper action. Therefore, a competitor cannot be entitled to redress when the race committee postpones or abandons before the start.

The Racing Rules of Sailing includes a list of circumstances under which a race committee may shorten or abandon a race that has already started. For match racing, those specifications have been replaced by the following standard SI:

RRS 32 is deleted and replaced with: 'After the starting signal the RC may abandon or shorten any match for ANY REASON, after consulting with the match umpires when practical.'

Again, it is within the race committee's jurisdiction to decide when to postpone or abandon a match that has been started. Although there are circumstances where a good race committee would never do that, it can never be judged as an improper action, because they can do it for any reason. Therefore, that decision can never lead to a competitor being given redress.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

'Flog the Blog' Day (4)

Dear readers of Look to Windward,

In the last couple of months I've been dedicating a lot of time to this blog. Not only publishing the material I had gathered, but also looking for new interesting resources. But the data banks are running on empty. I don't want to start repeating myself (too often).
Therefore I'm asking for your help.

If you know of an interesting website about the rules, or even one post; If you have a test, with or without answers; If you recommend a particular book you've used to get a better understanding of the rules; If you have had a protest case from which you didn't understand why that decision was reached;

Please send it in!

If at all possible I'll will make a post about it, quoting you as the source - or not, just as you wish.

I also have to take it down a notch with my time dedicated to this blog. Preparations for the coming season are way behind, I've hardly helped as a member of the clubs and I'm getting not enough sleep. Therefore I've given myself "permission" to skip a day or two now and then. I won't be posting daily anymore. To write better posts I've started a regimen of preparing them in advance. Hopefully that will take off some of the pressure as well.

Subscriptions by reader and E-mail have been growing slowly but steadily. Comments to posts however - with one or two exceptions - have been few and far between. I don't know what I can do to improve that, except write better posts.

It was great to get a post published in Scuttlebutt in their March 13th issue.

If you have suggestions - as always - leave a comment or send an E-mail.

Best wishes,

Rules Quiz 24 from UK-Halsey

To make up a little for not posting a new question yesterday:
There's a new RulesQuiz on the UK-Halsey Sails website: Quiz 24
If you've studied the Rapid Response MR Call 2007-002, I posted about last month, you should be able to figure out the answer yourself.

Monday 17 March 2008

Protest # 7 from Friese Hoekrace 2006 | 2

I've translated the protest introduced in last Monday's post.
Friese Hoekrace 2006; Protest 7:

Facts Found:
  • In calm sea with 4 Bft wind, two 20 m barges approach the windward mark in Race x
  • Yellow on starboard approximately 1/2 boat length beyond the lay line at about 5 BL from the mark Blue on port at a distance of two BL from Yellow, approximately six BL from the mark.
  • Blue completed its tack to starboard at a distance of 2,5 BL from the mark on the lay line.
  • Yellow was windward and overlapped with Blue at a distance of 0,5 BL and half of her hull in front.
  • Yellow entered the 2 BL zone with Blue to leeward overlapped half a BL with a sideways distance between the boats of 7 meters.
  • After her stern had passed the windward mark, Yellow changed course towards the next mark by bearing away. Distance from the mark was 20 meters.
  • Blue, sailing between Yellow and the mark, luffed and changed course to windward.
  • Blue made contact with her bow with Yellow on its rear port side.
  • Yellow sustained serious damage.
  • After clearing Yellow retired and Blue finished the race.

Conclusion and rules:
  • Blue completed her tack outside the two BL Zone.
  • Yellow entered the two BL zone with Blue as inside overlapped boat. Yellow as windward boat was keeping clear of Blue leeward boat and gave enough room.
  • Next to the mark Blue, as ROW boat, changed course and failed to give Yellow room to keep clear, and infringed rule 16.1.
  • Yellow as windward boat was not keeping clear and broke rule 11, but is exonerated because of Blue’s infringement of rule 16.1
  • Because there was damage, Blue also broke rule 14, she could have prevented the collision.
  • Yellow could not reasonably possible avoid the collision.
RRS 11, 16.1, 18.2(a), 14 and 64.1(b)

Blue is DSQ for race x

Sunday 16 March 2008

Windward Gates Rules Analysis | 2

I must disappoint all of you waiting for the second post on windward gate rules analysis. I didn't have time to finish it, because I spent all my time on the Amorita vs Sumurun post.
I'll do my best to get it done next Sunday...


Reading a posting in the VillageSoup of Knox County, about a pending court case between the owners of a classic New York 30 yacht Amorita and a 94 foot Ketch Sumurun, something struck me as very odd. Why was this in court? Didn’t a Protest Committee sort this out?

At the base of this case is an incident that happened during the Museum of Yachting's Robert Tiedemann Classic Regatta in Newport, R.I., on July 7, 2007. Sumurun ran into another New York 30 Alera and then into Amorita which, within minutes after being hit, sank to the bottom of Narragansett Bay!

Now in court, the owner of Amorita is asking for compensation for damages and costs in the amount of one million dollar.

Amorita in tow after salvage.
foto by Phil LeBlanc and Safe/Sea: 

I decided to investigate, to see if I could come up with an answer.

Google first ; found the site of the Museum with results of the regatta. Sumurun DSQ for Saturday and DNC for Sunday; Amorita and Alera both DNF on Saturday and also DNCs on Sunday.

Wrote an E-mail to the Museum contact person, asking for more information. Answer: “I will be out of the office from 1/24- 2/5/08.” Okay, she’s ducking, 2/5/08, that was a month ago…

Send another E-mail to Senior Reporter Holly Anderson, who wrote the post in Village Soup,* and she was most helpful. She send me the court papers including copies of the original protests and both findings of the subsequent Appeal Committees.
(*the posting will be archived on 3/25/08, available to subscribers for a small fee)

I learned a great deal.

Both the Amorita and the Alera filed protest, which were heard by the Protest Committee of the regatta. Not satisfied by the decision Sumurun filed an appeal to the Narragansett Bay Yachting Association Appeals Committee and after that to the US SAILING Appeals Committee.
It looked like all due process within the rules was adhered to.

Lets first have a look at the rules issue as stated in the protests and appeals. Perhaps in there was something to explain why this was in court? I’ve written it as a protest to get it clear in my mind, using information from both original protests and both appeals:

Facts Found:
- Wind aprox. 12 knots, slack tide, 2-3 foot Sea.
- Amorita an Alera both New York 30 classic yachts, 30’waterline (BL approx 14 m.)- Sumurun also a classic Yacht; a 94’ Ketch (BL approx 29m.)- Amorita to Windward and Alera to Leeward half a length behind, entered the 2 BL zone of the windward rounding mark to be left to starboard.- Distance between boats aprox. ½ BL. (7m.)- Sumurun approaching the mark, astern about 3 BL (45m.) from the Alera.- Alera and Amorita coming from above the port lay line, had born away to round the mark. Distance between boats still ½ BL (7m.)- Sumurun approaching fast, entered the 2 BL Zone.
- Sumurun laid a course between Alera and the mark.
- Sumurun hit Alera’s transom and continued along her starboard side becoming entangled in main sheet and boom.- During this contact Alera was pushed to windward and Sumurun hit the mark.- Alera’s bow hit Amorita at her starboard stern quarter.- Amorita was spun to leeward in front of Sumurun.- Amorita was hit broadside by Sumurun’s bow causing extensive damage and was holed.- Amorita sank within 30 seconds.
- Alera and Sumurun both did not finish the race.


Sumurun clear astern did not keep clear of Alera clear ahead and broke rule 12, Sumurun clear astern at the two-length-zone, took room inside Alera and Amorita which she was not entitled to and broke rule 18.2(c), Sumurun did not avoid contact when it was reasonably possible to do so and breached rule 14 twice, Sumurun touched a mark of the course and broke rule 31.1

Alera, the right-of-way boat, changed course and did not give Amorita room to keep clear, breaking rule 16.1. Alera is exonerated under rule 64.1(b) because the change of course was caused by the contact with Sumurun, compelling her to break rule 16.1.

Amorita to windward did not keep clear of Alera to leeward, breaking rule 11. Amorita outside overlapped did not keep clear of Alera, the right-of-way boat and broke rule 18.2(a). Amorita is exonerated under rule 64.1(b) because of Alera’s change in course, giving her not enough room to do so .
Amorita, the right-of-way boat, changed course and did not give Sumurun room to keep clear, breaking rule 16.1. Amorita is exonerated under rule 64.1(b) because the change of course was caused by the contact with Alera, compelling her to break rule 16.1.

Both Alera and Amorita could not reasonably possible avoid any of the contacts and therefore neither broke rule 14.

Protest is upheld, and both appeals are denied. Sumurun, because she complied with rule 44.1 by retiring from the race, is to be scored DNF (Did Not Finish)

I can’t find anything that would suggest something was missed or wrong in the rules used. Both protests and appeals were handled with expertise and although some issues were only resolved in the final US Sailing Appeal, it was abundantly clear that Sumurun was at fault. Both Amorita and Alera were completely exonerated for any rule they had broken. Sumurun did nothing to avoid both contacts.

That’s it. Game over!
Hand it over to the insurance and hope the premium won’t be too severe next year.
This obviously didn’t happen.
What was it that brought this to court? If not in the rules, what then?


From the letters of the subsequent appeals some allegations by Sumurun might be grounds, perhaps.
Let’s have a look at those:

Sumurun: “The Protest Committee has no jurisdiction over liability, only the courts have”

The owner of the Sumurun:
“A protest hearing is intended solely to determine competitive standing in a racing event,” He adds: “As Sumurun had retired from the race, there were no issues of competitive standing for the protest committee to resolve. “Contrary to the exhortations of Alera and Amorita,” he writes, “it is the role of a court, not US Sailing, to adjudicate liability for damages in the event of collision.”
Answered by the US Sailing Appeal Committee:
“The protest committee decision to hear the protest was correct. Rule 63.1 requires a protest committee to hear all protests that have been delivered unless it allows a protest to be withdrawn. Whether or not the protestee has taken a penalty is irrelevant.
The purpose of a protest hearing is for the protest committee to find facts and apply the rules to the incident under protest. In doing so, it will determine whether any boat that is a party to the hearing has broken a rule and is to be penalized (see rules 63,6 and 64.1(a)). The assertion that the sole purpose of a protest hearing is to determine a boat’s score is incorrect.”

Sumurun: “Rule 44.4(b) limits further penalty”

The Sumurun shouldn’t have been disqualified by the PC nor by the NBY appeals committee. Well, that is correct. That was something the US Sailing Appeals committee changed . Because Sumurun did not finish, she took her penalty. And regardless of the reason why she retired, she can’t be scored with a DSQ. But that didn’t made her less liable.

Sumurun: “Alera bore of breaking rule 16.1”

Because Alera had overstood the mark she was coming from a angle that made her bear away to round the mark. She had every right to do that, because of rule 18.2(d). Rule 18 was in effect during the rounding and therefore rule 16 was not.

So no, also a dead end.

Amorita in full gear

Perhaps there were procedural flaws?

The protest hearings were held separately. That shouldn’t have happened. They should have been put together in one hearing. Did it alter the outcome? I believe not. Sumurun was in both hearings and could ask any question, bring any witness, state any rule. She had ample opportunity to bring that up in the appeals and apparently didn’t.

There was no diagram indorsed by the Protest Committee, only one from Alera. The NBYA appeals committee did make diagrams, which were perfectly clear and consistent with the facts found by the PC. They also added a couple of rules to the decision, finding even more fault. But still Sumurun was the only one DSQ’d. The facts found were clear and consistent with the diagram made by Alera. No need for more drawings in the protests.

The US Sailing appeals committee used only information from the original protests to come to a conclusion, they didn’t consider the NBYA appeal or subsequent information supplied by any of the parties. Also consistent with the rule-book ( see rules 70.1 and F5). They added another couple of rules to the decision, also something they have a right to do. (see rule 71.3). The failure of a protest committee to name a rule doesn’t make them less applicable.
Facts Found cannot be appealed. And the facts were clear. Sumurun appealed the interpretation of those facts. Nothing procedurally wrong in that.

It must be something else…
There’s still the complaint handed in to the courts:

In it, acquisitions fly with a abundance. Words like: “arrogant, malicious, outrageous and extreme manner. Inattentive to their duties. Careless and grossly negligent manner. With wanton disregard for safety at sea. Aggressive, malicious and outrageous sailing tactics”

I’m not a layer, and unfamiliar with the American system, but to me this is … posturing? It goes on:
Sumurun didn’t regard her speed,
Sumurun didn’t hail the other boats,
Sumurun didn’t heed warnings from her own crew,
Sumurun caused extensive damage,
Sumurun failed to navigate so as to avoid striking a vessel,
Sumurun didn’t help people in danger,
Sumurun cut the Amorita loose when the rigging came entangled, sinking her without a line to mark her position,

Sumurun left and right…

Rule 69? Perhaps rule 1? Rule 2 surely…..?
Nothing of this nature is in any of the protests or in either appeal.
Admiralty Laws must be very different.

Perhaps there is something missing?
Missing in the filed court papers is any reference to the Notice of Race. And the Sailing Instructions are named, but not filed.

The Sailing Instructions are to be considered the “contract” between all participants in the race.
In it the Racing Rules of Sailing are named as binding for all participants.

From the complaint:

35 In a case directly on point, JUNO SRL v. S/V ENDEAVOUR, 58 F3d 1 (Maine 1995), the US Court of Appeals, First Circuit held that “[b]y entering a regatta with sailing instructions that unambiguously set forth special, binding “rules of the road,” participants waive conflicting rules…and must sail in accordance with the agreed-upon rules.”

Surely that contract should be considered in determining fault by the courts?

I haven’t been able to get hold of the SI, so I can’t say if there’s anything in them that might be a reason why this has gone to the courts. There’s a reference to SI 1.4 in the US Sailing Appeal documents. Apparently an experimental distance of one Boat Length to the definition “Keep Clear” was in force, only not applying to rule 11. I thought that definitions couldn’t be changed by the SI. Were Alera and Amorita somehow infringing the distance stated in this experimental definition? They were closer than one boat length, that’s for sure, but governed by rule 11 and 18.2(a), so I have to answer no, again.

Sumurun on the inside

I can’t imagine what else it could be, since none of the other papers mentions anything about the SI. Looking at the long standing reputation of the regatta and the organizers, I can’t think of anything that might be so severely wrong, that it should merit a court case.

I did find the Notice of Race, published on the Museum site.

In the NOR is a prevision stating that all participating vessels must carry liability insurance…..
This is a standard sentence, well known and of course adhered to by all owners. It is also almost always repeated in the SI with a minimum coverage sum added. All sailors, who have ever participated in an official regatta, have read this and have made sure they had a copy of the polis in their race-paper kit.

Or have they?

Did the Race Committee check if Sumurun had coverage?

Did they check any boat’s policy?

Would you have?


UPDATE: continued in part 2
Sumurun, Fischer, Towbin sued for regatta crash in Rhode Island by Holly Anderson; (Post will be archived after 03/25/2008, available to subscribers for a small fee)
Classic Yacht sinks after clashing with Sumurun by Yachtbud;
Classics collide at Newport regatta by Douglas A. Campbell;
Sinking strains the Corinthian spirit by Douglas A. Campbell;
The New York 30s, a century of one-design sailing;
A discussion on the Wooden Boat Forum;
The NOTICE OF RACE of the regatta;

Friday 14 March 2008

Back to School - Terug naar School

With about 30 Flitskids and some of there parents, I went back to school this evening. Traditionally the season is started with a indoor evening learning for the boys en girls of this National Youth Class: the Flits.As you see in this picture, a complete boat was brought in, to give the new kids a chance to have a look on what they are getting into. Full hands on deck and how to hoist and lower a sail.
More experienced sailors had the opportunity to watch a video about trimming and speed, with commentary from an expert.

Later on we started a rules game. Each question on the screen had to be answered by physically walking to the correct corner (blue or red). Right answer meant that you could stay, wrong answer: go take a seat. Until only one was left. Parents were invited to join too! Explanations by yours truly. Good fun!

I took some more pictures, have a look at: FlitsKids 14/03/08

Democracy in action

Sidebar Poll closed today. With an overwhelming majority of 15 against 2, the links stay in the sidebar.

Barging at the start

Everything you always wanted to know about barging and more
From the Yachting Victoria website (AUS)

Thursday 13 March 2008

ISAF Application, Reference & Report Forms

On the ISAF Website eight updated forms have been published.
Four new application forms for first appointment/ renewal for all four official disciplines; Judge, Umpire, Measurer and Race Officer. The application form that is uploaded for this year is a Word document and enables you to complete it in word and submit via email. This is to reduce the paper load that ISAF receives and send out in the office. Therefore, for first appointments they also require a digital photo to be uploaded onto the form and for all applicants a digital signature. This form is the first step in a new on line application system, which will be used on a trial bases this year.
Application Form First Appointment / Renewal for International Judge; for International Umpire; for International Measurer and for International Race Officer

Also new, three Regatta Report Forms; Judges Regatta Report Form; Race Officer Regatta Report Form; and Umpire Regatta Report Form.
These documents have hardly changed, except to state a new mail address and updated version footer.

Finally two new documents for the International Judges Sub Committee. Reference Form Page 1 (the actual form the chairman has to fill in) and Reference Form Page 2 (guidelines for completing page 1). These also have hardly changed, save to bring them in line with the overall outline already established.

To all new aspiring International Judges; these last two, are the ones you need to familiarize yourself with, as they explain the level you need to achieve to get a positive reference. If you want to be "assessed" on a particular event, you have to contact the chairman before the event. You are responsible for you own development, so bring the form with you and discuss it with him/her. You need three positive reference forms for your first application.

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Abandoning a Finished race by the RC | 2

Received some comments and remarks about today's issue from one of my E-mail subscribers. He writes:

"I have heard of this at a Cadet Event. I believe Q&A 07 007 followed from this, though I see it says the race was abandoned after three legs. I believe it was actually abandoned after the finish here.
The race committee had been pressured to hold the race, and after it finished, they became very unhappy that the race was not fair, and abandoned it. As they wished to undo the penalty incurred by starting under a Z-flag, the race numbers became an issue. They stated to a jury, they had considered the effect on the others, but how do you test this and do you have to? "

A very valid question. As with abandoning after the race has finished, the rule book states the obligation to consider the consequences for all boats, but doesn't give a clue in what is acceptable and what not.

Abandoning a Finished race by the RC

I came across an appeal decision on the US Appeals Committee page answering an interpretation requested by the Noroton Yacht Club. Published in February: Question 100

In it the US-Appeals Committee states that it is a proper action for a race committee to abandon a race for one of the reasons listed in rule 32.1(a)-(e) after all boats have finished or retired. There is no need to do this on the water, and if ashore, posting a notice is sufficient. The RC can take this decision provided it first considers “the consequences for all boats in the race or series.” And there's no time limit to take this decision.

So far I don't disagree with this interpretation of the rules. But personally I would need a very powerful reason to ever to this. And doing it after protest time has ended is showing disrespect to the sailors.

The first reasons to abandon a race RRS 32.1(a) trough (d) all are reason which occur during the race. Only in 32.1 (e) there might be a reason which only becomes obvious after the race, like in this appeal question, the appearance of fog and the influence it had on the race. Nevertheless all sailors finished the shortened course. If we go with the "fairness" of the race as an argument to abandon, I would be very reluctant to do so other than based on an argument of several - if not the majority - of the sailors. In my experience there are always one or two sailors who think that a race wasn't fair - sometimes solely based on a their finishing place.

And perhaps a time limit on a decision like this would be needed too. Imagine abandoning the first race of a series on the final day five minutes before price giving. That would constitute an improper action in my opinion, although the rulebook doesn't say it is.
What is your opinion?

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Definitions | 6

Leeward and Windward A boat’s leeward side is the side that is or, when she is head to wind, was away from the wind. However, when sailing by the lee or directly downwind, her leeward side is the side on which her mainsail lies. The other side is her windward side. When two boats on the same tack overlap, the one on the leeward side of the other is the leeward boat. The other is the windward boat.

First of all leeward and windward have been in the rules from the almost the very first draft. They are both words in use since the wind was harnessed to propel a boat. Every sailor is well aware of how the wind hits his/her boat. It is the force behind propulsion.

Physically there are two positions a boat can have were the sides change; one at the bow pointing to the wind and one at the stern pointing away from the wind. The first one - at the bow - is sharply defined; your leeward side doesn't change until you have passed head to wind. As long as you stay head to wind your leeward and windward side stay as they were before you luffed. The latter position is not so sharply defined. There it only changes after your sail has gone to the other side. This means that the wind can blow from the same side as your sail is. (sailing by the lee)

Pushing the sail to the other side doesn't change your leeward or windward side. Because you are using an external force (with your arm/body) it would not be the side a sail "naturally lies". Same is true when you trim your sail midship. The side where your sail would go if released, is still the leeward side.

A leeward or windward boat always has an overlap, but a boat with an overlap isn't necessarily a leeward or windward boat. You can have an overlap with a boat on a different tack when rule 18 is applicable. Normally if boats are not overlapped, they are clear ahead and clear astern.

A boat is on the tack, starboard or port, corresponding to her windward side in all but two countries in the world. Only in the Netherlands and in Belgium (Flanders) a boat is on the tack - stuurboord (starboard) or bakboord (port) -, corresponding to her leeward side. We pigheaded Dutch refuse to change it.....

We do this because we want everybody to stay on their toes when yelled "Port" at. You are then to check if it is a Dutch boat, and if so they might be on starboard tack.

Monday 10 March 2008


Today a new Rapid Response Match Racing Call appeared on the ISAF website. The first one for 2008.

It addresses taking a penalty in proximity of a mark. Mark L is not a rounding mark when boats are on a beat to W or when running to the finish. I started thinking about this. When does a mark stop being a rounding mark?

On a beat the first rounding mark is the Windward mark. Once you've passed W then the Leeward mark becomes a rounding mark. But at what moment does W cease to be a rounding mark? If it is as soon as you have passed it - i.e. the mark is behind you - a boat can then take a penalty IN the two boat length zone. Just as it can in this call, in the two boat length zone of L.
What do you think?

Protest # 7 from Friese Hoekrace 2006

Since my supply of test is not unlimited, today I have a different exercise for you. In the picture I've drawn a situation from a protest from a couple of years back in the Friese Hoekrace 2006
Both boats are 20 meter barges with lee boards, the race was during daylight in calm sea, with about 4 Bft wind. The collision caused considerable damage, particularly to the windward boat (yellow) and after the protest the skipper asked for a written decision according to RRS 65.2. He was considering going to appeal and wanted a report for his insurance company.

This picture was taken just the collision, while the crews are clearing the mess.

Your "homework" this week is to write this case as if you were in the PC that heard it. Complete with all requirements as stated in RRS 65.1
Don't assume to many facts that aren't obvious, but as long as you stay consistent, that is all right. I've given you a heads up, by already telling you the rules involved.

I'll translate my own and give you my views next week.
You also can download the TSS-diagram here.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Windward Gates Rules Analysis | 1

There has been a lot of discussion on several forums and blogs about use of the windward gates at the Etchells Mid-Winters Regatta. I wrote about them in this post. You can find some new material by Jim Porter in Weather the Weather Gate and by Gretchen in Windward Gates? Pro or Con?

There are a number of factors to consider in choosing a path. Tactics, disturbed air, spinnaker setting etc. etc. But also the rules.

I've made a TSS-picture of all the rules involved, and made an analysis of different courses a boat can take at a windward gate, purely from that point of view:
In this first post all boats approach on opposite tacks.

Path A: When a boat chooses this path, it never looses right of way. All other boats have to keep clear. There is 16.1 limitation in position 3 if the other boat tacked inside the zone (but not if the other didn't tack) and a 16.1 limitation in position 4.
Only if you gybe after rounding the mark, you become keep clear boat (RRS 11) to boats approaching on the port lay line.

Path B: You start being the keep clear boat and only very shortly become right of way boat, all the way round the starboard gate mark. Briefly in position 3 the starboard boat is subject to rule 13, and then you are right of way boat. If you have to react in that period, for instance have to luff to avoid him, starboard is breaking rule 13. The only other change you have, is to get an inside overlap while starboard is subject to rule 13. Then you are entitled to room and are r.o.w. leeward boat.

Path C: Also not bad from a rules point of view, but with a nasty twist during the rounding. On starboard you are right of way boat and if you time it right, the port/windward boat has to keep clear. But, if you go trough head-to-wind, before port has to react, your are not keeping clear under rule 13. If port manages to get an inside overlap before you are back on close hauled course, you have to give him room and keep clear as windward boat. If you manage to keep port to windward and keep clear during the tack, you again become right of way leeward boat. Your only limitation is rule 16.1, giving port/windward room to keep clear while you bear away. You best bet is to slow down in position 2, or luff head-to-wind and wait for port to tack before you do. After the rounding, you have to keep clear of the starboard boats approaching on the lay line, whether you gybe or not.

Path D: Approaching on the lay line, you have right of way on boats who have gybed after rounding, but otherwise you are always keep clear boat. Because you completed your tack inside the two boat lengths zone you have to watch out that you don't force starboard boats above close hauled, to avoid you. You also have to keep clear of any starboard boat which manages to get an inside overlap.

In order of preference your best course is path A, then path C, then path B and finally path D.

Next week part 2, boats approaching on the same tack.

Friday 7 March 2008

Delta Lloyd Watersportkalender 2008

Hierop staan alle grote en belangrijke zeilevenementen van dit seizoen vermeld.
Zoals de Wereld- en Europese Kampioenschappen van de Olympische klassen en de belangrijke zeildata van de Olympische Spelen. Ook vermeld de Wereld- en Europese Kampioenschappen die in Nederland georganiseerd worden, alsmede de grote en belangrijke zeilevenementen.

Ultimate Game & the Rulebook

I always knew studying the rules would pay off in the end!

Best Positions to Umpire a Match Race

At a Match race event last year we had some extra time on our hands, because there was no wind. The Chief Umpire gave us a couple of pointers about positioning in a short presentation. This is what I wrote in my notebook:
  • Boats close = umpire close; boats far apart = umpire further away.
  • Find the points on the boats which are closest to each other, draw a line between those points and position yourself at a right angle to that line.
  • When you have to open up your throttle, you haven't anticipated the situation. Think ahead!
  • Never be in the same line as the boats. In front or behind.
  • Approaching the starting line, don't get behind both boats, until you are certain they are going to start, better stay on the shoulder of transom.(windward).
  • Before entry, discuss the start line bias or if one of the boats is going to be late to enter; otherwise 9 out of 10, Port (blue) cannot cross Starboard (yellow).

Thursday 6 March 2008

RRS National Appeals Committee

Got a phone call the other week.

The chairman of the National Appeals committee asked me if I wanted to be an observer for next year?

If I wanted? I've been anticipating this opportunity for a long time. (They ask someone every year)

"Yes," I answered. "I didn't think I was next in line, already"

"Your name is on our short list." He was giving away nothing, leaving me wondering how many others he asked before me.

"Only you have to promise to be in most of the meetings," he added. He would send me a preliminary schedule and if I could respond asap, please.

"No problem."

I checked later that day and only one date seems to have a conflict, as far as I can see, and that's Brindisi in November.... many things can change before that.

So, I'm happy to tell you, this blogger is going to find out what happens at the National appeals level

Now I have to find a way to tell you about it, without compromising any confidence. First meeting is next month on the fourteenth. I will have to bone up on previous cases before that.

And I still have one measurement protest, which has gone to appeal, pending....

Sidebar change

As you can see I've been fiddling with the blog, again. This time the sidebar has been given a first overhaul, largely due to this post from Skelliewag, which can be summarised as "Less is better."

Wednesday 5 March 2008

Holland Regatta continues as Delta Lloyd Regatta

In the Netherlands we have one Grade 1 Fleet race event. This year for many sailors the final opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. Instead of a steady name of a place, this regatta always carried the name of the Main Sponsor. It built it's reputation as the SPA Regatta. When Spa left the event after twenty years, a new sponsor wasn't found straight away. Hence it was called Holland Regatta, after the country. Well, the name of the country everybody else in the world thinks it is....
Anyway, last year Breitling sponsored the event and the name changed in Breitling Regatta. This year a new sponsor has associated it's name to the event: Delta Lloyd Regatta.
The SEO reputation of their site must be somewhere in the very low countries.....
(UPDATED link)


Windward Gate at Etchells Regatta

At the Etchells Mid-Winters Regatta the PRO Dave Brennan is trying out a Windward Gate. After initial problems, including a head on crash between a Port and Starboard boat, he's added offset marks. Read these articles: Etchells Racing Saw New Courses with Windward Gates and Spindrift: White Rats
If the marks are far enough apart there are no special rule issues to consider. Each mark will have his own two boat-length zone. A distance of five or six lengths should suffice. Fleet racers might have some initial problems with an unfamiliarly starboard rounding, but that's it.

Next years revision of the zone to three boat lengths, means they have to be at least seven or eight lengths apart and if the SI so prescribes, with a zone of four, at least ten.
For any RC the trick will be to get the angle right. Both marks at the same rung of the ladder.

I would like to know what protest where heard regarding this windward gate....

Definitions | 5

Many sailors and PC-members have trouble with this one. But if we forgo appendices C en D, it only appears in the rulebook in two rules: RRS 17 & 18. How can it be so difficult? Perhaps because it is a very subjective definition, each boat has her own opinion about "Proper course"

Proper Course A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal.

Two boats start a race and each one wants to finish first. But they have totally different ideas on which side of the course is preferable. Each has a reasonable explanation why they want to go that way. Both boats sail there proper course.

Two overlapped boats on a broad reach catch up to a group in front. The leeward boat makes a judgement that he can pass the group the quickest, if he goes to windward of them. So she luffs and heads up to do that. The fact that there's a windward boat, who perhaps thinks that passing the group to leeward must be quicker, doesn't negate that for the leeward boat going windward is the proper course. She would have chosen the same course if the windward boat wasn't there.

In short, there can be several proper courses on any given moment. You can't predict beforehand which of them will be quicker. As long as there's a logical reason for choosing and you choose fairly consistently, any PC will accept that as a proper course.
And even after arriving at the next mark one is clearly in front of the other does not invalidate one of the chosen paths. It still is a proper course.

Let’s have a look at rule 17.1, where there's a restriction on the right of way boat, not to sail above her proper course. This rule has three specific conditions, which all have to be met before this rule applies. The right of way boat must have created a leeward overlap coming from clear astern, the boats must be on the same tack and finally the distance between the two boats must be no more than two lengths. If all these three conditions are met then - and only then - the restriction, not to sail above a proper course, is applicable.

These three conditions can also be met, when the windward boat is still tacking (not yet on a close hauled course). The rule excludes the restriction in that case.

If rule 17.1 is applicable does it change the r.o.w situation? No, it does not. The keep clear boat still has to keep clear. Even if the r.o.w. sails above her proper course and infringes RRS 17.1, the windward boat still has to keep clear. If she doesn't, she breaks a rule (RRS 11). Many committees will DSQ both in that case.

In rule 18.4 the r-o-w boat has also a restriction on where she can sail. If her proper course would be to gybe, she must do so, as soon as she can sailing around the mark.

Because boats haven't started yet and therefore cannot finish as soon as possible, there's no proper course before the starting signal. A boat from clear astern, creating a leeward overlap is subject to 17.1, but she can luff up to head-to-wind before the signal. However, as soon as the start gun has been fired, she must bear away to a close-hauled course.

I have no doubt that this definition will be discussed in many situations in the future. If you have a specific incident, don’t hesitate to send it in.

Tuesday 4 March 2008

Twenty four teams; six boats and two days.

With the Spring Cup MR event last weekend and yesterday's committee meeting, I haven't had time to finish my post on definition 5. Instead today a question, I hope you can help me with. I'll work on "Proper course" tonight.

On 6& 7 June the KWS is organizing a Match Race event for the May Day student fraternity. They want a format for twenty four teams to compete in a fair way using 6 boats in only two days. I'm struggling with examples from the IU Manual and can't quite get it to work.
The only way I see at the moment, is to use four groups who compete in two divisions, and the four group winners in a round robin and then a final / semi final. But how to get the groups fairly equal without knowing anything about the competitors? And its still is about 18 hours on the water, which is to much. Can it be done?

I haven't had much experience with making the schedule. Is there anyone who can help me?
Please, leave a comment or mail me

Monday 3 March 2008

IJ Seminar Study questions | 2

For this Monday the second part of the ISAF IJ Seminar Study questions I started last week: ISAF IJ Seminar Study Questions bp2.pdf
These questions are used as preparation for participants in ISAF Judges Seminars. No answers are given, candidates have to fill in those themselves and discuss them at the seminar.

Again from the author: A number of these questions have no absolute answer. They are intended to get a knowledgeable judge to think deeply about a situation, as he or she will have to do at a high level event. ISAF wants candidates to open up their rule books and consult the cases when confronted with questions that have no quick and easy answers. For other questions (like Q4, for example), the answer is relatively easy but the implication provides room for lots of discussion in the seminar.

I've had some comments and feedback from participants of the last IJ Seminar in Italy.
All agreed that reading the questions more carefully would have prevented a couple of obvious mistakes. Only in the debrief those became clear, but that is of course to late. So all of you who are thinking about attending a future Seminar; start reading in English today!

There was a little confusion about the scoring in the test. I’ve made some inquiries: Each correct answer gives you plus one point; Each wrong answer gives you minus one point and no answer is zero points. Say you have a question with six multiple choice answers, of which four are correct and two are wrong;
  • If you gave four correct answers, you get +4 -0 = 4 points, is the maximum score. for that question;
  • If you gave four correct answers and one wrong, you get +4 -1 = 3 points;
  • If you gave two correct answers and two wrong, you get +2 -2 = 0 points;
  • If you gave no answers, you get +0 -0 = 0 points;
  • If you gave zero correct answers and two wrong, you get +0 -2 = -2 points, is the minimum score.
If the total score for a part is 100 points, to pass you must either tick 80 correct answers and none wrong, or have one more correct answer above 80 for each wrong answer. If you tick more then 20 wrong boxes you cannot pass, even if you have all the right ones as well. (100-21=79)

Sunday 2 March 2008

Yacht Racing Rules: The Essentials

Like ISAF is aknowliging with publishing Introductory Rules for Racing, for many beginner and young racers, the full text of the racing rules can be daunting.
If you participate in a race for the first time as a young sailor, you need help to understand them. After you've mastered the beginnings, there's an excellent book by Henk Plaatje (originally in Dutch, but now translated in English and German) to do that. Plaatje reduces the rules to their basic essentials and illustrates each with simple colour diagrams. The practical spiral binding and the water-resistant pages make the guide usable on board.

in Dutch: Regelschrift

in English: Yacht Racing Rules: The Essentials

in German: Tafeln Wettfahrtregeln 2005 - 2008

In the original Dutch book Plaatje uses the names of his daughters and wife for the boats..... Alas, that didn't survive in the translations....
If you do a little searching on the Internet with the titles you can find a good deal, because this is the last year they are applicable. No doubt that Henk Plaatje is working on an update for the next rule cycle.

Saturday 1 March 2008

Model Boats for Protest Hearings

In a protest hearing you have to give the parties some help in recreating the situation. Most people have trouble drawing on a piece of paper and staying consistent about things like distance and scale. Much better is to use model boats. They are available in many different shapes and sizes. Some of the club owned are beautiful handcrafted pieces in wood or metal. There's even an artist in metalworks who makes them on spec for prize giving. (

You can buy them ready made, set of boats, complete with marks and wind direction arrows. If you buy the book about rules by Paul Elvstrom, it comes with a plastic set of it's own. Or you can make your own. Remember to make them bigger if your sailors are younger.

A practical and not expensive plastic set is produced by YRC (Norway,) called the Sailors Quarrel bag. It contains 5 different coloured plastic boats with a cut-out sail, a committee vessel, wind arrow and two marks. They cost about € 10,- including shipping and you can get them from:, or in NED from: Webshop Watersportverbond, or in GBR: from John Doerr (download a page with his Retail Items here) (sorry, I had to remove the link)

Top of the line is a kit with Magnetic Models of 16 boats (in four colours, each numbered 1 - 4), committee vessels, jury-, wing- and umpire boats, gate-, finish-, start- and numbered marks, wind-, current- and tide direction arrows. The sails are attached on top and can be adjusted to any angle and every piece is magnetic so you can use them on a white board. Complete with plastic container.

These kits are made by Noel Allen in Australia. He can be contacted on this E-mail address: ppillare(a)
Sets are available directly from him at AUD$60.00 (€ 37,53) plus postage Air Mail (8-10 days) AUD$23.90 (€ 14,95) or Sea Mail (8 weeks) AUD$ 13.35 (€ 8,35) per set. (100AUD$ = € 62,56)

The same set is also distributed in North America, USA, by Pat Healy:
In Europe in Great Britain by John Doerr (download a page with his Retail Items here)
And also in Great Britain by Chris Simon. They can be ordered on this e-mail address: chrisimon(a) or go to his TSS-ad.
He's currently charging GBP 45 (or Euros 70) for a kit which includes air mail postage and packing. Payment has to be by bank transfer to his account in advance of shipment. He also sell TSS software and the laminated rule books for fleet, match and team racing.

To stay consistent when parties give evidence, I usually assign a model boat color according to the clothes a party is wearing; i.e. green shirt uses a green boat. Easy to remember and also a light note in what is perceived by most sailors as a "difficult" environment. Something to break the ice.

If any of you have an additional source for model boats, please send me an E-mail with particulars for posting.
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