Friday 27 June 2008


Just to let you know, I haven't been gone from the planet, just moved to downtown Kiel for the match racing. This year Kiel has, as the first grade 1 event, a woman Match Race event. This because of the ISAF choice to do match racing for the Olympic Event in 2012.
It's been a lot of fun, but also difficult. Downtown Kiel is filled with tourists and we travel to and from the venue by shuttleboat from Schilksee, where the big sailing event is held.
Together with some of the teams we embark at 09:00 hours to be in downtown Kiel at 10:00.
Short briefing and racing at 11:00. Difficult for all, not in the least for the race officer, because that part of the water is crawling with boats, big and smal, bigger and normal and very, very big, like the ferry to Norway. In between we have a short course and race with streamlines.
Obstructions in all kinds and shapes.
Today we finished the round robin (15 Fligths and 45 matches) and tomorrow we'll continue with simi-finals and finals.
I'm filling my notebooks so will have more cases and studies for you later.
I'm seeing lots of interest in the first protest, already...
More later....
I'm back home sunday - very late - so hope to resume normal posting monday or tuesday.

Tuesday 24 June 2008


22/06/08 23:15 hours;
Just a quick update from Kiel. We are halfway trough the international part. Two days on the water doing rule 42 and hearings afterwards and in the evening. Yesterday we did four in the panel I was assigned to. Most of them about rules of part two. A couple of 29ers for barging at the start, Four OC yachts for a rule 18 issue, we declared invalid for not getting the flag out soon enough. Then another mark rounding protest with a couple of 420’s. Normal stuff.

Finally a request for redress from two ORC yachts. In short they claimed that another yacht was put into the wrong group by the Race Committee. After sorting out what was involved, who the parties where and how to get them to attend, it was 21:15 before we started.

ORC yachts in Kiel are scored using a GPH number, calculated to reflect all the factors which make a boat go fast. On this particular yacht, a carbon mast was fitted which made the GPH number 0,4 lower than the cut-off between group 1 and 2.

That 0,4 means – on paper – that a yacht is half a second (0,4 sec) faster on each nautical mile, racing offshore.

The German Sailing Federation recommends where this cut-off border between groups is suppose to be. Unfortunately it is only a recommendation. If we go back to the rule book, it needs to be a document governing the event before it becomes a rule.

The RC are actually free to assign boats into one or the other group. Claiming that a boat which is put into the wrong group has made a boat’s score significantly worse, is a stretch, to say the least. On top of that it isn’t even a omission or improper action by the RC in the first place.

What made things complicated, emotional and frustrating is that for national events this cut-off s strictly adhered to. So sailors expect it. But for it to be a valid rule at any (international or national) event, it needs to be made a rule. Which it was not. No other recourse for us then: request for redress denied. There was also a side issue because the scorer made an error and scored the boat in group 1, but it sailed in group 2. That was a mistake the Race Officer will correct.

I’m pretty sure the German yachtsmen will talk about this some more…. I think we will even receive a request for reopening.

24/06/08 08:59 hours:
I wrote the post above two days ago. Yesterday we had a stormy wind and eventually only the off-shore went sailing. More later.

Sunday 22 June 2008

Protest KIEL 001

  • Moderate see, Wind Westerly force 3 to 4, good visibility. Boats are all 8 meter keel-boats.
  • Blue, Yellow and Green approach the Port side gate mark, all on Port, overlapped with Green to windward of Yellow, and Yellow to windward of Blue.
  • Boats are still overlapped when Green enters the two-lengths Zone.
  • Green sails to the Port Gate mark, gybes to starboard, leaves the mark to starboard, then luffs.
  • Yellow and Blue also sail to the same mark but leave it to port.
  • There’s contact between Green on starboard and Yellow on port.
  • Yellow bears away and gybes,
  • There’s contact between Yellow and Blue.
  • No boat did any turns, but during the hearing Green retires.

What is your conclusion and which rules apply?
What is your decision ?

UPDATE: 24/06/08 18:42
The diagram is correct; It's my fault. I made a mistake in the text: I've corrected it in red.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, mikeposey!

Friday 20 June 2008


Today straight after work I'm driving to Kiel Germany to join the International Jury for KIEL WEEK 2008. It's about 5 hours to drive from my home. But because first Jury-meeting is scheduled 09:30 hours I'd rather drive today then get stuck in traffic tomorrow morning - when everybody is going to Kiel - and risk being late.

Blogging will be a little irregular in the coming week, since I haven't found time to prepare a lot of scheduled posts. Please bear with me. I'm sure I'll bring back lot's of interesting protest for you to consider.

The Jury this year will be a little bigger then usual (this is my fourth year going) because the OA of Kiel Week has decided to do a womans match race event as part of their Olympic part (second half)
I've not been selected as an umpire, so I might miss that, but I'll try to get involved for one day if possible. If not, I'm sure my fellow umpires will keep me up to date - I'm staying in a house with three of them.

Also new this year are the Farr 40's and the X35 are coming back for their second year.
Both are separate events, but the IJ covers them all.
You can see the whole shabang here

Thursday 19 June 2008


For all of you who are looking for situations to sharpen you umpire skills, have a look at the 32nd America's Cup Official web site and specifically at the part about AC Umpires.
Among other things you'll find a page with pdf-files about all the incidents.
Including a TSS- diagram, facts found and the call made.
The acts have their own file. For instance: TSS Reports Louis Vuitton Acts 1-10 (red: no longer available)
Please remember that the situations are resolved with the RRS as altered for the AC. I'm not sure the changes are because of the possibilities in the DOG or because this (was) is a special event, and ISAF has given permission to do so. Anyway, there are some changes. So don't be put of if the answer does not always is what you expect.
A good way to really get to the heart of the matter is to write down your own set of facts, using only the diagram and give a call. Only then, have a look at what actually happened.
Oh, TSS doesn't have to be boring: All teams have their own color!
ETNZ= light green; Alinghi= Brown; BMWO= Orange etc.
Even the fleet race calls are logged:

Wednesday 18 June 2008

FTBD (7)

I would very much like to hear what you want from this blog, on this seventh 'flog the blog'-day.

Be as frank as you like.

Tell me about the posts you liked,
Tell me about that posts you thought were crap,
Tell me about the one from which you actually learned something new,
Tell me about where I should be more focused on,
Tell me about why you've subscribed and expect from 'Look to Windward'

I've given you plenty to read, so you might have gained some insight on who I am. Now tell me what I should write about..

What I would like, is a new logo for this blog; something to stick on every publication, when used outside the blog...
Any suggestions?

I've come this far:

nachtfoto J&V




Tuesday 17 June 2008

Definitions | 18

Clear Astern and Clear Ahead; Overlap

One boat is clear astern of another when her hull and equipment in normal position are behind a line abeam from the aftermost point of the other boat’s hull and equipment in normal position. The other boat is clear ahead. They overlap when neither is clear astern. However, they also overlap when a boat between them overlaps both. These terms do not apply to boats on opposite tacks unless rule 18 applies

Best explained with pictures:

Blue is behind the line and so Blue is clear astern;
By definition: Yellow is clear ahead;
Rule 12 applies.
Note: both boats on the same tack!

A part of Blue is in front of the line abeam Yellow, therefore they overlap;
With Blue windward and Yellow leeward;
Rule 11 applies.
Again: both boats on the same tack.

Same situation with one difference, boats are on a different tack ;
Blue is NOT clear astern but on Port;
Yellow is NOT clear ahead but on Starboard;
Rule 10 applies.

The same situation as in 2, but again boats are on different tack;
Blue and Yellow are NOT overlapped, but on Port and Starboard;
Rule 10 applies.

One more difference: at a mark (about to round);

Rule 18 comes into effect;
Blue is overlapped and on Port;
Yellow is overlapped and on Starboard;
Because there is a conflict between 18.2(a) and rule 10, rule 18 takes precedence.
Yellow must give Blue room to round the mark as inside boat.

Finally a three boat picture with a question:

Do Purple and Red have an overlap?

This concludes the series of weekly posts about Definitions.
If you have a different insight or want to ask about my scribbling's, don't hesitate to comment or send an E-mail. I'm thinking about turning the series into an E-book.

Monday 16 June 2008

Rapid Response Call Match Race 2008/002

New on the ISAF Website Rapid Response Call Match Race 2008/002
It deals with a situation at the windward mark and establishes that - once entering the two-length zone - rule 18 dictates the actions of the boats. A leeward row boat must give a windward keep clear boat, room to round the mark.

As far as I can see, the difficulty with this call will be to judge when Yellow is still outside the two-lengths zone and when she's in. The umpire will be directly behind both boats to see if Blue is keeping clear. The wing - normally to the right- might want to motor ahead above both boats and judge the entry of Yellow into the zone...

What do you think?

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 2

In our new series about the changes in the rules for 2009-2012, today a spotlight on rule 3; Like before, the changes are in red:


By participating in a race conducted under these racing rules, each competitor and boat owner agrees

(a) to be governed by the rules;

(b) to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the rules, subject to the appeal and review procedures provided in them, as the final determination of any matter arising under the rules; and

(c) where the matter is not one to be determined under the rules, with respect to any such determination, not to resort to any court of law or any tribunal until all internal remedies provided by the ISAF or by the Court of Arbitration for Sport have been exhausted.

Does this mean any change?
I do not think so; The wording has changed a bit, but sailors still can go to ISAF or the Court of arbitration if they think an International Jury has made a procedural error. But wait, there is a change: in the current rule book you could go to court, once all internal remedies were exhausted! That will no longer be possible.

Once the standing in the regatta have been trough all the hearings and appeals available within the rules, and the procedure has been tested by ISAF or the Tribunal, it is over. If you enter a regatta you agree not to go to court after that. The courts may not award you first price!

Courts still will handle all liability issues, because the rules specifically don't deal with that.

That was a very short one, so on to rule 5:


A competitor shall neither take a substance nor use a method banned by comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code or the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and shall comply with ISAF Regulation 21, Anti-Doping Code. An alleged or actual breach of this rule shall be dealt with under Regulation 21. It shall not be grounds for a protest and rule 63.1 does not apply.

Again no change we need to worry about in the room. Just a better wording and for the Anti-Doping Agency to possibility to change the list of 'forbidden' substances independent of any rule cycle.

Do any of you have any experience in a doping issue?

Saturday 14 June 2008

Rescue me! I've capsized....

Today I was RO for an event with Old Wooden Boats, among them two original FD's, 12 Larks, seven Akkrumer Jollen, several OK Dinghies and some various and other old classes.

Especially the Larks were a sight to see. I've asked my brother to take some pictures and he has and will tomorrow, so I can show you in a future post. Here's a couple from the cover page of the SI:OZH cover_Page_01

Go to Oud-Zeilend-Hout website for additional photo's

Now, in addition to get everybody started and finished, there was another issue with this event. Above force 4, Larks are very prone to 'nose diving' when sailing on the run, and like a catamaran, then trip over and capsize..

And of course later in the afternoon some of the clouds brought an increase in wind to above force 4... So, there they went, one, two.... five in all in a timeframe of less than 10 minutes.

I did get an additional safety boat for this event. With two, I thought I was covered. 32 entries normally warrants only one in my book. Now I had two. With those five boats capsized, I scared up a third rescue boat by asking our harbor-master to help as well.

But when is it enough? Two of the boats had to wait for 15 - 20 minutes before I could get a safety boat to them. There was no immediate danger, they were in shallow water very close to shore, so could just leave the boat and wade to land. The water has warmed up in the last weeks, but is still cold when immersed in it to long.

In our annual regatta with two hundred plus boats,there are about 6 or 7 rescue boats, plus two tug boats who bring capsized boats back to shore/harbor once straightened out. Again an average of about 30 entries per rescue boat. Granted, the sailors in this event weren't very experienced and I knew about the problems with the Larks, but how many safety boats does an event like this need? The costs go up as well.

What do you think? How many safety boats do you use at your event(s)?

Friday 13 June 2008

SW rating for 'Oud Zeilend Hout'

Because we have an event scheduled this weekend for "Oud Zeilend Hout" , which translates to 'Old Sailing Wood', I'm looking for SW-ratings:
These I have so far:

    Class SW

    W-klasse/ 7m10




    Flying Dutchman










    12m2 –BM




Anybody have SW-ratings for the unknown classes?

Rulesguide by Wim Thijs | 3

In March of this year I wrote a couple of posts about Rulesguide by Wim Thijs 1989 | 2
Also in Dutch: Regelwijzer van Wim Thijs uit 1989.
Some time ago I came across an updated version from 1997, so still a couple of rule-cycles ago.
I've tried to ask permission of the author to update the picture, but alas, my inquiries have been unanswered. Below a picture of the 1997 version:
Perhaps I should translate and update for 2009-2012?

Thursday 12 June 2008

Abandoning a Match Race - ISAF Policy

Each day I check the Documents & Rules list on the ISAF site to see if anything new appears. For several days it has been very quit, but today something new appeared.
Well, not exactly new, a policy document from February 2005 about Abandoning a Match Race - in Light or shifting winds. With an effective date of 2008-06-01?

The criteria in this document have been used in match race events I've been attending and are therefore certainly not new.
This is what the document states:

Version 1.0; 27 February 2005
Abandoning a Match Race – Light or shifting winds
In match racing there is normally not an overall time limit for a race. This is because the last thing you want to do is to have to abandon a race that is a bit too long and then find you have no time to run another one. This means that when deciding whether to abandon a match race due to insufficient wind, there is no absolute measure. There are two different approaches to this problem. Both approaches should be seen as an extension of match race call MR 27 that gives other criteria for abandoning.

Approach 1. Focus on Consistency
A match race should be abandoned when:
(a) At the preparatory signal, either boat does not make enough progress to be able to fulfill the entry requirements,
(b) In the pre-start, boats are unable to circle and maintain steerage,
(c) On the first beat, either boat sails into the two-length zone around the windward mark without tacking after starting, or
(d) Neither boat makes significant progress for two minutes.

The decision to abandon must be irrespective of the position of the match at the time. Even if one boat is ahead and the other has an outstanding penalty, the match must be abandoned if one of the above criteria is met. Otherwise the decision becomes; if Yellow wins the race will stand, but if Blue catches up we will abandon. The aim of the criteria is to reduce judgement in favour of consistency, and competitors have difficulties understanding that one match is abandoned while another match in the same conditions is not.

Approach 2. Focus on Judgement
The decision to abandon is solely the responsibility of the race committee; the umpires can suggest or recommend, but not decide. For the race committee, the criteria above are guidelines, and not directives or hard and fast rules. They must use discretion in the application of the criteria. Abandonment must always reflect the fairness of the competition, so the longer a race continues, the less fair it is to abandon. Therefore, some of the criteria above are changing importance throughout a race. Criteria (d) is more applicable in the pre-start and on the first leg. It becomes less and less applicable on each succeeding leg.

Calpe (ESP)

I have acouple off questions regarding this document:
Firstly: What is it? How should we treat a 'policy document'?
  • It's not a rule- unless it's mentioned in the SI or NoR as a document governing an event.
  • It's not a Call, although the wording suggest it is an extension of one (MR 27)
  • It's not a Q&A,
  • It's not a Rapid Response call,
Is there no other recourse then to treat it as a policy suggestion, to be discussed at the first umpire meeting?
But it's the RC which decides if a match is abandoned. So is it a policy advice to them?

Secondly: Who wrote this?
Racing Rules Committee? IUSC? Rapid response Match Race Call Team? ROC? WHO?
(also: written in 2005, but effective from July 2008? and still version 1?)

With all due respect for the author, I think ISAF should be more precise in how we as umpires and race officers, should treat documents like this. Give it a place in the existing structure by making it a call or Q&A or whatever. But something we can deal with. I know sailors will regard this as a fixed guideline and will expect Match Race abandonments will be done according to this policy, and perhaps rightly so.
But at the moment I would categorize this document as being "In Limbo" and every event will have to determine if they will abandon a Match Race with these criteria or not.

What is your opinion?

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Definitions | 17

Keep Clear      One boat keeps clear of another if the other can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and, when the boats are overlapped on the same tack, if the leeward boat can change course in both directions without immediately making contact with the windward boat.

In fact I've already written about this several times. So I've translated an old Dutch Post: VRIJ BLIJVEN......



Heard in the protest room:

  • "There was no contact!"
  • "He didn't have to bear away, I could pass in front of him easily"
  • "His bow came so close I couldn't do anything anymore"
  • "If I had luffed I would have crossed the starting line"

These statements all have to do with the definition "Keep Clear" from the Racing Rules of Sailing. Apparently there are still a lot of misunderstandings about this definition.

I every relationship between boats there's one who has the right of way (row) and one who has to keep clear (just for the sake of clarity I'm forgetting about the restrictions in rules 14 trough 18)

The definition is written from the point of view of the row boat. That boat has to be able to sail her course as if the other wasn't there.

The first 'right' of the row boat is ”no need to take avoiding action".
From the moment the row boat has the feeling 'this is not right, I have to do something', the need to take avoiding action is already there.

A few seconds later the row boat will do something, change course, he is 'feeling the need to do so' This depends not on the perception of the keep clear boat, but solely on the thoughts of the row boat.

From that moment the other boat is not 'Keeping Clear' and she has broken one of the four basic row rules. As long as the row doesn't feel the need to take avoiding action, the other is 'keeping clear'. So circumstances like force of the wind, waves, but also type of boat, speed and competence of the helmsman play a role.

Not every helmsman shall feel the need to take avoiding action at precisely the same moment. One has a better boat handling then the other. However, the rules are written to give the benefit of the doubt to the row boat.

Port and Starboard in Case 50

In a Port-Starboard protest the port boat shall have to establish that the need to take avoiding action was not there (see case 50). If there's any doubt about that, the starboard boat will win the protest.

In addition to this the row boat has another 'right'. When two boats on the same tack have an overlap and are sailing parallel, the leeward boat does not has the need to take avoiding action. There's no immediate danger she is going to be hit. That is why in the definition the second part is added. The row boat must be able to change course without immediately come in contact with the other boat. If that part of the definition was not there, she would be forced to sail in a straight line, a restriction not appropriate for a row boat.

Weather, type of boat and all other existing conditions have an impact on the distances boats can have on a race course. In a coastal race with big waves it is different then between two J22's on an inland lake. The definition is written, so that there's no fixed distance prescribed.

All questions from sailors asking what an umpire or judge would consider a 'keep clear' distance should be answered with: depends on the conditions. And that can vary from minute to minute.


When boats have contact, for sure the keep clear boat has already broken a rule BEFORE the contact. She has not 'kept clear".

Monday 9 June 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 1

When I came home tonight after an extended work day, I found an unexpected present in my mailbox. The complete new RRS 2009-2012 as were send to all MNA's for translation!
(Thanks Bruno!)

Since our series on definitions is almost run out - only two more to go - I thought I would start a new series about the changes in the rules. So we can discover the subtleties in the words and talk about the interpretation together. I will - just like you - have to think about the impact some of the changes will have. Perhaps together we can learn, before we need to use them next year?

Here's the first one, the changes are in red:

1.2 Life-Saving Equipment and Personal Buoyancy Flotation Devices

A boat shall carry adequate life-saving equipment for all persons on board, including one item ready for immediate use, unless her class rules make some other provision. Each competitor is individually responsible for wearing a personal flotation device buoyancy adequate for the conditions.

At first glance this is only a wording change. However one which does have some impact.
A small balloon already has some buoyancy, but a flotation device must be able to keep the person floating, above water. If you ever have any doubt about if a flotation device is adequate for the person wearing it, ask him/her to show you - in safe conditions - that it is capable of keeping them afloat.

Oh, and better check your own as well.

Sunday 8 June 2008

Team Race Ladder for Match Racing | 2

Back from the water I can report on the results. Unfortunately today was an exceptional beautiful sunny & warm day with.....
you guessed it, NO WIND ((*&^(*^)(@&#)(*)).

Yesterday we had a really good day, with 18 flights and 54 matches. The students were enthusiast, all 18 teams sailed six times, changing boats became a smooth routine and only a very few minor repair glitches. Driving home with a fellow umpire yesterday, I was very happy with how things were going. And pleased the ladder system was working so well.
The committee really meant business and we cranked flights out like there was no tomorrow.
Well there wasn't!
Stuck with the results from yesterday we were asked to look at the results and come up with a recommodation for solving the ties. Ties? Yea, many ties! This apparently is the side effect of the ladder system. Five teams on second place with four points each. Six teams on 7th Place with three points, four teams on 13th place with two points and two teams on 17th place with one point.
I hope that this gets better when the ladder progresses....

In the mean time we were forced to concluded that nor Appendix C, nor Appendix A and even Appendix D, gives an adequate rule for resolving those ties:
  • we looked at matches sailed against each other - not every one tied, had those...
  • we looked at how many rungs were gained - Team 5 kept hitting top rung...
  • we looked at relative positions, which didn't change...
  • we looked at ....
only one option was left: to draw!

So we ended up doing just that. We held a draw between four teams (one team withdrew after these results were published) for the third and second place prizes. Most unsatisfactory, but there you have it.

I would very much appreciate some help in solving this problem. If any of you have any suggestions how to do this, please leave a comment!!

Oh, and I got a suggestion how to improve the sheet:
By combining the cells above the column, you get a neat separation, after the results
I'll change that, in the next one, with an extra line.

Saturday 7 June 2008

Team Race Ladder for Match Racing

In a post on March 4th I asked for your help in getting a Match Race schedule together for a large number of teams: Twenty four teams; six boats and two days. Today we are having this event and I've managed to get a schedule that will give everybody an equal chance of winning. Instead of using the traditional Round Robin system, we are going to use a 'ladder' system developed for Team racing.

The teams are set up in order of competence: best teams on top, lesser teams at the bottom and then numbered one trough eighteen. With 6 boats we sail flights of three matches. F1M1: Team 1 against Team 2, F1M2: Team 3 against Team 4, F1M3: Team 5 against Team 6. Then there's a crew change. Flight two: F2M1 Team 7 against Team 8 etc, etc, until all eighteen teams have completed this first ladder.
Winners in each match earn one point and move up one rung on the ladder
Losers don't get a point and go down one rung on the ladder.

In ladder Two the first Match in Flight 4 is WinnerF1M1 against Winner F1M2.
F4M2: Winner F1M3 against Loser F1M1. F4M3: Winner F2M1 against Loser F1M2 etc, etc.
This Ladder is again completed and the process repeats it self.
I've made a schedule, perhaps that will clarify this a little better: This picture is after Ladder 2 has been sailed and shows the 'to sail' matches in ladder 3.
I'll report back on how things are going after today.

Friday 6 June 2008

Book Report: 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes

Not long ago I ordered a copy of Dave Perry's 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes.

I had heard of this book some time ago and wanted to have a copy to see if it was any good. Well, it is. Dave Perry has done a very good job in getting a lot of issues about the rules crammed into 100 quizzes.

As an example I've copied a couple of pages:

QUIZ 71:

Shortly before finishing, Boats PW (a windward boat ) and PL (a leeward boat) are sailing close-hauled on port tack. As they approach the finishing line, PW hails PL for room to pass astern of boat S (on starboard tack). PL passes astern of S and finishes. PW, believing she was not given sufficient room, tacks onto starboard tack to leeward of S, gybes onto port tack, luffs up to a close-hauled course, tacks to starboard tack once again to finish then hails "Protest!" to PL.

At the hearing, PL claims the hail was not made "at the first reasonable opportunity." You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?

Quiz 71 qpic

picture Quiz 71 from Dave Perry's 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes.


Under rule 63.5, Hearings: Validity of the Protest or Request for Redress, the hearing is closed because PWs protest is not valid. Rule 61.1(a), Protest Requirements: Informing the Protestee, requires PW to hail "Protest" at the first reasonable opportunity after the incident, "First reasonable opportunity" means as soon as practicable, not as soon as convenient.

The maneuvers performed by PW after the incident and before hailing clearly demonstrate that her hail is not made at the first reasonable opportunity. Rule 63.5 requires that at the beginning of the hearing the protest committee decide whether all the requirements for the protest have been met. If not, the hearing must be closed. See US SAILING Appeal 61.

You can order your own copy of this book trough US Sailing Store or on Amazon.

Dave Perry has recently been in the news for making the US Appeals book available for all members of US Sailing. I think that is a great initiative and would alone for that, if I was living in de the US of A, join US Sailing,

Thursday 5 June 2008

Blue and S - together?

A short post today. A question for all RO's:

PRO Gerlof van Wieren on the roof of the starting vessel

The course is shortened at the windward mark and the committee boat signals this with hoisting flag S with two sound signals when the first boat is still a good 200 meters away.
Should the committee boat also hoist the Blue flag or not?

Please give me your opinion and the reason why.

Wednesday 4 June 2008

New Rule 18 - The three-length zone in RRS 2009-2012

At the Delta Lloyd Regatta I was spending a day on the water doing rule 42 work with Chris Atkins, one of the members of the Rule 18 working party. Together with three other persons he worked on the changes we will all find in our rule books next year.

In between races, we talked about these changes. I asked him specifically about the background for changing the two boat-length zone into three and the choice the OA or RC could make, to decrease this back to two or increase to four. Wouldn't this create confusion for sailors encountering different zones at different regattas?

First of all he explained to me the reason for the increase to three-length zone. In the new rule, the current "about to round" part of rule 18.1 is deleted. That part has always been a source for discussion and confusion. No longer!

Only when you enter the zone, rule 18 will begin to apply.

The working party concluded - as we all do with the current rule - that two lengths was a too small an area for that. Spinnakers are lowered and course is adjusted before entering the two lengths zone. Most boats are already busy with the rounding well before. Without the "about to round" part of the rule, the zone could not stay two lengths. He stressed that in most classes, three lengths should work on the water the same as the current rule, with the added bonus that the 'border' for rule 18 was now fixed.

There are classes and circumstances that the three-length zone may be too large or too small. The working party wanted to give race committees the ability to deal with that. In the current rule book two-lengths is in the definitions and cannot be changed. In the new rule it is specifically allowed to change it in the sailing instructions. But the working party wanted it to be an exception, only to be done for very specific classes or circumstances.

For example on a small lake with slow(er) boats, or in team racing, where three would be too much. Gates could be 5-6 boat lengths instead of 7 or 8, marks could be closer to shore etc. etc.

Or for multihulls and yacht racing (those very fast boats) the zone can be increased to four, to give more time to do a proper rounding, without having to drop that huge spinnaker in five seconds. But only in those very special cases.

The intention is to stick to the three-length zone for all classes and all regattas, as much as possible.

Class Associations, Race Committees and Organizers, who have a say in what is written in the Sailing Instructions, should only change the three length-zone, if they are absolutely convinced that it is necessary. For sailors it is hard enough to judge the distance, without the added difficulty of having to change from one regatta to the next.

I suspect whenever ISAF has any say in it - for graded events at least - the requirement will be to leave the three-length zone intact.

Tuesday 3 June 2008

Definitions | 16

Racing     A boat is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes and clears the finishing line and marks or retires, or until the race committee signals a general recall, postponement or abandonment.

Four minutes before the starting signal; the race is on!

That does however NOT mean that the rules don't apply before that time. In the preamble of part two we can read they also apply long before that and even after the boat has finished. Why then this special defined time of racing?

One of the differences is in the penalty. Except for breaking rule 22.1, a boat infringing a rule of part two while not racing, cannot be penalized. You can still protest, the PC will still conduct a hearing and will still draw a conclusion and reach a decision, but will not DSQ a boat. If there is however damage because of a contact, it still might be of use to help settle the insurance issue.  Except for rule 22.1, of course

That's another difference between racing and not racing.

If you are sailing toward the starting area you are not yet racing. But if you interfere with a boat that is, you break rule 22.1, even when you are sailing on Starboard and the other is on Port. And interfere can mean taking the other's wind being to windward of them. You 'loose' your right of way when you no longer racing against a boat that is.

The penalty will be applied to the race sailed nearest in time to that of the incident (RRS 64.1(c))

Racing ends when you clear the finishing line and marks. But again you need to be aware of the next boat coming over the line. She might be keep clear boat under rule 12, but you are already interfering if she needs to take avoiding action because you haven't kept going.

Coach boats need to be away at four minutes. Rule 41 applies while racing.

If you for instance drop your container or jacket in the water after P has gone up, and it's then picked up by your coach, you technically break rule 41, not to mention the 'no litter rule' which in most regatta's will be in the SI.

So be aware of when you are racing!

Rule 18.3 with big cats

The iShares cup is a fleet race which is directly judged on the water by umpires. In previous posts I've told you that this is done with the rules written for the Medal Race in Olympic classes: Addendum Q.

There's however a big difference between Olympic classes and these 40 foot catamarans. They still are cats and therefore capable of stalling in light air when they are tacking. It takes some energy to get these big boats moving again. With tight races on a small area and almost no wind, we are discovering that one rule in particular doesn't seem to have a fair outcome. I'm talking about rule 18.3.

33442 iShares Cup 2008

In fleet racing the rule state that when a boat completed her tacks within the two-length zone when the other is fetching the mark, the tacked boat shall not cause the other boat to sail above close hauled to avoid her and, shall give room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her.

There are two problems to this issue:

First of all, with a little speed, the apparent wind angle makes it very easy to make it look like an Extreme 40 is above close hauled. Just don't tighten the gyb and it will back in front straight away. Having to avoid a tacked boat makes it look like that boat breaks rule 18.3, while in fact the boat just luffs up to a close hailed course.

Secondly, a boat several lengths ahead tacking inside the zone, which then somehow gets stalled next to the mark, is thereafter "fair game". Any boat already on the layline coming at her can decide to go for the gab between, the mark and the stalled boat, getting an inside overlap and claiming room. Not being able to do anything, the stalled boat then breaks rule 18.3. Or the approaching boat can luff above close hauled going round at the outside and again the stalled boat breaks rule 18.3.

In the umpire team we discussed a solution for this 'undesired' effect and talked to all the skippers. Because the iShares cup is a "special event" we can ask ISAF to grant permission for changing this part of the rule book and instead use the changed rule 18.3 from appendix C. (the match racing rules)

That would make it not only easier for the sailors but also for us as umpires. And a more fair competition.

Sunday 1 June 2008

Lugano Extreme Luck

Just a quick update on this fine Sunday morning in Lugano. Fine in a sense that it looks like another fine sunny day but, like yesterday, no promise of a decent wind. The lake is flat like a mirror!

We did four races yesterday in very fluky conditions. The only female skipper sailing on JPMorgan, seemed to thrive in those circumstances. In one of the races she started late but made a daring and bold move to go inside the row of mooring buoys, to get back in the race. We all expected her to stall on one of the many lines going from buoys to the jetty. But she pulled it off. Not once, but twice!
Team Aqua didn't need more encouragement and followed her in, after the second time.... And yes, stalled on the lines in front of the public grandstand! Shirley must have the luck of the.....

I'll be back home late this evening and hopefully can find some time to answer mails and comments tomorrow.
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