Sunday 31 August 2008

Open Races Langweer 2008

Perfect weather for a perfect sailing event!

With a sunny sky, a steady breeze from the south-east and good forecast, we had two very good racing days in Langweer. As always, it has been very tiring and busy, but entirely satisfactory.

Like I told you yesterday, we tested a new program my brother has been developing this year on an old laptop. On the screen the countdown to the start in big numbers (so all on the upper deck can follow the sequence), a blue ribbon for five minutes and several options. For example the "CTRL-button" switches between a two seconds horn for one minute or a four seconds horn. I asked my brother to send me a screen picture to show to you:


127 boats in 14 classes, six individual recalls and one general. only one OCS. My regatta report gets more accurate by the year. The laptop not only gives the commands to the horn, it also keeps track of it's keystrokes in a log which looks like this:

30/08/2008 14:00:00 class 1 START
30/08/2008 14:05:00 class 2 START
30/08/2008 14:09:16 class 2 SIGNAAL 2x
30/08/2008 14:25:00 class 3 START
30/08/2008 14:30:00 class 4 START
30/08/2008 14:35:00 class 5 START
30/08/2008 14:45:00 class 6 START
30/08/2008 14:49:36 class 6 SIGNAAL 2x
30/08/2008 15:00:00 class 6 HERSTART
30/08/2008 15:05:00 class 7 START
30/08/2008 15:05:20 class 7 Terugroep INDIVIDUEEL
30/08/2008 15:10:00 class 8 START
30/08/2008 15:15:00 class 9 START
30/08/2008 15:20:00 class 10 START
30/08/2008 15:30:00 class 11 START
30/08/2008 15:35:00 class 12 START
30/08/2008 15:40:00 class 13 START
30/08/2008 15:45:00 class 14 START

Complete log: logboek LW08

A very good beginning, but now I want more! I want the prep and the one minute. I want to be able to type the OCS's into the report and other information as well, which I now record by hand:

You'll notice a few discrepancies in the log: The restart of class 2 is missing after the first "signaal 2x", signaling postponement. And 20 seconds for a horn to indicate individual recall is entirely too long! Not because we were late deciding, but because the keyboard is not that reliable anymore.

He's demanding a new laptop already! <G> and you know what, I want to give it to him as well, because I see the benefits already.

Mike B has send me an email with a link to another sailing program:
"Please check out I use their Sailing Event Controller" I will have to check that out.

For now I don't want to spoil my brother's tinkering, he has too much fun doing this and doing a great job to boot! Well done, Jan!

Friday 29 August 2008

The Ollie Wallock Race Start Machine

In a post by Tillerman on August 27 (Wow) he linked to the Ollie Wallock Race Start Machine.
With a name like that, I had to tell you about it. This is what they write on the home page:
Do you still start your races with a shotgun, cannon, horn or whistle? How frightfully crude. Re-enter civilized society. Get yourself an Ollie Wallock Race Start Machine.
The OLLIE is the first name in automated race start timers. It has been around for fifteen years or so. The original idea of a completely enclosed and portable unit has never changed. Although the appearance hasn't changed much, the implementation of the idea has gone through several iterations in order to make the best possible OLLIE that I can make with off the shelf parts. My competitors ( PRO REGATTA GUN, AUTOHOOT, SAILTIMER etc. ) came later and the rest is history
I've browsed around to find out more and found some very positive testimonials by race officers and clubs, all very much impressed by the performance of this starting automaton.

I also have send an email to Ollie to inquire about world wide shipping, to ask if it is available in Europe and at what cost. I'll get back to you about that as soon as I've heard back.

This weekend I'm race officer for an annual club event with about 130 boats in 14 classes. For starting my brother has made a computer program for a laptop to give the starting sound signals. We've tried it for single class events and that works fine, now will be the "fire" test, with multiple classes in five minute intervals.

Thursday 28 August 2008

Magnetic Protest Boat Kit

Found on the RYA website. For all of you in need of a new protest kit.
This looks like good deal for a fair price:
Missing ALT tag

Product Code: MBP

Our price: £21.27 (which is about 26,50 in euros; red)
RYA member price: £18.08
Ideal for accurately depicting races, enforcing and teaching the Racing Rules, as well as for protests. Sailing clubs, committees and individual sailors will all benefit from owning the RYA magnetic boat pack.

This pack comes in a handy zip lock, clear plastic bag, small enough to be carried around everywhere, and contains 12 boats in various colours, one wind arrow, one tide arrow and 4 racing marks.
Please note: the price shown above is exclusive of VAT.

According to the information the RYA sends this all over the world.
You do need to register and pay with a credit card, but the process is pretty straightforward and I do trust the RYA to have a decent secure payment system.

Go to: Working With Us
You'll find a picture of the bag with boats (as depicted at the beginning of this post) at the bottom under RYA Shop.

I've ordered a pack and in the checkout the total came to £ 27.24 (including £ 3.72 VAT and £ 2.25 postage) Depending on the actual exchange date, that's about € 33,88. (One instance I'm happy with the strong euro).

Delivery may take a couple of days. I'll report back when I've received the kit.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Olympic Protest 74; LTW Readers Q&A | 7

I received a Q&A from Sen about one of the Olympic Protests; nr. 74
He asked a couple of questions. For your information I've first copied the facts found, conclusion and decision from the panel as they were published:
Protest No. 74;
Event: RS:X - Men;
Race: 8;
Protestor: UKR - Protestee: JPN

Protest details: N12

Facts found:
UKR on starboard and JPN on port approached the leeward mark with JPN on the layline. UKR gybed to port. Soon afterwards JPN established an overlap to windward and there was contact between the two boards. The two boards were approximately 5 seconds from the mark. The contact continued until UKR hit the mark. JPN luffed and slowed down. Neither boat did a penalty turn.

JPN failed to keep clear as a windward boat. UKR did not make every attempt to give JPN room at the mark. JPN broke rule 11 and UKR broke rule 18.2(a)

Rule(s) applicable: RRS 11 and 18.2(a)

Decision: JPN and UKR are disqualified from race 8.

These were Sen's questions (abbreviated; red)
In Protest No. 74 , JPN broke rule 11, UKR broke rule 18.2(a) and both boards were DSQ. This case happened near the leeward (gate) mark, but which mark was not clear. Was it 3S, 3P, 4S, or 4P in the facts? I guess the mark is 3P or 4P.

There are relatively not many cases that both boats are DSQ. The typical example is that a keep clear boat breaks a rule and is DSQ-ed and the other boat with R-O-W breaks rule 14 and is also DSQ-ed.

While there are so many cases that a boat is DSQ under her breach of a rule and another boat is exonerated as the innocent victim under rule 64.1(b), Protest No. 74 is neither one nor the other in the examples mentioned above. Then by only the facts, I can not understand why both boards were DSQ?

Please show the supposed situation or diagram.

First of all, the protest involves surfboards, so we need to go to appendix B as well as the "normal" rules. In appendix B a lot of rules are changed or deleted. For instance boards may touch a mark. They shall not hold on to it, but touching is no problem.

I've drawn the following TSS diagrams from the facts in the protest:

static image

animated image (one by one)

All through the incident UKR was R-O-W boat. First as SB-, then as clear ahead- and finally as leeward boat. When JPN established a windward overlap she had no protection from rule 15 and if after her gybe UKR did not change course, JPN had also no solace from rule 16. When the overlap was established JPN had to keep clear.
She failed to do so and broke rule 11. Nobody forced her to do this, so rule 64.1(b) does not come into play.

The facts state that first contact occurred approximately five seconds from the mark. Five seconds is a long time, so initial contact occurred well before the boards approached the mark. It was blowing 14 - 17 kts in race 8. The course stated in the SI was a trapezium Outer Loop so mark 3P sounds about right.

Once approaching that mark, JPN - still keep clear board - had to be given room as inside board. Boards don't have rule 18.2(b) and 18.2(c). Both are deleted in appendix B.
Once you establish an overlap, the other board has to give you room to pass the mark.
By not giving that room, while JPN was inside boat, UKR broke rule 18.2(a.

Both boards brok a rule, neither was forced to do so, therefore both were disqualified.

UPDATE: 28/08/08; 18:22 hours

Bill Heintz mailed me today with a link to a series of photos capturing the sequence of this protest. We can't see the initial gybe and start of the overlap, nor the distance to the mark, but it illustrates UKR's infringement of 18.2(a) perfectly.
Got to: Just Too Good To Miss!
Thanks Bill!

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | Definitions

New post in our series about the new rules going into effect the first of January 2009.
Before I continue with the rules by number, I thought it would be useful to pay some attention to the changes in the definitions. You may have noticed a few new ones already in last couple of posts about the rules

If a definition is not mentioned below it has not changed compared to the current RRS.And as usual, red text marks new text and striketrough marks deleted text.

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. These terms always apply to boats on the same tack. They do not apply to boats on opposite tacks unless rule 18 applies or both boats are sailing more than ninety degrees from the true wind.
Fetching A boat is fetching a mark when she is in a position to pass to windward of it and leave it on the required side without changing tack.
Finish A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in nor­­mal position, crosses the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark, either for the first time or after taking a penalty under rule 31.2 or 44.2 or, under rule 28.1, after correcting an error made at the finishing line, under rule 28.1.
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 or an object attached temporarily or accidentally to a mark are is not part of it.
Mark-Room Room for a boat to sail to the mark, and then room to sail her proper course while at the mark. However, mark-room does not include room to tack unless the boat is overlapped to windward and on the inside of the boat required to give mark-room.
Obstruction An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it. An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an area so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions. However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her, give her room or mark-room or, if rule 22 applies, avoid her. A vessel under way, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.
Rule (a) The rules in this book, including the Definitions, Race Signals, Introduction, preambles and the rules of relevant appendices, but not titles;
(b) ISAF Regulation 19, Eligibility Code; Regulation 20, Advertising Code; and Regulation 21, Anti-Doping Code; and Regulation 22, Sailor Classification Code; (c) the prescriptions of the national authority, unless they are changed by the sailing instructions in compliance with the national authority’s prescription, if any, to rule 88;
(d) the class rules (for a boat racing under a handicap or rating
system, the rules of that system are ‘class rules’);
(e) the notice of race;
(f) the sailing instructions; and
(g) any other documents that govern the event
Two-Length Zone The area around a mark or obstruction within a distance of two three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.

The new definitions mark-room and fetching as well as zone are needed because of the re-writing of rule 18. They also put to rest an old discussion point about the difference between room at a mark and room on other parts of the course.
You notice that the length of the zone is now in the wording, no longer in the definition. That is because in the Sailing Instruction that length can be altered in special circumstances. Read: New Rule 18 - The three-length zone in RRS 2009-2012 if you want to know more about that.

Monday 25 August 2008

Olympic Protests | 6

The Olympics have been closed. All sailing done - already a couple of day's ago.
Now the Court of Arbitration of Sport has published it's full decision.

I've read trough the text and must correct an assumption I made earlier. I was under the impression the CAS only looked at procedure and format. That is not the case!
Each point in the allegation is specifically addressed and comments are written on all decisions the International Jury has made. The panel decisions have been upheld on all counts.
You can read the document: CAS OG/08 008 & 009 CONI & COE v/ISAF
It's worth the read.

I've also collected all the texts of the protest and put them in a word file, so you can download them and put them in your study-folder. Protests must be written in a much shorter timespan so here and there I think there are a few loose ends, but not many.

I've received a question about a couple of them and will give you my opinion in a post later this week. For study purposes it's interesting to try to draw the picture of the incident, based on the facts found and see if that picture fits the conclusion.

You can download the file: Olympic Protests 2008 V5.docx (Word 2007 version) or Olympic Protests 2008 V5 Word2003.doc (Word 2003 version) (new)

Saturday 23 August 2008

CAS Decision in 49er Gold Medal

Today around 4pm (Beijing time) the ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) published it's decision in the procedure CONI & COE v/ ISAF.

The case was brought by the National Olympic Committees of Spain and Italy against the International Jury for awarding no penalty to the DEN 49er sailing in the Medal Race in the Olympic in the Croatian skiff. You can read my previous post to learn more: Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear 49er Protests.

Let me not keep you in long suspence:
Jonas Warrer and Martin Ibsen of Denmark will keep their Gold Medal.

As I suspected yesterday the likelihood of winning for ESP & ITA was very low. The CAS looks at the procedure and format, not at the conclusion of the Jury. As long as all rules for procedure have been followed and the decision is within the scope and jurisdiction of the panel, the CAS will not change the outcome. We will have to wait a little longer for the grounds of the CAS. I will keep a lookout and post about that, when it comes available.

If you are interested in the work the Court of Arbitration for Sports, have a look at their web site:


The following Press release was posted:


Beijing, 23 August 2008 – The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today dismissed the applications filed by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) against two decisions of the International Jury of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) related to the gold medal race of the 49er event which took place on 17 August 2008.
A panel of CAS arbitrators composed of Dr Stephan Netzle, (Switzerland), President, Prof. Richard McLaren (Canada) and Ms Margarita Echeverria (Costa Rica) heard the parties today between 9.00am and 2.00pm as well as the representatives of the Danish NOC, as interested party. After having deliberated, the CAS arbitrators announced that both applications were dismissed and that the decisions rendered by the ISAF International Jury concerning that event and dated 18 and 19 August 2008 were confirmed. The CAS decision with the grounds will be published on the CAS website before the closing of the Olympic Games.

This procedure followed an incident which occurred before the gold medal race in the 49er class event on 17 August 2008. Shortly before the start of the race, the Danish team (Warrer/Ibsen) was sailing towards the start line when the mast of their boat broke. As a consequence, the Danish team decided to use the boat of another team (Croatia) which had not qualified for the gold medal race. The Danish team finished 7th in the gold medal race and was ranked first in the overall ranking of this event. The Spanish team, which obtained the silver medal and the Italian team, which was ranked fourth, as well as the Race Committee, filed various protests which were all rejected by the ISAF International Jury. The two NOCs then requested the CAS to annul the ISAF International Jury decisions, to declare that the Danish team was not entitled to take part in the gold medal race, to disqualify the Danish team and to re-allocate the Olympic medals to the Spanish team (gold medal), to the German team (silver medal) and to the Italian team (bronze medal).

Thursday 21 August 2008

Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear 49er Protests

On the web site of the CAS the following press release was posted:



Beijing, 21 August 2008 – The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has received an application from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the Spanish Olympic committee (COE) against two decisions of the International Jury of the International Sailing federation (ISAF) related to the gold medal race of the 49er event which took place on 17 August

Shortly before the start of the gold medal race in the 49er class event on 17 August 2008, the Danish team (Warrer/Ibsen) was sailing towards the start line when the mast of their boat broke. As a consequence, the Danish team decided to use the boat of another team (Croatia) which had not qualified for the gold medal race. The Danish team finished 7th in the gold medal race and was ranked first in the overall ranking of this event. The Spanish team, which obtained the silver medal and the Italian team, which was ranked fourth, as well as the Race Committee, filed various protests which were all rejected by the ISAF International Jury. The two NOCs request the CAS to annul the ISAF International Jury decisions, to declare that the Danish team was not entitled to take part in the gold medal race, to disqualify the Danish team and to re-allocate the Olympic medals to the Spanish team (gold medal), to the German team (silver medal) and to the Italian team (bronze medal).

The panel of CAS arbitrators appointed to hear this matter is composed of Dr Stephan Netzle, (Switzerland), President, Prof. Richard McLaren (Canada) and Ms Margarita Echeverria (Costa Rica).
A hearing in this matter will take place on 23 August 2008 at 09.00am. The hearing is not open to the public.

I don't think this was the sailors who instigated this appeal. From the stories on the blogs and forums I gather it is the National Olympic Committees from Spain and Italy who are under pressure to produce results.

From a rules point of view, Denmark fulfilled all it's obligations to obtain permission to use replacement equipment. The International Jury has examined the other rule infringements - like sailing without proper identification, no camera on board and such, but found no advantage in those and gave no penalty.

Spain won the medal race, so it is very hard pressed to see how they have been disadvantaged in the race itself. They have been disadvantaged in the series, by not winning the Gold medal.

As far as I'm aware the CAS will not look at the facts found, conclusion and decision of the jury. They will examen if the procedures and rules regarding hearings were followed and all had a change to bring evidence according to the regulations and rules governing such things.
They will answer the question: handled the International Jury these protests according to the rules?

I'll keep an eye out on the verdict.

Olympic Medal Races

In the articles and news stories about the Olympics, I read over and over again that we are viewing the first Olympic Medal races. True enough, but a little derogative for all those people who have developed the system in the last six years.

A lot of time, experiencing and rules tweaking has gone into getting to a concept that works. I remember a SPA regatta four or five years ago where the medal race was still an experiment. A lot got done since then. By ISAF, by Rules Specialists, by the Sailors, by Race Management and by Organizing Authorities. All to keep the sport of sailing into the Olympics.

It is very easy to have critique about what is flawed about this concept and perhaps uninteresting to have an eye for all the positive effect that it has.

With all it's drama, in heartbreaking moments for losers and jubilations for the winners, it brings out the best in sailing.

It gives the ten best sailors of the opening-series a direct change to sail in front of the camera's, sail in front of their countrymen, sail for their families and friends and show them what they have worked so hard for, in all those years.

With direct judging everybody knows who is the winner, as soon as the last boat is in. I refuse to believe that an average viewer is unable to understand a simple points system and must be satisfied with first over the line. Add a little more effort in tracking and superimposing positions on TV and everybody will be able to empathize with the sailors, even more.

Of course their are exceptions, sailing is a complicated sport with many variables. But that adds to the drama. Nobody had thought beforehand about this particular sequence of events in the 49er Medal Race, with DEN sailing in the CRO boat. It got handled. The Jury reached a decision after looking at all the facts and hearing evidence from all the parties. Twice.

The shine on this particular Golden Olympic medal will last a lifetime.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Olympic Protests | 5 -or- How to apply rule 61.1(b)

Protest nr 76 from the Jury against IRL Star has been withdrawn:
Event: Star - Men
Protestor: JURY
Protestee: IRL
Protest details: Measurement Reg. 9(d)
Facts found: No racing on 19 August.
Rule(s) applicable:
Decision: Protest withdrawn.
Short decision: Protest withdrawn.

The issue is about Measurement Regulation 9(d) which reads:
9(d) Crew weight – in accordance with Notice of Race 12.10 - Star class crews shall present themselves for weighing on each racing day between 0900 and 1100. Failure to be weighed within the times specified shall result in a report to the Jury.

Apparently the crew of IRL did not weigh-in this morning and went on the water. However because there was no racing today - and you can't break a rule if the boat is not racing - there was no infringement and the Jury withdrew the protest. I suspect the original protest was instigated after a report from the measurer, which was written after 11:00 hours; before the Stars scheduled race.

This brings us to 61.1(b): "A protest committee intending to protest a boat shall inform her as soon as reasonable possible"

Directly after receiving the report the Jury informed IRL by publishing the protest. Sooner than that is hardly possible. The crew of the Star did break MR 9(d) whether they went racing or not.

But you can also argue it was too soon. The boat had not raced yet, therefore it was not a racing day, therefore MR 9(d) could not be broken.
What do you think?

In any case, IRL has been given and reminder to weigh-in tomorrow!

Monday 18 August 2008

FTBD (9)

In all the Olympic hectic I almost forgot it is "Flog the Blog day" as well today. 18th of August 2008 - 10 months.

Statistics show the growth this last month has been very low. Not surprising since I haven't been at my best. Too many other things, I'm afraid. Can't promise much improvement though.

So, keep the stories coming;

  • if you come across an article or situation on another site or forum,
  • if you want to tell about a protest you've been involved in,
  • if you want to write a post,
  • if you want to make a suggestion or critic,
  • if you want to ask a question,

(and it is about the rules) send me an Email.

Olympic Judgement |2

Wow, that took a long time. The verdict of the jury in Qingdao is published at the website: Protest Decisions
I've also pasted it below:
Protest No. 66
Event: 49er - Open
Race: 16
Protestor: RC
Protestee: DEN
Protest details:
Facts found:
Protest 66 RC v DEN and Protest 68 ESP v DEN were heard together and under Medal Race Sailing Instruction Addendum Q 5.5(b). Sailing to the start, DEN capsized and broke her mast. This resulted in significant damage including the mainsail, gennaker and mast step. DEN returned to shore. It was not possible for DEN to repair the damage in the time available and DEN arranged with CRO to use the CRO boat. DEN, through their coach, at the first reasonable opportunity notified the Race Committee of the replacement 15 minutes before the warning signal. DEN sailed to the start, started 3 minutes 57 seconds after the starting signal and completed the race. The race was conducted in winds close to the upper limits for 49er racing and in very difficult wave and tidal conditions. Every boat capsized at some stage during the race and two boats failed to finish inside the time limit. As soon as practical after coming ashore DEN submitted a written request to the Olympic Measurement Committee (OMC) for the replacement boat and presented the boat for inspection. The boat was thereafter subject to checks for compliance with the class rules and all other checks carried out on other boats during quarantine. The request for replacement was then approved by OMC in accordance with SI 21.2. The replacement boat sailed by the DEN competitors did not have the identifications required by the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions on its sails. It did not carry a camera as required by the Organising Authority. It was not subjected to quarantine procedure as required by Measurement Regulation 13.
DEN, as a boat assigned to compete in the medal race, was required by SI 19.7 to make a genuine effort to start, sail the course and finish. The OMC approved the replacement of the boat and found that it complied with class rules and all equipment inspections carried out in the Medal Race Quarantine Procedures. DEN complied with SI 21.2 and 21.3. The basis for the protest under MR 12.4 ceased to exist when the OMC approved the request. SI 2 (Additional Identification), SI 3 (Cameras) and MR 13 (Medal Race Quarantine Procedures) are subject to discretionary penalties (SI 18.7, MR 13.7). DEN did not gain a competitive advantage by failing to carry the camera (in the prevailing conditions), by failing to carry the correct identification, or by sailing a boat that had not been subjected to the Medal Race Quarantine Procedure at the required time. SI 2, 3 and 21, and MR 13 are not subject to protests by boats (SI 18.7 and MR 13.7).
Rule(s) applicable:
SI 19.7, MR 13, NoR 3, SI 2, 3, 18.7, 21.2 and 21.3.
The protest by the RC is dismissed.The protest by ESP under SI 21.2 and SI 21.3 is invalid. No discretionary penalties imposed.
Short decision:
The protest by ESP under SI 21.2 and SI 21.3 is invalid. The protest by the RC is dismissed. No discretionary penalties imposed.
John Doerr (chair), David Tillett, Marianne Middelthon, Takao Otani, Josje Hofland
Does it end here? The medals have been awarded, price giving ceremony has been done. There's however a new Protest on the list in the 49er Class:
Number 75: From ESP/ITA against the Jury
Must be a request for redress because ESP and ITA think the Jury have gotten it wrong..... still pending.
Why this is about RACE 16.... I thought the number 13 had no unlucky connotations in China?

Update 19/08/08; 12:34 hours

Article on Sailing jury rejects protest (Request for Redress; red); Denmark keeps gold (08.19.2008)
And race 16 is the original number of the medal race.....


Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 9

Continuing with our series on the new rules, going into effect next year, today a post which concludes Part 2 of the rule book.
Apart from some subtle changes, section D has also been renumbered:




When rule 21 or 22 applies between two boats, Section A rules do not.


21.1 A boat sailing towards the pre-start side of the starting line or one of its extensions after her starting signal to start or to comply with rule 30.1 shall keep clear of a boat not doing so until she is completely on the pre-start side.

21.2 A boat making a penalty turn taking a penalty shall keep clear of one that is not.

21.3 A boat moving astern by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.


If possible, a boat shall avoid a boat that is capsized or has not
regained control after capsizing, is anchored or aground, or is trying to help a person or vessel in danger. A boat is capsized when her masthead is in the water.


23.1 If reasonably possible, a boat not racing shall not interfere with a boat that is racing.

23.2 A boat shall not change course if her only purpose is to interfere with a boat making a penalty turn or one on another leg or lap of the course. Except when sailing her proper course, a boat shall not interfere with a boat taking a penalty or sailing on another leg.


The discussion about when rule 21.2 limits a boat, is much shorter now.
As soon as you begin taking a penalty you have to keep clear. Not only after you passed head-to-wind.

Also we don't have to speculate or guess at the "purpose" of a boat anymore. If she sails a proper course, she can interfere, if she's not, she can't. Something introduced in Fleet racing which was already a long standing rule in Match Racing.

Sunday 17 August 2008

Olympic judgement

Two issues have to be decided by the International Jury in Qingdao about the Medal Race in the 49er, before the medals can be awarded.

First; DEN competed in the skiff of Croatia because their mast broke before the race started. The protest is brought by the RC because they received a report from the measurer and then they acted according to RRS 78.3... still pending at 23:40 Qingdao-time

There's also a story about another protest - although that one hasn't been recorded on the list - about the annulment of the entire medal race. Read Danes face protests over 49er class sailing gold

In the sailing instructions rule 8.5:
"On the last scheduled racing day for each event in the opening series, no warning signal will be made after 1600. On scheduled medal race days for each event, no warning signal will be made after 1630."

The web site records the starting time at 16:35!
That means that the warning signal was made ON 16:30 hours. Not AFTER, ON 16:30 hours......
I don't suppose that seconds are recorded at the starting vessel....

Not to put a to fine a point on it, the most fair would be:
If DEN is DSQ'd - which will probably happen - then they the Medal race should be sailed again.

The International Jury however, has the obligation to follow the rules; strictly and without favor or prejudice. With the limited information I could find, that will mean that DEN will loose their gold....

What do you think?

Update: 20:13 hours;
Some more details in a news story on the Olympic Web site: Incredible 49er Medal Race But Results Subject To Jury Hearing
The decision about the Danes will be on Monday; However there's no mentioning of the abandonment of the race at all....

Olympic Silver for NED!

First of all my congratulations to the Dutch Yngling Team of Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen, winners of the Silver Medal! Well done!

(picture from the ISAF website)
It was a stormy and rainy Medal-race for the Yngling early this morning, very exciting from the start all trough the first beat. NED started as most windward boat in very good position. GBR was third from the committee boat. A good start on starboard in 15 knots of breeze.
All the way trough the first beat it was a neck on neck race with NED in front at one time and then GBR, changing places in the strong current, and then back again.
The current was almost a 45 angle on the course which meant that on Port the boats sailed directly against it, but on Starboard tack the boat drifted sideways fairly quickly.

Coming to the first mark most boats had trouble fetching the mark because of that. GBR rounded clean ahead of NED but not by much.

Unfortunately NED had to go almost head-to-wind to keep clear of another Yngling who didn't fetch the mark and touched it. That cost them a lot of speed and although they cleared and went round as second boat, GBR gained a lot from that rounding.

The commentator said that NED chose the wrong side of the first downwind leg and lost because of that, but I think the connection with GBR was lost in that first rounding.

Anyway, that is sailing in a fleet race. Getting to first place gives you an advantage

The ladies in the NED Yngling have done a tremendous job in winning the Silver medal!
It is due to them and also due to all the other ladies and the coach that this unique Yngling project has put the Netherlands back in a medal position.
Congratulations to all of them.

(picture from the ISAF website)

Friday 15 August 2008

Olympic Protests | 4

I've heard back from John Doerr about my inquiry into the lack of facts found on the Olympic Protests.
Although the publishing of their findings is not something the Jury has control off, he indicated he was in favor of improving that situation.He was at that moment however not able to do something about it.

Due to a trick with selection and copy/paste, I was able to get most of the text yesterday. I send another E-mail asking permission to publish the more interesting cases. That is however no longer necessary.

Somehow the people in Qingdao were able to get their act together and a full a description of each protest is now available on the official website: Go to Protest Decisions and click on View full decision on the appropriate line in the last column.

To get back to my example in my earlier post: Olympic Protest | 3:

Protest nr 30:
Original Description: NOR and CAN on port approached mark 4P Both boats entered the two boat length zone overlapped with CAN on the inside While rounding the mark NOR hit CAN on the leeward side of the stern CAN was close to the mark at the moment of contact Contact occurred with no damage No boat took a penalty turn or retired The Jury has a record of the actual foul and abusive language that NOR used

Description after re-opening: Revised following re-opening under Rule 66 based on significant new evidence NOR and CAN on port approached mark 4P Both boats entered the two boat length zone overlapped with CAN on the inside While rounding the mark NOR hit CAN on the leeward side of the stern CAN was close to the mark at the moment of contact Contact occurred with no damage No boat took a penalty turn or retired
Event: Finn - Open
Race: 7
Protestor: CAN
Protestee: NOR
Protest details: Reopening
Facts found:
Conclusion: NOR failed to give room as an outside boat and broke RRS 18.2(a)
Rule(s) applicable: RRS 18.2(a), RRS 14, RRS 63.3(b)
Decision: Revised decision: NOR broke rule 18.2(a) and is DSQ in Race 7
Short decision: NOR DSQ in race 7
Jury: Jan Stage – Chairman, Quanhai Li, Ana Maria Sanchez, John Doerr, Zofia Truchanowicz,

You can read the rest of them yourselves. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have questions.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Many meanings of 'Protest'

A guest post by Brass:
In an earlier post on Look To Windward Adriaan observed:

Take i.e. the silly word “protest” (even in the Oxford Dictionary you cannot find the meaning the rules book uses), has the inventor of that word ever thought what that people has in mind reading this word in different countries?

Firstly, all rules, in whatever language need to make common words in the language have special meanings by using definitions. I don't see how that is a problem, or how any problem there is, is a result of the rules being drafted in English.

The rules define 'protest' as 'an allegation made under rule 61.2 … that a boat has broken a rule'. The rules also use 'protest' in italics to mean:

  • The written down form of the allegation; and
  • All of the papers, other things, times, and processes which the rules require to be complied with for the protest committee to decide validity (rule 63.5), and
  • The thing that a Protest Committee decides (rule 63.7)

The rules also use 'protest' in other than the defined way (without italics) with the following meanings:

  • (verb) to make a protest (rule 43.1(c), 60.1,)
  • (abstract noun) the making of a protest (rule 44.3(a))
  • A word that must be hailed (rule 61.1(a))
  • A label for a Committee involved with protests or requests for redress (rule 88.2(b), rule 90)
  • A label for a hearing by a Protest Committee to consider a protest or request for redress (rule 63.1)

When I lay it out like this, it is obvious that the rules make the word 'protest' do a lot of different work, but does it cause any real problem?

Would the problem be solved by drafting the rule in any other language?

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Olympic Protest | 3

With all due respect for the expertise of the International Jury at the Olympic event, I think an opportunity is missed.

On the web site a list of protest is published as it would appear on any notice board at any event. We get information about who is protesting whom, the time of the hearing, witnesses if any etc. etc. When the hearing is conducted a little more appears; a conclusion, the rules involved and a decision. Even the names of the judges in the panel. 

You can read the complete list at : Protest Decisions

So far we can glean a little about what is happening. But no information is published about why or about what. The actual facts found are not provided. We have to "speculate" about the situation.

As an example: Protest #30:

Event:  Finn - Open Race: 7
Protestor: CAN
Protestee: NOR
Protest details: RRS18.2(a)

Facts found:

Conclusion: NOR failed to give room as an outside boat and broke RRS 2
Rule(s) applicable: RRS 18.2(a), RRS 14, RRS 63.3(b), RRS 2
Decision: CAN protest upheld. NOR to be scored DNE in race number 7 (RRS 18.2(a), RRS 2)
Short decision: NOR DNE in race 7 (RRS 18.2(a) and 2)

Jury: Jan Stage – Chairman, Quanhai Li, Ana Maria Sanchez, John Doerr, Zofia Truchanowicz,
(from the ISAF Website)

"Rule 18.3(a)" & "Failed to give room as outside boat" means it is about a incident at a mark. RRS 63.3(b) means NOR or CAN did not come to the hearing and it was conducted in his absence. I'm guessing NOR.
But what about RRS 14? Nothing in the conclusion about 14. Did CAN break it, but was not punished because there was no damage? Or did he not?

And then there's rule 2. NOR broke RRS 2. How? Why? What happened?
He was penalized with a Disqualification (other than DGM) not excludable under rule 89.3(b)! What did he do?

All the more intriguing is the rule 69 hearing scheduled against NOR as Protest # 33, with CAN and IRL as witnesses. Separate incident or still tied to this mark rounding?


It would be very nice and also educational to learn a bit more about the Olympic protests. If the protest details from the protestor are published, or at least the facts found by the Jury we could better understand what is happening. Protest are an normal part of the sport of sailing as much as what happens on the water. Everybody writes about who does what on the water and we get video's and analysis from every news gatherer.

I think it is a missed opportunity that not the same free flow of information is applied to the protest and hearings in Qingdao.

What do you think?

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 | 8

Rule 19 is completely new and splits off obstructions from the "old"rule 18:


19.1 When Rule 19 Applies

Rule 19 applies between boats at an obstruction except when it is also a mark the boats are required to leave on the same side. However, at a continuing obstruction, rule 19 always applies and rule 18 does not.

19.2 Giving Room at an Obstruction

(a) A right-of-way boat may choose to pass an obstruction on
either side.

(b) When boats are overlapped, the outside boat shall give the inside boat room between her and the obstruction, unless she has been unable to do so from the time the overlap began.

(c) While boats are passing a continuing obstruction, if a boat that was clear astern and required to keep clear becomes overlapped between the other boat and the obstruction and, at the moment the overlap begins, there is not room for her to pass between them, she is not entitled to room under rule 19.2(b). While the boats remain overlapped, she shall keep clear and rules 10 and 11 do not apply.

Subsequently all following rules have been renumbered:


20.1 Hailing and Responding

When approaching an obstruction, a boat sailing close-hauled or above may hail for room to tack and avoid another boat on the same tack. However, she shall not hail unless safety requires her to make a substantial course change to avoid the obstruction. Before tacking she shall give the hailed boat time to respond. The hailed boat shall respond by either After a boat hails,

(a) tacking as soon as possible, in which case the hailing boat shall also tack as soon as possible, or she shall give the hailed boat time to respond;

(b) immediately replying ‘You tack’, in which case the hailing boat shall tack as soon as possible and the hailed boat shall give room, and rules 10 and 13 do not apply. the hailed boat shall respond either by tacking as soon as possible, or by immediately replying ‘You tack’ and then giving the hailing boat room to tack and avoid her; and

(c) when the hailed boat responds, the hailing boat shall tack as soon as possible.

20.2 Exoneration

When a boat is taking room to which she is entitled under rule 20.1(b), she shall be exonerated if she breaks a rule of Section A or rule 15 or 16.

20.3 When Not to Hail

A boat shall not hail unless safety requires her to make a substantial course change to avoid the obstruction. Also, she shall not hail if the obstruction is a mark that the hailed boat is fetching.

19.2 Rule 19.1 does not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them or at a mark that the hailed boat can fetch. When rule 19.1 applies, rule 18 does not.

The rewriting is again done to get a more logical sequence;
Obstructions: How the rules work when passing one, then the rule when you need to tack for one.

I've been thinking about the deletion of 19.2 especially the part about not applying at a starting mark when boats are approaching to start. That has not been rewritten in the new rules.
That means that a tiny part of what was not allowed in the old rules has been deleted: If you approach a starting mark on starboard, which is also an obstruction - say a pin-end Race Committee vessel - you can hail. But only if the hailed (windward) boat is NOT fetching the (committee boat)mark. You must give the windward boat time to respond - including time to hail other windward boats.

What if there's a three boat situation where the two leeward boats cannot fetch the pin-end committee boat, but the most windward boat can?

In my opinion the leeward boat cannot force the middle boat to tack, she can only luf head-to-wind. What do you think?

Monday 11 August 2008

Olympic | 2

On the ISAF Olympic micro site under the requests for information section, an interesting issue was raised today by the Danish Laser sailor:

"A boat is approaching the start line on starboard tack 30 seconds before the start. An upwind current is carrying the boat toward the start line. She backs her sail still carrying the main on her port side and as a result of that she: 1) Is beyond doubt moving "backward" trough the water looking at her hull and rudder. 2) She is still moving "forward" over the ground physically approaching the start mark and beyond doubt decreasing the distance to the mark.

Is the boat "moving astern" with regard to RRS 20.3, yes or no?

Does this boat have to keep clear of other boats approaching from astern?
No answer has been provided as of yet and I started thinking how I would answer this.

In a body of water that is displaced because of current, all movement is influenced by that current if you look at relative position to the "ground". However, if you disregard that movement and go only with the speed/movement relative to the ground, no sailor will be able to accurately judge speed any more. All movement trough the water must be relevant in my opinion. So I would answer that this boat is "moving backward" by backing her sail and subject to rule 20.3.

What do you think?

Friday 8 August 2008

Olympic Protests | 1

Jumping from a national to a (very) international event only takes one sentence on the computer. For the competitors and all the volunteers it has been a longer road. I wish them all the best! I hope they will have - as the Chinese saying goes- "an interesting time".

I've subscribed to the Olympic RSS feed and one of the first news items I received was the opening of a web page with all Olympic sailing information on official requests, on the water penalties and Olympic PROTESTS.

I visited the page and found already one protest lodged. Unfortunately only the decision is published, not the facts found. It involves a measurement issue with the weights on the RUS Yngling.

Normally this would only be something has to be corrected before the first race. Not something that is protestable before the boat has raced according to the definition. If you consider the practice race as such - then the measurer reports the non compliance to the class rules to the Race Committee, which then has to protest the boat. See RRS 78.3

This protest however, is something more. Protestor is the Jury and it is a protest under rule 69.1 Alligations of Gross Misconduct for a possible gross breach of good manners or sportsmanship.

Is this a bad omen? To start the protests in Qingdao with a rule 69 hearing? I do hope not. I'm at least happy to read that there was no breach of sportsmanship.
A little strange is the notice on the list. It states: No Penalty given. I would have thought that the decision would better be abbreviated with: Protest dismissed.

You can read the conclusion and decision in this page

Also interesting to read, are the many request made by the teams. I detect the hand of a certain coach of the China team in the long list of questions Go for it, Ewan!

Among the official notices is one about the new Tornado Spinnaker. I wonder if that will be the next protest, once that class has sailed?

Sneekweek 2008 | 4

A nice promotional video has been made about the Sneekweek. You can find the link here and also on you-tube (I haven't found the link yet, but will try later again)

It has been a very slow week on the number of protests. Normally the daily average is about 10 to 12, This week the average has gone down to 7 with 34 Protest/Request in five days.

I can't find any special reason why the number of protest has gone down this year.

I'm having a discussion with my team about a reopening. Because the conclusion doesn't fit the facts found as written on the form, I asked a couple of questions and we discovered that perhaps not all facts were found. So the panel may have made a significant error.

The panel has gone through the alternatives and has concluded that in all cases the boat has not correctly sailed the course. So calling a reopening will - in all likelihood - not change the verdict. The party effected is a young sailor and the discussion hinges around the fact if we need to call her in, go trough the whole process and come up with the same results.

Please give me your opinion.

I wrote this post yesterday, just before a thunderstorm hit our lake. Due to lightning strikes we switched of computers and waited. After the showers had passed, the internet connections were all down, so I couldn't post anything. There was no sailing all day, so it was a little frustrating not being able to work on the blog. Anyway, the Sneekweek has now ended - with a great party yesterday. But I will come back to this year's event in a couple of posts in coming weeks.


Wednesday 6 August 2008


Version 2.5F is released

Main changes are:

  • 'Flogging' spinnaker when luffing above close hauled
  • First try to show basic rules that apply on each situation
  • Corrections of 'Setup' bugs introduced by previous version
Go here for download link

I've downloaded the update and this version works!

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Sneekweek 2008 | 3

In the sailing instructions of the Sneekweek we have designated the marked channel in the northern part as an obstruction. While racing it is not allowed to pass the bouys into the channel.

The channel is in use by fairly large freight-vessels and in a deal with the provence, we have agreed to keep sailors out as much as possible.

Yesterday we had a discussion when this rule in the Sailing Instructions comes into effect. Because it is speccifically stated that this rule applies during racing, it has no effect before the preparatory (four minute) signal. Only the rules in part 2 - the right-of-way rules have effect before this signal

This turned out to be a problem on Sunday afternoon, when the course chosen by the PRO started next to the channel. He should perhaps have taken a little more distance, but the sailors started waiting before there scheduled start, smack in the middle of the channel.

We cannot enforce the provincial regulation, stating that you have to have a stanby-engine ready when entering the channel. Or when you don't have a motor, you only may cross via the shortest possible route.

I'm currently looking for a way to extend the time that they are not allowed to enter the "forbidden" area, within the jurisdiction of the RRS.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Sneekweek 2008 | 2

From panel 2 yesterday in the Sneekweek:

Facts Found:
  • Race 1, Course H in 3 Beaufort.
  • Boat A, B and C are all noted on the starting list and start the race.
  • Boat B and C sail the entire race in first and second position. Both have not seen boat A during the race
  • At the finish the RC note the passing of boat A approximately 40 minutes before boat B finishes.
  • Boat B and C sail the race in about two hours.
Conclusion and rules:
Boat A has not sailed the course and breaks rule 28.1

Boat A DSQ for race 1

Saturday 2 August 2008

Sneekweek 2008 | 1

Today we start the PC of the Sneekweek. This annual event is organized by one of my clubs, the KWS, this year for the 73rd time. With 830 entries one of the largest in the Netherlands, as far as inland lakes is concerned.

For this year I have organized nine members for the PC. We will operate in two panels, and in case of overflow, go to three. Preparing for this event in the last week I realized this was my fifth year already.

Besides running a smooth schedule for protests, I want to emphasize writing facts this year. I will introduce some extra attention to this, in our first PC-meeting later today.

If there are any interesting cases to report, I'll keep you informed.
For those who can read Dutch go to Samenvattingen Protesten, where you can read summaries of the protests.

Friday 1 August 2008

Significant advantage

This Friday a post from a mail from Robert Stewart. He has been hard at work to get up to speed for the IJ-Test:



Must thank you for sharing questions and tests from around the world. I have used them to test and expand my writing skills for decisions.

At a recent event in dinghies, there was a protest associated with a mark rounding dealing with RRS 44.1 and that one boat, that broke a rule, took a penalty. The part of the rule that the protestor has issue about, was the part "or gained a significant advantage in the race or series by her breach her penalty shall be to retire".

In other words, the protestor didn't think that the two-turns penalty was enough of a penalty for the infringement

A decision was made and we were all in agreement.

Looking back at the protest, I am not having second thoughts, but to further expanding my understanding of the rules, I have the following question. Definition of "significant" used as an adjective means "fairly large". Well, what is fairly large? 10 places in a fleet of 20 boats? Maybe 10 places in a fleet of 100 boats? I could not find any case.

I have my notes on how the protest was written, but am interested in how others would have written the facts, conclusion and decision.

Last, are there others who are thinking about writing the ISAF IJ exam and are interested in forming a study group?

Thanks again,



Thank you for your mail and question. We all sometime need to make a judgement on what an adjective in the rules means. In requests for redress it is always a factor.

If I take your question and apply it to Match racing - where a red flag penalty is used to increase the "punishment" if someone gains control by breaking a rule - it is already significant when the infringing boat gains one place. Because in fleet racing there are many other factors which determine a finishing place, I don't think that an absolute number can be used - be it 50% or 10 %.

Normally between two boats in a fleet race where one takes a two-turns penalty, that boat will end up behind the infringed boat. As it should be, there's no advantage.
If the infringing boat was in front at the time of the incident and still is front after taking a two turns penalty, I will already start to look for other factors. There is an advantage. Results in the series, which race, last or first? Things like that, which determine the extent of that advantage.

The discussion in the panel should then be about if the advantage is significant or not. Again, something without an absolute value.

If there are more boats involved - say at a mark rounding - and one boat takes room inside infringing rule 18 ending up in front of the pack, doing a two turn penalty and is still in front of most of them, she has gained a significant advantage in my opinion.

In all cases the advantage must directly be related to the breach in the rules, not because later on she happened to choose the right side of the beat and gained five places.


If people are interested in contacting Robert for his study group - something I can recommend to prepare for the IJ-Test - please send me an email and I'll get you in touch with him.

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