Wednesday 27 October 2010

Ready for AC 34 and Extreme Sailing?


Are you ready for the future?
This question is for all PC and Jury members. Next year in the room you will be asked about the leeward and windward hull, the turning circle of a cat and - where did you park your umpire boat?

Are you ready for that?

You can be!
You will be ready with this brand new magnetic boat set.

With no less then eight (8!) catamarans, two umpire boats, five marks, a Race Committee boat and wind and current indicators. All packed in a sturdy box for transportation.
The box is big enough to house your regular mono-hull boats as well.

Specially made for easy use on a magnetic board with true to scale mainsail.

Those of you who want this tool kit please contact edmcewan ed googlemail dot com for details on price and postage.
Get them now.
Be ready.

PS: There are also several other multi-hull classes sailing today!

Monday 25 October 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (43) – 70; Blocks 2

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 70

Rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 18.2(b), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room
Rule 18.5(a), Mark-Room: Exoneration
Definitions, Mark-Room

An inside overlapped windward boat that is entitled to and is receiving mark-room from the outside boat must keep clear of the outside boat.

Summary of the Facts

L and W, both about 14 feet (4 m) long, were sailing on starboard tack at about 4 knots, approaching a windward mark to be left to starboard. The boats were overlapped with W, the inside boat, slightly ahead. W requested mark-room and L replied, ‘Mark-room will be given when needed’. Subsequently, when 20 feet (6 m) from the mark, the boats made contact beam to beam. No damage or injury occurred. L protested W, alleging that W broke rule 11.

The protest committee disqualified L for not giving W room to sail to the mark after she asked for it. L appealed.


Before and at the time of the contact, rule 11 required W to keep clear of L and rule 18.2(b) required L to give W mark-room. While W was sailing to the mark, she broke rule 11 by sailing so close to L that there was a need for L to take avoiding action. The diagram accepted by the protest committee showed that, from the time W reached the zone until contact occurred, L was giving W room to sail to the mark. Therefore, W’s breach of rule 11 was not a result of L having failed to give W mark-room. For this reason, W is not exonerated under rule 18.5(a) for breaking rule 11.

Both boats could easily have avoided the contact, and so both broke rule 14. However, the contact caused neither damage nor injury and, because L was the right-of-way boat and W was entitled to mark-room, neither is to be penalized for breaking rule 14 (see rule 14(b))

L’s appeal is upheld. She is reinstated in her finishing place and W is disqualified for breaking rule 11.

USSA 1988/273


LTW Umpire Call (9)

An umpire call send to me by Philippe Gomez. He wrote in his mail:
Attached a situation witch occurred during training with some good sailors. Nobody agreed on the decision

Yellow, inside right leeward at the zone
Blue is faster, breaks the overlap and is able to gybe in front (position 2,3)
Yellow touches the mark on her own in pos 3, then bears off sharply and collision occurs with Blue (pos 4),
The U are satisfied that touching the mark was not due to Blue not giving room;
The U are satisfied that there was not  room enough for Yellow to round in pos 4;

There's a Yankee flag on both boats. What is your decision?
  • answer 1: display blue flag AND yellow and red flag
  • answer 2: display ONLY yellow and red, because its the same rounding incident
  • answer 3: display the net result of double penalty for Blue and single for yellow,  ie: blue flag in absence of outstanding penalties
  • answer 4; display only yellow and exonerate Blue if it was impossible for Yellow to catch Blue without pushing the mark.
I'll refrain from commenting until a few of yours are in.

Saturday 23 October 2010

Never to old, always learning

The event in Bayone is coming to an end. Today we'll hopefully do the Finals and Petit finals. The last four are sorted and we can go racing as soon as the wind will let us. It's very soft at the moment.

In the last couple days we've been discussing several subject related to either mistakes or omissions by the OA, RC or us. Mistakes by sailors are penalized on the water, they get flags. The others involved in an event need to sort this out themselves and need to do better next time. The axiom 'Never to old to learn' comes to mind

I'll explain: The barberholer for the spinnakersheet has two purchases, but somehow a boat got changed to only one. Verbal instructions at the beginning of the event to the sailors, stating that they always should be two - how well intentioned they might be - have not the same 'weight' as written instructions.

In the protest and subsequent request for redress that came up, when one of the sailors brought this to our attention, the sailor on the infringing boat claimed, he could not change it back to two because he is not allowed to change the boat - written in the sailing instructions - and besides the line was to short for two purchases anyway.
Although we found that he not should have sailed with this configuration, we could not find a rule that he broke. Consequence of not putting things in writing. It had no influence on the outcome of the match, not in these light conditions. But the boats were no longer equal - something that is sort of mandatory in Match Racing. The race stood.
Next time we will make sure that things are written down.

The next up was something we - as umpires - did wrong. For one of the races we were in the wing position to check the entry of the yellow boat. And on the four minute sound signal the boat was over the line by maybe two meters. We measured the pole on the starting vessel, not the bow, but it was clearly entering too soon.

Of course we signalled as such to the umpires and a yellow penalty was given. The sailors were not happy and said something back we could not understand. As it was not our race, we didn't inquire untill after they finished - loosing the match on a penalty at the finish - what they were talking about.

The sailors claimed that the sound signal was late - several seconds late, perhaps even three seconds after the flag was raised. When they said that, I must admit I realised with a dreaded feeling, that I hadn't watched the flags, but solely had judged the entry on the sound signal. (*(^%(*&#!)

We told the crew that we would enquire. But also asked why they had not raised a red flag, requesting redress?

After we asked the RC they confessed that the sound may have been a second or two behind the flag. So the boat did not enter too early in all likelihood. Of course there were other factors determining the outcome of the race- more penalties, yellow as well as blue -  but for certain that first one had an impact.
Learning we might have made a mistake, we went back and informed the match race umpires. It is their prerogative to do something if they feel it should be done. Normally there's no redress from a umpire decision, so they decided that they would not. But we talked to the sailors afterwards and apologized for our mistake.
I'm greatfull for there gracious response.

I'll watch the 'ing flags from now on, that is for sure!

How about you?
Any mistakes you want to share, that made you learn the 'hard' way?

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Observers in Match Race Master de Espana

Today I umpired in Bayone, Spain for the Master de Espana, a grade 2 event.

This is the first time I worked with observers on board of the boats in stead of a wing boat. On the stern of these Beneteau boats an observer stands behind the backstay and signals clear, overlap or contact, using hand signals. An outstretched arm sideways, means clear, a raised arm means overlap and tapping on top of the head, means contact. After a few initial problems this system works well. You don't need to hear the wing, the signal is right in front of you and it is always there.

The observers are all girls/ladies who sail or even have match raced. They stand at the back holding on with one hand and signalling with the other. Some have hooked themselves to the boat, others use a line from side to side behind there backs. They all have an overlay-vest which is yellow or blue - just flip inside out and you have the other color. All have been issued with corrector weights so they are all equal.

Today was a light day with not so much wind so the manoeuvres were fairly slow. All the observers could do there work without a chance they would fall overboard. But what if the wind picks up and one of them would?
They are not part of the crew, so the rules governing a boat not to continue in the race without its crew, do not apply.  I bet however that the other boat - specially when loosing - would request redress. If only because of the weight difference. Also, a boat needs to help anybody in danger... But, most times the observers would probably be picked up fairly quick by an umpire, so how much danger can there be?

We discussed the issue among the umpires and decided we would only deal with this issue when it occured. But a little thinking before hand, is never wasted.

What do you think?

Should redress be granted to the looser, if an observer is missing from the winning boat because she fell in the water. Do the circumstances why she fell play a factor?
Or should we write a Sailing Instruction declaring that the observer should be regarded as part of the crew in reference to rule 47.2?

Monday 18 October 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (42) – 71; Redress

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 71

Sportsmanship and the Rules
Rule 29.1, Recalls: Individual Recall
Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Rule 64.2, Decisions: Decisions on Redress

A hail is not the ‘sound signal’ required when flag X is displayed. Answers to questions arising from requests for redress after a procedural error by the race committee.
Summary of the Facts

Boats A and B were near the port end of the starting line and very close to the line at the starting signal. The race committee, believing that both had been on the course side of the line at their starting signal, displayed flag X and hailed both sail numbers.

Neither A nor B heard the hails or saw flag X but continued racing and their finishing places were recorded. Preliminary results were posted showing A and B scored as OCS.
A promptly requested redress, citing as grounds that the race committee failed to make the required sound signal and that she did not see a flag or have any other reason to believe that she did not start correctly. The protest committee heard A’s request. The committee did not find as fact whether or not A or B was on the course side of the starting line at the starting signal. However, when the committee learned that B was next to A, it gave redress to both boats, stating that they were to be scored in their finishing places and, where appropriate, other boats’ scores were to be adjusted downwards. This done, C, which had finished behind A and B, requested redress in her turn, claiming that the race committee’s omission of the required sound signal had made her score significantly worse by causing two boats which failed to start properly to be scored ahead of her. C’s request was denied and she appealed.
In commenting on the appeal the race committee asked several questions.

Question 1
Did the hail of sail numbers constitute a sound signal?

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Match Racing with Extreme 40s

Yesterday we did some Match Racing with the Extreme 40 in Almeria.
I must admit I had quite some expectations about this. What would it be like in terms of manoeuvrability, with the slow tacking and the accelerations these big catamarans can generate? Would we be able to keep up?

Unfortunately the wind was very low, maybe 4-5 knots, and that restricted the speed and manoeuvrability severely. All dail-ups where greened as Port did everything it could after SB initiated the collision.
Also every boat that won the controlling position at the start, ended up winning the match.

In the three matches only one penalty was given. And that was for a boat interfering with another one, on a different leg of the course - and that boat was not sailing on her proper course.

There was also a big difference between skippers with match racing experience and skippers without. ETNZ beat her opponent quite easily, for instance. Match Racing is primarily a tactics game, still

You can have a look yourselves on the ESSE Website Video page

All in all not very exciting, I must admit. Less then expected. Hopefully that will change with a little more breeze. The group sailing was spectacular in 15-20 knots. More on that later.

Monday 11 October 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (41) – 72; Red Flag

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)


Case 72

Rule 61.1(a), Protest Requirements: Informing the Protestee
Discussion of the word ‘flag’.
What is the test of whether an object is a flag within the meaning of rule 61.1(a)?

In the context of rule 61.1(a), a flag is used as a signal to communicate the message ‘I intend to protest.’ Only if the object used as a flag communicates that message, with little or no possibility of causing confusion on the part of those on competing boats, will the object qualify as a flag. A flag must be seen primarily to be a flag.

USSA 1988/277

A red shirt, a red scarf or any fairly decent sized piece of red cloth should be okay, but not a red bailer or a red life jacket.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Housten, we have a problem!

Almeria, day two, In-port racing.

Lots of breeze. lots of action, and .... a BIG communication problem.

Rule 20 - as a safety rule - dictates only two possible responses:
Either the hailed boat tacks or she signals "You tack". No ifs, buts or maybees.

It is bad enough that the Umpires miss the first initial hail for room to tack, but it equally as bad when they miss the "You tack" response. Decisions based on the lack of proper hand signalling will influence the race dramaticly!.

No signal for room to tack and rule 13 will be most likely be infringed.
Only luffing as a response to a hail, will earn you a penalty for infringing rule 20 because you haven't tacked as soon as possible
Not tacking after the hailed boat has responded, again is a rule 20 infringement.

We can definitely say that the communication is the key issue in all these situations

How can we improve that?
We are discussing additional flags, but until now can't agree on that.
It should be one person - the helm - who's signalling, not the whole crew. That we can agree on already
But can we do more?
If you have suggestions, don't hesitate to comment.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Extreme Sailing Series; Almeria 2010, Day 1

Friday the 8the of October was Media Day for the Extreme Sailing Series in Almeria, Spain. The first day of a five day event – final in the series.

Eight boats came to the start, with as newcomers Rumbo Andalusia & Fly Emirates Team New Zealand. And there was another first – for me that was.

I got to sail as fifth man on one of the Extreme 40s in a race! Ecover had a spot for an umpire in the second race. I’ve been with the circuit for four years but this was my first time on a boat. Although the wind could have been stronger – specially with my weight – Ecover did not do so bad with a third place.

I was impressed indeed. Everything but a small part is happening on a bouncing net between the hulls and every minute of the race the four man crew have a task. cranking the sheets, trimming the mast, taking care of the travellers or looking for wind. Discussing tactics, looking for an opening and maintaining a steady racing pace. Creaking and cracking from the spars and mast, trying to get one hull flying, exhilarating from start to finish.

We did end up in a couple of rule situations, but the view from the boat is quite different then the view from an umpire boat, I can tell you that.

I was very glad to have gotten this opportunity, to see the boat tack and gybe, see them luff and bear away, feeling those big hulls slicing through the water.

I’m certainly going to try to go again if possible, but first we will do this event. Keep tuned, the plan is to go match racing as the final race of each day.


As an umpire call I have one which is actually very uncommon. It involves an downwind start and a boat over early trying to return. Here’s the situation:

101009 ESS Almeria 01

Now Windward (Green) is putting up her Yankee flag in position 6; What is your response?

Secondly, would that response change if Leeward (Blue) had a rule 17 restriction?

Thursday 7 October 2010

Bookmarks in the Q&A

ISAF publishes the valid Q&As in a handy booklet. The latest instalment is the October issue .

Many of you use this document exclusive on a laptop when going to an event and will try to find relevant information, when needed by a hearing, by browsing the document. Although the search function in Adobe or other pdf- readers can be utilized to find what you are looking for, there's one feature many of you should consider using.

That feature is called: Bookmarks.

By clicking on that tab on the side, or getting it to display by using the view command, you will be presented with a list of chapters.

By clicking on the + (plus) of - (minus) you can expand or deflate that list. All individual Q&As can be found in that list, neatly categorized in their respective chapters.

The latest Q&As (added in October) are:
Q&A 2010 - 032 
about responding as soon as possible when hailing for room to tack.

and Q&A 2010 - 033 
about the positioning of inner limitation starting marks

Wednesday 6 October 2010

The CYA Judges Newsletter - September 2010

Excerpt from last months CYA Judges Newsletter:

On the lodging of protests by Judges.  Some thoughts for discussion.

Why should the Judges be on the water anyway?

First, it gives them something to do at a regatta, (between the hearing of protests), apart from swapping stories in the comfort of the Club-house. Much more significantly, it allows them to observe at first hand, the wind and sea conditions, the actions of the Race Committee and their supporting flotilla, and the behaviour and demeanour of the competitors.  It also allows them to witness incidents between competitors that may or may not result in their lodging protests against each other.  They may also witness unacknowledged violations of the Racing Rules.  They may see events that give rise to requests for redress.

The presence of Judges on the water has given rise to many arguments as to what their role should be and where its limits may lie. This issue often arises at many major events where the Judges are afloat as observers, usually in pairs, and with or without the responsibility of trying to enforce Rule 42.  There is a variety of possibilities and some are considered below:-

1.   No protests By Judges are permitted

At some regattas, it has been a deliberate policy of the Chief Judge that no protest may be lodged by an on-the-water Judge, however blatant the Rule infringement, and they may only contribute first-hand evidence at the hearing of a valid protest (or request for redress) lodged by a competitor, being (of course) excluded from the Jury while so doing.

I believe this policy to be wrong.  It is in part motivated by the fear that a member of the PC may make a fool of themselves, by producing unconvincing, lame evidence in front of the protestee showing, for example, that the Judges were badly positioned to see the incident.  The presenting of weak evidence would diminish the status and authority of the Chief Judge.  (It also betrays the C.J's lack of confidence in his/her team).

This policy has its effect on the competitors too.  Those who are involved in an obvious Rule infringement in full view of a Judge's boat (e.g. hitting a mark) may feel justified in taking no penalty and sailing on, secure in the knowledge that no protest will ensue.
This is an unhappy situation for Judges.

2.   Judges are required to protest any observed Rule violations, i.e. act as policemen.

Monday 4 October 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (40) – 73; Fair Sailing again!

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)

Case 73

Rule 2, Fair Sailing
Rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped

When, by deliberate action, L’s crew reaches out and touches W, which action could have no other intention than to cause W to break rule 11, then L breaks rule 2.
Summary of the Facts

W and L were overlapped on starboard tack beating towards the windward mark. The crew of L, who was on a trapeze, reached out and deliberately touched W’s deck with a hand and intimated that W should retire. L protested W. The protest committee disqualified W under rule 11 and she appealed.


W’s appeal is upheld; L is disqualified and W reinstated. Because L could sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and there was no risk of immediate contact had L changed course in either direction, W was keeping clear of L. Therefore, W did not break rule 11. The deliberate action of L’s crew, which could have had no other intention than to disqualify W, broke rule 2.
RYA 1971/6


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