Friday 27 May 2011

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2011; Day 4

Wind, rain, wind, rain, 13 flights, out at 09:00, in at 19:00.

The Match Racing did some catching up and we did the complete repechage and the gold round robin, with silver tacked onto the three match flights for good measure to use all eight boats

Most issues I myself encountered where about the two length zone. Was the overlap there or not. Sometimes you decide that in a split second and it has big consequences for the boats rounding the mark. It is extremely useful to have a wing-boat to call the zone.

Which reminds me. In contrary to normal usage, you cannot take “too much mark-room”. The correct way to describe a boat that rounds too wide i.e. is taking more space then she has under mark-room, is not keeping clear, while not being exonerated under 18.5.

In the match we umpired today the first leeward mark rounding ended up with the Yellow boat going in the gap while she had no mark-room. She infringed rule 11 and came out of the rounding in control. We already decided on a Yellow penalty and after the rounding we added the red, signalling that Yellow had to take the penalty immediately.

The second penalty was at the finish-mark. This time Yellow did have an inside overlap, but Blue did not leave room between her and the mark. She also did not keep clear as windward boat. Blue crossed the finish-line before we signalled her penalty, but Yellow had to bear away and was still not finished.
Blue did come up again to do her penalty, but at that time Yellow had crossed the line, winning the match.

Rule 18 still has a big impact – match racing included.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2011; Day 3

dlr-logoS 25 knots with gusts over 32 knots and a very rough sea-state. After two flights and six matches, an on the RC-boat entangled Elliot and a crabbing anchor, we went ashore and did not sail again today….

With almost no sailing for the fleets as well, we actually had an early evening and were at diner already at seven o’clock.

Hopefully we’ll be able to finish the RR in group B (three matches still to go), but I have the feeling we might end up staying ashore again tomorrow. Weather & wind predictions are not very encouraging.

A world cup event has a fairly strict schedule – even with the extra (sixth) day this year. Two days of no sailing will cause very real problems.

For the quarter finals we need eight competitors. Three best ranked in each round robin and two from the six boat repechage round robin. With these eight then a knockout series to four competitors. These sail a knockout series to two boats and then we can sail the finals.

All other matches can be dropped if push comes to shove, determining the ranking by the round robin, although not very friendly to the losing boats.
Even with all the knockout series only going to the first to win two points, we have a minimum of (3 + 15 + 8(or 12) + 4(or 6) + 2(or 3)) 32 matches (or 39 matches). With 3 matches per flight that is still 11 flights. With a cut off time of 16:30 hours on Sunday, we do need to sail on Saturday!

However it will turn out – we will have some busy days ahead, if the wind permits….

I haven’t been in a panel as of yet – hopefully it will still happen. I’m eager to try out the protest checklist and new ‘open word formatted second page’ protest form.

Oh, in case you are wondering why the last days the post have been published so late – I’ve been complying with the new guidelines about ‘blogging’ by ISAF Race Officials during events. That means, among other things, submitting my pieces to the chairman before posting.


Wednesday 25 May 2011

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2011; Day 2

A late start due to lack of wind, also means a late finish.

We went out on the water around eleven and came back ashore past seven o’clock. After being dismissed for jury work after our debrief we went for dinner and I’m now back at my hotel room. It’s half past eleven.

Today I want to ask you about two situations which were raised by one of the umpires after debrief. Not situations that happened on the water – more like a theoretical exercise.

In a match race, Yellow and Blue are both head to wind next to each other with half a boat space between them. Both start tacking, Blue going to starboard and Yellow going to port. Timing is the same, rate of turning is the same. At the end there’s contact between the boats both on the transom corner.

If either one would have stayed head to wind and the other would have turned the contact would not have occurred…..

110526 MRT1

Who gets the penalty? And why?


Second scenario, in match racing, but now tacking towards each other.

Blue on starboard luffs and starts tacking. Yellow on port also luffs and starts tacking at the same moment going to starboard.

When they both have completed their tacks, the bows touch each other a second later.

110526 MRT2

Who is to be penalized and under what rule?

I’ll give you my opinion after your initial comments.


Tuesday 24 May 2011

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2011; Day 1

dlr-logoS The match racing today went as scheduled in a fairly steady breeze of 20-25 knots. Nine flights with four matches. We are sailing in two groups – changed from three since the number of competitors is only 19, instead of the predicted 24. So we sailed four flights in group A and five in group B.

The level of Match Racing is really high. With these fast Elliots and the skill of the ladies they can move really fast and we are concentrating really hard to keep up.

So rules 15 and 16 are predominant in the decisions we have to take on the water. The boat who gets right of way must initially give room to the other to keep clear (RRS15) and a boat with right of way that changes course must also give room for the other to keep clear (RRS16)

We had a call today involving the latter. A Blue boat clear ahead on close hauled course luffed to head to wind. The Yellow clear behind followed, a little to windward - not quite head to wind. Without backing any sail – possible in this breeze – the clear ahead boat stopped and started moving backward.

The clear astern boat came closer and closer and a few seconds later there was a contact. Yankee flag on Blue and Yellow.

We penalized Yellow for not keeping clear under rule 12 and/or 11 (the final contact was in an overlap position); Initially the Blue boat had to give room, because she changed course from forward to backward. But she did that. Yellow could easily have luffed more- or even tacked.

She however, did not do that and the boats had a slight contact.

Penalty for Yellow.

Tomorrow the predictions are good also, so we hope to continue with our scheduled nine flights.


Monday 23 May 2011

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2011; Day 0

Arrived in Medemblik fairly early today. Around 11, with a fellow umpire in my own car, stowed with probably more stuff then I need…

This will be my 10th Regatta here in Medemblik – started in the Jury as a trainee in 2002. This will be my third DLR in the Umpire team. Because this is a ‘Home’ match for me, I’m usually asked to do all the local stuff. Things to do with the local Race Committee for material and on the water conditions.

So, together with Frank, I prepared the five ‘canary’-yellow umpire boats, checked flags, made arrangements for our radios, including enough channels and so forth. The pre-day for any event is always hectic and full of surprises. The trick is to stay calm and work with what is possible. To demand everybody to jump when you ask is not realistic – much better to offer to help and thereby make sure things are arranged as you wanted in the first place.

Later we will start the meetings with competitors and with the complete Jury. The total number of members is 23.

Right, it’s now past midnight, I’m almost going to hit the sack. We had our meetings and after that, a drink at the local watering hole ‘Brakeboer’

The most interesting in the out of tonight's preparations was new form for accepting a discretionary penalty.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, a DPI is a penalty for breaking a specific SI or provision in the NOR. It’s often less than DSQ. We have a policy paper on the harshness of the actual penalty. This new form enables sailors to acknowledge they have broken a ‘DPI’-rule and then we can almost automatically determine the penalty.

More on procedures in post later this week.

Sunday 15 May 2011

WMRT; Match Race France - end

Not to go racing today, was the right decision!

The Mistral is blowing 40 knots here in Marseille and the kite- and windsurfers are out in droves. The water is white with curling waves and I have to hold my cap when outdoors. Definitely too much wind for Match Racing.

The first event in the World Match Race Tour was concluded yesterday – late in the day - in a captivating French final between Iehl and Pacé. Some classic moves and some new ones, gave the public and the TV what they wanted.

Have a look on

From an umpires point of view the semi-finals and finals are usually about keeping up with the fast moves. Situations change quickly and rules transitions are fast and many. Even the most skilled boat manoeuvring is not enough to catch all situations. On the other hand, the chances of a red or double penalty are also increased – these sailors know full well when to risk breaking a rule deliberately.

And having a penalty means you need a sufficient lead to do it – if not, an another strategy is needed. Match Racing is not about sailing fast, it is about winning your match.

This evening I fly back home. Next event; Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik.


Saturday 14 May 2011

Protocol? How to hand over a Penaltyflag in MR

Once in blue moon it happens that an umpire boat breaks down and the wing boat has to take over. It happened to us yesterday. That in itself is not a problem. You change position and start umpiring. In our case r the umpires managed to get another boat, and they came back to take over again.

Afterwards I started wondering what should be done if in the time the wing boat was umpiring, they had given a penalty, and how that penalty should be handed over?

If the umpire boat puts up a new flag that would technically be a 'new' penalty. See RRS C5.2
(there also should be a sound signal - but in any kind of breeze that might be missed)

And rule C 7.4 (c) is no help either.

After some discussion we decided that transferring the penalty flag from one boat to the other would be the most correct solution.
That, or let the wing keep umpiring.

What do you think?

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Match Race Question

Today at Match Race France we had a full day with 9 flights, each with four matches. There was one call we are having a big discussion about. I’m still working on this and will tell you about it asap. It has to do with forcing a boat to tack with a spinnaker up.
Anyway, for today I have another Match race situation. I’ve created a scenario-gif. The Blue boat has an outstanding penalty when the boats are approaching the finish.
Click on the picture to see the beginning

The question is simple:  Who is winning this match, Blue or Yellow?

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Championnat Du Monde de Voile

First stage in the Match Racing World Tour in Marseille, France
I’ve arrived in Marseille after a short flight. The weather is nice and warm and hopefully the thermal wind will provide enough breeze to start racing tomorrow.
Reading the SI, I came across an instruction I haven’t seen before:
“3.5 Spinnaker Pole restrictions.
After the warning signal, the bowsprit shall not be extended until the boat is on a downwind course and shall be retracted at the first reasonable opportunity when not in use. A breach of this rule is not open to protest by boats, but is subject to action by the Umpires in accordance with RRS C8.2. This changes RRS C6.2 and C8.2. The Umpires will try to warn competitors before penalising for not retracting the bowsprit at the first reasonable opportunity.
Unless the head of the spinnaker is above the intersection of the headstay and the mast, the bowsprit shall not be considered for the purpose of overlaps and finishing.”
We haven’t discussed this in our meeting yet, but for sure this needs some additional explanations. Do we warn them each time, or do we do it once per boat?
Unless the spinnaker (gennaker on these boats) is almost all the way hoisted – the distance between the intersections and the top of the hoisted spinnaker is only 40 cm – the bowsprit does not count for overlap or finish.
I wonder if we (and the wing as well) can remember each time to check.
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