Friday 30 September 2011

ESS Act 7 Day Three; Nice, France

Light winds (luckily), short courses and as close to the shore as we could get. It forced us to go into "zone-umpiring" a couple of times to create as little wash as possible. We had a lot of calls for just plain port-starboard. With the low speed it was still possible to react at the last possible moment and keep clear. Just sometimes it wasn't enough. Overlaps at the gate with port and starboard downwind sailing Extremes 40's, became a mission, almost.

I had a good day.
The exclusion areas were not a problem for the sailing boats, but rather for all the team-ribs and media boats. I heard the Safety-rib on the radio several times ordering boats out of the swim-area. But not one sailing boat was penalised for it.

My notebook is getting page after page of situations. I'm saving them for a leaner time.
Tomorrow early day, we go racing half past EIGHT!

IU TEST: Done and Passed

It took me 58 minutes to go trough the 50 page (and 50 questions) International Umpire Test. I didn't take the extra half an hour to go over it again - perhaps I should have. I passed, but with a lower score than I expected.

Most of my wrong answers were about procedural issues. Answering a Yankee flag with a Green/white before giving a umpire initiated penalty. Or giving the third yellow flag before giving a black flag.

I had only one straightforward wrong answer. I've been asked to not reveal the question and answer because there are only a limited number of questions. In another context I'll come back to it eventually.
Ooh, and I was to nice by not giving enough penalties > more black flags next time....

My score has been sent to ISAF, and I just received confirmation of receipt. All formalities have been done, so the committee can now give its verdict on my application at the November conference.

At the ESS today we go into 'stadium' racing. Very close to shore, as close as possible to the beach. That means we will have some exclusion zone lines to watch, with umpire initiated penalties if boats sail were they are not suppose to sail. We are using a part of the water that is normally reserved for swimming, so we cannot have boats run out of our area in fear of hitting a person in the water.

There were a lot of comments on my post the first day, with wildly varying answers. I'll sort those out and get back to it asap.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Yankee flag on day One

Extreme Sailing Series Act 7 in Nice, France:

110928 ESS6 Pd1

An on the water umpire decision for two boats at the leeward mark.

The Yellow boat puts up a Yankee flag in position 8: During the incident we were sure that according to our observations Yellow was clear ahead until position 3.

But because we were not sure that Yellow entered the zone before Green, we decided that not rule 18.2(b) dictated the mark rounding but rule 18.2(a)

We gave a Green/white flag. The sailors disagreed.

This call hinges on the finding of the fact which of the boats entered first. We were in a ideal position to see overlaps, but had a hard time deciding if the Yellow boat was pointing at the zone or was sailing above…

We needed a wing telling us where Yellow was pointing.

Comments welcome,

Tuesday 27 September 2011

ESS Act 7 Nice; France

I’ve arrived in Nice; France for Act 7 in the Extreme Sailing Series. Nice, warm and sunny, but alas no wind. For the next five days Windguru does not predict much change. Very light winds in the 5 knot range. Hopefully the weather guys have it wrong (G), this time. Anyway, there will be sailing.

During this event I’m doing my Umpire-Test. For those of you who don’t know, International Umpires have to renew their application every four years and before they are approved they have to pass a written test with a score of 78%. My first appointment was in November 2007, so in 2011 I had to renew. The form – with all my events – had to be sent before the first of September. That is done. Now I have to pass the test….

Multiple choice, about situations between boats regarding Part 2 rules. Native English speakers get one hour, others get an hour and a half. I’m doing this on Friday or Saturday, depending on the schedule, probably in the morning. I’ve been studying the Case-book and Rapid Response calls to prepare.

The tricky part in these kind of test is to know when to give a red flag penalty or a double penalty. All boxes must be correct before an answer is counted.

Wish me luck, please.

Monday 26 September 2011

(pillow)Case of the week (39/11) - 43

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

Case 43

Rule 10, On Opposite Tacks
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 19.2(b), Room to Pass an Obstruction: Giving Room at an Obstruction
Definitions, Clear Astern and Clear Ahead; Overlap

A close-hauled port-tack boat that is sailing parallel and close to an obstruction must keep clear of a boat that has completed her tack to starboard and is approaching on a collision course.
Assumed Facts
P is sailing up-river, close-hauled on port tack, very close to the bank. S, unable to point as high as P, is forced to sail away from the bank. She then tacks onto starboard and immediately hails ‘Starboard’ to P. P sails on and, when she reaches a position at which she cannot luff without hitting the bank or bear away without colliding with S, she hails S for room.
Which rule or rules apply?

P is subject to rule 10 and must keep clear. P is also required by rule 14 to avoid contact if reasonably possible. S establishes right of way over P when she tacks onto starboard, but must observe rules 13 and 15. S meets rule 13’s requirement by not tacking so close that P has to take avoiding action before S reaches her close-hauled course. After S acquires right of way over P under rule 10, S complies with rule 15 by initially giving P room to keep clear.

Rule 19.2(b) does not apply because S and P are on opposite tacks, are not both sailing more than 90 degrees from the true wind, and so are not overlapped at positions 3 and 4 (see the last sentence of the definition Clear Astern and Clear Ahead; Overlap).

Rule 20 does not apply because P and S are not on the same tack. Therefore, S is not required to give P room in response to P’s hail for room. However, after it becomes clear that P is not keeping clear, rule 14 requires S, if it is reasonably possible, to avoid contact with P. S would risk disqualification if there were contact that caused damage or injury.

RYA 1978/5


P must, as soon as S has tacked and the collision course is established, do everything (seamanlike) to keep clear. She cannot wait until there’s no escape anymore. In Position 3 she can either slow down to let S cross or bear away to go astern of S.

(pillow)Case of the week (1/11) - 58

(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.)
(pillow)Case picture

Case 58

Rule 28.2, Sailing the Course
Definitions, Finish
Definitions, Mark
If a buoy or other object specified in the sailing instructions as a finishing-line limit mark is on the post-finish side of the finishing line, it is not a mark.
Summary of the Facts

The finishing line was between a mast on shore and a mark, with an inner limit mark to be left to port. On the day in question, the inner limit mark lay on the post-finish side of the line.
P crossed the line, and then rounded the inner limit mark as shown in the diagram. The race officer timed her as finishing when her bow crossed the line, before she had rounded the limit mark.

S requested redress on the grounds that the race officer acted incorrectly in recording P as having finished before she had completed the course. The protest committee did not give S redress and referred that decision, under rule 70.2, for confirmation.


The protest committee’s decision is confirmed. Rule 28.2 states that ‘A boat may leave on either side a mark that does not begin, bound or end the leg she is on.’ Since the inner limit mark was beyond the finishing line it did not ‘bound’ or ‘end’ the last leg of the course. Only when a limit mark is on, or on the course side of, the finishing line is it a mark, as that term is defined, and only then must a boat leave it on the specified side before, or when, finishing.

RYA 1983/5


This “begin, bound or end” phrase is also used in rule 31. Which means that you are allowed to touch a ‘mark’ that is not meeting those criteria. In fact you could say that there are ever only a very limited number of marks on the course (not counting the restricted area marks). Only the one you came from on that leg and the one you’re sailing towards is a ‘mark’ under the rules.

And subsequently must be rounded or passed on a specific side and should not be touched.

(pillow)Case of the Week (3/11) - 55

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

Case 55

Rule 70.1, Appeals and Requests to a National Authority
Definitions, Party

A boat cannot protest the race committee or the protest committee. However, she may request redress or, if she is a party to a hearing, request that it be reopened. A boat that was not a party to a hearing does not have the right to appeal. When she believes that her score has been made significantly worse by an improper action or omission of the race committee, her only remedy is to request redress. She may then appeal the decision of that hearing.
Summary of the Facts
A ‘protested’ the race committee because of inadequate rescue facilities in contravention of the club’s constitution. The race committee abandoned the completed race. B appealed.


B’s appeal is refused because it cannot be heard under rule 70.1. B does not have the right to appeal because she was not a party to a hearing. Therefore her ‘appeal’ is in fact not an appeal but a request for redress that could have been addressed to and heard by the protest committee. The following points may assist in the understanding of this case:

1. There is no provision in the racing rules under which a boat can protest the race committee or protest committee. The only actions a boat can take against one of these committees are to request redress when she claims that her score in a race or a series of races has been made significantly worse by an improper action or omission of the race committee or protest committee, or to ask for a hearing to be reopened under rule 66 when she is a party to it. In this case, A made no such claim; her ‘protest’ was merely a criticism of the committee, having no standing under the racing rules.

2. Quite apart from the racing rules, a competitor is at liberty to point out to the race committee that it has made an error. When aware of its error, the race committee may try to have it taken into account by asking the protest committee to consider giving redress as permitted by rule 60.2(b).
3. If B had been a competitor in the race and had lodged a valid request for redress claiming that her score had been made significantly worse by the abandonment of the race, she would have been entitled to a redress hearing at which she would have been a party. She then could have appealed the decision of that hearing.

RYA 1982/11


If you feel aggrieved by anything the Organizing Authority, the Race Committee or the Protest Committee does or not does, you can ‘Request Redress’. Be aware however that, before the redress is granted, you also must show that it was trough no fault of your own and that this action (or non-action) had a significant negative impact on your score.

At most events it is usually more productive to go to the information desk and ask if you can have a word with the Race Officer or the PC-Chair. Just telling them about the issue you have, might have the effect you desire. If not, then you can still get a form and ask for redress. If the answer is still unsatisfactory you then have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

In a final note; The racing rules state that before the PC makes a decision on redress – especially before abandoning a race – it must consider the effect on all boats.

In the USA that is even brought a step further, because the US Sailing has issued a couple of prescriptions for RRA 60 & 63.2:
US SAILING prescribes that when redress has been requested or is to be considered, any boat may participate in the hearing provided she makes a written request before the hearing begins. When she does so, the protest committee shall act under rule 60.3(b) to consider redress for her at that hearing.
That boat then in effect becomes a party to the hearing
US SAILING prescribes that when redress has been requested or is to be considered, the protest committee shall make a reasonable attempt to notify all boats of the time and place of the hearing and the nature of the request or the grounds for considering redress. Before holding the hearing, the committee shall allow reasonable time for boats to make written requests to participate.
Mind, the PC will most likely just publish the protest hearing schedule, with the request for redress on it, on the notice board and consider that a reasonable attempt to notify all boats involved. Don’t expect the PC to go looking for boats and/or crews in the boat park!

Sunday 25 September 2011

Break's over

Right, break's over.

I've been hard at work at my new assignment - commenting on an upgraded App for Android and iPhone called You Tack! You can find a link in the sidebar. As soon as the new version becomes available I'll post about it more extensively. If there are any current users among readers of LTW - feel free to give me pointers on improvements.

I've also been studying the Match Race Call book because of my umpire test - next week. Trying to get in the right mind set. Tests are different than on-the-water umpiring.

To unwind a little, I've begun to have a look at all the submissions that are scheduled to be discussed at the ISAF November conference. There are several interesting improvements being submitted.This one for instance:

Reporting Committee – Racing Rules
Other Committee – Race Officials
Submission: 143-11
Racing Rules of Sailing
Rule 14

A submission from the Chairman of the Racing Rules Committee
Purpose or Objective: To remove the contradiction that a boat can break a rule and not be penalised.

A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room 
(a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark-room, and

(b) shall not be penalized under this rule unless there is contact that causes damage or injury.shall be exonerated if she breaks this rule and the contact does not cause damage or injury.

Current Position
As above.

Replacing "shall not be penalised" with "shall be exonerated" simplifies the rule and makes it consistent with the principle that a boat breaking a rule shall be exonerated or penalised.
This submission was prepared by the ISAF Section C Working Party.

I agree with the proposed change in rule 14. It always was strange that you could break this rule as a right-of-way boat and still were not DSQ-ed. 

What is your opinion?

Monday 19 September 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (38/11) - 44

(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.)

(pillow)Case picture

Case 44

Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Rule 85, Governing Rules

A boat may not protest a race committee for breaking a rule. However, she may request redress, and is entitled to it when she establishes that, through no fault of her own, an improper action or omission of the race committee made her score significantly worse.

Summary of the Facts

Sailing instruction 18 provided for the starting line and first mark to be laid so that the first leg would be sailed to windward. After the race committee did so and had started one class, the wind backed some 55 degrees. The Finn class was next to start, but the first mark could not be moved, since the prior class was still sailing towards it and was well short of it. When the Finns started, none could fetch the first mark on a single tack, but subsequent further backing of the wind permitted some to do so.

Boat A ‘protested the race committee,’ asserting that, under rule 85 and the definition Rule, sailing instruction 18 was a rule and the race committee had broken it.

The protest committee was satisfied that the first leg of the course was not a ‘windward’ leg within the meaning of the sailing instructions. On the other hand, it found no evidence to suggest that, within the terms of rule 62.1(a), the race was unfair or that any boat was entitled to redress. The protest committee ruled that the results of the race were to stand.

A appealed, asserting that her protest had not been based on a claim for redress under rule 62.1(a). It was based simply on the fact that the race committee had failed to comply with sailing instruction 18, a rule, and with rule 85, which bound race committees to be governed by the rules.

The protest committee had based its decision on rule 62.1(a), which was, in her opinion, incorrect. To allow a race to stand when it had not been sailed as required by the rules contravened rule 85 and could not come within the scope of rule 62.1(a).


The racing rules do not permit a race committee to be protested or penalized. However, as stated in rule 60.1(b), a boat may request redress.

The protest committee allowed A’s complaint to be considered by treating it as a request for redress under rule 62.1(a). It correctly found that there was no evidence that A’s score had been made worse by an action or omission of the race committee. Accordingly, A’s appeal is dismissed.

RYA 1978/8



Lesson learned: The RC must comply with rule 85, but if she does not – a boat can only get redress if her score is made (significantly) worse by that action or omission.

And for the X-time, you can’t protest the RC. Because if you could and they were disqualified, who would run the races?


Sunday 18 September 2011

Starting penalty in ESS Trapani

Pindar on port miscalculated her bear away to go behind Alinghi. Result: contact with serious damage.
This happened right at the start of race 33 in Trapani.

So now we could test out our new 30 seconds 'starting penalty'.
Pindar in the box for race 34. Well, we will have to rethink the whole idea. It is not enough! Pindar crossed the line half a minute after the others, but all the way at the pin on port, with full speed.
That took the first 15 seconds of the penalty off, so Pindar was in the fleet on the second leg. She didn't get all the way to the front but certainly wasn't last.

Alinghi, who came for redress, which we granted, made an interesting observation as well. By putting the boat in last position at the start it wasn't an opponent for the frontrunners anymore. Not a boat they had to keep clear off or who could take their wind.

Like I said, a rethink is necessary.
Do you have any suggestions?
And please, not a points penalty. ....

I will write a FTBD-post when I get back home. Most likely not before Tuesday.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Gate, gate and gate

Today was all about the gate. Seven out of ten incidents were at the gate.

I'm still amazed at a port boat thinking if I just give enough room, I'm okay. And then ' forcing' a starboard boat to gybe.

There was one so bad it made me wish I could give an umpire initiated penalty.
Besides breaking rule 10, that same port boat then failed to give enough mark-room AND also luffed the inside boat when they were still at the mark to almost head to wind.
No Yankee flag, so no penalty, but oh boy, these were some major infringements.

Something I still have a hard time accepting. But like our CU says: "no aggrieved sailor, no penalty"

Did you ever had situation where you felt like giving a penalty, without a Yankee flag from one of the boats, so you couldn't?

Friday 16 September 2011

ESS Trapani Act 6

Looks like I have a little Italian devil on my back. Now the bugger has wrecked my lap top. The boot-sector is shot.
I'll try to post using my iPhone.
(I will keep approving comments, but might not be able to respond until next week.)

Ooh, I did get my bag back. Collected it from the airport myself!

Trapani is now in the final three days, which means we are racing in the harbor. With a prediction of 10 to15 knots it could be quite spectacular. You might want to check out the website for the videos.

Rules wise yesterday was a 'quit' day

Thursday 15 September 2011

Penalty Box at ESS Act 6 Trapani ?

I wonder if I should go to events in Italy anymore…

ping-ping ------ “We will offload your baggage”

Long time readers perhaps remember the adventures I had,  – or rather the adventures of my bag - flying to this warm and sunny country. I wrote a story about doing an event without any clothes, other than the ones I had on:
And yes, they managed to do it again.
My bag got lost and never arrived in Palermo. Now, 36 hours later, they still don’t know where it is…. Between telephoning to airports and buying some toiletries and spare underwear AND doing the umpiring at the first day at this ESS-event in Trapani, there was no time in writing a post anymore. There still isn’t.
I wrote this yesterday-evening before going to bed, but am posting it this morning after getting WIFI access at the venue.
Another effing thing they are very good at over here: No mobile service – so no internet connection other than at the event. My iPhone is draining it’s battery searching for a carrier. And it doesn’t do any good to my patience either when, after wading trough several non-English speakers and half an hour of telephone-music, the carrier decides it’s time to quit …. Perhaps it is to hot?

image Rule 14

As for the rules I have one titbit which might interest you. We are experimenting with an alternative penalty for rule 14. Not a DSQ or a points penalty, but a starting penalty. The boat breaking rule 14 is put in the ‘penalty’ box during the start and shall not cross the line 30 seconds after the starting signal has been given. While in the penalty box she must keep clear of all other boats.
The chances of her getting 11 points (finishing last) in that race are pretty high, but she is in the race. And she might get lucky and catch up a couple of boats. I’ll let you know how this ends. First we must have a rule 14 issue. That is more likely on Friday, Saturday or Sunday when racing will be in the harbour close to shore.

Monday 12 September 2011

LTW Readers Q&A (55): Witnesses

A question from Paul about witnesses in a protest hearing;

I’ve got a question on what witnesses are appropriate to use in a protest hearing. This involves junior sailors in an optimist regatta.

Recently two 13 year old kids had a protest hearing and one of the sailors was allowed to use their coach as a witness. Is this fair as the coach will most likely be very biased to their sailor?

We were also just at CORK and at that regatta the jury would not even let a fellow sailor who sailed from the same club be a witness.
Who should the jury allow to be a witness in a protest? Can a parent be a witness?

Thanks for your feedback. I’ve also just subscribed to your blog. It looks very helpful.
Thanks, Paul

Anyone can be a witness

To begin with: a party in a hearing must decide if to bring a witness or who, NOT the protest committee!
If you read recommendations to protest hearings in Appendix  M it says:

Allow anyone, including a boat’s crew, to give evidence. It is the party who normally decides which witnesses to call, although the protest committee may also call witnesses (rule 63.6). The question asked by a party ‘Would you like to hear N?’ is best answered by ‘It is your choice.’
So a parent can be witness, a coach, a fellow club-member, anyone.

Weighing the evidence

It is however up to the protest committee to 'weigh' the testimony and evidence that a particular witness is providing. They might give less credit to a parent, or that coach or that fellow club-member. Simply because they are perceived as having an interest in the outcome of the hearing.

Also; if you bring six witnesses who all say the same, you might end up antagonizing the committee more than you want. It's still up to you, but a chairman might ask: "Is this new witness going to tell us something other than we already know?" Regard that as a hint to stop bringing in the seventh.

Witnesses are asked about what they saw and heard. They must tell there story in presence of both parties. It is prudent to talk to your witness before you ask him to testify. Be sure he can provide relevant information. If not, don't bring the witness at all. If he tells a story opposite to what you just explained to the panel, it will do more harm than help you.

Questions and position

And, prepare some questions about issues you want the PC to hear, to asks that witness. Make them open questions - not leading (i.e. questions that can only be answered by yes or no). Ask for instance: "When was the overlap first established between boat Y and boat X" If the answer is five or six boat lengths from the mark, you can use that to draw the attention to 18.2(d) and decide any doubt about the overlap at the zone in your favor.

Make sure the witness was in a position to actually see what happened. And the opposite: always ask your opponent's witness where he/she was at the time of the incident.

Thanks for subscribing,

(pillow)Case of the Week (37/11) - 45

(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.)

(pillow)Case picture

Case 45

Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Rule 64.2, Decisions: Decisions on Redress
Definitions, Finish

When a boat fails to finish correctly because of a race committee error, but none of the boats racing gains or loses as a result, an appropriate and fair form of redress is to score all the boats in the order they crossed the finishing line.

Summary of the Facts

During the day, the class sailed two races. After the first race, which the boats finished leaving Mark 1 to starboard, the wind became light. Accordingly, the race officer set a shorter second course and issued a change to the sailing instructions stating that, although Mark B was the last rounding mark, Mark 1 was to be left to starboard. The same mark was being used for the finishing line of another race, and the race officer had been advised not to set courses that might lead to different boats passing a finishing mark or crossing the finishing line in opposite directions.

X and two other boats finished leaving Mark 1 to port and were scored DNF. Y, followed by the rest of the fleet, sailed the course prescribed by the change to the sailing instructions, leaving Mark 1 to starboard. They thus sailed a ‘hook round’ finish as shown in the diagram.

X requested redress on the grounds that the race committee had not applied the definition Finish correctly when it awarded first place to Y, whereas X had been the first boat to finish as required by the definition.

The protest committee gave redress, agreeing that X and the other two boats had finished correctly, and reinstated them in the race. For boats not so finishing, the committee exercised its discretion under rule 64.2 to ‘make as fair an arrangement as possible for all boats affected.’ It adjusted the race scores according to the order in which all the boats crossed the finishing line, without regard to the direction in which they crossed it.

X appealed against the new finishing order, claiming that the wording of the definition Finish was unequivocal and stating that such an arrangement would negate the definition and defeat its purpose, which, she believed, was to prevent ‘hook round’ finishes.



X’s appeal is dismissed. Because the sailing instruction that conflicted with the definition Finish was invalid, issuing it was an improper action of the race committee that qualified the three boats for consideration for redress under rule 62.1(a). None of the boats racing gained or lost as a result of the race committee error, so the redress awarded was appropriate.

It was also as fair an arrangement as possible for all boats, as required by rule 64.2.

RYA 1979/1


Do you remember the wording in the definition finish ?

Better look it up then………


Sunday 11 September 2011

Sunday Rules Snap: Venn Diagram

Some time ago Google search turned up this diagram:

It is a visual representation of the Racing Rules, concentrated around rule 18, 19 & 20
Each circle represents a specific 'obstacle' a boat can come across on a race course and the relation it has to that boat. For instance another boat (blue), an obstruction (light green), overlapped becoming a boat that is also an obstruction (dark blue).

I came across this in Scuttlebutt ( and mailed to the one who send it in. Alas, I never received a reply, so I'm using it as if it is in the public domain.

Want to know more about Venn Diagrams: go to
I'm working on a Venn Diagram for rules 10, 11, 12 & 13, but haven't found one that is accurate enough. Perhaps some of you can have a go?

I've returned home after a uneventful flight from Dublin to Amsterdam. Looking forward in sleeping in my own bed. Tomorrow I have an Appeals Committee meeting.....and then (Tuesday) travel to Trapani.

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