Monday 31 October 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (42/11) - 39

(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


Sportsmanship and the Rules
Rule 60.2(a), Right to Protest; Right to Request Redress or Rule 69 Action

Except when it receives a report of a breach of a class rule or of rule 43 from an equipment inspector or a measurer for an event, a race committee is not required to protest a boat. The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitor.

Summary of the Facts
Throughout a five-race series, A competed with a crew of three. After the last race, B and others jointly protested A, alleging that she had broken a class rule that limited the crew to two. This was the first protest relating to the matter. It was refused because the hulls of the protesting boats were all over 6 m long, but none of the boats displayed a red flag. This decision was appealed on the grounds that the race committee ought, on its own initiative, to have protested A in all the races.

As provided in rule 63.5, the protest was invalid because no red flag was displayed as required by rule 61.1(a). To uphold this appeal would amount to a conclusion that a race committee ought to know the class rules of each class, and that it then has an obligation to enforce them when members of the class themselves fail to do so. No such obligation is placed on a race committee. Furthermore, rule 60.2(a) is clearly discretionary, except when a race committee receives a report required by rule 43.1(c) or 78.3, which it had not. As stated in Sportsmanship and the Rules, ‘Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce.’

The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules therefore rests with the competitors. The appeal is dismissed, and the decision of the protest committee is upheld.

CYA 1977/35


What if a measurer or equipment inspector does not include breaches of class rules in his report or even doesn’t hand in a report?

If that becomes known during or after the event, there’s is a problem. At the moment neither is mentioned as a party in rule 62.1(a). No request for redress possible for an improper action or omission by the measurer or equipment inspector. You cannot blame the RC, they never got the information. It is prudent for the PRO to ask the Measurer or equipment inspector for his findings, but not obligatory.

There is however a submission for this November’s ISAF conference to include those in rule 62.1(a).

I’m not sure if that will go into effect the first of January 2012. Till it does, only the Sailing Instructions can change this, by for instance stating that the measurer or equipment inspector are part of the Race Committee.


Tuesday 25 October 2011

Measurer or Equipement Inspector in the Rules

A new Q&A from ISAF, about the measurer or equipment inspector:

ISAF Racing Rules Question and Answer Service
J 021 Q&A 2011-020; Published: 22 October 2011

Question 1
Is an equipment inspector or measurer at an event a member of the race committee for that event?

Answer 1
Not normally. Equipment inspectors or event measurers are responsible for checking that the boats or the personal equipment used by competitors comply with the class rules. According to the Terminology in the Introduction to the Racing Rules of Sailing, ‘Race committee’ includes any person performing a race committee function. The race committee functions are stated in different rules in Part 7 (conduct races, publish written sailing instructions, score races, etc) and equipment inspection is not one of them.

If however the equipment inspectors or event measurers were appointed by the race committee to conduct such responsibilities on behalf of the race committee, then they are members of the race committee.

Question 2
If the answer to Question 1 is yes, can the equipment inspector or the event measurer protest a boat under rule 60.2 without the need for the written report required by rule 78.3?

Answer 2
The equipment inspector or the event measurer can only protest the boat if the race committee delegates this responsibility to him or if the sailing instructions change rules 78.3 and 60.2 accordingly.

Question 3
The rules at an event require that a certificate is produced before a boat races. One boat does not produce a certificate, but the race committee receives a statement signed by the person in charge that a valid certificate exists and that it will be given to the race committee before the end of the event. The race committee does not receive the certificate in time.
Can that boat be scored DSQ for all races without a protest as rule 78.2 indicates?

Answer 3
No. The race committee should protest the boat. Rule A5 lists the scoring actions the race committee may take without a hearing. An action under rule 78.2 is not in that list.

If your boat is measured by a measurer or equipment inspector please check the SI if he/she is a member of the Race Committe. If the SI do not give an answer, ask! Perhaps the OA has appointed him/her?
Then you can request redress because the measurer or equipment inspector is part of the organizing authority.
If that is also not the case, i.e. the OA did not appoint him/her, we get into "murky" water.

If the inspector/measurer doesn't approve a boat or equipment, he is obliged to report that to the RC (Rule 78,3), who then has the obligation to protest you.(rule 60.2). If there's no report, there will be no protest. And you cannot request redress if the measurer or equipment inspector is not part of the RC or OA.....
Please do not hesitate to bring that to the attention of the PRO - he can at least have a "conversation".

After receiving a report, the RC cannot just DSQ a boat without a protest. They can refuse entry (rule 76.1) but they will have to give a reason. And when that happens you can go to the PC requesting redress. The PC will then investigate and hear your argument why you think that reason is not valid.

If you compete with a boat that - according to the measurer or equipment inspector - is not complying with the class rules, AND you think they are wrong (make sure you know what you are taking about) you still can compete in the regatta.

The RC will protest you and the PC will disqualify you, but then you can use rule 64.3(c) to compete in all subsequent races. You will have to appeal the disqualification and argue your case before the appeals committee, but if you win, the results will stand. If you lose that appeal, all results will be deleted and replaced by DSQ..... But then you were DSQed already - and at least you were able to sail the event, no?

Oh, this trick will only work once. If you try this a second time, the appeals committee will slap a rule 2 on you or worse, start an rule 69 investigation.

There is light at the end of the tunnel: A submission to change rule 62.1, so you can request redress for an omission or improper action by a measurer or equipment inspector.

Monday 24 October 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (41/11) - 40

(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


Rule 46, Person in Charge

Unless otherwise specifically stated in the class rules, notice of race or sailing instructions, the owner or other person in charge of a boat is free to decide who steers her in a race, provided that rule 46 is not broken.

Summary of the Facts
In a series, A was entered by the owner, who steered her in race 1. In races 2 and 3 she was steered by another person from whom no entry had been received. The race committee, without a hearing, considered him to be a non-entrant and a non-starter, changed A’s results, and awarded her a nonstarter’s
points in races 2 and 3.

The relevant class rule 11(e) read: ‘Distribution of duties between helmsman and crew shall be entirely at the discretion of the helmsman, unless otherwise stipulated in the sailing instructions.’

The race committee held that class rule 11(e) did not allow permanent substitution by the crew at the helm for an entire race or races, since the only purpose of that would be to improve a boat’s chances of winning a series.

A appealed.

A’s appeal is upheld. The owner of a boat may appoint another person to steer her. It is the boat that is entered in a race and, unless otherwise specifically provided in the class rules, notice of the race or sailing instructions (which was not so in this case), it is a matter for the owner or other person in charge of her to decide who steers her at any time, provided that rule 46 is not broken. A is to be reinstated in the race results.

RYA 1977/2


Do you remember what rule 46 states?

“A boat shall have on board a person in charge designated by the member or organization that entered the boat. See rule 75.”

That rule also doesn’t say who has to helm nor that it should be the same person in all races in a series. You can even change the helm and crew during a race if that would benefit for instance the weight distribution on board – say, going downwind.

Many regatta’s - in the Netherlands I know for sure any national championships – have rules that the helmsman and crew must sail in all races in the same ‘position’. But if that is not written, you can change – provided the person in charge, designated by the one who entered the boat, is on board.

For a laser or any other one person boat, that wouldn’t be possible.


I’m travelling back home today from Athens. Hopefully with a smooth bag transition in Munich.


Sunday 23 October 2011

Platu 25 Match Race 2011, Greece; We have a winner!

In front of the harbour at Piraeus, the two Greek crews of Stratis Andreadis and Andreas Karalis match raced today in the Platu 25's for the first spot in the 2011 championship. A nice steady breeze and plenty of action and emotion. It took four matches but Stratis and his crew managed to get first to the necessary three points to win.Well done and congratulations to the whole crew!

For the umpire team it was all hands on deck - specially since the Platu is a fast turning boat in these circumstances with plenty of boat speed and acceleration. And then the transitions become the issue.

Umpiring in match racing is not about rule 10, 11 or 12. Who has right-of-way or who has to keep clear is not the difficult issue at a certain point. It is rule 15 en 16;
Is the the keep-clear boat given room to respond when the right-of-way switches?
Or, does the course right-of-way boat change course so fast, that the keep-clear boat has no opportunity to keep clear, however best she tries?
Transitions is the thing.

Some calls are decided because a boat does not respond, or is not giving enough room to the other to keep clear. Those calls can be decided fairly easy. But most calls are in the fine line between doing enough to keep clear and giving enough room to do so. And then the difference can be in seconds. Or both boats are to blame.....

From the umpire (MR) manual: 
D 16 Umpire More Consistently
Another contribution to improve our umpiring is to strive for consistency. The aim is to provide the competitors with the same call for the same situation. The figure below illustrates at the top how decisions may vary in a certain situation like the luffing maneuver illustrated in Figure 2
If Blue reacts too slowly she will be penalised. On the other hand, Yellow will be penalised if she luffs too quickly. In between, there is a “grey” area where we have difficulties deciding who should be penalised, and, therefore, we wave the green flag.

As our umpiring is improved, the 'grey' area will gradually shrink. And we can imagine that one day we never have to wave a green flag in this situation; we give either a blue or yellow penalty. At the same time, we may expect the competitors to improve their sailing so they can drive it right to the edge. With this development we end up in a position where we may decide to give a blue penalty in a certain situation, but with just a tiny change in the maneuvering of any of the boats we give a yellow penalty instead. We arrive at the paradox that seen from the outside, the penalties given in match racing seem more and more random as competitors and  umpires improve their skills. Such a development clearly contradicts the ambition of making  umpiring more clear and consistent.

In order to avoid this development, we should in certain situations penalise both boats, a Twin penalty. (A double penalty is two penalties on one boat) In doing so, we get an intermediate area where we decide that both boats have broken a rule. This development in our umpiring can be illustrated this way: 

With a luffing maneuver like the one illustrated in Figure 2, there may be occasions where we decide that the contact occurred both because Yellow luffed too quickly and because Blue responded too slowly. A green flag in this situation may be misinterpreted to mean that no rule was broken, whereas our decision in fact is that both boats broke a rule.

We can signal this decision by waving both the yellow and blue flag. Considering penalties, it makes no difference, but we clearly communicate to the competitors that they are inside the 'grey' area. When there is clearly contact between the boats, somebody should be penalised. If the umpires cannot decide, after using all the principles of GEN CALL 1, they should consider penalising both boats.
I'm clearly not doing enough Match Racing - I had way to much fun today getting to give a twin penalty.....
I was almost there, but then my fellow umpire blamed his boat.....

aaaaah, foiled again....

Life is hard.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Platu 25 Match Race 2011; Greece

The rules issue today:
What do you do when a competitor leaves the event after having sailed one match? And does the answer differ if he lost or won that match?

After having waited for two hours for the predicted wind we finally went out on the water in front of the club and started match racing. The Platu 25 is a nice - manoeuvrable boat, but like any sailboat, it needs an engine. And when that engine is not blowing, it will not move. And to match race you need some movement, no?

We did 12 out of the fourteen flights today - with some very close racing in the eventually increased wind coming in from the north north-west. For us a steady work-day as umpires- since the RC did it's best to keep things flowing with a flight every 25 or 30 minutes. And for the sailors sometimes a bit of a show.....

You'll understand when you've found the answer to my initial question.

We finished sailing after six and did the debrief  at seven. A nice dinner in Greece's oldest Yacht Club and time for the sack.. Tomorrow another day under the sun. Life is hard.

Friday 21 October 2011

Grade 3 Greece - Travelingday

Today I travelled to Greece, to the harbour of Piraeus in front of Greece's most famous city; Athens.
And sitting on a roofed terrace ate dinner with a view of the bay and if I looked hard enough in the distance, the Parthenon.
Nice, no?

At home it's already below zero at night, here the nights are no longer hot, but still very pleasant.
And they are even paying me to be here.....

I'm doing a short event, two days, Match Race Grade 3 for Yacht Club Greece in Platu 25's. For every high profile Grade 1, World Cup or professional event, dozens of these are run, all over the world. And they all need umpires.

Together with my fellow IU (there are two needed for a Grade 3) we arrived this afternoon and started preparing for two nice days on the water.
SI's finalized, umpire boats ready, other umpires sorted ..... There are snags, when are there not snags? - but we will sort them out and do some racing tomorrow. Forecast is good, enough wind and 8 competitors. What can go wrong?

To steal a frase from my fellow blogger Tillerman:
Life is good.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

ISAF Rapid Response Team Racing Call 2011-001

It took some time but, then it's a whopper. The first Rapid Response Team Racing Call in 2011 was published last week by ISAF. The subject is rule 18 and mark-room and how to exploit an "unintentional consequence" in the current rules to gain an advantage for a team.

The Call explains that the way Mark-room is written at the moment, a keep-clear boat can break a right-of-way rule and be exonerated as long as she's doing it within the boundaries of "Mark-room"

Rule 18 Mark-Room

X on starboard tack enters the zone of the finishing mark clear ahead of A. X is sailing a course that will leave about half a boat length between her and the mark. After entering the zone X slows down without changing course, and A becomes overlapped to leeward of her. X then bears away to pass close to the mark and there is no longer room for A to finish between X and the mark. A bears away and protests. What should the call be?

When X enters the zone her course is high of the mark and she is not sailing to the mark within the space allowed by the definition Mark-Room. When X bears away after she becomes windward boat, she is sailing to the mark. X breaks rule 11, but is exonerated under rule 18.5(a). No penalty.

A complies with rule 18.2(b) by giving mark-room to X. If A is unable to respond when X bears away to sail to the mark, A breaks rule 18.2(b). Penalise A. However, if X bears away so that her course will not pass on the required side of the mark, she is no longer sailing to the mark and she is not entitled to exoneration. Penalise X for breaking rule 11.

As soon as X finishes, rule D1.1(d) applies and she can no longer act to interfere with A. She must trim in to a close-hauled course and clear the finishing line.

Published September 26;
This call is valid until 1 January 2013

In normal racing the infringement of rule 11 is usually unintentionally. And the windward boat would finish in front of the leeward boat anyway, so in a fleet race this will have no effect. (Except probably agitate the persons in the leeward boat).
But in Team Racing this can be used as a "weapon" to hinder a boat from the other team, so a team member can finish before the leeward boat.

Be aware however, to make use of it now!
If the submissions of the Rule C working party are accepted this will no longer be possible in the RRS 2013-2016

Monday 17 October 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (40/11) - 41

(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 41

(Case 42 has been deleted in the Casebook)

Rule 12, On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped
Rule 19.2, Room to Pass an Obstruction: Giving Room at an Obstruction
Definitions, Obstruction

If an obstruction can be passed on either side by two overlapped boats, the right-of-way boat, if she chooses to pass it to leeward, must give room to the other. If the right-of-way boat chooses to pass it to windward, she is entitled to room to do so, and the other boat must keep clear. There is no obligation to hail for room at an obstruction.


Assumed Facts
Boats BL and BW, overlapped on the starboard tack, are overtaking Boat A, also on the starboard tack but moving more slowly. Rule 17 does not apply between BW and BL during the incident.

Question 1
Does rule 19 apply between BW and BL as they overtake and begin to pass A? If so, which parts of it apply and when do they apply?

Answer 1
At positions 1 and 2, rule 12 requires both BL and BW to keep clear of A. Therefore, A is an obstruction to both BL and BW. However, A is not a continuing obstruction, as the last sentence of the definition Obstruction makes clear.

As BL and BW overtake A, BL may choose to pass A on either side (see rule 19.2(a)). When either BL or BW begins to pass A, provided that they are still overlapped, rule 19.2(b) will apply.

If BL chooses to pass A to leeward, rule 19.2(b) will require her to give room to BW, as inside boat, to do likewise if BW steers a course to do so.

However, BW is not required to take the room provided, and may pass A to windward, keeping clear of her under rule 12 and then rule 11. If BL chooses to pass to windward of A, then rule 19.2(b) requires BW to give BL room to pass A and rule 11 requires BW to keep clear of BL.

Rule 12, and later rule 11, require BL to keep clear of A.

Question 2
Does BW have to hail for room to pass to leeward of A? If not, would BL risk disqualification by not giving room?

Answer 2
BW is not required to hail for room, although that is a prudent thing to do to avoid misunderstandings. Rule 19.2(b) requires BL to give room to BW if they both pass to leeward of the obstruction, whether or not BW hails for room.

RYA 1977/6


The Right-of-Way boat (BL) has the right to choose not the keep clear boat. A misunderstanding many sailors struggle with. Only when it is clear that BL will pass to leeward, can BW go in and expect to be given room. Provided that there was an overlap and BL is able to give room from the moment the overlap is first established.

BL cannot move sideways, so if BW only gets an overlap at the very last moment, she’s taking a big risk.

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