Monday 24 December 2012

Why Holland isn't the Netherlands

For everybody who was sick of me talking about Holland, The Netherlands and Dutch:

The next time I'll open my lap top and show you the video, okay?

Have a good Christmas!

Sunday 23 December 2012

UK Sailmakers: Rules Quiz program

Received the newsletter from UK Sailmakers and wanted to pass on their latest:
The NEW UK Sailmakers Rules Quiz program
An excerpt from the mail:


UK Sailmaker’s online Rules Quiz Program has been called “the easiest way to learn the Racing Rules of Sailing.” Every four years, when the International Sailing Federation updates the Racing Rules of Sailing, UK’s Rules experts go back to the drawing board and create a fresh collection of animated quizzes to test sailors’ knowledge of key Rules, providing interpretations of the Rules, and giving detailed answers to the question of “who was right and why.” This year, along with updating the content of the quizzes themselves, UK has revamped the technology driving the Rules Quiz, creating more informative and interesting interactive quizzes.

The new Rules Quiz Program has been retooled from stem to stern, reflecting the latest techniques in online learning tools. To help better understand the situations as they unfold and the ultimate answers, UK has added graphic teaching aids including overlap lines, a circle showing the zone, a rotatable grid in one-boatlength increments, the ability to see the past positions of the boats as they advance through the situation, and the ability to see the track lines of the boats. A user-friendly slide bar allows users to easily advance or reverse the animation to a precise position. The new animations are bigger, more colorful, and the boats moving across the screen are more realistic and lifelike. More info...

Click here for sample quiz.

Last minute Holiday Shopping! Pre-Sales Discount!
The program currently has 45 quizzes with more to come throughout the 2013-2016 quadrennial. UK is in the final stages of preparing the program and plans to have it finished by the middle of January 2013. The new Rules Quiz will be available for $55.00 U.S. through the UK Sailmakers online store, but you can purchase a pre-release copy thru December 31,, 2012 at a discounted price of only $40.00 U.S. Since the program lives in the Cloud and won’t come in a box, you can order the program now and still be able give an e-mail gift certificate to someone for Christmas. This is a great present and even better last-minute gift idea.


I've not run every quiz yet, but the ones I did are great! Clear animations with lots of cool additions. Overlap lines, tracks and other information to judge the situations.....

I only wish it was as clear as this in a hearing!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Changes in Rule 69; part Two

The second change in rule 69 is about the 'standard of proof' that should be used on the evidence:
Rule 69.2(b):
……. If it is established to the comfortable satisfaction of the protest committee, bearing in mind the seriousness of the alleged misconduct, that the competitor has broken rule 69.1(a), it shall either…...
I have had a very hard time finding out what 'comfortable satisfaction' means. The Casebook working party is preparing a Case to explain to protest committees what the “comfortable satisfaction” standard means and how they should apply it. But that will take - according to my sources - several more weeks, before that is finalized.

Search results

A search on the Internet spewed out several doping cases where this 'standard of proof ' is discussed;

A couple of quotes from an article by Daniel Dawer, with the title: Leveling the Playing Field: Why the USADA Must Adopt a Criminal Burden of Proof in Anti-Doping Proceedings
Article 3.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code, states that such a standard "is greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.“

Accordingly, the WADA established a burden of proof “greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt”: namely, prosecutors must establish an athlete’s guilt “to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing body.” The standard’s ambiguity emerges from a failure to define “comfortable satisfaction.” Is it closer to preponderance of evidence—the evidentiary standard in civil proceedings—or closer to beyond reasonable doubt?
And from an article by Angel R. Puerta: Uncomfortable Satisfaction
Athletes need no longer be proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" in doping cases - a near impossibility in many instances - but rather they must be proven guilty "to the comfortable satisfaction" of the panels hearing their cases.

The new standard brings common sense into the pursuit of a level playing field. Obvious cheaters can no longer hide beyond a "we have never tested positive" gimmick that is built upon clever drugs and astute event and training schedules.
From an article on Velo News: Dick Pound talks Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong and the system
“Absolutely,” Pound said. “You can do a lot more with a confession like that and allegations and information that they can provide than you can ever do with results that come from the odd guy who pees in a bottle. In principle, I am very comfortable with it.”

In criminal trials, he said, “you can hang people even without bloodstained clothes. It’s a matter of having the kind of panels and the people on those panels who are in a position to weigh the evidence and arrive at the level of proof — to the comfortable satisfaction of the panel — that CAS has adopted as the standard of proof.”

Pound added that the more rigorous “comfortable satisfaction” standard is applied to anti-doping authorities when presenting their evidence “but the athlete must only meet a ‘balance of probabilities’ standard (when submitting evidence in their defense). It really is all well calibrated.”
Citing a hypothetical example of someone charged with distribution of 300 syringes of Aranesp, Pound said: “You don’t need the actual syringes to make the case. Eyewitness testimony of a delivery, credit card receipts … all of that is admissible and it’s up to the panel to weigh that evidence.”
The legal standards of proof can be found on:
I've compiled a table and placed 'comfortable satisfaction' where I think it should be, which is level 8

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Changes in RRS 69; part One

In the new RRS 2013-2016, Rule 69 has been extensively rewritten.

The main differences are:

  1. It is now written in the rule that competitor may not commit gross misconduct - and for the purpose of this rule - what a competitor is.
  2. The standard of proof in rule 69 hearings has been changed - in line with the doping rules and the practices of the CAS.
  3. National Authorities have no longer a choice, they must start an investigation if they receive a report involving a rule 69 case.

Let's start with the first difference:
The change in wording makes it clear that committing gross misconduct breaks a rule in the RRS - something that was previously implied - but not actually written in so many words. And since 'breaking a rule in the RRS equals a penalty' is well established in other rules, the rule is now more consistent with the rest of the book.
It is now also made clear what is meant by 'competitor' in the rule 69:
Throughout rule 69, ‘competitor’ means a member of the crew, or the owner, of a boat.
There seems to be a typo in this sentence? Should it read 'or a boat'? Or perhaps the comma is misplaced and the sentence should read: 'or the owner of a boat'. I'll leave that one up to the rule makers…..

Several people, to whom I've had contact about this rule, expressed their disappointment that this last change is not nearly far (or good) enough.
Originally in the submission this sentence was:
For the purposes of rule 69, a competitor includes a person in charge, a boat owner and any other person who has agreed to be governed by the rules.
Let me put it this way, in asking this question:

If a parent of a sailor misbehaves, or a coach does something that is absolutely considered misconduct, can the PC or Jury start a rule 69 hearing? 

Friday 9 November 2012

RRS 2013-2016; Rule 18.3

Rule 18.3 has been changed in the new RRS 2013-2016;
(duh, otherwise I wouldn't have had to write this)
I'm not quite sure if the chosen language does not have a much greater impact than first assumed;

Was it the intention of the Rulescommittee to change the rules for boats changing tack in the zone?

This is what the rule is now:
18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them changes tack, and as a result is subject to rule 13 in the zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply. The boat that changed tack
(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact or prevent
     the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and
(b) shall give mark-room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her.

This is what the rule in 2013-2016 is going to be:
18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If a boat in the zone passes head to wind and is then on the same tack as a boat that is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply between them. The boat that changed tack
(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact or prevent
     the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and
(b) shall give mark-room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her.
 I have two scenario's for your consideration:

Situation A

Situation B

The PC find as fact that Purple had completed her tack (was no longer subject to rule 13) when the other boats (Grey and/or Red) changed course.

Is in the new rules (RRS 2013-2016) the Purple boat breaking rule 18.3?

Leave a comment.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

DMTRA Wintertraining Matchracen en Teamzeilen.

De kans om een heel weekend te trainen in de disciplines matchracen en teamzeilen. In het weekend van 24/25 november organiseert de Dutch Match & Team Racing Association (DMTRA) een trainingsweekend voor matchracen en teamzeilen. Twee dagen lang wordt er getraind onder leiding van ervaren trainers en gasttrainers die hun sporen in deze takken van sport hebben verdiend. Het belooft een spetterend en leerzaam weekend te worden.

In hetzelfde weekend vindt, in samenwerking met het Watersportverbond, ook een umpire opleiding plaats.

Voor wie is het bedoeld
De DMTRA Wintertraining is zowel bedoeld voor zeilers die kennis willen maken met matchracen en teamzeilen als ook voor zeilers met al enige ervaring in deze disciplines die zich verder willen ontwikkelen. Verder is de Wintertraining bedoeld voor zeilers die willen worden opgeleid tot umpire. Een combinatie van zeiltraining en umpiretraining is ook mogelijk.

Korte wedstrijden, één tegen één of team tegen team, waarbij de adrenaline vol door de aderen stroomt. Niet op zoek naar vrije wind maar naar je tegenstander. Geen moeilijke situaties vermijden maar de regels ten volle uit nutten. Dat is matchracen en teamzeilen. Dat gaat niet vanzelf maar moet worden getraind. Alle fasen van een race, van prestart tot finish, zullen apart worden geoefend en getraind. Boot-handling, tactiek en regelkennis zullen zowel in de praktijk als in theorie ruimschoots aan bod komen.

De disciplines matchracen en teamzeilen zijn een jurysport. De sport kan alleen bestaan met de inzet van deskundige umpires. Daarom wordt tijdens de DMTRA Wintertraining, in samenwerking met het Watersportverbond, een umpireopleiding gegeven. Deze umpireopleiding maakt deel uit van de officiële opleiding tot umpire van het Watersportverbond. De opleiding zal voor het grootste deel in de praktijk worden gegeven door erkende umpires waarbij samen met de zeilers wordt getraind op specifieke situaties en fasen in de race. Onderdeel van de opleiding is een gezamenlijke dag met andere race officials in opleiding, later in het jaar.

Plaats & tijd
De trainingen zullen worden gehouden op zeilschool “Us Hiem” in Oudega(W) in Friesland in het weekend van 24/25 november. Iedereen wordt vrijdagavond al verwacht want op vrijdagavond om 20:00 uur gaan we van start.

De kosten die verbonden zijn aan deze wintertraining zijn € 40,- voor (staf)leden Vinea/DMTRA en € 60,- voor niet leden. De kosten zijn all in.

Inschrijven kan vanaf nu door een aanmeldingsformulier in te vullen. Je kunt je individueel inschrijven maar mocht je met je team willen trainen dan kan dat natuurlijk ook .Wij zorgen voor de juiste indeling.

Voor informatie kun je terecht op de evenementenpagina van de website van DMTRA ( of kun je contact opnemen via

Saturday 20 October 2012

RRS 2013-2016; Rule 18.2

I've been brooding on rule 18.2 for a couple of days - (weeks even). Originally had planned to post much earlier. I have a hard time finding a meaningful difference between our current rulebook and the new one, regarding this rule.

The wording has changed:
18.2(c ): When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 18.2(b),
(1) she shall continue to do so even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins;
(2) if she becomes overlapped inside the boat entitled to mark-room, she shall also give that boat room to sail her proper course while they remain overlapped.
The (1) and (2) split is in line with the general change in the way rules are being written. It makes it clear that both apply all the time for a boat that does not have mark room.

Why the addition of (2)?
In the current rule book a boat that 'stuck its nose in' was not entitled to mark room and could be shut out by the other boat. As long as that boat was sailing its 'proper course' while rounding the mark, it was exonerated for any infringement of a rule of section A and for breaking RRS 15 or 16. It could luff as hard as it wanted - provided it did so, to sail its proper course. If she did more - sail above her proper course - she still cold shut out the inside boat, but she then had limitations under 15 and 16.

This is now directly written in rule 18.2(c)(2) in the RRS 2013-2016.

The definition of mark-room has no longer 'room to sail her proper course while AT the mark' part - so that needed to be addressed by the working party. They have chosen to write that part into the rule directly. Straight into 18.2(c). A proper choice, in my opinion.

The animation (and picture) show the Grey boat pointing its bow between Red and the mark, trying to 'sneak in'. Red doesn't want that, but leaves a wide enough gab between itself and the mark initially and then forcefully 'shuts the door' by luffing very hard.

In the current rules Red is entitled to mark-room and may sail her proper course AT the mark. She is however sailing well above that proper course. And therefor no longer 'protected' by the mark-room exoneration for breaking rule 16.
In the new rules this is still the case - only now it is written in 18.2(c) directly. Instead  finding this conclusion by way of the definition and exoneration, it's now in the rule.

Grey may try to go inside and she's entitled to a fair cop when caught. Not an entrapment by Red....

Ooh, the other change in rule 18.2 is one from long standing in Match - and Team Racing. To get out of another 'unfair' deal.
18.2(e) If a boat obtained an inside overlap from clear astern or by tacking to windward of the other boat and, from the time the overlap began, the outside boat has been unable to give markroom, she is not required to give it.
From the Team Race Call book: E10:
The current rules dictate that the White boat must give mark-room to the Grey boat...... Even if she's not able to do so, because the overlap was not established from clear astern, but in the tack.
That has now been addressed by the change in 18.2(e).
If White is not able, she doesn't have to give mark-room.

Please leave a comment if you have a different opinion about 18.2.

Next time 18.3. It is slow going, but we will get there, eventually

Friday 5 October 2012

RRS 2013 - 2016; Mark-room & Tactical rounding

The New Racing Rules for Sailing have been published on the ISAF Website and I've been studying what the changes mean for sailors on the water. In the coming months I hope to write several posts about that and will try to publish on every Friday. (More, if I have time)
The The RRS 2013-2016 do not come into effect until the first of January, but if you want a head start on your competition, have a butcher.*

In order to find out what the effect of changes in rule 18 will be, we need to look first at the definition of mark-room:
Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also,
(a) room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
(b) room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
However, mark-room for a boat does not include room to tack unless she is overlapped inside and to windward of the boat required to give mark-room and she would be fetching the mark after her tack.
A boat which has mark-room may sail a course that leaves the mark on the required side. Nothing new there, save it that leaving a mark on the required side can be done at many distances….
You can leave a mark to port (as asked in the SI) as close as the circumstances permit or at several boat lengths.This is important, because you want to know if you always can make a tactical rounding.
Low in - high out, right?

Do the a) and b)- parts of the definition provide you with an answer?

Let's start with b) -  room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course…., hmmm, I don't think so.  Necessary to sail the course is very close - as close as the circumstances permit. Closer if it's only 5 knots, than if it's blowing 30. But close, nevertheless. So no Donald Duck** there
Part b) does not give you the room to do a 'tactical rounding'.

Perhaps part a) does?
 - room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it,
Close to it? You will want to sail a boat length beside the mark initially, to do a tactical rounding!
Let me explain why this part was added;
In the RRS 2009-2012 the definition of mark-room gave you the room to sail TO the mark - in a straight line. That gave a windward keep-clear boat, the right to 'shut out' a leeward right-of-way boat. For instance at the finish line:

Purple enters the zone clear ahead. RRS 18.2(b) gives her mark-room. The room to sail TO the mark.
Purple might infringe rule 11, but is exonerated because she's sailing TO the mark.

This was never intended by the rules. Therefore part a) in the new definition now only gives the room to sail close to the mark, to the boat with mark-room, if her proper course is to do so. And in the example it is clearly not. Purple could finish much sooner if she kept on sailing close-hauled.

Part a) clearly also does not give a boat the room to make a tactical rounding. The use of the term 'proper course' is only when that course is CLOSE to the mark. It does not mean you can sail your proper course when that is WIDE from the mark - as is needed when doing a tactical rounding.

The final part of the definition is almost the same as in the previous rules. You get room to tack, if there's a boat to leeward of you at the mark. That is the same as in the 2009-2012 edition. But new: that room is only available if you can fetch the mark after your tack. Not if you have to do another one after that.

In effect the new definition of mark-room is initially more than it was in the RRS 2009-2012. You no longer have to sail straight TO the mark. But it is also less than it was in the RRS 2009-2012; AT the mark you can no longer sail your proper course. In fact it is the room as most sailors have always thought it was; rounding the mark in a seaman-like way to sail the course.
The right to do a tactical rounding however, is solely depending on whether or not you have right-of-way when rounding a mark. If you are the keep-clear boat, all the room you get, is to sail close to it and round it as necessary to sail the course.

Next issue: What is the effect of the changes in Rule 18, with this new definition of mark-room?

(butcher's hook = look)
(Donald Duck = luck)

Wednesday 3 October 2012

AC 34 Umpire Booth Replay: USC-USS

AC45, umpire booth displays: San Francisco 2012, August 26. Match Race between USC (Coutts) and USS (Spithill).

For those of you who are unfamiliar how umpiring is done at the America's Cup 45 -events; Umpires are stationed in a booth with a display of the boats on the water. The tracking has become quite accurate (within 2 cm) and the system displays all relevant information instantly. Starboard tack boats are green, Port tack boats are red. And when boats are overlapped the hulls are yellow.

When a boat wants to protest because they feel that another has infringed a rule, they press a button and the protest 'flag' is shown on the screen and recorded. Then the umpires - who have been following the incident as if they were on the water - take a decision and press the penalty or green flag button.

In the video you see the zone light up when the first boat enters the zone. USC is at that moment clear ahead and has mark-room. Nevertheless USS goes in and establishes an overlap after. She's not keeping clear under rule 11 and not exonerated because she has no mark-room.

When the penalty is given the boat must slow down until the penalty line has caught up. The line is initially two boat lengths behind the boat and traveling half it's speed. You can see USS luff up to loose speed until the line has caught up

There's also another boat on the screen. That is the on-the-water umpire. (On a jet-ski) He's not umpiring but 'winging'. Giving relevant information to the booth-umpires. Like if a boat is actually doing everything to keep clear, what the closest distance was or is. Things that are not deductible from the electronic display.

Pretty neat, don't you agree?

Tuesday 2 October 2012

LTW Readers Q&A (63); Tacking at the Finish?

A Q&A from David and Vernice about a situation close to the finishline:

A couple of months ago David was a member of a protest committee which heard the following case:

Two one-design boats (Blue and Red) were approaching the upwind finish line in one of several races in a multi-class regatta. Both boats were on port tack near the port (left) end of the line, looking upwind.There were about 2 1/2 boat lengths separating the two boats, gunnel to gunnel.
Both boats were well within the 3-boat-length zone and had entered the zone almost simultaneously, with the windward Blue boat being slightly closer to the finish line than the leeward Red boat.
The leeward (right hand) Red boat suddenly tacked onto starboard. The windward Blue boat, which was slightly closer to the finish line, crash-tacked to avoid a collision.
After her tack, the Blue boat was outside the lay-line, to the left-hand end of the finish line, and had to execute a jibe to circle around and finish after the Red boat had crossed the line.

The Blue boat hailed "protest" and raised a red flag immediately. She filed a protest within the time limit. She alleged, citing Rule 18, that she should have been given mark-room as the inside boat and allowed to finish on her port-tack course.

The facts found that both boats were overlapped on port tack on their approach to the finish line, with 2 1/2 boat lengths of separation, well within the three-boat-length circle. Both boats were within the port-tack layline to the finish, and the Blue boat would have finished first if they both remained on port tack.

Even though both boats entered the zone on the same tack, the P.C. ruled that the last sentence in the preamble to Rule 18 and Rule 18a indicated that Rule 18 did not apply in this situation because: after the leeward boat (Red) tacked, "both boats were on opposite tacks on a beat to windward." Therefore Blue was not entitled to mark-room (since Rule 18 was shut off). Red was within her rights to tack onto starboard within the zone, becoming the Right-of-Way Boat and forcing Blue as the Give-Way Boat (Rule 10) to tack away onto starboard and be unable to fetch the line.

The questions are:
1.) Did the rule-makers intend that the last statement of the Rule 18 Preamble, along with Rule 18a, would allow the outside leeward port (Red) boat to have such a powerful weapon of being able to tack onto starboard and force the windward port boat (Blue) to tack away and be unable to fetch or to claim mark-room, even though both boats entered the zone overlapped on the same (port) tack and with the windward port boat closer to the mark? Was the Blue boat in that situation unable to invoke Rule 18?

2.) Can the last part of the Preamble, along with Rule 18b, be construed to mean that the proper course for the leeward port boat (Red) should always be to tack in this situation, so that she would be able to shut off Rule 18 and finish before the Blue boat?

I have a question of my own: You mention a crash-tack by Blue. Did she have to respond before Red was on a close hauled course? According to my animation of the incident that is almost unavoidable.  I’m assuming the PC did not find that as fact, otherwise they would have DSQ-ed Red for not keeping clear while tacking. And a crash tack is not seaman-like. If that was the only way Blue could keep clear, Red possibly broke rule 15.

Answer 1: YES. As soon as Red tacks to starboard, both boats are on a different tack and rule 18 is switched off per 18.1(a). Have a look at case 95 in the casebook

Answer 2: Proper Course? Maybe you can call it a good tactic, but not proper course. The definition proper course does not take into account whether a boat finishes before or after.
It is only the fastest way to the finish.
But if Blue ‘allows’ this manoeuvre it is a good way for Red to make sure she finishes before Blue.

There is an affective tactic to defend against such a manoeuvre. If Blue makes sure that Red can never complete her tack without keeping clear, she is effectively blocked and Blue wins.
In order to do this she must bear off and close the gap between her and Red. Not too close, she’s still keep clear boat (and has no protection from her mark-room, because she’s not sailing directly TO the mark) but close enough so that Red cannot tack.

David and Vernice came back to me, with an answer to my question and additional questions. Watch this space for part 2 of LTW Readers Q&A (63).

Friday 28 September 2012

Alpari World Match Racing Tour Rules

I'm currently umpiring at the Alpari World Match Racing Tour in Marseille (France).

This event has been given permission by ISAF to 'tweak' the Match Racing rules (appendix C) to better fit the needs of the event. More close encounters, giving the trailing boat a fighting chance when she catches up, more consistency in umpire decisions, things like that.

It is a lot harder to tweak the rules as they are, than you think. I know everybody has his/or her specific ideas what should be changed (including me) but the consequences are not always directly apparent. You change one or two rules and think you have the situation well under 'control'. Two days later a situation pops up that isn't anticipated and there's a problem. The changes at the AWMRT have been well thought out and seem to work so far.

We have a changed penalty system. One that has been tried out years and years ago, but seems to make a comeback;
Changes to Rule C7.2 All Penalties
Add new C7.2(a) and change current C7.2(d) then renumber all points.
C7.2(a) After being signalled under rule C5.2 or C5.3 and within the limitations of rule C7.3, a penalized boat may elect to take the penalty immediately by crossing behind the stern of the other boat.
In order to take this penalty a boat must cross behind the stern of the other boat:
the hull of the boat taking a penalty must cross completely from one side of the centreline to the opposite side of the centreline of the other boat in the match.

To clarify this, a AWMRT Call has been published. Have a look: AWMRT 2012 CALL 002.pdf

Having done the Round Robin with 66 matches in 17 flights I would have expected to have seen this happen a couple of time. Alas, in the matches I've umpired, none. Nevertheless I think this is worth to keep in. It keeps the boats together and most penalties in match racing are not for big crashes. 'The punishment to fit the crime' as they say.

Because when 'the crime' is more serious, we have another tweak:
C6.5(b) The red-flag penalty in rule C5.3 shall be used when a boat has gained a controlling position as a result of breaking a rule.
In order to be consistent this needs a new definition:
C2.21 Add the definition Control
A boat has control of another boat in her match when she is in a position to be able to impede, affect or change the actions of that boat.
This one is a harder to implement. Sometimes boats can affect each other. For example take a standard windward/leeward situation after the start. Leeward can luff and affect Windward, but cannot pass head to wind without risking not keeping clear. And so Windward can prevent Leeward from going to the other side. Boats affect each other. It also depends on where the boats are on the leg. Windward's control is greater when nearing the lay-line to the top mark…. There's a balance of control. Sometimes all to one boat and sometimes a little more to one but not zero to the other.

With this definition umpires look at the control issue and decide if a boat has gained enough control - the balance is tipped enough to their side - to warrant a red flag penalty. A penalty they have to take immediately. Which might be a crossing penalty.

I'm still trying to get my head round this new definition, but at least we are now consistently thinking about the control balance.

I'll talk about the changes to rule 16 and 17 another time.

(PS: The download link of the AWMRT CALL is on Data Host File; not on the webspace of my provider. So you need to download the file instead of getting it directly. Sorry about that, but I've used up all my space and am looking for additional room..... Do any of you have suggestions?)

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Ultimate trapeze?!?

A picture send in by Stevie Kouris I think you shouldn't miss:

He had the following questions:

Then I went to the IJreport website to read the report from the regatta and there was a protest against that boat but the protest was dismissed because no rule was broken. Thinking it over and over and reading the Rule book it seems that actually they don't break any Rule, but the following question (more like a curiosity) came to my mind.
Is the helmsman considered to be on board? If yes, what does being on board mean? Is he considered to be on board only because he is not in the water? If a crew member is in the water holding himself onto a sheet is he considered to be on board?

Stevie is referring to rule 47.2 which states: No person on board shall intentionally leave, except when ill or injured, or to help a person or vessel in danger, or to swim. A person leaving the boat by accident or to swim shall be back on board before the boat continues in the race.

One thing is for sure. These guys will have a hell of a climb to make when they tack.....

Sunday 23 September 2012

Penalty Done?

At an event this summer I was involved in a protest where a boat claimed she was interfered with, by another boat which was taking a penalty.

These are the facts found:
In race 4 on Tuesday close to the finish line, three Centaurs were involved in an incident
Boat A (Blue) on starboard approached the line on a close hauled course. Boat B (Purple) was on a collision course, also close hauled, but sailing on port tack. Boat B thought she could pass boat A in front. Boat A bore off behind Boat B and hailed protest and put up a red flag. She continued saying "You have to do a turn". The incident was observed by boat C (Red) approaching the finish also.

Boat B bore off, gybed and tacked almost immediately, ending up sailing close hauled on port again. Boat C (Red), also sailing on port tack, established an overlap while boat B was finishing her tack.

Both boats sailed a boat length in overlap and then Boat B started luffing to fetch the finish mark. Boat C hailed protest and put up a flag. She luffed also and the distance between the boats remained the same throughout the incident, approximately 2 meters. Both boats luffed to head to wind and crossed the finish line. After passing the mark boat B bore off and sailed clear, shortly followed by boat C.

Boat C handed in a protest form claiming an infringement of rule 21.2
And the diagram the PC made based on these facts:

What should the PC decide?

Sunday 2 September 2012

The (less) strange case of the (non)competitor

In response to my post about the (non) competitor, I received a mail from Lynne in Canada. She's a member of the appeal board and they had a similar case. One that provides some insight in how to deal with this issue. I've asked and been given permission to publish it:

Racing Rules of Sailing
New Case - Basic Principle, Sportsmanship and the Rules
A submission from the Canadian Yachting Association

Purpose or Objective
To provide a Case clarifying when a boat is participating in a race.


Basic Principle, Sportsmanship and the Rules
Rule 3, Acceptance of the Rules
Rule 4, Decision to Race
Part 2, Preamble
Rule 69, Allegations of Gross Misconduct
Rule 75, Entering a Race

A boat that meets the requirements for entry in a race, and sails in or near the racing area, and participates in a race is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes or retires from the race. The Racing Rules of Sailing apply to such boats. She does not have the option to claim that that the Racing Rules do not apply to her.
The boat’s sole responsibility to decide to participate in a race does not include the right to choose whether or not to be governed by the rules once she participates in the race.
By participating in a race, competitors are governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing, including action by a protest committee under Rule 69.
A boat that breaks the rules over a protracted period commits a gross breach of the rules and shows bad manners and bad sportsmanship.

Summary of the Facts:

During three sailing seasons at her yacht club’s weekly races, boat A entered the series, started and sailed in the races for a fleet of which she was not a member, rather than starting with her own fleet five minutes later. In the third season, two protests were filed against A under the Racing Rules of Sailing, Part 2. The protest committee found in both cases that A had been racing, and disqualified her for breaking rules of Part 2. Later that year, there was a further written complaint against A’s skipper alleging abusive behaviour during other races in which she sailed in the wrong fleet. The protest committee conducted a hearing under Rule 69 against A’s skipper, alleging that by his actions constituted a gross breach of the rules, good manners, and sportsmanship. It found that the competitor had committed a gross breach of the rules, and had also shown bad manners and bad sportsmanship, all over a protracted period. It upheld the allegations under rule 69. It imposed penalties to the competitor and to the boat, disqualifying the boat from the races in question and excluding the competitor from all competition for which the yacht club is the Organising Authority, for a period of two years.

The competitor appealed using Rule 70.1 of the Racing Rules of Sailing. The competitor argued that A was observing the government right-of-way rules, as was his right. He further argued that he had informed the club that he was no longer racing at the club, and therefore, he had no undertaking to observe the Racing Rules of Sailing. Specifically, he was not obligated under, rule 3(a) to be governed by the rules or by 3(b) to accept the penalties imposed and any other action taken under the rules. He further objected to the jurisdiction of the protest committee that convened the Rule 69 hearing. He argued that they had ignored rule 4, which made the responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing hers alone. He appealed the findings of the Rule 69 hearing as outside of the Protest Committee’s jurisdiction, asking the Appeals Committee to find the decision to be null and void and ultra vires.

A’s actions directly contradict the assertion that she was not racing under the Racing Rules of Sailing. The boat took the decision under rule 4 to participate in the race, as evidenced by her own actions. Evidence of her participation under rule 3 is that she sailed in or near the racing area, she started races, often finished races, and claimed her rights under the racing rules when she met other boats competing in the races. A was racing from her preparatory signal until she finished or retired from each race. Her actions demonstrated that she was not a cruising yacht or a spectator boat who sailed into the racing area.

There is no contradiction between rule 4 which gives the responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race to the boat alone, and rule 3. The decision is observed through the boat’s actions. Participation in a race is evident by the boat’s actions, such as by starting races, sailing the course, rounding the marks, or finishing. Boats racing under the rules are entitled to proceed under the assumption that other boats that are participating in the race are also observing the Racing Rules of Sailing. The responsibility allotted in rule 4 is not a choice whether or not to observe the Racing Rules of Sailing.

The Racing Rules of Sailing did apply to Boat A.

Since the skipper of A had participated in the race under rule 3, he was a competitor in the sport of sailing. He was, therefore, governed by a body of rules that he was expected to follow and enforce under the Basic Principle, sportsmanship and the rules and Rule 69. The protest committee did have the authority to convene the hearing under rule 69. The competitor’s actions described in the written complaint did constitute a gross breach of good manners and sportsmanship. The competitor was properly found to be in breach of Rule 69. The competitor was subject to penalty under rule 69. Rule 3(b) did, therefore obligate the competitor to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the rules, subject to the appeal process which he used

The appeal is dismissed. The protest committee did have the authority under the Racing Rules of Sailing to convene this hearing and to impose an appropriate penalty on the competitor. The decision of the protest committee and the penalties imposed are upheld.

Current Position

This Case provides a clear interpretation that a boat that participates in a race has agreed to be governed by the rules. The case clarifies that there is no contradiction between rules 4 and 3: A boat has made her sole decision to participate in a race once she does participate in the race. With that participation, she has agreed to be governed by the rules and accept any penalties imposed under the rules. A boat that participates in the race may not claim that she has decided not to participate, and that she is not governed by the rules. The case also confirms that the protest committee’s jurisdiction includes persons who participate in races but claim that they are not competitors under Sportsmanship and the Rules. They are subject to protest, to action under rule 69, and to any penalties imposed under the rules.

The appeals committee has submitted this particular appeal to ISAF for inclusion in the Casebook. It will be on the agenda in this year's November conference.
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