Tuesday 10 April 2012

Taking a Penalty in Match Racing IV (MR04)

As promised this next instalment about penalties in Match Racing is taking one around the pin-end of the finish.

The rules prescribe that you are not allowed to taken penalty within the zone. But that is only for the zone of a rounding mark! The pin-end of the finish is not a rounding mark, it is a passing mark. Therefore penalties are allowed in that zone.

The big advantage of taking your penalty around that mark is that you can finish directly after having completed your penalty - even with little boat speed - by bearing away to the line. It is one manoeuvre that - if you've done your training - has been done a hundred times before.

The Blue boat with the outstanding penalty needs to be approximately 4 to 5 boat lengths ahead, to be able to complete the penalty and still finish first. She enters the zone clear ahead and Yellow must give mark-room in position 1. Blue luffs after passing the mark and makes sure that her spinnaker head is below the goose-neck. (Something that has to be done before passing head to wind, that's when Blue is starting to take her penalty)

Passing head to wind she losses her mark-room under rule 18.2(b) and must keep clear under rule 21.2.
As soon as Blue has reached a course 90 degrees from true wind the penalty is complete. (in position 6). She's on port tack and Yellow is on starboard tack. So Blue is still keep clear boat. But because she now has an overlap with Yellow and is within the zone, rule 18 again switches on again. Blue is inside boat and Yellow must give her mark-room, under rule 18.2(a). Blue is already at the mark, so she's entitled to sail her proper course. Which is to bear away and finish as soon as possible. Yellow must gybe or sail by the lee, to give Blue that room.


There's one other thing - besides getting the spinnaker down in time - that is your boom. With bigger boats the boom is almost at a ninety degree angle and really sticks out. In rounding the mark it happens that the boom sticks out so far, that the end is over the mark and over the line. Rule C7.2(d) however dictates that the boat must completely be on the course side, after having completed her penalty, before she can finish. Part of the boom may never be on the correct side. So she can't finish.

If the RC gets a heads up from the umpires about the leading boat having an outstanding penalty, they watch - particularly that boom - so see if Blue ever manages to get completely to the course side, before crossing the line for the second time.


Monday 9 April 2012

(pillow)Case of the week (15/12) – 13

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 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 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 16.1, Changing Course
Rule 17, On the Same Tack; Proper Course
Definitions, Proper Course

Before her starting signal, a leeward boat does not break a rule by sailing a course higher than the windward boat’s course.


Summary of the Facts

As the two 14-foot dinghies manoeuvred before the starting signal, they crossed the starting line. While bearing away to return to the pre-start side, L, initially the windward boat, assumed a leeward position by sailing under W’s stern. Immediately after position 4, L luffed to close-hauled and sailed straight for the port end of the line. W meanwhile, with sheets eased, sailed along the line more slowly. At position 5, there was contact, W’s boom touching L’s windward shroud. L protested W under rule 11; W counter-protested under rules 12 and 15.

The protest committee found that L had right of way under rule 11 from the time she assumed a steady course until contact. W had room to keep clear, although she would have had to cross the starting line prematurely to do so. Therefore, it dismissed W’s protest and upheld the protest by L. W appealed, this time citing rule 16.1.


W’s appeal is dismissed. Between positions 2 and 3 L became overlapped to leeward of W, acquiring right of way under rule 11 but limited by rule 15’s requirement to initially give room to W to keep clear. L met that requirement because L gave W room to keep clear. Just after position 4, when L luffed to a close-hauled course, she was required by rule 16.1 to give W room to keep clear, and she did so. L had been clear astern of W and was within two of her hull lengths of W when she became overlapped
to leeward of W. Therefore, she was required by rule 17 to sail no higher than her proper course. However, she had no proper course before the starting signal (see the definition Proper Course) and the starting signal was not made until after the incident. Therefore, L’s luff did not break rule 17 and she was in fact entitled to luff higher than she did, even as high as head to wind, as long as while so doing she complied with rule 16.1.

After L became overlapped to leeward of W, W was required by rule 11 to keep clear of L. She did not do so and accordingly her disqualification under rule 11 is upheld. In addition, W broke rule 14 because she could have avoided the contact with L. L also broke rule 14 because it would have been easy for her to bear off slightly and avoid the contact. However, she is not penalized because there was no damage or injury.

RYA 1965/10


Again a classic case. One that has survived the changes in the rules since 1965!
(Must be important, don’t you think?)

Although many an issue revolves around the limitations of the right of way boat (15, 16 and 17) the one thing that should clearly stand out in all these cases: Rules of Section A are to be followed!
The first and only obligation of the keep-clear boat is: TO KEEP CLEAR.

Only after you’ve done that – within a reasonable effort, and promptly – you can start to look at the limitations on the ROW-boat. She is after all the boat with right of way. She must be able to sail her course – whatever that may be – without having to feel the need to take avoiding action.

There are those that want the rules to be much more black and white. No limitations, no restrictions on course. With very few exceptions, the ROW boat should be able to do as she pleases. change course as hard as she wants, sail as high as she wants, etc., etc.
That would make PC work much easier, but it would not benefit the sailing. The keep clear boat would have to stay away at a much greater distance and really dedicate considerable attention to ROW-boats all of the time.
Be very happy that limitations exist!.
But it does not mean the keep clear boat can claim a greater part of the pie;
She still must KEEP CLEAR.

Friday 6 April 2012

Final Score in LTW 2012 Winter Challenge


Scoring this final episode of our LTW 2012 Winter Challenge brought one contestant over the 100 points, and therefore he's declared as the winner. Congratulations Grey Bear, well done!
Your coveted prize will be banged in the post asap….

As to our final Episode, most of you did arrive at the 'correct' answer. Tiger was within the rules to try to improve her series score by making sure Hamilton Eleven finished after other boat(s).

The fact that the score of another boat was improved is more or less the point. If you sail someone to the back of the fleet - early in the race - a lot of boats benefit. The fact that is was only one, makes you think it was done for another reason. It's prudent to investigate the relation between the two boats benefiting from this manoeuvre, but even - like in our case - you can find such a connection, actual team racing is very very hard to prove.

You have to investigate all rules in the incident, because although the protest is about rule 2 and or 69, rule 2 can be infringed if you break a rule of part 2 using this tactic of improving your score. Tiger broke no rules, she was entitled to sail to the mark (18.2(b)), she was right of way boat (11) and Hamilton Eleven had to keep clear, therefore it was no rule 2 infringement nor a rule 69 issue.

Hamilton Eleven should have crossed astern as soon as Tiger luffed and defended her position instead of trying to pass to windward…. But that is hindsight.

Everybody who used Case 78 was deducted one point, it has been withdrawn from the book (well spotted Zaphod). But if you used Q&A 2011-022 you got a bonus point.

Scoring was based on the following criteria:
Adequate facts found? 2 points;
Rule 18 & rule 11 mentioned? 1 point;
Improved scoring (series) for Tiger? 1 point;
No rules broken by Tiger? 1 point;
No rules broken by Banks? 1 point;
Conclusion about rule 2 and 69? 2 points;
Dismissal of the protest? 2 points

Bonus or Malus points
Using Case 78? -1 point
Using Q&A 2011-022? +1 point
(redress 62.1(d)) only for Goomer two +1 point

Which gives us the final result:

I also have to congratulate Zaphod on his (almost) catching up and second place. And Dauphine who - despite not having entered in this last episode - managed to hang on to third place. (I did check the spam box!)

There will be an Epilogue to this series. I'm cooking it, but time is scarce, so it will take (at least) another week before it's ready.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Rule 18 in the AC34 Racing Rules of Sailing

Head over to www.cupexperience.com
Great video explanation on rule 18 as changed by the America's Cup 34 RRS by Jack Griffin.

Ask Jack,
He knows people.

Batavia Stad NK Match Racing 2012

We will have a National (open) Championship in Match Racing this year! Hooray!

The last time in the Netherlands was in 2009. Mostly because of the efforts of Team Heiner who instigated the Winterseries and due to the fact that Lelystad wants to become 'a Sailing City', they found each other and more importantly - a sponsor.

Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet has agreed to sponsor the event for a couple of years. That's of course great news. The sailing community in the Netherlands has never been very keen on Match Racing in the past - this looks like an ideal point in time to 'turn the tide'.

There are four J109 available for the matches and eight teams have been invited to participate:

  • Jurjen Feitsma NED (43); 
  • Jan Mattsson FIN (59); 
  • Jeroen den Boer NED (82); 
  • Lars Hückstädt GER (87); 
  • Roy Heiner NED (491); 
  • Persijn Brongers NED (552); 
  • Stephan La Grouw (Team Chatel Reizen) NED (700); 
  • Pieter Heerema NED (957)
Four of those have a ranking in the top 100.

It will be a close battle - provided we have enough wind - because almost all of them have sailed the J109s before.
With a new branding in black and white it should be a sight to see:

And the OA is really pulling out all the stops to make it a great event. With a complete pier dedicated for public access next to the sailing area, commentators to explain the standings and sailing, playground for the kiddies and - courtesy of the sponsor - a complete village for the rest of the family, to go shopping.

I will be there as CU in a team of six umpires.

To all my Dutch Readers (and everybody else who has the opportunity):

Please come to Lelystad, Batavia Stad
on the 21th and/or the 22nd of April 2012
to watch the matches!

Admittance (including Ferry) is free and Dutch Match Racing could use your support.

Have a look at the Batavia Stad NK Match Racing facebook page to learn more.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Taking a Penalty in Match Racing III; (MR03)

Right, as it is Tuesday I'm posting another piece about taking a penalty in Match Racing.
This time the leading boat does not have five or six boat lengths advantage to do her penalty on the starboard lay-line, like I wrote about in Taking a Penalty in Match Racing II (MR02).

The Blue boat is right on the tail of the Yellow boat, who has an outstanding penalty. It is the second upwind leg of the match and instead of trying to hook the trailing boat on the run, Yellow lays a 'trap' at the windward mark.

She makes sure she enters the zone clear ahead - so Blue has to give her mark room.
Arriving at the mark Yellow luffs head to wind but does not tack. She stays head to wind and Blue is forced to go behind her to the outside. Yellow deliberately slows down. She may even use a big rudder movement to do so.

As soon as Blue gets an overlap to leeward of Yellow the second part the definition of mark-room comes in effect. Yellow has mark-room, including room to tack. If she inadvertently passes head to wind and is subject to rule 13, that is no longer a problem. She loses mark-room when she does, but it is not hard to keep clear, bearing away from Blue. Blue sails around her. Yellow lets that happen, but speeds up just enough to prevent Blue from passing in front of her.
Yellow has passed the line separating the upwind leg from the downwind leg. The correct penalty to take is now: passing head to wind and bearing away to a course lower than 90 degrees from true wind.

Yellow controls Blue and sails outside the zone. (Remember, you are not allowed to take a penalty inside the zone of a rounding mark). Outside the zone Yellow luffs, giving room to Blue under rule 16.1 and slows down again.  If Yellow's timing is right, Blue will get ahead more.

As soon as she's able to pass safely behind Blue (and can keep clear as tacking boat) Yellow passes head to wind and bears away clear astern of Blue. She has now taken her penalty and can sail downwind to the finish.
Blue will also tack and bear away on port or only bear away on starboard, but whatever she does, she is again trailing boat. Yellow has 'shed' her penalty and has not lost any ground.

Even if Blue decides to tack away after the initial luff by Yellow, there's is no problem. Yellow can then also tack and bear away. As soon as she has done that, she is again ROW leeward boat

Basicly this is the same manoeuvre as done in the dail-up after entry. Then Blue tries to get behind Yellow to be able to sail to the right hand side of the pre-start area. In this manoeuvre the roles may be reversed, but again one boat is trying to get behind the other, while sailing head to wind.

If you've understood my explanation above, I've a question to you:
Can  a boat take a penalty while sailing backwards?

Monday 2 April 2012

Score 03/23 LTW 2012 Winter Challenge

Scoring Episode 03/13 has been based on the following criteria:
  • Adequate facts found, leading to conclusions about;
  • Validity P1 (valid);
  • Validity P2 (not valid, for several reasons; P-time, flag and hail);
  • Use of rule 60.3(a)(2) by the PC;
  • Yellow's breach of rule 11;
  • Green's breach of rule 11, forcing Yellow's infringement of rule 11;
  • Exoneration of Yellow 64.1(c);
  • No Mark-room for Blue. Because 18.3 switches off 18.2
  • Mark-room for Yellow 18.2(b), Green did not give that, see Case 114
  • Decision to DSQ Green and exonerate Yellow;
All criteria - if solved correctly - earn you 1 point. (in total that makes 10).
Deductions were done if you brought up unnecessary rules: i.e. rule 16 or rule 17. Minus one point for each.
I can accept the use of 15, although I would not have done so.

Have a look at the second entry by Grey Bear.
That is what I would have written when being scribe in an actual panel. (Save conclusion 1)

This gives us the following scoreboard:

With probably one episode to go, it looks like numbers one, two and three are more or less decided.

(pillow)Case of the week (14/12) – 14

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2011. 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 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 16.1, Changing Course
Rule 17, On the Same Tack; Proper Course
Definitions, Proper Course

When, owing to a difference of opinion about a leeward boat’s proper course, two boats on the same tack converge, the windward boat must keep clear. Two boats on the same leg sailing near one another may have different proper courses.

Summary of the Facts

After rounding the windward mark in light wind the fleet divided, some boats sailing towards shore to get out of the tide and others remaining offshore in hopes of a better wind. L had established an overlap to leeward of W from clear astern and they rounded the mark overlapped. W chose to remain offshore, while L began to luff slowly and informed W of her intention to go inshore. W replied ‘You have no right to luff.’ L replied that she was sailing her proper course and W was required to keep clear. The discussion took some time. L continued to gradually change course, and at no time did W state that she was unable to keep clear. The boats touched and both protested. The protest committee disqualified L under rule 17 for sailing above her proper course, and she appealed.



When, owing to a difference of opinion on the proper course to be sailed,two boats on the same tack converge, W is bound by rule 11 to keep clear and by rule 14 to avoid contact.

This case illustrates the fact that two boats on the same leg sailing very near to one another can have different proper courses. Which of two different courses is the faster one to the next mark can not be determined in advance and is not necessarily proven by one boat or the other reaching the next mark ahead.

The basis for W’s protest was that L sailed above her proper course while subject to rule 17. L’s defence and counter-protest were that she had decided that the inshore course out of the tide would result in her finishing sooner and that, therefore, the course she was sailing was her proper course. In addition, L argued that W had broken rules 11 and 14.

The facts found do not show that L sailed above her proper course; therefore she did not break rule 17. When L luffed slowly between positions 1 and 2, W had room to keep clear, so L did not break rule 16.1. L could have avoided contact with W. By not doing so, she broke rule 14, but is not penalized because the contact caused no damage or injury. By failing to keep clear of L, W broke rule 11.
W could have avoided the contact, and by not doing so she too broke rule 14, but is not exempt
from penalization. L’s appeal is upheld. L is reinstated, and W is disqualified for breaking rules 11 and 14.

RYA 1966/3


Like with passing an obstruction, it is the right-of-way boat who decides. If that boat feels that going inshore is a proper course, the windward boat must keep clear and go up as well

The definition of proper course allows for multiple courses and beforehand it is not always clear which . But even if the windward boat can show that the leeward boat is sailing well above its proper course, she still must keep clear. No boat is forcing her to break rule 11 – so she cannot be exonerated. She has but one option: Keep clear and protest. If she doesn’t and the leeward boat is found to have been sailing above her proper course, they both will be disqualified.

Although we are now getting into the first cases in the book and therefore well into the ‘oldest’, many sailors still get confused and make this – basic – mistake.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Taking a Penalty in Match Racing II; (MR02)

In Match racing the penalties are less severe than in Fleet racing. That is to give the penalized boat a fighting chance to do the penalty and still win the match. It is also the reason why the penalty does not have to be taken 'as soon as possible' after the incident. In fact - like I posted in the first post about penalties in Match racing - rule 44 as a whole, has been deleted (C7.1) and been replaced by what is written in C7.2, 3 and 4.
(Taking a Penalty in Match Racing; (MR01))

A penalty can be delayed until a moment in the race you have the best chance of doing it and don't lose control over your opponent. Or - if you decide to do it at the last possible moment - just before you finish. But that is for another posting.

Today I want to show you  the best possible place to take your penalty in the beat (either in the first or second upwind). Rule C7.2 (a)(1) states:
"When on a leg of the course to a windward mark, she shall gybe and, as soon as reasonably possible, luff to a close-hauled course"
The best place to take a penalty in the beat is just over the starboard lay-line to the windward mark, beginning your turn on port tack.

In the following animation Yellow is taking a penalty between positions 5 - when her boom passes the middle of the boat - until position 7 when she reaches close-hauled on starboard.

During that time she is keep clear boat (RRS 21.2) and rules of section A do not apply.

Yellow is approximately five or six boat lengths in front of Blue. Doing a penalty turn in the beat normally takes that amount of space. If you haven't practised and drilled with your crew - it will take longer. You do want to keep your boat moving at maximum speed, do you not?
Yellow completes her penalty and is now sailing on the starboard lay-line to the mark and both Blue and Yellow are approximately on the same distance to the windward mark.

But when Yellow comes 'out' of the penalty and has reached close-hauled on starboard, she's then right-of-way boat. Initially with a rule 15 limitation but that limitation is passed by the time she reaches position 8.
Blue must keep clear. Either by tacking and putting herself in the outside boat position (giving mark-room) rounding the mark or by ducking and sailing over the lay line - loosing ground to Yellow.

This manoeuvre does not work on the port lay-line, because then you come out as keep clear boat. It is still a good place to do your penalty, but you must have enough distance to be sure to cross a starboard tacker in front- seven or eight boat lengths, minimum.

Next episode in Taking a Penalty in Match Racing Doing it at the Finish.

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