Tuesday, 30 March 2010

ISAF Q&A 2010 - 013; Rule 19 AND Rule 20 at the same time?

ISAF Q&A's are send out to all international judges and umpires around the time they are published on the website. This morning in the mail and luckely this afternoon on the ISAF site.

Q&A 2010-013 is about multiple boats; two on starboard and two on port.
A common enough situation somewhere on the layline to the first windward mark, specially at the end of the leg, but still outside the zone:

I'll give you the situation and the questions, but not the answer from the Q&A panel. As an exercise, try to answer them first and then have a look at what the panel concluded.

Situation at position 1
Green is an inside boat and will require room from Blue to pass behind Yellow. The leeward port boat Blue is sailing a course to pass behind the leading starboard boat Yellow. Blue is able to cross the leeward starboard boat Purple easily, but will have to make a substantial alteration of course to avoid the windward starboard boat Grey. Blue asks Green for room to tack.

Question 1
When Blue asks for room to tack at position 1 does that relieve her of her obligations under rule 19.2 (b) to give Green room to pass below the leading starboard tack boat?
Question 2
If the answer to Q1 is no and Green passes behind Yellow and tacks as soon as possible, will Blue be exonerated under rule 20.2 if while tacking she fails to keep clear of Grey?
Question 3
If the answer to Question 2 is also no, and Blue cannot tack after position 2 and keep clear of Grey or bear away and keep clear of Purple, what should she do?

After you written down your answers, with the appropriate reasoning; have a look at the whole Q&A:
This is the Link: Q&A 2010-013

Good luck.

Bumping the Zone

Rob Overton has written a post about: The Zone at the Windward Mark: Memory Lane? 
Please have a read and give him your answer. 
He's part of the Rule 18 Working Party, so if there's ever a chance to influence the rule writers, it is now!

Monday, 29 March 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (13) - 103

(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.)

Because summertime has come into effect, you will not feel sleepy yet, despite the late hour – time to study a new Case:
(pillow)Case picture CASE 103
Definitions, Room.
The phrase ‘seamanlike way’ in the definition Room refers to boat-handling that can reasonably be expected from a competent, but not expert, crew of the appropriate number for the boat.
Assumed Facts

Two 30-foot boats on port tack, OL and IW, are at an obstruction, an anchored boat. OL has chosen to pass to leeward of the obstruction. The boats are overlapped with IW on the inside. Although boats of this class are normally sailed by a crew of six, IW is sailing with a crew of three, and they are relatively inexperienced.

Question 1

Should the experience and number of crew members sailing IW be considered in determining how much ‘room’ she is entitled to under rule 19.2(b) between OL and the obstruction?

Answer 1

Neither the experience of IW’s crew nor their number is relevant in determining ‘room’. In rule 19.2(b), which requires OL to give IW ‘room’ between her and the obstruction, ‘room’ is a defined term. The definition Room is ‘the space a boat needs in the existing conditions while maneuvering promptly in a seamanlike way’. In determining whether or not OL has given the required space, the interpretation of ‘seamanlike way’ must be based on the boat-handling that can reasonably be expected from a competent, but not expert, crew of the appropriate number for the boat.

Question 2

Is the answer the same with respect to ‘room’ as used in the definition Mark-Room and in rules 15, 16.1 and 20.1(b)?

Answer 2


USSA 1999/77


No extra space or time for incompetent or inexperienced crews within the definition of room in the rulebook. If you need more ‘room’ you run the risk of breaking a rule in part 2 by not keeping clear of the right of way
boat. Room does however have a provision for existing circumstances. If it’s blowing force 6 you definitely get more room then when it’s blowing force 2.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Three Green Flags

Team Heiner Logo The Team Heiner Match Race Winter Series had it’s final day on the water yesterday. Together with two trainee National Umpires I followed the two Max Fun 35’s for 15 matches.
In one of the matches we decided answered the calls with three green flags in short order. This was the situation:

First windward mark rounding, Match 2

Yellow an Blue approach the windward mark above the layline, overlapped.
Yellow luffs because she does not want Blue to gain mark-room as inside boat.
Blue displays the Yankee flag, shouting that boats are already in the zone.

Ump: Green flag.

Yellow breaks away and is able to sail clear ahead. Blue also is able to accelerate and before Yellow is at the mark gains again a windward overlap. Yellow does not give any room and Blue luffs to avoid hitting Yellow and/or the Mark and displays the Yankee flag again.

Ump: Green flag.

Blue is turning sharply and straight into a tack, while Yellow rounds the mark.
Blue looses a lot of speed in that maneuver and bears off to go round the mark. Yellow has now rounded the mark and, instead of going downwind straight away, points to Blue. Yellow has to bear of to avoid hitting Blue and calls foul with a Yankee flag.

Ump: Green flag.

These situations happen in very short succession. We discussed these calls and decisions in the debrief afterwards, to find out if we got it right and the different perspectives from the sailors.
The first green was because none of the boats were in the zone and Blue had not (yet) gained mark-room. She had to keep clear under R11 which she did. No foul.

On the second green there was a discussion if Blue was able to get the inside overlap before or after Yellow entered the zone. Facts established – confirmed by the sailors themselves – Yellow was clear ahead at one time after the luffing and subsequent bear away. Blue did have an inside overlap half a boat length before the mark. The Umpires based there green flag on the fact that they were not sure the overlap was established in time and therefore they assumed it was not – in effect going back to their last point of certainty. Blue had no right to mark-room, was still subject to rule 11 to keep clear and she did that. Again, no foul.

The last green. In its haste to get back to round the mark Blue in all effect almost stopped. When Yellow rounded the mark and then established the collision course she was the boat with right of way – subject to rule 16.1 – because her pointing was not her proper course to round the mark and therefore not to be exonerated under rule 18.5(b). She had to give Blue room to keep clear. Blue could do little because of her lack of speed and so Yellow had to bear away, complying with her limitation to give room. No foul, Green flag.

Specially the final green was very hard to decide. Was Yellow still sailing her proper course or not? We could have easily gone the other way and penalized Blue.


Friday, 26 March 2010

Fact Finding and Drawing Conclusions

- The difference between measured and derived facts and how to recognize them in a protest. -
- Is my conclusion deductive or inductive? -
a guest post by Beau Vrolyk

In response to this weeks (pillow)Case 104 I received a great explanation on facts and conclusions from Beau Vrolyk. Instead of putting it in the comments, it certainly deserved its own post. Beau agreed and therefore here is his guest post:

I agree, finding the "FACTS" is the toughest part of the hearing.

Regarding the Case above, here are some thoughts that might help people discern what sort of "FACT" they are talking about.  There is quite a body of work in Philosophy in this area, and I apologize in advance if I’m not representing it completely correctly.

First, I would suggest that there are two sorts of facts, Measured Facts (meaning they are physical events or conditions in the real world that can be or could have been quantitatively measured) and Derived Facts (meaning that they are logically derived deductively from Measured Facts and the rules of deductive logic.)

Second, there are two sorts of Conclusions.  Those which are derived from Measured Facts using Deductive Logic, and are thus provable beyond question (I would call these Derived Facts), and those that are derived from Measured Facts, Derived Facts, and various forms of interpretation or probability using Inductive Logic (I'd call these Conclusions).

The complexity comes in our use of language.  We say something is a Conclusion ambiguously.  It may be the conclusion of a line of deductive reasoning, in which case it has exactly the same power of truth as the Measured Facts upon which the logic is based, provided that the logic is valid.  We also say something is a Conclusion when it is concluded from Measured Facts and opinions or interpretations of probability.  To clarify this, something that would be helpful in the Jury Room, one might call the deduced facts Deductive Conclusions or Derived Facts and the induced facts Inductive Conclusions or simply Conclusions.  One can tell the two apart in a discussion by discovering the source of a Conclusion.

People frequently mix up and intermix deductively derived conclusions from those that are derived inductively.  For example, the reasoning:

1.        Two boats on the same tack are either overlapped or they are not.
2.        Therefore, the boats are either governed by RRS 11 or RRS 12, but not both.

Item #2 above is not a fact, it is derived as an inescapable conclusion to fact #1.  However, Juries will frequently use statements like #2 above as “Facts” rather than as deductively derived conclusions, or what I like to call Derived Facts.

For an example of a Inductive Conclusion, the reasoning:

1.        Boat A observed Boats C and D to be overlapped.
2.        Boat B observed Boats C and D to be overlapped.
3.        Therefore, Boats C and D are found to have been overlapped.

In this case there is some evidence that C and D are overlapped, and the Jury may decide that it has adequate empirical evidence to establish the truth of the conclusion in #3 above.  However, #3 is not a Fact, rather it is a inductively derived Conclusion.  This can be easily shown in a case where three quarters of the boats observing C and D say they are overlapped and one quarter of the observers say they were not.  The Jury may rightly conclude that #3 is still true, but it can never be a Fact.  It will always remain a Conclusion.

In my own jury activities I attempt to always check if something is a Fact by asking the following question: “Can I measure or quantify it.”  If I can measure the Fact in inches, meters, knots, or some other quantity, then it’s probably a Fact.  If however, I have to cite some sort of supporting data or logic, it’s probably a conclusion.  Once I’ve found that something is a Conclusion, then I attempt to determine if it’s a Derived or Deduced conclusion, based entirely on facts and the rules of deductive logic; or if it’s an Inductively derived conclusion based on Facts and various interpretations of events or some form of preponderance of opinion of what happened.

Hopefully, this clarified things and didn’t make it even more obscure.


What about the facts in your last protest?
Can you make the distinction in derived or deduced conclusion in the facts found?
Perhaps I should make this subject of a couple of exercises on LTW?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

LTW Readers Q&A | 041; RRS abbreviations

In the RRS we use several scoring abbreviations. You can find them in appendix A under A11.

Bence from Hungary has a question about the use of DNF versus DSQ:

Dear Jos,

we had a course for national judges here in Hungary where there was a presentation in connection with Rule 42 and Appendix P. I became a bit unsure about the following: after the second penalty according to Appendix P, the penalized boat shall leave the race area immediately - that's clear. But which scoring abbreviation is used to indicate this penalty in the results?
I have had several experiences from many countries in Europe. I saw DSQ, DNF and also RAF. As I think, the proper code would be DSQ, because it is a disqualification. RAF is the least proper beacuse the boat retired during the race, didn't finish.

If you have some official information about it, please post it on your blog. I think it is very important to judge this question in the same way all over the world.

Kind regards,
Bence Böröcz
from Hungary

I have no official information, other then through deductive reasoning from the RRS and the Manual.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

LTW Readers Q&A | 039 continued; Still not finished?

In response to the best commented post on LTW so-far, the instigators of Seaweed and her finishing problems, asked me to run a follow up. I'm happy to oblige. But before I do, I must rectify something, in that the success of that problem was because of an overseas collaboration between an Aussie and a Yank, not like I previously presumed two 'Bruces' from 'Down Under'. Thanks again, guys!

Here's the follow-up:
(You might need to refresh your memory by reading the first posts and comments again: LTW Readers Q but no A | 039; Finishing Seaweed)

Seaweed sails home without re-rounding either end of the finishing line.

1. The race committee scores Seaweed in fourth place and protests her for breaking rule 28.1. Seaweed requests redress. The protest committee concludes that Seaweed broke rule 28.1. Where does the protest committee go from here?

2. The race committee scores Seaweed in fourth place. But suppose that nobody protested Seaweed for breaking rule 28.1, and the only matter coming to the protest committee was Seaweed's request for redress. What should the protest committee do, and what is the redress decision?

Like before I'm holding back publishing the answers in the comments a couple of days, so everybody can have a go at the answer without influence from previous commentators.

Like John C on my TomTom navigator would say: "You have reached your destination. You're on your own, I'm not going to help you carrying your bags".

Monday, 22 March 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (12) - 104

(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.)

“Have you done your homework? Better go to bed 15 minutes earlier then, –otherwise you’ll run behind” said the schoolmarm wiggling her finger in my face.

image Case 104

Rule 63.6, Hearings: Taking Evidence and Finding Facts
Rule 70.1, Appeals and Requests to a National Authority
Rule F5, Inadequate Facts; Reopening

Attempting to distinguish between facts and conclusions in a protest committee's findings is sometimes unsatisfactory because findings may be based partially on fact and partially on a conclusion. A national authority can change a protest committee’s decision and any other findings that involve reasoning or judgment, but not its findings of fact. A national authority may derive additional facts by logical deduction. Neither written facts nor diagrammed facts take precedence over the other. Protest committees must resolve conflicts between facts when so required by a national authority.
Question 1
What criteria determine whether a finding in a protest committee's decision is subject to change on appeal? Are the criteria based on whether the finding is a ‘fact’ or a ‘conclusion’, whether it incorporates an interpretation of a rule, or something else?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

International Umpire Sub Committee Minutes 2009

Like last Sunday, I would like to go over the IU-Sub Committee minutes from last Novembers Conference with you. To see what is in store for the coming year. I won't repeat the issues that already were on the agenda of the IJSC meeting. The following I found new and/or interesting:
  • New damage policy document is being considered, with a regards to the number of hours it takes to repair a damage.The final draft will be considered by the IUSC and then distributed.
  • The mentor system does not work very well. The IUSC suggested some changes in that Mentor and Mentee are appointed to the same event by ISAF. And perhaps that the Mentee should be able to choose a Mentor instead of beng appointed one. 
  • There are not enough group 1 umpires. The IUSC is considering accelerating the grouping process and developing athletes into umpires.
  • We can expect rewritten Match Race & Team Race Manuals by the end of the year.
  • Perhaps we are going to wear bibs in the next Medal Races...
That's it actually. Not much new things I'm afraid. You can check by reading the complete minutes: IUSC Minutes November 2009

Friday, 19 March 2010

One Flag Is Enough!

The following mail came in from Bryan McDonald: I thought he was right in that this might be of interest for LTW-readers. He wrote:

This past weekend we tried an alternate protest filing system for team racing at a college regatta in the USA. I interviewed some of the sailors to get their feedback on this simpler procedure. I think your blog might be interested in the discussion.


The first minute gives some background to the event and then it dives into the rules issue. People can skip the first minute if they want to dive directly into the technical aspects.

From a rules point of view, we used a slightly different rule than what’s in Appendix D:

1.2    Rule D2.2(a) is deleted and replaced by the following:
When a boat protests under a rule of Part 2 or under rule 31, 42 or 44, she is not entitled to a hearing. Instead, a boat involved in the incident may promptly acknowledge breaking a rule and take the appropriate penalty. If the protested boat takes a penalty, the incident is closed. If not, an umpire shall decide whether any boat has broken a rule and shall signal a decision in compliance with rule D2.2(b).
1.3     Rule D2.3(b) shall apply. PR 25(a) shall not apply.
1.4     A competitor protesting under a rule listed in D2.2(a) shall consciously display a raised
          open hand at the time of the protest.
1.5     All races shall be umpired unless the race committee indicates otherwise.

This rule preserves many things typical to college sailing in the USA (namely the yellow flag and the the non-use of flags for protesting (FYI: it should be noted that the origins of rule 61.1(a)(2) (the no flag requirements for boats under 6m) came from USA College Racing)). The above sailing instruction also addresses a flaw in the current rule in appendix D (specifically, even if the protested boat takes a penalty, the above rule allows the umpires to penalize the protesting boat if that boat broke a rule).

There is additional video and coverage here:

I asked Bryan a couple of questions and recieved these answers:
Q: What is PR25a?
A: PR 25(a) is a collegiate sailing procedural rule:
Alternative Umpiring – when the sailing instructions state that RRS D2.3(b)  (Races with Limited Umpiring) is to be used, RRS D2.2(a) is changed to read  as follows:
D2.2(a) – When a boat protests under a rule of Part 2 or under Rule 31, 42 or  44, she is not entitled to a hearing. Instead, a boat involved in the incident may promptly acknowledge breaking a rule and take the appropriate penalty. If no boat takes a penalty, the protesting boat may request a decision by conspicuously displaying a raised open hand and hailing the word “Umpire.” An umpire shall decide whether any boat has broken a rule, and shall signal the decision in compliance with Rule D2.2(b).
All the PR's go into effect as sailing instructions (per rule 90.2)
PR 25(a) exists to get rid of the flag requirement in the two flag system. Under the single flag system, we use the SI above

Q: Can you explain the flaw you refer to in your mail:
A: Maybe Richard Thompson can explain the flaw better than me:
"1/ The single flag rule as written in RRS D2.3(a) is badly flawed. Specifically, the words "If no boat takes a penalty" prevent the umpire penalising when both boats have protested, both have broken a rule (eg 11 & 17) but only one has taken a penalty. "

I agree with this completely. In the few Team-race events locally we have already entered into the sailing instructions the provision that boats can wait for an umpire decision - that's a single flag rule although slightly different, in effect also.
The times that I've seen a boat taking a voluntary penalty are countable on one hand. Most times they look for the umpire flag. To loose a protest because of procedural issues while you are sailing in a team race is frustrating and not contributing to a fair 'sailed' outcome, in my opinion.

What do you think?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

FTBD (28) Ferrari!

Changes to LTW done last month:
  • Some of the widgets in the side bar have been cleared.
  • Numbers are now added to individual comments and you can link to them.
  • Most Commented Posts Widget is back, thanks to Bloggerstop!
  • A new navigation bar below the header with rainbow colours: Thanks to Greenlave from Bloggersentral! She has been a great help with guidance on that pesky HTML-code. The bar is getting you to the new static pages now possible in blogger.
  • Been backing up my blog on several places and making sure I've no malware or anything that Google bots can see as breaking the Terms and Conditions. Got scared by this: Blogger Victum. If you have a blogger-blog; please read what happened and prepare!
There's also news on the local front: I've been asked to blog about the rules on a new website in the Netherlands: SAILreport.nl.  It is in Dutch - so only die-hards with a good translation-program, need go there.
As soon as that pans out I'll give my fellow Dutchman a 'Heads-up'

Finally on another side note for my fellow bloggers: Beware of the use of household-items in your posts. Because I'm using a picture of and writing 'pillow' in some of my post titles, I'm now being targeted as a possible link-exchange site for sites that sell/make or write about decorative-pillows. If you want the link, you'll have to ask for it, I'm not putting it in this post. :-)
But from now on I'm writing posts with somehow 'Ferrari' in the title. And putting pictures anywhere that I can.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

ISAF Q&A 2010 - 011 and 012; Overlapped and rule 18.3

Two new Q&A's were published by the ISAF Q&A panel:

Q&A 2010 -011 about how to interpret overlap with one of the boats having a bowsprit overhanging the stern of the other boat.
Q&A 2010-012 about rule 18.3. One boat forcing the fetching boat above close hauled, after having been subject to rule 13 in the zone. 

The principle in Q&A 2010-011 is used for umpiring. The point of last certainty dictates the decision. And that does not change until a next certainty is reached. The rule-book also uses the same principle in rule 18.2(d).

Now for those of you who want to do a little digging:
Suppose the boat with the bowsprit establishes an overlap to windward, then swings the bowsprit over the stern of the other boat until it has an overlap to leeward. Does the leeward boat have a rule 17 restriction? Can she sail above her proper course?

Q&A 2010-012 is pretty straightforward. The crucial words in the rule are: "causing the other boat to sail above close hauled". If that is the case it does not matter that the fetching boat already had to do that to round the mark or not. If the tacking boat was the cause, she breaks rule 18.3.

Monday, 15 March 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (11) - 105

It’s Monday again and so here’s another Case for your pillow.

 CASE 105

Rule 10, On Opposite Tacks
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 16.1, Changing Course

When two boats are running on opposite tacks, the starboard tack boat may change course provided she gives the port-tack boat room to keep clear.
Assumed Facts
After sailing alongside P for some time on port tack, S gybes to starboard tack without breaking rule 15. Both boats continue to sail parallel courses. About two minutes after her gybe S begins to luff. P does not respond to the luff and the boats touch at position 3. There is no damage or injury.

Questions At the time of the contact, does rule 15 still apply? Does S break rule 16?

Answers S as the starboard-tack boat has right of way under rule 10, and P as the port-tack boat must keep clear. Rule 15 applies only briefly after S becomes the right-of-way boat, but rule 16.1 continues to limit how S may change course. S may luff provided that she does so in a way that gives P room to keep clear, and P must be prepared to react promptly, if necessary by gybing, to continue to keep clear. Rule 16.2 does not apply because, although the boats are on opposite tacks, P is not sailing to pass astern of S. Since P has room to keep clear of S by responding promptly when S luffs, S does not break rule 16.1. P does not keep clear and does not avoid contact with S. P therefore is to be penalized for breaking rules 10 and 14.

S also breaks rule 14 because, after it became clear that P was not keeping clear, S could have avoided the contact. However, because there was no damage or injury she is not to be penalized.
DSA 2005


Rule 15 and rule 16 are restrictions on the right of way boat, but they give limited ‘protection’ to the keep clear boat. First and foremost that boat must do everything reasonable possible to keep clear. Only after she is doing that and she still can’t keep clear, you can start thinking about that the ROW boat might be breaking 15 and/or 16.

Rule 14 is however a restriction that is ALWAYS in force. For the ROW boat the restriction might be a little less severe and she can not be punished if there’s no damage or injury, but she still has to follow that rule.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

IJ Sub-Committee Minutes 2009

ISAF Annual C Each year in November ISAF holds it’s annual conference. Most committees have a meeting were members actual sit around a table and discuss issues. The rest of the year most committees only have meetings on-line and correspond by other means.
The minutes of those meetings are published in the ISAF-website and are giving a glimpse, to those not in any committee, in what has been done and what is planned.
I’ve downloaded the minutes for the IJ- & IU Sub Committee to have a look and to give you some of the issues (as I see them). To start with the minutes from the International Judges Sub Committee:
From the strategy and development chapter:
  • The IJSC (and ROC) are working on a policy regarding ‘conflict of interest’. There was a draft circulated in the committee, so I suspect we’ll hear about this in not too long a time
  • More time and energy will be devoted to develop Seminar programs in under-developed area of the globe and to recruit younger race officials. To do this a new education program for NJ has been developed that can help. Chili will probably have the first clinic in 2010.
  • The IJSC is working on a performance reporting system under regulation 34 (I think this means we will have the opportunity to write our regatta reports on-line). Issues about what should be public and what should remain private are part of the discussions.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Calendar 2010

Been fiddling with my event calendar in the last couple of weeks. Local events, club events and international invitations. Can’t go to them all, alas. Only so many free days in a year

I’ve put up a Google –calendar in a backdated post, so you can see where I’m suppose to go this year: Events I hope to attend in 2010. Or you can have a look on my Facebook page. throughout the year.
Some of them are annual recurring events, like Kiel or Delta Lloyd Regatta, and some of them are new. I am invited to go to a World Tour Match Race Event in May and am looking forward to that. I also might have the opportunity to work with my mentor this year at the European Match Race Championship in Austria, also in May.

By the time most of you read this I’m already at an event, on the water for Match Racing. On the Markermeer near Lelystad. If you Google the latter you’ll find it is one of the bigger city’s on reclaimed land, we call them ‘polders’.

This city was named after ir. Cornelis Lely, a civil engineer who was responsible for developing the plan to ‘shorten’ the coast line of the Netherlands by building the ‘afsluitdijk’ and making it possible to reclaim all that land from the sea.

He did not only help develop the plan, he was also later responsible as minister to get it through parliament so the dike could eventually be build. Since I was born in ENS, one of the smaller places in the first polder, the ‘Noordoostpolder’, I’m sort of glad he did that.

Ooh, if you have aquaphobia, don’t go there, it’s five meters below sea level.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

LTW Readers Q but no A | 039; Finishing Seaweed?

The following case was send in by two LTW readers from 'Down Under'.
They asked me to post this as they wrote it, without me giving any answers. They want you - as experienced LTW readers - to do this. I'm happy to oblige. Tell us your answers in a comment.

Finishing Line Problem – Seaweed
Here is a problem at the finishing line.  Your comments are invited.

  1. The course to be sailed was windward-leeward with four legs. The leg length was 1 mile. The leeward mark was a gate comprising marks (3A) and (3B).
  2. The gate marks were set approximately 12 boat lengths (300 feet) apart.
  3. Sailing Instruction 7.7 said. "In the event, that the race committee decides a change of course is necessary for the first downwind leg, leg 2, one of the gate marks (3A) or (3B), will be removed and the remaining gate mark, set in it’s new location, shall be rounded to port.
  4. There was no change of course signal made.
  5. The race committee displayed the “S” flag with two sounds after several of the lead boats had rounded the windward mark at the end of leg 1.
  6. The race committee intended the course to be shortened by boats passing through the gate in accordance with rule 32.2(c).

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Evidence to consider - You make the Call

On the Sailgroove website Patrick Rynne has put up a couple of videos where you can be the protest-committee and the umpire.
See the action on the water and decide for yourselves.

He's done this by filming two Optimist in different situations:
You make the Call - Episode 1 is about a windward mark rounding
You make the Call - Episode 2 is about a classic slam dunk situation.

In the first situation the 'testimony' of the sailors is included. As if you see this video in the protest-room, because one of them has brought it with them. So in that one you are allowed to see the video as many times as you please, getting to what actually happened. Please remember the restrictions a camera has - specially in depth perception.

In the second situation you have to take the decision as an umpire, on the spot. Well okay, you can see the video twice and then make a decision.

Good practice, but also a reminder that videos will never replace on the spot observation.

Monday, 8 March 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (10) - 106

Eight case in our series. You know what to do.

(pillow)Case picture

CASE 106

Rule 28.1, Sailing the Course

When a boat’s ‘string’ lies on the required sides of finishing marks or gate marks, it is not relevant that the string representing her track, when drawn taut, also passes one of those marks on the non-required side.

Assumed Facts
As boats approach a downwind finishing line, a tidal current takes one of them outside one of the finishing marks. She sails beyond the entire finishing line, rounds the other finishing mark, and then crosses the finishing line from the direction of the last course mark.


Has the boat complied with rule 28.1?

Yes. When the course requires boats to pass between two marks at a finishing line or at a gate, a boat complies with rule 28.1 if the string representing her track when drawn taut passes between the marks from the direction of the previous mark. She complies with rule 28.1 even if the string also passes one mark of the finishing line or gate on the non-required side. In this case the boat passed the buoy serving as a mark of the finishing line on the non-required side before passing it on the required side.
See Case 90 for a discussion of a similar incident at a starting line.

RYA 2004/4

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Flowing through 18.1

Because of the many possibilities that rule 18.1 gives for making rule 18 not applicable, I've tried to make a flowchart to help, as I promised to Sen. (And you know how fond I am of those.)

Starting with the basic premise, this chart should give you the correct answer for when rule 18 applies or not.
I've made png to put it in this post, but if you think it needs improvement you can download the Word -document version here: Rule 18.1 Flowchart.doc or the pdf file: Rule 18.1 Flowchart.pdf

Please give me a situation that this flowchart does not answer.


Friday, 5 March 2010

ISAF Q&A 2010 - 010 | SAILORS, this one is for you!

This ISAF Q&A 2010-010 is something EVERY sailor , who's ever been or will be in a regatta where the race committee is posting OCS - boats at the windward mark, should read. It can make the difference between getting a place in the race or being scored points as DNF or OCS.

Even if you successfully request redress in which you can prove that your boat was not OCS, the wording in the sailing instructions can make a BIG difference. That is because getting a result does not depend solely on the fact that you must convince the PC that the Race Committee made a mistake, it also depends on what you did (or did not do).

Most sailors seeing there number posted at the windward mark will leave the race. That is normal practice. That is what is expected, they claim:"If I don't do it I will get a DNE!"

It all depends on the wording in the sailing instructions. Posting numbers is not something that is written in the rulebook. There is a guideline how to do it in Instruction 14.6 of Appendix LE (Expanded Sailing Instruction Guide available at the ISAF website) and normally restricted to a boat that failed to start or has broken rule 30.3, where a clause requiring such boats to retire immediately is included in the sailing instructions.

But if that clause is written badly and does not place an obligation on boats to leave you MUST not leave the course and should finish the race. If you don't finish the race, redress cannot be granted because it is partly you own fault that you did not.

Here's the link to the Q&A: ISAF Q&A 2010-010
I suggest you have look.


LTW Readers Q&A | 038; Virtual Boats at the Windward Mark

A Q&A from Thorsten from Germany about virtual boats. Or are they? Read for yourselves and tell me what you think.

Hi Jos,

While playing virtual skipper (an online regatta simulator), the following situation at the windward mark arose in a fleet race.

Since I had similar situations with a H-Boat from time to time on our lake at home, I think the situation would be possible in real life
I wondered, what rules apply here, given the fact that both boats are head to wind simultaneously in position 3 and both overturn about 5 or 10 degrees.

TB QA 038 windward mark- htw Animation by Thorsten. Here’s the file: TB QA 038 windward mark – htw.gif

In position 1 and 2 rules 11 and 18.2(a) apply, ok. But what rules apply in position 3, 4 and 5?
Both boats are under rule 13 in position 3 and 4, yellow being obligated to keep clear. Rule 18.3 does not seem to apply, since the boats are not on opposite tacks and there is no boat under rule 13 while the other one can fetch the mark.

Since no other rule switches off rule 18.2, to me it seems that rule 18.2(a) is still on. After overturning 5 to 10 degrees, both boats are now on port tack, though not on a close-hauled course. Yellow would be entitled to mark-room including room to tack.

In position 5, blue ignores yellow, turns to round the mark and pushes yellow onto the mark. Without blues manoeuvre and the contact, yellow would have been able to round the mark. Slowly, but still. So it seems to me that blue breaks rules 16.1 and 18.2(a).

I searched the RRS, the case book and the Q&A Service for similar cases, but that was to no avail. I'm wondering if my conclusion is correct, especially the interpretation of rule 18.2(a) and 18.3.
Maybe you can help me out?

Thanks in advance and best regards from Germany,


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Looking for 18.1(b) again!

The discussion in the comments of the original search for rule 18.2(b) made me realise something peculiar.
Well, at least I find it peculiar. You can tell me otherwise in the comments, as usual.

Rule 18 is divided in five rules numbered 18.1 trough 18.5 and some of them even further divided into parts by using letters (a), (b), (c) etc. It makes it a very complex rule. It was worse in the previous rulebook were obstructions were also part of rule 18. But it is still one rule, with me so far?

The rule starts with giving us the exceptions - when rule 18 NOT applies, of which 18.1(b) is one of them.

On a side note: Uli came up with the only  logical place on the race course (so far) where rule 18.2(b) 18.1(b)  is the only rule switching off rule 18. In all other places we have to twist and turn to get to it. He stated:
Example 3:
Mark 2 on a trapezoid course.
Only 18.1(b) but not 18.1(a) apply between a port boat coming form mark 3 and a starboard boat coming from mark 1.

But back to my original point.

Although we agree it is a complex rule and written extremely well for it's purpose, there is, in my opinion, a logic flaw. If rule 18 is switched off within rule 18 itself (by part 18.1) how can rule 18 tell us that it is switched off? It is no longer applicable. If it's not applicable it can't be used, and if it can't be used it can't tell us it is switched off!

I'm sure that the writers have considered this, but I can't help thinking: "this is a circular reference, like we sometimes get in excel"

What do you think?


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

LTW Readers Q&A | 037; Reason and might

This installment of LTW Readers Q&A is about rule 14. The odd rule in the pack, but also one that is the basis for all others. The question comes from Beau, who states his case concisely:


Certainly, feel free to post this on your Blog; I'd be proud to contribute.  Perhaps I should be more specific in my point, given your interest.
Rule 14 says:
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.
I take this to mean that: "...if reasonably possible." means that a boat must do everything reasonable to avoid contact.  This would include a tack or gybe, a radical course change, and slowing down, amongst other things.  It does not include damaging their own boat or someone else's and putting people in danger.  It is the first test, if you will, and if a boat had done everything "reasonably possible", then the Judge need go no further.  However, in most of the juries that I've participated, the boats do not pass this test, having made only a half-hearted attempt to avoid a collision.  All one need do is observe a youth laser regatta to find numerous examples of this on the water.

Sub-sections "a" and "b" clearly talk about what happens to the Right-of-Way boat in certain circumstances, so we may drop a discussion of those circumstances as the second test.  The Right-of-Way boat may be guilty of a Rule 14 violation, but may be exonerated under "a" and/or "b".

This leaves us with EVERY other collision.  As I read Rule 14, whenever there is contact between two boats, and it is not excluded by the "...if reasonably possible." phrase in the rule, then both boats must be guilty of a Rule 14 violation.  This is clearly not observed in practice.  A number of times competitors will respond, when I ask them if they did "everything reasonably possible" that if they had slowed down, let their sails luff, or turned away, they would have lost distance in the race and been less competitive, as if this was an acceptable excuse for "contact".

There are numerous collisions where Juries say things like: "Well, it wasn't very serious." or "It didn't alter the outcome so what's the big deal."  or worse, "Boys will be boys, they bump into each other a lot in this fleet."  All of these seem like entirely inappropriate responses from a Jury, and I have heard every one of them at one time or another in the Protest Hearing.

My question is:  Am I reading this rule incorrectly?  Does it not cover every contact between boats that is reasonably possible to avoid?  Please provide your opinion, and if you feel it's useful free to publish my question and solicit answers.

Thank you again for the wonderful work you do on your Blog.
Beau Vrolyk

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

LTW Readers Q&A | 036; Sheeting in a Laser

Since there were so many unanswered Q&A’s in my mailbox, I decided to spend a couple of hours Saturday to catch up. I apologies to all for taking so long to get to this. I’ll schedule posting as many as I can this & next week.

This RRS Question one is from Bence from Hungary about sheeting in a Laser. He writes:

Dear Jos,
I have been reading your rrsstudy-blog for more than a year and I find it really interesting. Just keep up the good work!
I live in Hungary and I'm sailing in Laser Radial now. Besides racing I also organize races and sometimes work as a national jury. We had a regatta last month here in Hungary and there was an argument between the judges, coaches and competitors about controlling the mainsheet in the laser class.
According to the cited rule's last sentence you may control the sheet directly from below the forward boom block.
Is it allowed to use it in such a way for adjusting the sail to a slight change of wind direction, either in a beat on a wave or in a reach?
When doing so, could it be regarded as a pump or not? If there are no surfing or planning conditions, I guess it is a pump and so not allowed.
To facilitate tacking and gybing it can be controlled from any part of it (also aft the forward boom block) - that's clear.
Please try to answer if you can, or if not, could you offer me a laser-expert jury to contact? We also tried to ask it from the International Laser Class Association, but unfortunately we still didn't get any answer...
Kind regards, Bence Böröcz HUN
My answer to Bence is after the jump.

Monday, 1 March 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (9) - 107

Seventh in our series. You know what to do.
(There will be a test at the end of the semester <EG> whaahaaa whaha haaahaa))

CASE 107
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact  
Rule 44.1, Penalties at the Time of an Incident: Taking a Penalty
Rule 64.1(b), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration

A boat that is not keeping a lookout may thereby fail to do everything reasonably possible to avoid contact. Hailing is one way that a boat may ‘act to avoid contact’. When a boat’s breach of a rule of Part 2 causes serious damage and she then retires, she has taken the applicable penalty and is not to be disqualified for that breach.

Summary of the Facts
Between the preparatory and starting signals, Ephesian on starboard tack and Jupa on port tack approached each other head-to-head. Both boats were heavy keelboats, 33 feet (10 m) long. Neither boat was aware of the other. The bowmen on both boats, who normally would have been stationed by the forestay, were handling their genoas, and no other crew members were keeping a lookout. Ephesian was moving slowly with limited manoeuvrability. They collided, causing serious damage to Jupa, who therefore retired. In the resulting protest, Jupa was disqualified under rule 10, and Ephesian was disqualified under rule 14. Ephesian appealed, claiming that she could not have avoided Jupa by changing course or speed.

Rule 14 begins ‘A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible.’ This requirement means a boat must do everything that can reasonably be expected of her in the prevailing conditions to avoid contact.
This includes keeping a good lookout, particularly in a crowded starting line situation.

The protest committee concluded that if either boat had seen the other a collision could have been avoided, even at the last minute, particularly if Ephesian had hailed Jupa when it was clear that Jupa was not changing course to keep clear. Until that moment, rule 14(a) allows a right-of-way boat to delay acting to avoid contact. It follows that at that moment she must begin to act in an effort to avoid contact. The word ‘act’ is not restricted to changing course or speed. Hailing was an action that Ephesian could and should have taken. Ephesian broke rule 14. Because the collision resulted in damage, the protest committee’s decision to disqualify Ephesian was correct (see rules 14(b) and 64.1(a)). Her appeal is therefore dismissed.

Clearly, Jupa broke rule 10. As a result of the serious damage she suffered in the collision, she retired from the race and thus took the applicable penalty (see rule 44.1(b)). Rule 64.1(b) prohibits penalizing her further. The disqualification of Jupa is reversed and she is to be scored DNF.

RYA 2004/6

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