Thursday, November 26, 2020

What is Wanted

 Since Penarth Regatta I have been playing Race Officer at Sully Sailing Club.

Sully provides some of the most difficult conditions for a race officer that I am aware of. The tide runs strongly but eddies around the bay in a manner which varies according to the size of the tide. It also appears to be in a position where the wind changes - a lot. Often it is a sea breeze coming up the Channel, turning an east wind into a westerly, but I have seen the wind swing from a westerly to the east. So difficult - a real challenge

Last weekend I got a race started and after a short beat what little wind there was died. It took the sailors almost an hour to complete a single lap. Next race a light breeze had returned and they took just over 10 minutes.

Had that been an open meeting I would have abandoned the race. As a club race, I let it run. I have yet to ask the participants if this was appropriate. It's really hard. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

There is no hope

A couple of weekends ago I won the Handicap Class in the Penarth Regatta.

The fact is that there were only 6 boats entered and on the Sunday only 3 turned out. I was sailing in an ancient club Topper and weigh in at 93kg. OK it was so shifty that you could hardly fail to get the shifts right but there is NO WAY that I should have beaten a privately owned Blaze and RS100.

In my youth we would sail from Barry to compete in this Regatta and I am sure that there were many more boats and that it was much more competitive (this was the late 60's -early 70's)  This event did not attract a single person under the age of 40, at least in the handicap class. There were no Junior Class boats taking part. 

The RYA are re-organising their Squad System. Perhaps I should see what they propose.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Interesting time at Sully

 Well, we didn't see the waterspout but I was sufficiently worried to be checking the Rainfall Radar pretty regularly since it was always a possibility that we could have a squall or something similar.

In the end we didn't and it was the almost total absence of wind that made the finish interesting. The laser was fighting the tide, running down the line and could have just put his boom end over the line to finish and then sailed for the shore. Clearing the line in the direction of the course. Instead she attempted to cross the line completely, got her rudder stuck on the anchor line of the committee boat and then got swept into contact with the committee boat. The interesting thing is that next year it would need to be the hull that crosses the line, not "crew or equipment in normal position".

Then to make matters worse, as she was swept away downtide the one turn penalty was executed in a manner that took her even further downtide. I think she did two turn and it was almost 10 minutes before she got back and finally finished.

At the other end of the fleet the Toppers were playing "Team Racing" and going off into coffin corner. I continue to fail to understand why stopping is such a difficult thing for young racers to do. Hanging back and timing your acceleration is much easier than charging about and having one shot at getting it right. Or take a penalty and then use rule 24.2 as protection, do your turns and hope that when you come out of them the aggressor is out of position. Only problem is that you have to do it early enough that you are not late for the start.

All the fun of the fair at Sully!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

What is so hard?

Why is it so difficult to get the results of Sailing events?

I have just been trying to do a report on the BUSA Tour of the USA. It happens every two years The last event of this year was almost a week ago. I have managed it, by dredging the internet. Reports were out there, in the USA and on Facebook, but BUSA is still working ona report and might send me something "in a few days".

They are not alone in this, I have had problems with Match Racing where most of the event is on the web, except for the final result!! There might be a report about a week later but surely you owe it to the participants to let them know how it turned out when they get home, or at least when they get home from work on Monday.

Sailing needs publicity if it is to compete with all the other activities available in the modern world. I think we fail to use local papers enough. It shouldn't be this difficult.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Insurance

There are lots of boats at the Optimist Nationals, many collisions, and very few protests.

Those we have had seem to have been put in in the belief that it will enhance an insurance claim. I believe that this is somehow based on the idea of car insurance where you exchange details and the insurer might do a knock for knock arrangement with the other insurer.

Racing is different, it is why you need to have a policy with "racing risks".  Just because someone has broken a rule will not prove them liable. The risk of collision is inherent if you are racing and damage is to be expected. Even a right of way boat risks disqualification if they are found to have breeched Rule 14 Avoiding collisions, so protesting is a risky business. And besides the protest committee is specifically forbidden feom considring any issue of liability (at least in the UK)

That said, how do we encourage protests? It is all very well saying that sailors are expected to enforce the rules (see Basic Principles) but that doesn't get it done. There used to be a rule that said a sailor seeing two boats collide could protest them if neither protested, and the result of such a protest, if sucessful, would see both boats disqualified.. Perhaps it is time that this old rule was brought back.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I am Inspired

I have just finished serving as one of three "old farts" on an International Jury.

One of the members was a (oops PC moment) a young person of the opposite gender. Girl if you want to be non PC - anyway considerably younger than this "old fart". That aside, she has my absolute admiration for even attempting to Chair a Jury - in a foreign language, anyone not brought up in an English speaking country will make errors. I don't even dare to attempt foreign languages, so can only stand back in admiration to those who try. It is inspirational.

However, the thought was that the advice of the "old farts" might be more generally useful- hence a blog.

The advice was - write only the facts needed to make a decision. Which is OK, as far as it goes, but has a more general application.

The key to our Jury room kept going missing - on coming ashore we were regularly locked out and I would find competitors asking me for a protest form. Sailors were really quite shocked when I gave them a piece of paper and said "There you go. Write it out". Always remember - "A protest has to be in writing and identify the incident" THAT'S IT! 61.2

The identity of the protestor and protestee can be met at any time before the hearing (but how you call a hearing without it seems a mystery to me, so it would be useful to put it in) Where and when can be stated at any time before or during the hearing.

So scribble it down and get it IN!! Because if it ain't lodged in time it is invalid (61.3 It's a different rule). Even if the SI's say it must be on the "Official Form" chances are they have failed to comply with 85.1 and specifically say that this is in addition to rule 61. (also useful if they want you to tell the finish boat and you forgot)

So we got distracted with writing.

When writing facts for a decision I will tend to write the indisputable facts first. Most protest decisions revolve around one critical fact. If you do all the facts around this, the ones that are not disputed, it can simplify discussion and concentrate minds, making the decision process easier. The trick is to identify the critical fact. (I guess that is where Umpiring helps, as when umpiring, your whole approach is to position your boat so that you can see the critical fact.)

That's it. Except to mention that commas are important. I put a number in while reviewing this post. So maybe I shouldn't be too reticent about suggesting them for SI's but again, when the SI's are written by someome who is using a second language, it seems very petty, as long as the sense is there.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Does it matter?

I have a problem with Lasers tacking.

The problem stems from the fact that I do too much Umpiring. When umpiring, particularly team racing, you have to call when a tack is complete. That is the point at which you judge the speed of the boat. Is it travelling faster than when it entered the track. (Which was when it passed head to wind). Leave the boat heeled after this and you risk getting a penalty for propelling the boat. The act of bringing the boat upright has the effect of the stroke of a paddle and there is no change of direction. This happen quite often in Match Racing where the crew take their time before bringing the boat upright.

At the last two events I have had to watch Lasers complete their tack and then do a massive rock. The turn is so sharp that the boat is practically stationary on completion of the tack, all the rock does is accelerate the boat back to normal speed. Everyone does it, and no one cares.

What they should be doing are vmg tacks. The initial roll is to steer the boat into the tack. As the course is changing you cannot penalise that. The second roll to bring the boat upright should be done before the boat comes down to the new close hauled course. This can propel the boat to windward, hence calling it vmg (velocity made good) The trick is to come down to the new closehauled course once the speed has dropped to what it was on entering the tack.

Done well and smoothly you gain at least a boatlength directly to windward on each tack and shouldn't be yellow flagged. Much better than the ugly ninety degree turn and massive rock I have been watching recently.

But what cares about such technicalities?