Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Superstition and Rules Book

There we were almost at the end of three days of Match Racing at the BUSA Championships and my fellow Umpire says "Isn't it nice to have an event where there is no damage and everyone looks after the boats"

We should have known better - it wasn't 60 seconds later that we get a massive T-Bone. The port tack boat was so far embedded into the side of the starboard tack boat that it could not come upright. Then, having sorted that out, the boat that made the hole runs aground on the way back to the club and has to be towed off the putty.

Don't tell me that it was just co-incidence.

Having to pay attention to the Racing Rules of Sailing I recently purchased a copy of Trevor Lewis's new book on the subject. My apologies in advance for anyone whose boat is called "Dafodill" or "Iris" if they end up in a protest hearing with me.

That aside it is a wonderful reference book with UK, US and Canadian appeals quoted in abundance. Though checking the footnotes mean that the reading is somewhat interrupted and I am not sure that I agree with some of the personal opinions expressed

It might get me sufficiently inspired to look again at how the rules have developed over the years and the way that culture influences the way we interpret them. There are some major differences between the US and UK which are touched upon in the book.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

BUSA Finals @ Chew

Rant against the two flag system!

Don't know why we used it, but I felt really bad for Oxford, as I missed at least two calls with them, as I was watching another boat and waiting for them to fly a yellow flag - when there was another critical incident near the finish - which I missed!

Then there were other Umpires saying we had to green a lot of incidents because competitors have gone straight to a yellow. If we didn't see the red (assuming that it might have been displayed) then we have to green as the procedure has not been properly followed. There were a couple of reds shown that were delibertately notfollowed by a yellow - fair enough if you don't want to risk it but for the system to work we need enough umpires on the match to be watching that boat and the others for further incidents. With limited umpiring the two flag system ties you up for too long. Then there is the issue of do all the competitors realise what they should do - the perpetual briefing point is that flags are not clearly displayed.

Talking of flags not clearly displayed there were quite a few breakdowns where there was no red flag displayed. Hard on the boat that tried to fix their main halyard by capsizing the boat - very seamanlike - but they forgot to wave the flag before getting on with fixing things and so couldn't be given redress.
Sometimes we are just so hard on the poor competitors.

Oxford came up with a nice move of going after a boat on another leg of the course - infringing rule 23. There seemed to be a consensus that if it did change the race they would get a black flag and it would be treated as a "professional foul". This one is going to be interesting.