Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tallies and penalties

Back from the Zoom 8's and off next week to the Mirror Europeans in Poole.

Zooms had a nice relaxed approach to things - will Mirrors be the same? Well, perhaps not, if someone fails to tally properly and gets disqualified from three races, which is what is currently being proposed.

I have always disliked the tally system - it never seems to work. People who fail to tally out are on the water - you have to know they are on the water in order to disqualify them so what have you achieved, apart from a disgruntled sailor. If they fail to tally in you usually check on them and then disqualify them - thereby ruining their regatta when you know they are safe. Yes, I know we do it  "pour encourage les autres". But is this providing "the fairest racing possible" to quote the RYA Racing Charter.

It's nearly 30 years since I got the Lasers to allow people to buy their way out of this penalty by making a donation to the RNLI. The Zoom's used a small points penalty, which seemed to work pretty well. Generally it doesn't matter and when it does crews are usually tired and forgetful.

At big events you need some way to account for all sailors, but it should be as simple and effective as possible. My favourite is when the boat is the tally and it must be returned to it's allocated place in the dinghy park, but that needs a well organised dinghy park, and a conscientious beachmaster. What I hate is when the safety fleet have gone away and the protest committee/organisers have boats to disqualify for not tallying in - and no-one can tell you that the crews have been accounted for - don't worry about their safety a DSQ will bring them back from the dead - I don't think!