Thursday, May 28, 2015

Action at the Inlands

I think the 2015 Inlands were the first time that the NSSA had on the water judging of rule 42, the illegal propulsion rule.

I think that it is important that we do this, as sailors develop the habit of moving their bodies in a way that propels the boat. They then progress to larger events and find themselves being penalised by judges and losing out for what has become an unconscious action.  Once the habit is formed it is very, very difficult to break. They also tend to revert to the behaviour in times of stress, inevitably this is in critical situations, and when the judges are watching, so a penalty becomes very costly.

So I have no regrets about Rule 42 Judging. The problem is what about other rules. What action should the Judges on the water take when they see boats breaking other sailing rules?

There is an argument that sailing is a self policing sport and that if sailors have a collision and don't want to do something about it then that is their business. But, is this reasonable when youngsters are just starting out? What about when no one else sees the incident? Such as hitting a mark. What if those around don't have the experience to protest? Should rule infringements be ignored? I have great difficulty with being blind to other actions on the water.

There again, what is the correct action to take. Should we just advise the sailors that they were in the wrong? (Which is what happened this time) Should we expect them to retire? (We did have an alternative 20%penalty available). Should we lodge a protest and who will hear it?

Does anyone have the answer?