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18 September 2002, 10:34 am
Your Feedback - Part 1
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The President Speaks - Kinetics Free For All

Last week, ISAF President proposed a Kinetics Free For All - ISAF publishes your feedback with comments from Australia to Argentina, Colombia to The Netherlands.
Juan Carlos Soneyra, Buenos Aires, Argentina

During the early nineties, I attended a rule seminar. At that time I got a copy of the first racing rules book arrived to Argentina at the finish of XVIII century. I was greatly surprised because a simple set of rules had been working so nicely thorough the times. They were quite similar to our days rules. Lets try to keep them working!

At the beginning of kinetics, the sole presence of an IJ in the racing area was enough to keep sailors inside rule 42. When competitors discovered IJs were sightseeing, kinetics started and no action was taken.

Some judges were unable to distinguish differences between Pumping, Rocking, Repetitive Roll Tacking, Bouncing, Sculling, Paddling, Kicking and Ooching, others hate to act like a policeman, then kinetics grew, and right now is taught from the Optimist to the top.

Now, when the starting line is crowded or the wind is gone, sailor take advantage of kinetics because they learned it works and nobody controls.

To stop infractions it is necessary a coordinate action of all race officials. If they don't want to rise yellow flags, show a card, blow a whistle or sign a DSQ keep them at home. You'll surely found a men for the job. Every time there is a disorder we need a policeman. We already have them. Put them at work.

If someone has to be sacrificed to preserve our lovely sport it has to be an official, no a young sailor. Send the judges to do the dirty work of disqualifying people.

I know the pressing of couches about kinetics. They are seeking for medals. Medals mean prestige, travels and juicy contracts. They are professionals.

We, amateur sailors, are fighting for sailing the way we learned, the wind on the sails and the water on the hull.

The initial: ..."fair sailing, superior speed and skill";... is still alive. All depends on us.

Matias Collins, Argentina

Once again, writing from the very south.

Besides I think that dropping the rule 42 for a test year could be a good experience. I do not think it is serious that ISAF Council approve the Spanish Submission [Ed's Note - all Agendas, Supporting Papers and Submissions which will be considered by ISAF at its November Conference are available online at] to run at the year before the Olympic Games where Qualification is on the table.

The exciting good news that some people could feel with this action could also behave as a killer boomerang once less than a year before the Olympics, starting on January 2004 they will need to start sailing again feeling uncomfortable and "lazy" inside the boat.

I sincerely hope if this submission and test is approved then the one is postponed until 2005, where most of sailors are starting at their new classes without affecting the Olympic sailor's preparation and qualification on those that will not choose sail this new "sailing type" being slower than the others.

Wim Langeslag, FD Sailor, The Netherlands

The best solution in my opinion is to have a go or no go flag for pumping (more) for rocking.

Above a certain level of wind there is no difference if You do it. When there is a no go flag it would be easier to protest for the sailors.

Hernan Salcedo, Colombia

Hang on Paul! Just the fact that there is an uproar about rule 42 does not mean that Sailboat racing should be changed.

It doesn't mean that ISAF should forget about lightweight dinghies, and be concerned with heavy keelboats only and race dragons and six meters in the Olympics.

Some thirty odd years ago, there was an argentinian soccer team called Estudiantes, they perfected a technique to leave their opponents off side whenever they attempted a long pass. It was exasperating to watch them play, and they won some important international cups. There was the corresponding uproar, everybody wanted the rule changed (myself included), because that offside play was "ruining the sport". Well, fortunately FIFA hung on and in those thirty odd years only a minor adjustment to the rule was made because it was and is fundamental to the way the game is played, same as rule 42 is to dinghy sailing.

The problem is rule 42 means additional work, it means additional work for the judges and organizers, it means additional work for the coaches, it means additional work for the competitors to learn to play by the rules and still go fast and play the waves and puffs, and we do not want to work. Mostly the complaints I read in this debate turn around one theme - "give me an easy answer, give me something that does not force me to concentrate hard between sailing aggressively and breaking rule 42". And from the judges side it goes "what the hell let, them do whatever they want, we don't need this aggravation".

If we want to be part of this wonderful sport we are going to have to work. The yellow flag is a good idea, in fact it is implicitly working in some Championships. At some point the judges see the conditions and say among themselves "in these conditions, kinetics are detrimental not helpful. It takes a really high level of skill to pump or rock advantageously, let them do as they please". But I would rather have the jury make the call, no flags just let them sail, explain at debriefing.

Young hotshots propose to do away with the judges, but in Regional Games when the laser class is sitting behind the line watching the mistrals start you can see them shake their heads and say "wow!!! that sucks". They propose to eliminate the judges and have a competitor run system by which anyone receiving complaints by more than a set percentage of the fleet will be disqualified. I say let them try that, and watch the political alliances work to keep competitors from a specific nationality, religion or race from winning, watch a bunch of tired competitors try to sort out the mess until midnight, watch them try to agree on some guidelines, agree on who will count the ballots, will dnf votes count? What if the locals are more than 50% of the fleet and one of them is in second place? Very common scenario, I find the thought a little amusing.

I say let them try that, let the Laser class have a world championship with no judges and no race committee, so there is no old guy trying to impose his obsolete ideas on modern racing, let them hire a few boat operators to lay a couple of marks and race to their hearts' content, see if they like it after a couple of days.

They will hate it, and start clamouring for somebody to put some order in that mess, well, they have that somebody right now, it is called a judge.

I think limiting high level ISAF events to keel boats is giving up, mandatory multiple purchase system on mainsheets is giving up (besides you will get lynched), we should not give up. Maybe the rule can use some fine tuning, I don't have an idea to propose on that right now, but mostly what we need is commitment, and hard work and patience from the judges, to enforce the rules and at the same time let the young hotshots do their thing on the water. I think it is possible. The answer is policing and lightweight dinghies must be part of the great ISAF events. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I feel it is as if Lincoln had given up the idea of the union to avoid the civil war, a bad idea. It is a tough job, but from what I have heard ISAF's President did not get there by giving up when the job gets tough.

Greg Barrington, Contender AUS 274, Australia
I think that kinetics, cannabis and some performance enhancing drugs have a lot in common. Because it's difficult for juries to police these things, there is a pressure to give up the attempt. To my mind the question is why don't competitors choose to police rule 42 themselves? The protest room is open to all. Perhaps some people think that they can get a bigger advantage than others.

My view is a little bit from the outside: I sail a Contender and my mates/competitors generally can't be bothered to get wet in conditions where kinetics would make a differerence. But I do understand the other side, having sailed a Laser until recently.

Steph Serre de St. Jean

Sailing is sailing. Rule 42 is in place to strengthen the fact of sailing. Any deviation from the fact of sailing is not sailing, go away period.

ISAF welcomes your feedback on the original article and feedback received. Please email

Please note that all feedback will be published on the ISAF website, unless the contributor specifically requests otherwise.

The President Speaks - Kinetics Free For All
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