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3 September 2002, 10:14 am
Your Feedback Part 4
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Rule 42, Measurement and Other Performance Infringements

Another suggestion …… After a race the sailors make a list of boat numbers that they protest for infringing Rule 42 and when a boat receives more than X % of competitors’ `votes’ he is DSQ from that race without hearing.
David Tillett, Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee, Jury Chairman - Athens 2002 Olympic Regatta

I noted with interest the comments of Jonas Hogh-Christensen, a Danish/Finn sailor, on the web under "Rule 42 Measurement & Other Performance Infringements", dated 2 September 2002 in Feedback Part 3 []. In particular, I noted his comment:

"At the pre-Olympics, the Finn sailors tried to get a meeting before, during and after the Regatta, to try and solve the problem, but the Jury found it to be a meeting with the word Scandal written all over it."

As the Chairman of the Jury, I can advise that at no stage did I receive any verbal or written request for any such meetings.

At the Manager/Coach meetings held each day, on several occasions, I advised that any competitors who wished to have clarified any Rule 42 call, should attend at the Jury Office and the two judges would be happy to explain the basis of their call. The Jury Room was always open for such discussion.

Some sailors sensibly took advantage of this, but others chose not to do so.

I should emphasise that in my experience, ISAF Judges are more than happy to explain the reasons for their call to competitors and encourage such contact, and that was certainly the case at the Athens 2002 Regatta.

Nelson de Alencastro Guimarães, Rio de Janeiro, BraZil

As a Laser sailor, my first suggestion, having juries on water, for solution of the Rule 42 problem is to have a flag that when hoisted will allow any kinetics on the race course, and when lowered nothing will be permitted, and the non compliance of it will oblige the yacht to retire from the race. Finish with the 720 penalty rule, and the subjective judging that now exist.

The rules as they are now push the sailors to try the limit, to sail more or less fast in each situation, and it's impossible to have the juries equally looking all sailors, all championships.From the point of view of the sailors to protest someone on Rule 42, go for a hearing, is very good way to have a very boring night, and that's why few sailors do it.

My second suggestion of kinetics control only from the sailors would be as follows:

After a race the sailors would make a list of boat numbers that they protest for infringing the Rule 42, deliver to the race committee, and when a boat receives more than X % of competitors "votes" he is DSQ of that race without hearing! The second time the "voted" sailor would have to stop sailing the championship, and that's all. No juries are necessary for this control kinetics system, and the level of it will be what the majority of the sailors feel that is reasonable for the level of that race.

Note: Each class would define X before the start of the championship, from 0% to 100%.

Let's solve the problem directly!

Hernan Salcedo, Colombia

The issue of fair play is becoming more and more important in competitive sailing, and it involves much more than rule 42. I think the rule is not perfect, but it is reasonably well written, and if well applied by reasonable and experienced people it works, and most competitors can live with it

At some regattas, competitors want a meeting with the jury and want clearer Guidelines. It is my feeling that there aren't any. I believe that request can be answered asking competitors if they know the definition of time, what is time? Everybody will have trouble giving a clear cut definition, yet everybody knows what it is and everybody has experience with it; sailors know more than anybody when they are not sailing using just the elements and proper balance to make their boats go fast, and if judges are qualified and willing to serve the sailors, they know too, the guidelines are in the rules.

Some time ago I was the PRO in an exhibition regatta for siglehanders in a small lake in a city park. There was no wind at all, the water surface was a perfect mirror. In order not to disappoint the promoters and spectators, I told the competitors to do as they saw fit to move the boats around the short course, and give the public a race, and they did, they pumped, rocked, and sculled their way around the marks and finished the race in a relatively short time. The winner was a very fit youngster, a good sailor, so he knew how to do those things, all who finished were drenched in sweat, it was quite a show actually, it was fun, but it was definitely not a sailing race, and what the spectators saw were boats propelled 100% by kinetics, not sailing as we know it.

On the other hand I have seen entire fleets of lightweight boats in some international championships just sit on the boats on a run and not work the waves and puffs because there are many judges on the water and they are afraid of being penalized. I hate that, that is not sailing either. A small boat is properly sailed by moving the body to balance the boat, by steering by allowing noticeable changes in hull trim, by steering with the tiller when necessary, by adjusting sail trim, sometimes in a big way and sometimes quite often. That is the essence of sailing, what makes it so beautiful, it is of the utmost importance that we keep that in the sport

So we need the middle ground. There is no sail racing without it, and it revolves around rule 42, sailors have to play by the rules, the example of Beckham in football is interesting, is fouling cheating? No, it is part of the sport, but if he is going to stop his opponent by grabbing his shirt when the officials are not looking, that is cheating, diving into the penalty area when you know you have not been tripped, that is cheating, specially when the referee is fooled by the dive. Players know that, but their culture is not to play by the rules, their culture is don't get caught, if you get away with it, it is ok. That is the difference with sailing, we need to play by the rules, because even with the modern juries on the water most of the time nobody will be looking, sailors should try to do all they can to go fast, and do it with or without judges, if they get a penalty now and then, that is not cheating. Cheating is doing what they know is wrong when they think no one is looking, that is why the competitor only gets a turns penalty the first time. That is a foul, if he persists, then he or she is probably cheating.

Judges need to understand that they are there to serve the sailors, to help them have as fair a race as possible, not to impose some sort of messianic message on how the game should be played. A qualified judge will know, or if he doesn't, he or she will do the homework to learn how the boat is to be sailed in the conditions, will tend to give the competitor the benefit of the doubt, and will be inclined to let the sailors sail aggressively and not try to be person of the day by showing a record number of flags. It is frustrating to competitors to have someone not properly qualified imposing his or her view on how to sail a particular kind of boat, but then, having unqualified people making decisions will always be a bad thing in any area of activity, changing the rule will be of no help at all.

There are no easy answers, we will all have to work on the subject, and most of the work will have to be done by the judges who have to take a more active role in learning to apply the rule correctly and try to work from a perspective of service more than a perspective of authority.

Richard Scarr, Australia - ranked 110 on the ISAF World Rankings

Having read your article back in May 2002 [ ], I knew that our season in Europe in the Lasers was going to be a tough one with the jury. This did turn out to be true.In all the major regattas being Kiel, Europeans Denmark, 4.7 worlds Holland, the jury were flat out with their flags. One day at the Europeans there were 35 flags I think.

Myself, I agree that rule 42 needs to be policed and I agree that the jury should have sailed the Laser and know what it does. However I think that for at least two of the above regattas, the amount of jury boats relative to the amount of entries was too low. At times there were fleets that had no jury and this was not only once the fleets were split to Gold and silver. With our high entry fees there should be more cover and more people to be consistent through the whole fleet not just the front!!

On a different area, with the Laser we have had meetings with the ILCA in regards to how the system works. At our meeting we asked that on the first flag they receive as per normal. On the second flag they receive as per normal. On the last flag they receive a DNE and any flags there after were DNE. The reason for this is so then at the Major regattas like Worlds etc where we get the sailor who maybe has got his spot as a developing country and would not have experienced the international scene let alone a jury will not get sent home. There was a Kid from Brazil who got expelled from the Laser 4.7 Worlds!

Any way on another note having sailed all of the Laser regattas this season I found that the jury were very consistent (and the same people followed our circuit which helps). This also was seen at the 4.7 worlds where they were consistent, even if one kid got sent home.

The President Speaks - Original Article on Rule 42, Measurement and Other Performance Infringements

Feedback Part 1

Feedback Part 2

Feedback Part 3
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