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2 September 2002, 12:20 pm
Your Feedback - Part 3
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Rule 42, Measurement and Other Performance Infringements

ISAF President Paul Henderson spoke last week on the demands professionalism has made to the rules of the sport and the role ISAF has to ensure fair play prevails. Your feedback continues to be received .....
Tom Hubbell, Inshore Chairman, US Sailing

The ISAF President has taken a stong, appropriate stand on fair play. While I agree that more supervision of competitors would work, I find that a regrettable solution for the sport that is otherwise proud of its self-policing heritage.

Some classes are highly prone to kinetics. Classes with a major kinetic problem have perhaps become to sailing as the acrobatic snowboarders are to skiing. It's an extreme that requires a lot of highly subjective judging. Oh well. But for the other classes what to do about wanton disregard for the rules?

The alternative is the firm, personal leadership of senior sailors, not necessarily judges. Several wayward trends among top boats in the Thistle Class (USA) and others have been thwarted by the informal shoreside visit of a respected veteran competitor. A kind but assertive statement like, "Mark, I saw what you were doing today. That's not how we sail. I don't believe we'll be seeing that again, right?" or "Dave, you know that rig is not legal. I expect to see it corrected before the race tomorrow." I can tell you that this is a very effective method.

Another time, after hearing an expert from the boat-building industry instruct other coaches on, wink-wink, teaching kinetics that you can get away with, a senior competitor in the audience made an informal but passionate complaint to the boat industry boss. The expert was called on the carpet. I learned of this method by watching my mentors of the older generation; Charlie, Elmer, Stan - thanks guys. The ethical training of sailors must happen as they grow in skill, not after they reach the international scene. Acting locally, each class shapes its rising stars. We all must take an active roll in that.

It is a "requirement" that we grey-hairs who are nearly above-reproach must lead, and now is the time. This is the method of sportsmanship and rules enforcement that lasts a generation and it requires no chase-boats, added personel, or forms. We baby-boomers are now responsible for the job. Just do it.

We don't need more rules; we leaders must lead. We're working on an ethics/sportsmanship project within US Sailing and I hope to include this concept.

Matias Collins, Argentina

Again I'm making some comments about another recent Paul's article regarding rule 42, cheating and more.

Being a former rugby player (besides sailor) and also living in a country (Argentina) where almost all sports are amateurs and there are no money inlcuding for those who works and produce goods. I say these things:

A) About Morten Christoffersen's comments regarding cheating and his comparison on top sportsman activities, I first can say that cheating is a consequence from an intention, the faults on the first two sports mentionned, basketball and soccer could be cheating and not, because some times trying to do something with your body, your phisycal stress don't let you do what your mind wants and this will become a faul or an injury hearting your self but this is not cheating altough this fault action boder the normal play and it is penalized. Of course there are faults with intention and those also could produce injuries on the opponent, besides bodering the normal play.and this is cheating and should be much more penalized. I personally think that these are not well penalized in soccer.

Regarding Michael F1 world champion, will be no one like SENNA and FANGIO but these people normal are not aware about the cheating, they have a full assistants that prepare the computers, cars, etc and a mistake with or without intention from these will cause the penalty, once more here we are allways talking about INTENTION.

B) So as Paul is trying to say some sailors could go far the limits on rule 42 with intetion and with help from their assistants, some does do that and some doesn't do that and Brian Raney is right not only because the way judges will judge the syntomps in a specific class but also because the rules will apply different in all classes because the classes are different it self .

C) I think the secret here comes from an education aspect during the sailor's starts to their competition level and the intensity of the penalizations enforced and the way they were judged. So we should have a limit for sure, this limits should be revised carefully on how to apply the one in each class and also all penalizations should try to judge the faul and the intention on doing the one, trough judges, juries and the protest system it self, all this must come from the begining of the sailor's career since opti to the America's Cup.and this education should also face the ones who will implement the education, and here is ISAF's prominent job on how to teach and clarify judgedments, decisions, symptoms, pealizations.etc.

I'm confident that with a good communication and commitment from those who love this sport and a full job from ISAF we will accomplish that although always will raise new matters.

Yair Suari, Israel

Christoffersen "Once again Mr. Henderson is after the boardsailors and after people who has devoted their life and time to the sport he is supposed to promote and govern".

It just cannot be a chance that every time he writes about rule infringement he is talking of rule 42 in the boards (rule 42 in the boards does not really exist so its hard to "cheat" as he puts it). the windsurfers feel that ISAF President has something against them.

And now to Mr. Henderson's claims:
"that if Kinetics is not controlled then the game is not Sailing, because it totally negates traditional tactics and tilts the playing field to the strong rather than to the talented."
I would suggest being professional enough to check your accusations before publishing them. In no way has pumping negated traditional tactics, no windsurfing championship is won by stronger rather than talented and this can be proved by Carlos Espinola (ARG) who left the mistral class and started sailing tornados and has become one of the leading tornado sailors in less then 1 year.

Another interesting thing is Henderson's suggestion to switch to classes like catamarans to reduce the need of kinetics. I would think that the fact that cats tacks less then any class also "totally negates traditional tactics.

I must point out that the majority of sailors and coaches would rather see rule 42 changed completely so there will not be a problem of interpretation and enforcement. This will also help us market our sport to the audience. Right now people might think "what a funny sport this is, they are not allowed to work as hard as they can.

To some things up I think the only reason that rule 42 is still in force is that it gives more work to all kinds of officials and have some good times in events and lets the politicians of our sport a chance to get more power by ordering more officials to events they organize.

It's time we face it our sport has changed and its time we adjust the rules.

Jonas Høgh-Christensen, Danish Finn sailor
As a new Finn sailor and a new member of the Olympic scene, I have been shocked over the incompetence existing on all sides of semi-professional sailing. I did the Hyeres regatta and yes we where pumping too much, but we as sailors took action, contacting you, Mr. Henderson. The problem already seemed to have been solved in the following regattas, SPA, Kiel and regarding us, the Finn sailors, the Europeans, where the number of flags didn't exceed the norm of normal sailing through the last years.

Then we came to the World Championship/Gold Cup where ISAF had appointed the judges and suddenly it went crazy, 32 flags the first day! Was it the judges that we have been using since Hyeres, that was not doing there job well enough or was it the appointed judges that had been following the debate that over enforced the rules, I don't know, it might have been both! The same happened in the 2002 pre-pre Olympics.

It is not a problem setting a line of what is allowed and what is not. The problem is that it is a different line being set all the time, and therefore it always seems unfair for all parts of the game. I think it is unfair to say that everybody tries to win even if it means cheating. Sailing the Finn I have never seen the weight jackets you talk about, but yes if it's a windy regatta will put a lot of gear on but with the intentions to cheat.

You might think that coaches are the reason of all evil, but they are not! Most coaches are paid by the national federation and how do you think the national federation react when coming home early from the Gold Cup or the pre Olympics because you have been kicked out of the regatta for pumping. You think either the sailor or the coach is very popular, I think not! Nothing can be more harmful to your effort to get funding the year after! Our coaches are people that can make it easier to understand and work with the rule 42. They are our moral opposition and the people that can take the discussion with the sailor before getting in to trouble with the jury. If you decide to make the coaches less present at the courses you will make it even harder to work on being on the right side of the rule, especially after the very strict ruling at the Gold cup and lately the pre Olympics.

Classes where Kinetics does not play too big a role are high speed classes where you can discuss the necessity of bigger tactical talent if that is what you want to call it. I think it is to different kinds of sailing, but they both have a spot on the Olympic scene. As an old Finn sailor don't tell me, that we can't have fun in the Finn class. Off course non Olympic classes can have more fun at regattas because expectations are less, the money is less and racing is less hard. But this is the difference between Olympic and non Olympic sailing, which class you want to race, that's the choice of the sailors.

Regarding the Finn
We need judges that know the Finn and mostly have sailed it. Not some guy that comes from the laser or some keelboat, we need people that can talk to the sailors and NOT act like they are all ruling police, we must remember that they are there for us and not the other way around. At the pre-Olympics the Finn sailors tried to get a meeting before, during and after the regatta to try to solve the problem but the jury found it to be a meeting with the words Scandal written all over it. I'm asking why? I'm not saying that it is only the judges that have a problem, but for the moment they are the reason why no proper action to deal with the problems are made. We can not have sailors getting kicked out of regattas after 40 minutes as we did at the pre-Olympics, we shouldn't have sailors getting kicked out at all.

I think what ISAF have to do is to hire part time juries. We should make a jury week [seminar] as soon as possible where all Olympic classes had five to ten representatives and all jury members were invited. Here we should make video tapes to educate both sailors and juries in what is right and what is wrong, and create a better relationship between sailors and juries so an open discussion is possible between them. I hope that we can solve this as fast as possible. The tensions between sailors and juries are rising and it can end up with a disaster.

The last thing I would like too say is that, I think it is great that you are raising these issues Mr. President, but I think you should consider your statements which seems to be based, on few short visits to regatta sides. Maybe you or some ISAF delegates should make more field work before putting out issues. Your word has more power than you think and if your statements don't have a thorough fieldwork backup I think you at times stir up more problems than you solve.

Your feedback is welcomed. Please email

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