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13 September 2002, 02:49 pm
Kinetics Free For All?
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The President Speaks

Police it or allow unlimited kinetics? Paul Henderson gives his thoughts and the likely outcomes.
Rule 42 Revisited
Over thirty years ago I wrote a paper on "Kinetics" which initiated Rule 42.

During the last year, after attending several Olympic Class and Youth Regattas, it became apparent that anarchy has taken over and the ISAF Judges do not have the proper tools to keep Kinetics under control It was with those observations that ISAF reopened the debate on Rule 42.

The following are some of the situations observed:
- Top Laser medal winners writing books instructing young sailors how to bend the rules and not get caught.
- Opti coaches having training lessons to teach their sailors how to use Kinetics clandestinely.
- ISAF Classes, lobbied by aggressive coaches, changing their rules to make Rule 42 more liberal
- Judges leaving the race course because of the extent of the cheating.
- Top Finn sailors demanding ISAF get more militant on policing Kinetics and then when they are apprehended getting very upset with the Judges for going too far.
- Very abusive letters in the Sailing press by sailors demanding Kinetics be part of the sport.
- Sailors will not protest because of peer group pressure.
- Judges do not want to be policemen or give yellow cards removing sailors from regattas.

There are many more observations that can be made on this issue.

A submission has been put in for November by the Spanish (RFEV) to delete Rule 42 for all the Olympic Classes.

I feel ISAF should have a one year trial of this proposal even though personally I am opposed as "Air Rowing" is not Sailing.

ISAF should allow these classes to do anything they want to propel their boats around the race course. Total Kinetics allowed. No Judges and No Rules.

"If it feels good Mate, do it."

Pumping, Rocking, Repetitive Roll Tacking, Bouncing, Sculling, Paddling, Kicking, Ooching all would be legal and uncontrolled. Welcome to the World of Windsurfing!! (by the way Windsurfing racing has dramatically reduced over the last decade since they allowed unlimited pumping.)

Two results could emerge out of this one year trial

1. All the sailors and coaches who believed that ISAF was legislating improperly against the physical aspects of Sailing will be proven right and that unlimited Kinetics is more fun and their classes will prosper.


2. Sailors who believe that Sailing and "Air Rowing" are different sports and they want to "Sail" will leave these classes and be driven to Skiffs and Cats where Kinetics do not work as you must sail them.

A wiseman once said that "The only lessons learned in Sailing are through the Eyes of Disaster".

It is only by allowing possible disaster to strike with unlimited Kinetics that any lessons can be learned.

Hopefully after a year trial, the anarchists will ask ISAF to again endeavor to ensure that sailing is a sport driven by the "natural action of the wind on the sails and sea on the hulls" and that Kinetics are not part of Sailing.

Paul Henderson
President ISAF

ISAF welcomes your feedback on this article. Please email

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

Paul Henderson/ISAF Secretariat
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