The Official
Website of the
Sailing Federation
14 May 2002, 11:00 am
Your Feedback to the President Speaks on `Disrespect of Racing Rules|
No ALT tag specified

The President Speaks - Your Feedback Part 1

Your comments are already coming in thick and fast - let's hear more. Note this article will be updated throughout the day as further feedback is received. Refresh your page to ensure you are seeing the most recent feedback.
Richard Howard, Australia
I agree totally with your recommendations and can understand your comments Re the abuse of rule 42. I am a Laser sailor and think that better policing both at State, National and especially International/Olympic regattas is vital. I have been yellow flaged once at a worlds and quickly learnt that if you don't push the rule too and past its limits the chances of winning diminish very quickly. I would love to see a comprehensive strategy adopted for toning down the amounts of illegal kinetic movement that is occuring on the race course. I also think that more articles and descriptions of what International umpires view illegal under rule 42 need to be published because many 'average sailors' don't understand where the limits are and thus break them or don't sail their boats as sucessfully as they may otherwise do. I would love to hear what you describe as illegal under rule 42 - being laser specific. I thought your article and recommendations were very useful.

Mark O'Donovan, Ireland
I must agree whole heartedly with the sentiments of Paul Henderson's article. Sailing has got to the point where people now believe it's not cheating if you don't get caught. But I feel that the effect of the lack of enforcement in major regatta's has on young sailors. they know that the top sailors use kinetics and there fore they do as well and if one person in the fleet is using kinetics soon the entire fleet is also using kinetics to try to keep up. I do hope that some of the sentiments in this address make their way on to the racecourse

Tim Carver, Great Britain
I'd just like to say thanks to Paul for raising the issue again. I was one of the voices arguing at the last Finn AGM that we should remove all restrictions downwind above a certain wind strength and I am glad to say that this was passed. Hopefully a corollary to allowing anything above a certain wind strength is that when these conditions do not exist (in light to medium conditions) there should be greater discipline and this can only come through more rigid enforcement. More jury boats, harsher penalties. Too many times I have seen a boat overtake downwind. Get flagged. Do a 720. Then overtake again before the next mark. Paul's focus was also at the Grade 1/2 Regatta's.

We have a major problem with rule abuse in the Finn class in the UK at our qualifying regatta's. There is a huge incentive for people to cheat at these, so that they can get to the ranking regatta's so that they can get funding. The RYA has been slow in addressing this but I'm sure it's not the only MNA that is turning a blind eye as long as the 'right' people turn up at the major regatta's. I know there are no easy answers. We've all been discussing this for the last 30 years but hopefully the advent of 'open' professionalism will give any new initiative to resolve this problem the extra impetus it needs to finally succeed.

Marc Lagesse, South Africa
Yachting like most sports is a case of fit is fast.

If a sailor can wear a weight jacket, still hike properly and pump like a beast because he is stronger, why not allow it. I'm sure the way the windsurfers fan around the course can't be to easy, neither is dropping the purchase on a Finn mainsheet.

I am from the "lazy" school that don't overly enjoy hiking or pumping, but if it makes up places we must do it.

So if it can't be policed effectively, why not make it legal?

Brian Raney, USA
Why are kinetics so pervasive? Four reasons come to
my mind...

1) The rules are designed to identify only certain actions under certain circumstances as being illegal. This leads to much confusion about the application of these rules.

2) The protest process is arduous to use for simple infractions, let alone for something as perspective-dependent and nuanced as kinetics.

3) Appendix N is not used, and is itself contradictory to the nature of our sport on two points: self-policing and the right to have a protest hearing. Also, this is dependent on the judges being knowledgable of what constitutes an infraction. I've met very few sailors that I think are this competent, let alone some blue-blazer-wearing judge who hasn't raced a sailboat in 15 years.

4) Education. For years, we average Laser sailors in North America (NA) have been hearing that we'll get a video tape from ILCA/ISAF showing exactly what the differences are between legal and illegal kinetics. It still hasn't shown up. When given explicit criteria for determining an infraction, sailors will know for certain what they can not do, and the fleets can then police themselves. (Witness the virtual elimination of "multiple leech flaps" at our major NA Laser events when told that judges/RC would be looking for this at
the start.)

In summary, the enforcement mechanisms are onerous for policing a highly technical set of rules that very few sailors understand. What we are left with is "I know it when I see it, I think."

Alexander Finsterbusch, Argentina
I am a National Measurer for several Classes in Argentina. I have to agree with ISAF President, Paul Henderson, since in our country to cut down costs usually no measurement takes place and obviously this encourages participants to cheat, specially with their clothing. The result is that when measurement takes place all participants complain about being controlled and about the strictness of the class rules.

Advertising, weighing clothing, safety regulations are the most common rules which are infringed. And my MNA is not listening to my complaints about this matter. Also some Clubs/Organisers include in their Notice of Race that Measurement will take place, but then no measurement takes place and that commonly confuses participants.

On the course usually there are no judges involved unless it is a South American or Argentinian Championship (and sometimes not even then).

For instance in our Country the 470 Class has no Measurement Control or Judges on the Course, neither for the Argentinian Championship nor for the tryouts to qualify for a World Championship, which I think is clearly attempting against fairness.

Your feedback on this article is welcomed. Email to

Contributors as Indicated/ISAF Secretariat
Share this page
World Sailing TV
Latest News
News Archive
© 2015 Copyright ISAF/ISAF UK Ltd. All Rights Reserved Privacy & Cookies delivered by Sotic powered by OpenText WSM