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19 May 2002, 10:34 pm
Disrespect of the Racing Rules of Sailing - And The Debate Goes On
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The President Speaks

The President responds to comments in `Your Feedback Part 4'
For Your Feedback Part 4 go to

Please realize that I was yelling at two Olympic Gold Medallists and one Bronze Medal Winner and not some kids at a junior regatta. All of them I know very well and in a class I consider mine, the Finn, and have taken a continued interest in since I represented Canada in the 1968 Olympics.

Let me tell you their responses: (the wind strength never got to 8 kts)
#1 after a little technical discussion he said: "Sorry he was cheating but so was everyone else."
#2 "Why was I yelling at him as he had just lost a 25 m. lead on a run as the other guy skulled, rocked, pumped and ooched his boat by him. ISAF must stop it with consistent judging!!"
#3 is very shy person and says very little but his coach, an old Finn Sailing friend, came by and said: "That he was the most skilled at Kinetics without getting caught and the judges must be more skilled at detection and consistent "On-the-Water" policing was the only answer. The Judges must police the top which they seem to ignore and only control the lesser lights."

The top two are jokingly called "El Pumpo" and "El Rocko" by the other competitors.

Nobody wants to spend endless hours with a protest. They want to know where the line is and that the referees draw that line not a protest heard after the fact.

So I got the feedback I wanted which was until ISAF polices it then anarchy prevails. Remember the Judges left the course because they could not stop it and the coaches had been lectured in the morning to stop. Nobody responded and continued uncontrolled.

On the Laser and Europe course was fine and honest because the sailors knew a tough and consistent referee was there.

I had a great discussion with Victor Kavelenko, 470 Coaching Guru, who said the Yellow Flag Rule works well and the trouble is under 12 kts. I agree. Police it under 12 kts, let it go over 12kts and put on the water competent and consistent judges is the answer.

This was the original rule 25 years ago.

The wet clothing issue was only observed in the boat park 1 hour after the race which is circumstantial as you must detect during the race.
So it was not appropriate to protest as the defences are numerous. In fact I am not sure if even the beloved ISAF President can do so. I had been alerted by other competitors of the cheating.

I find it very complimentary that the feel comfortable coming to talk.

The rule to limit wet clothing was caused after the Finn Gold Cup in Toronto 1981 when we, and yes me too, were wearing up to 50 kilos of clothing which ruined Jacques Rogge's back and my knees.

I had a very large pair of hockey pants with diapers sewed inside to soak up the water and flopped from one side to the other. Hans Fogh and Elvstrom wore thick woollen sweaters outside their wetsuits.

There were no rules then but now there are and the sailors will not stop until the rule is enforced.

I have now alerted everyone to stop and hopefully they will.

By the way at age 66 I did sail in the Finn North Americans last summer and the 2.4 Olympic Classes Regatta this year. I am a small boat sailor and was the person who disclosed the excesses and named it "Kinetics" in an ISAF paper 25 years ago.

The original paper conclusion was that ISAF must make it fair for everyone and that uncontrolled Kinetics would greatly and negatively change Sailing. It should be controlled. The minority position was to let it all hang out since it could not be stopped. No rule or law can be totally enforced so that position was discarded and should be.
"Air Rowing" is not sailing. Sailing uses wind not stagnant air.

The overwhelming consensus was to have clear rules and enforce them.

It would be great if all races were held over 12 kts but that is not reality.

Hopefully ISAF will again focus on these issues.
Paul Henderson

Your feedback on this issue is welcomed. Please feel free to email your comments to

Thank You

The President Speaks on Disrespect of Racing Rules - Original Article

Your Feedback - Part 1

Your Feedback - Part 2

Your Feedback - Part 3

Your Feedback - Part 4

Paul Henderson/ISAF Secretariat
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