Feedback continues to be received to the article published on Tuesday 26 August. Keep it coming.
Barrie Harmsworth, Dubai - ISAF Youth and Development Committee Member
Paul I'm sure knows where I'm coming from. And I couldn't agree more with him. Additionally, I see this question from an entirely different point of view. When you are dealing with young and emerging nations, it is essential that these countries identify sailing as a clean and fair sport. I believe we are in danger of losing this image and subsequently the support of the very people we are heavily reliant on.
If we are to encouraging more countries into our sport we need the help of a lot of people in those countries who are not familiar with sailing. They in turn rely heavily on what they read and hear. Normally the first sailors to compete internationally from those countries are young sailors, usually in the Optimist. ISAF has a clear responsibility to those sailors and, I might add to the IOC, to make sure that all our sailing is fair. Various interpretations made of the rules in an attempt to stretch them almost out of shape does absolutely nothing for our image.
I have to agree with David Brunskill [Ed's Note: See article
The rules, in my opinion, are clear and have been well thought out by a number of highly skill individuals. If they need modifying, we have a very clear constitutional method of making that change. The majority of PRO's are dedicated and fair in their dealings. It is up to us all to recognize our responsibility to the sport we love and keep it clean for future generations to come.
Great article. I agree with much of what was said. There was one point that I did not understand your view, item 8, Outside Assistance. I understand and agree that once a yacht comes under the jurisdiction of the race committee he cannot receive outside assistance. The point I am struggling with is why do you not want coach boats to have electronic equipment. As long as they don't help yacht while starting or racing, what difference does it make?
Morten Christoffersen, Danish Olympic Boardsailor '92 and '96
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 frustrates me to no end, that sailors breaking a rule are called cheaters without any other qualification. If its cheating to break a rule in a sport does that mean:
- Shaq O'Neill is a cheater when he fouls out in an NBA game?
- David Becham is a cheater when he commits a foul in soccer?
- Michael Schumacher is cheating when he speeds in the pitlane and gets a time penalty?
NO! They are playing to the rules, but sometimes they cross the line and go to far. When that happens, officials will let them know and penalize them. It is about time that the organizing body for sailing starts to take their job seriously and help govern the sport instead of blaming it on the athletes. Most other sports have realized that officials and referees are needed to make sure that a level playing field exist for the athletes. Go to an organized soccer game between small kids and you will see paid officials. Yet, sailing, which is one of the most expensive sports around, cant get the funding to have referees, umpires, officials etc.
The whole discussion is focusing on the wrong issues. Top athletes are competitive and wants to win. They will try to what they can to do so. Sponsors wants them to win, families wants them to win and so on. If some sailors break a rule, tell them. Have umpires on the water, enforce the rules. But don't blame the sailors. Imagine a world cup soccer game without a referee and lines men and the players were told to follow the rules and not cheat. It's stupid and useless for our sport.
And lastly. Mr. Henderson. Please stop picking on the boardsailors. I doubt you have ever participated in a high level boardsailing race, so I would prefer you keep your comments to something you know about. The funny thing is the boardsailors have no problems with the pumping rule and the public loves it, because you see real athletes giving it all. There is nothing like the feeling of passing another sailor because you want it more than he does. Sometime ago, the talk was about how to make sailing more appealing to the public. Smaller courses and closer to land. But now, it sounds like that's not what the ISAF wants. First, match racing was taken of the Olympic program (why)? and now there are suggestions of just an upwind leg? Try to sell that to the public.
[Ed's Note: To read previous input from Morten Christofferson on Rule 42, go to
Brian Raney, Laser/Radial 158689, USA
Once again I say to Paul that the problem is two-fold:
1) Competitors do NOT know what "symptoms" judges use to decide violations of Rule 42. After speaking with judges at a recent world championship who were unable
to articulate those symptoms, I am even more resolute in this opinion. We may know what the rule says, but it doesn't translate well into practice.
2) Self-policing via protests is very workable. It's the protest system itself that is too onerous and cumbersome. Fix that, and you won't need judges.
As these comments will continue to fall on deaf ears, I'll simply look forward to ISAF sending the Laser class in North America gobs of money to pay for qualified on-the-water judges.
[Ed's Note: To read previous input from Brian Raney on Rule 42, go to
Peter Jackson, Australia
As an Ok Dinghy sailor in Australia, and one who has run foul of so called "expert" officials at major events I have mixed feelings on this article.
As a larger build sailor, I enjoy the physicalilty of sailing the slower, heavier, and, as the article would summise, more prone to rule 42 advantage type boats.
I am not alone. There are very few of the skiff or catamaran classes where a 90Kg plus, physically fit, experienced helmsman can be competitive. The only centreboard boats catering to this market on an international level are Mr Henderson's suspect classes.
So what's wrong with a bit of physicality?. The sailors who sail these boats expect it, and relish it, and only aspect out of step is the rule. In a recent world championship, competitors were being flagged in 30 knots for pumping and rocking. Instead of treating these competitors as infringers, the fleet itself saw the seamanship and prowess in being able to drive the boat hard in survival conditions as masterly.
So who is out of step.
Don't come down all holier than thou about cheating and advantage. The centreboard dinghies where this behaviour exists exists because this is the way the boats are meant to be sailed. There is nothing wrong with the classes, just the rule.
Bring on the yellow flag