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9 October 2002, 03:38 pm
Services to Sailing and Kinetics Free For All
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The President Speaks

We publish your feedback to the article on `Services to Sailing’ and `Kinetics Free For All’ by the ISAF President.
Last week, on Wednesday 3 October, ISAF President Paul Henderson penned his thoughts on the need for ISAF to focus on the "Core Business of ISAF". To read this article go to:

The President Speaks - Services to Sailors

Matthew Jones, USA
Thank you for your suggestions regarding Starting Procedures. As a professional race manager I know that I am a facilitator and communicator. So I like to tell the fleet where they are and clear out the OCS.

Race management by penalty is fundamentally flawed. It is by using superior technique that we grow the sport.

David Brunskill, Great Britain

I agree with the general tone of the article - all those involved in the administration of the sport need to set fair and consistent arrangements in place which will encourage fair play and integrity in sailing.

It currently is a cat and mouse game.

Within my club (RORC) we have a reasonable amount of professional level keelboat regatta experience. Many of the techniques would be inappropriate in dinghies. BUT
- We use VHF at one minute - and if necessary to warn yachts if there is a bunch approaching the line.
- We warn yachts about strong tidal conditions.
- We broadcast sail numbers of OCS yachts on VHF - not "immediately" after the start - there were too many claims for redress from yachts claiming there was too long a gap after the start before the number writing team had time to broadcast. We now state "individual recall details will not be broadcast until one minute after the start".
- On large starts there may be RIBs on the start line spaced along the line to prevent over the line bunching at the middle of the line - and so on.
There are continuing debates on all these matters, using laser and wireless technology to identify and police the line etc.

However redress claims against OCS continue - often on spurious grounds. I don't know how we can move away from many hours in jury rooms addressing sailors claims - all of which have to be scrupulously handled however bizarre the circumstances.

There is, it seems to me, a lack of consistency and agreement amongst race officers and in situation analysis and penalty implementation by Juries as regards OCS and related start line issues.

But looking at the seminar list I am struck at the lack of ISAF sponsored joint IRO/IJ conferences/seminars to take overviews on these situations. And although I think that within the RORC we do a pretty good job, the professionalism of sailors on the water is certainly not evenly matched by professionalism in race administration.

Does this mean more professional race officers and judges. The answer there is quite probably.

I look forward to reading the results of the debate in Cyprus.

Andrzej Ostrowski, Poland, Member of the ISAF Centreboard Boat Committee and ISAF International Judge

The bunch of tasks and ideas presented by President Paul Henderson in his message of 7 Oct. will be a difficult challange for some 500 delegates to the November Conference. Breaking away with organised, well groomed structure of Committees and earlier Submissions and tackling with ideas only sketched might lead to unending discussions.

Anyway I take the liberty to offer my opinions on 3 issues which seem to be relatively easy to be solved.

1. Race Management - OCS problems.
We started discussing the issue among members of the CBC few years ago. Since that time 'randomisation' has been removed from the Global Positioning System. Now the accuracy might be of the order of 20cm. This probably opens the opportunity to equip each boat in the starting field with GPS transponder and receiver and to know the position of the boat with said accuracy. Race Committee could know, through the system, which boats are over the line for sure in the margin -20 sec to +20 sec around the starting moment. This at least would provide an independent judgment on OCS. A feedback from the system could inform each and all early starters that they were over the line. I know it sounds expensive, but in electronics everything is expensive at an appropriate cost. Two issues should be researched in this field:

- obtain assessment by GPS specialists about feasibility of such OCS application
- costs, are they compatible with overall costs Olympics.

2. Enforcement of Rule 42
(Other law enforcement - in wet closing, weight limits, corrector weigts - seem to be banal)

There are a large group of international Judges capable mastering proper on water judging, may be after some unification among Classes. However, even with an unified approach it is better if a Class is policed by a set of specialized IJs. Some Classes, like Laser, have very strict guidelines, other Classes too.

What we need is reviewing existing guidelines, drafting one common approach, learning it and rehearsing at some major regatta.

The Rule 42 itself is fine.

3.I believe doping is not a problem in sailing. I have no knowledge about outcomes of the doping test at Olympics, they were probably most extensive there.

Colin Smith, Great Britain
(World Secretary, International 14 Class Association - but writing in
a personal capacity!)

This is excellent! The President is spot on when he stresses the differing requirements between the 'professional' side of the sport - Olympics, Americas Cup, Volvo, etc - and the rest. And even more so when he says "It is also essential that the sailors who race purely for the love of the game with no financial rewards expected are allowed to compete free from onerous regulations and that they have the flexibility to adapt the regulations to their needs."

Although the President goes on to discuss areas where increased control may be needed, I'd like to pick up on the other side of the coin - those areas where it isn't!

One of the greatest problems for the non-Olympic classes in recent years has been a tendency for submissions to be submitted to ISAF, intended to address issues which have arisen in the professional world (notably the Olympic classes), but which have by default threatened to impose unnecessary bureaucracy and control on everyone.

It is encouraging to see a number of resolutions to this year's ISAF conference which, although introducing further regulations and requirements, recognise the concepts above by specifically limiting their application to the 'professional' side of the sport. That said, there are still some submissions to this year's conference which would, if passed, threaten to continue the trend of increased regulation being applied generally. These include:

1) Increased requirements concerning appointment of race officials (eg compulsory use of an International Race Officer, ISAF to approve or appoint all race officials)
2) Increased central control over dates of worlds/ continentals
3) Requirements for all sailors attending any worlds/ continentals to register with ISAF and to sign legal documentation
4) Lengthy regulations requiring 'licensed builders' and 'Construction Manuals' for all (new?) classes (development classes quite deliberately don't have these processes).

Most if not all of these points need only be compulsory for the professional world. Outside that world, the issues which gave rise to the proposals often do not arise, or can be managed through delegation to the sailors and their class associations who can decide for themselves how best to organise their events.

There seems to be an emerging definition of the 'professional world' - generally, perhaps Olympics/Olympic classes, Americas Cup, Volvo, grade 1 match racing, ISAF Events, PWA. Keep the non-Olympic classes out of this definition, and test carefully whether proposals for increased control really need to extend beyond it. Don't threaten the well-established, existing and successful framework of international racing in many classes by clamping down in response to issues which don't exist in those classes.

John Bonds, USA
Competitors (and the President) generally prefer recalls to disqualification. But all must realize that with present technology, recalls are inherently unfair.

Those recalled initially have a significant advantage over those whose number is the last called in a list of OCS boats, as the former can be halfway back to the starting line before the latter's number is announced. While "immediately" is desirable, it is impossible in a large fleet, when several observers are involved in the determination of which boats were OCS. One method of handling the large fleet is to segment the line, with observers looking both ways from the intermediate boats which constitute the line.

But these must communicate back to the signal boat for the coordinated announcement of OCS boats, preferably using a private channel or cellphone which is connected at 1min before the start and left on line for immediate use. This procedure takes some time, depending on the number of boats OCS. Of course, the "X" flag and sound signal are made immediately, but the actual announcement of numbers may not start for 10, 15 or perhaps even 30 seconds, and it may take 20 more seconds to read a long list. So the last boat called may be nearly a minute away from the line before it is notified specifically of its status. The call must be accurate and complete, even at the expense of promptness. The procedure requires practice to execute well.

I do not agree with the President's suggestion to call boats over in the one minute period, unless "I", "Z" or "Black Flag" is in effect, as I believe that action would constitute outside assistance. However, when a penalty is involved, it's a good idea as it gets them out of the way of those who can start properly. Again, with large fleets, the mid-line boats can be made the equivalent of an end-of-line mark for purpose of restarting under "I", to remove the large penalty involved in getting around one of the ends.

Obviously, one should specify that the mid-line boat should be left to port when restarting (to avoid head-on collisions).

When it becomes obvious before the start that a majority of the boats are going to be at one end or otherwise bunched up on a small portion of the line, I believe that a postponement before the start is the preferred procedure--to avoid implanting any expectation of a General Recall in the sailors. Clearly something has gone awry, and the sailors have perceived an unfair line. Even if the race officer disagrees with their assessment, the line should be changed to correct that perception and allow the competitors to spread out along the line they now view as fair. Often the difference is current which is unseen by the race officer but felt by the competitor. Fix the problem before proceeding, and do so with actions obvious to the competitors.

David Sligh
I absolutely agree "there must prevail an attitude that the object is to get a fair and legal start" and therefore I absolutely disagree when you went on to say "disqualifying several sailors for OCS must not be considered a success." Unfortunately, this fails to recognize people who are trying to abide by the rules are at a disadvantage next to those who are trampling on the rules. If you're OCS you should be called OCS and if you fail to clear you should be disqualified.

Hailing OCS boats immediately is a good and proper objective but don't put the onus of hailing on the RC. It's possible an unscrupulous sailor may plead he didn't hear the hail and therefore shouldn't be DSQ'd. Non is so deaf as he who will not hear.

Additionally, placing responsibility on the Race Committee to call boats over prior to the gun gives sailors more opportunity for sailors to dodge accountability for being recklessly aggressive.

Let's be the sport in which each competitor is accountable for playing the game according to the rules.

Mariano Parado
I've been sailing in many different classes including heavy boats as Solings, J/24 and light boats as Europe,470 and tornado (went to Sydney in Tornado).

I think the same rule will work fine for all classes as every single boat requires different kinetics but with the same goal: surfing that extra wave.

I've been involved in coaching too, and I understood how hard is their job, but felt that you could not see absolutely every situation so you are not making an even field for all competitors.

Also felt some need to have a "protagonic role" in order to justify their presence.

Would like to see some guys sailing a Laser on a downwind leg in 25 knots and not being able to move their bodies and "pumping" which is the only way to keep the boat under the mast.

I think the rule the 470's are using is perfect.

Over 12 knots kinetics should be free. If you do it correctly you will get a huge advantage, but if you do it poorly it can also slow you down. Having this free will also help to make the sailing more spectacular than having all the fleet sailing seated on the deck with the sheet cleated, that will look like a "sunny day ride" more than a sport.

From other point of view is way more fair than having some boats penalized and some not by the jury's criterium.

Of course it will not be nice too to see a "race" under 8 knots with the crews rocking the boats by holding the mast standing on the decks, so the wind limitation is also needed.

I'm in favour of "on the water judging" but for other rules as Part 2, and letting Kinetics free.

But the most important thing is to have the same playfield for every single sailor, and the best way is to have all free!!

Henry Sleutel, The Netherlands, ISAF International Judge
A late feedback on the article 'Kinetics Free For All', but I was involved in the 2002 Dutch Open Championship Olympic and Paralympic Classes and 2002 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championship.

During the first day at the Dutch Open, 2 jury boats observed the Finn, Laser and Europe courses. In the middle of the last race (approx 17.30 hrs) the jury had to leave the courses to start the protest hearing.

After leaving, the Race Committee observed in all the fleets all that's forbidden in Rule 42 in an unbelievable way.

During the protest hearing the jury received an written request from the Finn Class with the following lines:
"it was a very bad behaviour of the jury to leave the course. The jury had to stay on the course until the finish, otherwise it was impossible to sail fair races; and it was more a demand than a request that in all the following races the jury should be on the course to give the Finn Class fair races"

The answer was: 'the jury shall do their best'.

All the other days the jury was on the course and some boats were penalised.

Are the jury police or is this the future of fair sailing?

ISAF welcomes your feedback on both topics "Services to Sailing" and "Kinetics Free For All". Please email

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

The President Speaks - Kinetics Free For All
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