Jason, thanks for the deep dive.
I think of Frostbiting as training and so this is a great opportunity to get people up to speed on the rules and the likely safety and tactical considerations before Spring sailing starts up.
Having said that, we were in a very similar position this past week with the added issue of the RC boat in the mix. I desperately wanted to close the gate on the two windward boats but the two windward boats didn’t head up as they should and recognize that the gate was being closed. That forced us to leave more room than we wanted (one of the boats did turn away finally) but it also meant that we were farther down the line than we wanted and could not effectively bleed a few seconds to remain on side at the start.
had this been Annapolis I’d have thrown the red flag on both boats even in frostbiting.
I consider this discussion in this forum as fair warning to all competitors that protesting is the right thing to do and while I’m all in favor of Corinthian sailing, that doesn’t mean that people should assume they will be let in at the committee end to enable a tactical advantage by violating the rules.
The Rules of Sailing are much like good manners. They let complete strangers exist in the same spaces politiely and safely. We’ve seen RC hit by boats that were barging and didn’t turn away in time. No one here wants to see that especially since its one of our own boats doing RC. Furthermore, if we allow for any fudging of the rules then we’re not really racing anymore. Certainly not racing fairly.
So, what I would like to see starting now, is a discussion of all the rules of racing so that when we hit the water in the Spring people have had time to digest and understand the rules. We have some great presentations in the archives on the rules and I hope that everyone racing or thinking of racing avails of themselves of those resources and feels free to ask any questions. We have a lot of members with extensive racing, coaching and adjudication experience who can help get people up to speed on the rules.
I agree the RC manual needs updating. I do not understand why in that section it starts with imperial measurements then switches to metric. 3 kts is equal to 5.06 ft/s, stick to imperial you end up with motoring for 2 minutes to cover the 600' starting line. It is interesting to note that with the example of 10 boats 40' long, the 600' starting line places the boats a bit more of a boat length apart if they were equally spaced across the starting line and from the pin and RC boat.
Totally agree, though it is my hope that the people will make it so that the Government doesn't have to do it!
On RC volunteering: 20 years ago or so, it was the understood policy that the rear commodore for racing would ask for RC volunteers two weeks or so before racing began. After
the third or fourth Wednesday night race the rear commodore would assign dates to racers that had not volunteered. It was then the responsibility of the racer who could not meet his or her obligation to find a substitute
thru either swapping or some other means , not the racing commodore’s. This policy was not really dropped so much as it was not needed because racers readily volunteered and because we had more racers than races.
This past season there were 25 high point races and an additional five events which required a RC, two practices and three non-high point races. ( As you can see I’m not including frostbite racing). We
had 33 boats that participated in high point races and 30 boats that participated in three or more high point races. And yet six boats had to pull double duty to cover RC for these 30 races.
I agree that we should be conscious of placing too much burden on new racers and those racing with young children as crew. However we may want to consider our older policy or something of that nature.
So I didn't see either of these events, but it sounds like it might be worthwhile to bring up at least a few of the things that can generically apply at starts and can really confuse things, as well as discuss a bit of the "unwritten rules" when we say "Corinthian Racing" and hopefully have a great discussion that makes us all better racers... What follows is a fairly technical dive into the rules, but might really help further the discussion so we all end up better at the start and not end up in these situations to begin with.
For me "Corinthian" racing generally means a lot "unwritten rules" that boil down to "just because you can doesn't mean you should." For contrast, In "non-Corinthian racing", (call it "the Annapolis crowd" for sake of argument) skippers will frequently use the rules to force other boats into making mistakes (which usually means going right up to the hairy edge of the rules themselves (or bluffing), and will risk fouling themselves to foul another boat to gain even the slightest advantage... and hope they don't get caught... kinda like basketball and hokey), and therefore you end up with a particular aggressive style of racing that scares off newbies. A frequent example of this is a leeward/same tacked boat that is clear ahead trying to intimidate the 'eventual' windward boat that is clear astern to maneuver out of her way before she actually establishes the overlap that gives her the right to do so. So In Corinthian racing, you tend to assume every foul was an unintentional mistake, give the other skipper the benefit of the doubt and allow them an opportunity to clear themselves. Or better yet, in a hairy start where it wasn't clear what actually happened, everyone involved just takes a 720 and then you figure it out over a drink or burger (and the loser buys the round). And we always talk about it from the perspective of learning... so we learn together. It also means that I should be able to ask "did I foul you?" and expect an honest answer.
Another "unwritten Corinthian rule" (especially in large start with varied sizes of boats and a small line... like ours), has to do with how the faster/more maneuverable boats interact with the slower/less maneuverable boats. Having sailed on both, my personal observation is what that generally means is that the faster/more maneuverable boats need to remember that other boats are not as maneuverable as they are and should avoid putting them in difficult situations they can't easily get out of, and the slower/less maneuverable boats need to remember that their lack of maneuverability is not a valid excuse to at least try to stay/get out of someone's way when they are supposed to. And don't hit each other!
For those newer to racing, Rule 14 ("avoiding contact") did a lot to change the sport to prevent some of the really aggressive (and unnecessarily expensive) racing; it's a critical rule in every protest hearing in which contact occurs, and even some when it doesn't. Everyone should understand their obligations under it, and I have read decisions where the boat that was otherwise 'right' lost the protest because they didn't take proper action IAW Rule 14. However, it's also important to understand Rule 43.1(a): a right of way boat is exonerated from breaking Rule 14 if there is no damage or injury (IMPORTANT CAVEAT: "damage" is not qualified here... 43.1(a) is mostly intended for dinghies/small boats in light winds. If two of our boats collide, damage is almost certainly going to occur, so a right of way boat shouldn't bet on being able to use that Rule to get out of Rule 14.
First, congratulations to your victories in both races yesterday. Great sailing as usual.
In response to your post concerning two starts of Uncloudy Day. I acknowledge that as a windward boat I have to keep clear of a leeward boat and in my opinion in both cases I did.
1/ Last week at the start of the second race I observed the right of way of Revolution and stayed clear of her. It led to Uncloudy Day crossing the starting line early. I returned behind the starting line (while avoiding the other boats when doing so) and restarted the race.
2/ During the start of the second race yesterday, I again tried to stay clear of the leeward boat with the right of way and in my opinion I did until Uncloudy Day was clear ahead and I could fall off again and the originally leeward boat crossed astern.
That said, I really appreciate the opportunity to race at Herrington Harbour. I try to race hard but fair. During the racing close situations are unavoidable and I will do my best to eliminate encounters when the other boats may feel uncomfortable.
...... and when I break the rules I do "720" as I always did during my sailing career.
I apologize to all who felt offended and will do my best to keep the distance between Uncloudy Day and other boats larger in the future.
I think the RC manual needs updating then. It states if there are 10 boats averaging 40' in length (we had 11 boats and the average was no where near 40') then the starting line should be 180m. Which is achieved by going 3kts (SOG) for 2 minutes. We actually went for 2.5 mins as I thought the line looked a little short.
When I'm RC, I always setup very early. We were anchored and ready about an hour before the start. If I'm the RC and someone has a concern with the length of the start line, please speak up immediately and someone can pick up the pin and move it. I'll be the first to say I'm not the best at judging what 180m looks like, but we followed the manual and got no feedback on the water so all seemed good to us.
Thanks for posting results Hank!
And thanks to Matt and Mike for taking on Race Committee duties.
I have a couple of observations I want to share.
1) The line was way too short for the number of boats and the conditions. I mention this because I hope that in the future Matt and other RC's will make an appropriate adjustment.
2) Uncloudy Day blatantly fouled Orianna before the start of the 2nd race. Uncloudy Day also fouled Revolution last week in another windward leeward situation. The Rules are clear - if you are the windward boat and a leeward boat is hollaring at you to come up, your obligation is to respond and keep clear. Today, had Joe Davis (Orianna skipper (and racing for just the 3rd time at HHSA)) not put his bow down he would have hit Uncloudy Day - it was very close. Uncloudy Day's failure to keep clear had a cascading effect and several close calls ensued at the pin end of the line.
Beda needs to know that this is unacceptable conduct, particularly at HHSA on a Sunday afternoon. We are not Annapolis. We sail by the Rules and we are nice to each other.
And by the way, if you break a Rule you either take your turns or you go to the room and are DSQ.