June 30, 2015

Getting Ready for Kingston - More Starting

By Doug
We've looked at starting with Olympic Gold Medalist Paul Goodison and multiple-class world champion Mark Bethwaite. We now look at someone who has done both - Paul Foerster's Olympic Gold in 470s and world championships in FDs, J22s, and Sunfish.

This was at Rush Creek Yacht Club in Dallas just after one of my vision procedures. I was unable to sail, so I ran a few practice races in the harbor. Paul had recently won the Fish worlds and I was able to video one of his starting techniques. It had three steps: get the big picture, get speed, and then squirt off the line.


It's good to see the jump that Paul has right off the line. This is harder than it looks because a Fish does not have a Laser's rounded hull. Bearing off and then squirting in a Laser should be easier.

June 18, 2015

Euromasters at Lake Como, Italy

By Doug

When Roberto (ITA) invited me to come to Italy to train with him for the Kingston worlds, I jumped at the chance. I've never made it to a Euromaster event and I found the depth of the field very impressive. There were 70 full-rig sailors from 8 countries with an especially strong team from Spain. Barcelona has a great master's sailing program that included Miguel Noguer and José-Luis Doreste (both Olympic gold medalists) and a very fast Leandro Rosado. All of them came to compete.

Lake Como is interesting because the cold wind from the Alps to the north tries to dominate the prevailing wind from the southwest. The wind can switch from north to south and back again several times a day. There were some tricky shifts at windward marks and it was easy to lose 20 places as I did in one race with a 35º header coming into the mark. This put me back into the 50's, while another shift put me back into the 20's. It was impressive to see how consistent the the top sailors were.

The European masters is a little different because they use your birth year instead of your birth date. Because I turn 65 in November (after Kingston) I was sailing for the first time as a Great Grand Master.

On Friday, the conditions did not cooperate and we did not complete any races.

The first video is from my hat-cam in the third race on Saturday. It's a Sail Pro which takes great HD videos but the sound is muffled. You'll see that this has its advantages.


The start was tricky because the wind had gone left and the pin was very favored. In fact, tacking at the pin almost put you on the port-tack layline. It was a classic case of how far I go down the line to get a good start vs. how quickly I could tack into clear air. I chose the latter to start mid-line to tack ASAP. My thought was that the tight group at the pin would force some to sail on starboard past the layline ...




This was my best race on Saturday, and learning was more important than not finishing.

This next video is from the first race on Sunday. It was pin favored again and it looked to be really crowded. This time, starting in the middle did not look good, so I decided to start closer to the pin and just see how close I could get ...


Here's what this start looked like from the pin. I'm just to the right of this man's arm and am almost close hauled. It was very pin-favored ...


The wind died with Alessandro Castelli (ITA) leading nicely, and the race was again abandoned. It's good that my camera does not record sounds well because there was a lot of yelling at the start in Italian, French, German, and Spanish (you can hear some of it if you crank up the volume). People later asked if I had learned any new sailing terms and I said yes, but I'm not sure in what language.

The weather did not cooperate on Sunday and no more races were completed, but I got just what I needed for Kingston - a list of things to work on. Leandro Rosado (ESP) won with with José-Luis Doreste (ESP) right behind. They are awesome sailors, and there were many other excellent sailors who were better at pointing upwind and playing the shifts in wind lanes. With only three races completed, I was unable to drop my 23rd and ended in 11th place overall. You can see the results here starting on page 9.  I was one of 3 GGMs competing in the full rig so I came home with my first win as a GGM. 

It was a superb location with a lot of talent. I am grateful to Christine and Roberto for being such gracious hosts and to all of their friends, as well as all of the excellent sailors who helped make this trip to Italy so awesome. Pam and I will definitely be back.

More photos can be seen here.

June 09, 2015

A Poet's House

By Doug
Dave alert: don't read this post because it has nothing to do with sailing.

Christine is practicing her English while I practice my French, so some of our conversations are interesting. She asked me if I'd like to visit a "large house" that belonged to a poet, so I said sure.

What happened was so astounding that I'm left with few words in either language.

Every house needs an entrance.
With an amphitheater and a view.
And a courtyard.
And a plane they flew in World War I.


With walkways.


And a boat.


And a personal mausoleum...


...with another view.
And a bigger boat.


And a garden with the bigger boat in the background.
We never did get to see the inside of this poet's large house, so we'll just have to come back. 

June 08, 2015

Lake Garda

By Doug
I accepted an invitation from Grand Master sailor Roberto (ITA 206202) and his wife Christine to visit northern Italy to train for the Kingston worlds. They live on Lake Garda which was on my bucket list and it has exceeded all of my expectations.

Lake Garda is so long that the conditions are different depending on where you sail. And the strong northerlies from the Italian Alps can change to a southerly as the day gets warmer. The mountains rise 2,000 meters (more than a mile) and it reminds me of the Columbia River Gorge, but on a larger scale. The racing on Saturday was followed on Sunday by coaching by one of Italy's best Laser sailors (thank you Marco).

How good are the conditions? Robert Scheidt is here training for the upcoming Rio Olympics.

How good is the food? Let's just say that this is not where you would come to lose weight.

How good are the local sailors? Very good, and their local knowledge is amazing as they know just what parts of the cliffs to sail beside.

On Thursday we travel to Lake Como for the next circuit event in the Euromasters, and there are about 80 full-rig entries from all over Europe. Should be a blast.

Don't come to Italy to lose weight!

Riva is at the northern end and hosts many major regattas like this right now. I've lived in Canada, Australia, and the US, and their combined ages is less than the age of this town.

Training partners.

Cool northern breeze from the Alps.

June 02, 2015

When to Tack Revisited... Again

By Doug
A previous post looked at the relative importance of sailing the course, competition, and conditions. Several readers of this blog have told me about a fantastic new site that helps you actually practice when to tack.



You're red sailing in actual conditions against black which is "blindly following" the strategy at SailRacer.net. The conditions are real and not computer-generated. Here are two strategies for trying to beat black:
  • There's a dotted line between the port and starboard laylines, and it moves back and forth as the wind shifts. Tacking when you cross this line keeps you in the middle of the course, but it means that you're sometimes tacking on a knock to stay in the middle.
  • If you ignore these lines and simply tack on a knock, it works well but sometimes pushes you out to a layline too early so you miss playing the shifts later.
The second one has served me well over the years, and I've never tried the first that seems to work surprisingly well. I'll have to try that one too.

But watch out for those persistent shifts, especially at the top of the course! In this example, red got it right, while black is probably paying the price for using its compass too close to the mark:


This is great stuff!

May 14, 2015

Getting Ready for Kingston - Starting

By Doug
In a previous post, we looked at how Olympic Gold Medalist Paul Goodison starts in a really good fleet. Here's another creative example.

The starting line for the Grand Masters at the 2007 Worlds in Spain was really long. The pin was a yacht with a tall mast and there was a hill in the distance, so line sights were not the problem. What was the problem was the number of boats and the length of the line... it seemed impossible to get the "big picture" with the other boats, where there were holes in the line, etc.

To make things more challenging, the rules stated that if you were over the line in the last 90 seconds, you had to go around the ends, which simply could not be done from most of the line. So competitors had to commit early, line up, be conservative, hope that those around would behave, and then hope for the best.

Mark Bethwaite (AUS) came up with a much better solution. Mark has won a dozen world championships in everything from J24's and Solings to Lasers. With 3 minutes to go, he started 30 meters to windward of the committee boat and sailed parallel to the line on starboard. From there, he was able to see the big picture, where the holes were, and who he wanted to start with.


From there, he would simply sail through the line and grab the position that he liked.


And in spite of intense competition, Mark won another world championship. Here are additional comments from Mark:


The Laser Masters Worlds in Roses Spain in 2007 is a dim memory but my main recollection is that after meticulous training and gear preparation, my sailing bag never made it through Heathrow to Barcelona so I had to scramble for a sail, battens, tiller, control lines, other equipment and even sailing clothes just to get on the water!  I am forever grateful to you, Geoff Lucas, Bruce Martinson and others for assistance.  Winning that regatta after such a disastrous start was a "sweet victory" as politicians are fond of saying!

You are right in your recollection of my starting - I have developed an approach to sailing which I would describe as scripted/unscripted.  An important element of the scripted part is pre regatta training to establish fitness and fast settings with good calibration to be able to replicate them to achieve reliable speed. That then lets you get the head out of the boat to focus on the unscripted bit.  

Applied to the starting situation, the scripted part means getting out early, establishing port and starboard tack mean compass readings and tidal current if any.  Optimising set up by "cranking up" with a less hostile competitor, plus the usual  establishing transits and the favoured end of the line are essential parts of the script.

I like then to relax, stretch in the boat and observe wind, waves and competitors preparations and of course any starts prior to mine.  I start racing mentally at the 5 minute signal - starting the countdown, sailing flat out on port from the Committee Boat, confirming 4 minutes, sailing flat out on starboard to bring me upwind of mid line at 3 minutes.  

My last minute port and starboard readings will confirm or otherwise the favoured end so I then run back across the line (or outside the pin if that end favoured), gybe and approach the fleet on port to keep options open for as long as possible.

The unscripted part starts with looking for lower boat density an acceptable distance from the favoured end, tacking to starboard between 60 and 90 seconds, working through to the front stalls, defending that position against all and sundry and aiming to have room to accelerate just before the gun.  Back to scripted by sailing flat out to hold the lane while remaining aware of the spatial distribution of boats on the race course.

Back to unscripted again - there is no more important tack in the race than the first after the start, whether to consolidate a good start, recover from a bad one or to head towards the next heading shift.  How to determine that next heading shift is a key question I have endeavoured to answer in Chapter 29.4 "Cutting the Corners" that my father Frank asked me to write for Higher Performance Sailing. Of one thing I am sure - my sailing now is less scripted than ever before as we are always dealing with dynamics - ever changing wind and spatial distribution of competitors. A script has no chance of success in this environment and even if the knowns of tide or geography favour one side or the other, how you get there and back to the next mark will always be improved by unscripted responses to real time observations of wind and competitors.

This takes me back to the statement above about how time in the boat establishes the virtuous circle of reliable speed, more time to get the head out of the boat, earlier and better analysis of the wind and competitor environment, better real time decision making and better boat positioning on the course.


Mark is fast in all conditions and I have had the pleasure of sailing Lasers with him for 40 years now. We'll be training together the week before the Kingston Master Worlds.

For those travelling by air, a word of advice: like Mark, I too have arrived at a Worlds with no sailing gear. Plan ahead and put your sailing essentials in your carry-on luggage.

Paul Goodison has won Olympic Gold and Mark has won worlds in multiple classes. The next starting expert we'll look at has done both.

April 24, 2015

When to Slow Down

By Doug
We had a local Laser event last weekend and something interesting happened in one of the races. I was on a run chasing a really fast, talented 17-year old sailor who was just in front. Each time I tried to go left he defended by going further. With the rest of the fleet catching us, I decided to go to his right and we pulled even. Then, about 20 boat lengths from the mark, I slowly pulled in my main sheet to slow down.


The plan was to have him edge ahead and then dig in quickly five boat lengths from the mark, get inside, and get buoy room. But the plan did not work because he saw me pulling my main sheet and said "that's something I've never seen before" and pulled in his main sheet to also slow down.

Hence, this blog post. With all of the emphasis in our sport with going faster, why would anyone want to actually slow down?

The idea was first described to me in 1971 by Frank Bethwaite who was a big fan of Manfred Curry. Frank thought that Manfred's work was the biggest contribution to sailing in the previous 50 years - something that can be said about Frank's work today. One of Manfred's few inventions that did not catch on was actually a brake for slowing down:


Not very subtle, but there are definitely times you want to slow down. In fact, in the last race I made a bonehead mistake that was very costly.

I'm one point behind this 17-year old who is leading the event, and I'm leading the race at the first weather mark. It's tight and there are two boats on my hip:


Sure enough, we're headed and I cannot make the mark. So, what do I do? I jibe around, get enough speed to tack inside the next boat on the layline, fouled him, and then had to do my circles. Pretty stupid, but I was still ahead of the quick teenager. But in doing my circles, I tipped, had trouble getting up again, and found myself in last place.

What should I have done?

I should have slowed and stopped by pushing out my boom. After the two passed, I could have put in two quick tacks and rounded in third place. But to do this, I had to realize earlier that making the mark was a low percentage move. Sailing more conservatively is much better than hoping that things would somehow work out. I got greedy, which rarely works with mark roundings, and it cost me the event.

Here's another example. Green and red are even and red looks like it can get inside green at the mark. If red is skilled and it's windy, it's almost impossible for green to defend against this:


Unless green slows down so that red does not have the chance to get inside:


Green cannot do this within three boat lengths because it has to make a seaworthy rounding. But anticipating red's move further away gives green a safe rounding, and then the option of tacking if it wants or just continuing to cover red.

Slowing down is counterintuitive and definitely works  when you need it. In the first and third above examples, it works best when you disguise what you're doing - something that Manfred Curry clearly did not do!

April 14, 2015

Holly Crap! I'm In Front... Now What?

By Doug
Apologies for the delay - had the flu.
I wrote a post about how really good sailors can take the lead at the end of a windward leg by playing a persistent shift. And sometimes a middle or back-of-the-fleet sailor will just happen to get it right, and take the accidental lead.

Several readers asked an interesting question - how does this person hold on when they're not used to leading the fleet - when they're being chased by really good sailors.


Here's what happened to me once: I found myself on the top reach just in front of a fellow who later won the North American's. He screamed and yelled at me, I got rattled, and he passed me.

That's the bad news. The good news is that in all of my years of sailing, this has only happened to me the one time. The people at the front of the fleet are smart, friendly, helpful, and understanding that you might be way out of your league.

Experienced sailors in the front row know that it's better to cooperate to get away from the pack than to start messing with each other. It's not in any rule book, but you'll find it on most race courses.

So, you'll hear things like "nice going" and "let's get ahead of the pack."

As an inexperienced sailor, you actually have two advantages:
  • Many middle-of-the-fleet sailors have good speed but get bad starts. They end up sailing the first leg in bad air and they never recover. But put this person in the lead on a reach with clear air and they are often really quick. It's not unusual to see them continue to do well and even win some races.
  • You get to watch and copy the best sailors. You cannot read their minds or tactics, but you can see where they're sitting, how their controls are set up, how they play the pressure, etc. I learned how not to do this in race 3 at the Capetown Worlds and how to do this properly next year at the Chilean Worlds.
So when you're in the lead, watch, learn, and enjoy. As Pam likes to say, weather conditions are always better at the front of the fleet.

March 07, 2015

What Game Are You Learning To Play?

by Pam


I have always rejected the 'time on the water' teaching, believing that spending time perfecting a bad habit would just make me really good at being bad. I wanted to learn perfect technique first and then spend time practicing that. Was it really necessary to re-invent the wheel and go through the time and frustration of learning what does and doesn’t work? I'm now questioning my rejection of the 'time on the water' teaching.

At the Laser Masters Worlds this past September in France, I got to be a fly on the wall and watch the interaction of the sailors and listen to the chatter. There was so much talent there and everyone had an opinion. All this free advice was being given and yet many of the top sailors didn't appear to be paying attention or listening to each other.

I listened with interest to the advice of Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing as he described the choice between the full rig or Radial. Steve chose correctly for the conditions and went with the Radial and won his division. Al Clark, like Doug, chose a full rig and joked with Doug about how they chose the wrong rig but at least Al hadn't done it two years in a row. Brett Beyer won his division with all firsts and I listened as he talked about going head to head with Al Clark, knowing he couldn't beat Al on boat speed in the light conditions and had strategically split from him when Al didn't have to time react and follow. We spent time talking with multiple sailors who won their divisions. And many more who were former world champions. With 500 sailors there, it was a Who's Who type of event.

I can't recall specific examples or conversations but over and over again, I was struck with the impression of being surrounded by what felt like a humble arrogance. Confidence might be a better word. At that level, the guys don't learn much from each other. They talk at each other and share their experience about what is working but they aren't seeking advice from others or listening to it. They've learned there is more than one way to do the same thing. They've perfected their own techniques and they sail their own race. They know their competition's strengths and weaknesses and they sail tactically against them but they make no attempt to copy the techniques of others. I had never really been around so much confidence after racing. It was a real treat.

The Final Beat is an entertaining blog and an excellent resource for pointing a sailor to the best information and expert advice for a sailor to get better, quicker. I've often pointed out something on the blog to Doug and asked if he'd tried that. The answer is usually no. When various high level sailors have talked about technique, I've asked Doug if he has tried that. The answer is usually no.

What I didn't understand is that Doug's answer isn't arrogance. The response to most of my "have you ever tried …" questions is something along the lines of 'he's a better sailor than me in those conditions and he gets to practice in those conditions all the time and I'll never be able to beat him by trying to copy him.' Similarly, Brett Beyer would never attempt to copy Al Clark's techniques either. Training with them at the venue before the event is a different matter.

The learning process (or should I say training process) is more tactical. It's a matter of learning the strengths and weaknesses of their competition and then matching it against their own and finding a way to use it against them. That's a totally different game than I've been playing. Doug calls it sailing the course vs the competition. He decided long ago that he would rarely be the fastest around the course and there was a higher percentage of success in sailing strategically against his competition.

Long before Doug arrives at an event, he knows who will be competing, who is good in light, medium, or heavy conditions, who chokes, who pulls rabbits out of hats, who has been on the water the most, who is winning, and he usually has a pretty good guess of who will win the event. He is always gathering information about his competition, even during fun weekend sailing. His mind is always geared toward observing and finding the strengths and weaknesses.

Definitely a different game than I play. I just show up and hope for the best. 

February 23, 2015

Kingston, Here We Come!

By Doug
I was asked about my preparation for the next Master Worlds in Kingston, so here are the four things I'll be doing.

Lasers are sailed in three different conditions: light winds (up to 5 knots), medium winds (for me, 5 to 15 knots), and strong winds (for me, over 15). I do not know of a single Laser sailor who has world-class speed in all three, so we have to specialize.

We don't have to worry about light conditions because a race at a Laser Worlds will not start with winds under 5 knots, so this leaves medium and strong. As discussed here, your weight dictates your best conditions and what you need to work on:
  • If you're light, then you need to be fast in medium conditions and you need to work on being in great shape.
  • If you're heavy, you need to work on your medium conditions and you had better be in shape to do well in a breeze.
So, here's my own plan:
  • I'm light and my medium speed is good, but I'll brush up by (1) practicing at night. I have found that this is the best way to get a "feel" of what is fast in a Laser.
  • Kingston will probably not have many windy days, but some bad finishes like I had at the last Worlds at Hyères will kill any chances of doing well. So, I'm focusing on my (2) cardio on an elliptical machine and (3) strength on a hiking bench.
This plan is verified by the conditions at Kingston's airport:
"The wind is over 6 knots at 10 AM no less than 65% of the days, and from
noon to 1600 hours it holds above 6 knots over 85% of the days."
Translation: we can expect medium conditions.

This will be my final event as a Grand Master, so I'll be sailing a full rig. For the final preparations, I'll be (4) training on Italy's Lake Como with Roberto Bini (ITA), then competing with him at the Euro Masters, and then training with Mark Bethwaite (AUS) and others in Kingston before the Worlds start.

 It should be an awesome event!

February 11, 2015

Dave Perry on RRS 43.1(a) and 43.1(b)

by Pam
Dave Perry
Dave Perry is recognized worldwide as an authority and expert the Racing Rules of Sailing.  When I reached out to Dave for his assistance, I was pleasantly surprised by his willingness to go above and beyond in his reply as well as his willingness to continue the dialogue with answers to numerous follow up questions. Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to provide us with his interpretation of RRS 43.1(a) and 43.1(b) as well as sharing some insights into the history and purpose of these rules. 

For more on the rules, get Dave Perry’s two books Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing through 2016 (which includes the complete rule book) and Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes available at US Sailing, 800 US SAIL-1, or www.ussailing.org.

Posted with permission of Dave Perry:

I am happy to give you my personal opinions on the hypothetical questions you sent me. These are solely my personal opinions.

Rules 43.1(a) and 43.1(b) are independent rules which address two separate issues dealing with the wearing of clothing and equipment when racing.

Rules 43.1(a) is a stand-alone requirement. It clearly states that competitors are not allowed to wear or carry any clothing or equipment with the purpose or intent of increasing their weight. In other words, if part of the reason the person wore something was to increase their weight, that breaks rule 43.1(a)...period. This has nothing to do with the overall weight limit described in 43.1(b).

Rule 43.1(b) begins "Furthermore...", which means "in addition to the requirement in rule 43.1(a)..." Nothing in rule 43.1(b) is an exception to the clear requirement in rule 43.1(a).

Rule 43.1(b) puts a maximum weight on all clothing and equipment. The clothing and equipment referred to in rule 43.1(b) is clothing and equipment worn for purposes other than increasing the weight of the sailor (which is banned completely by rule 43.1(a)).

The history of 43.1(a) is that for a long time (up through 1972) sailors, such as Finn sailors, increased their body weight by wearing extra weight in the form of sweat shirts and other water absorbing garments that, when wet, would weigh up to 100 pounds. In 1973, the IYRU (former ISAF) decided that was unhealthy due to back and knee injuries, and instituted rule 22.3(a) (a ban on wearing clothing and equipment for the purpose of increasing weight) which was word for word the same as current rule 43.1(a). But then they added rule 22.3(b) which said “A class which desires to make an exception to rule 22.3(a) may do so, but the total weight of the clothing and equipment cannot exceed 20 kilos. The racing rules continued this way (prohibiting the wearing of clothing and equipment for the purpose of increasing weight, but allowing it *if* the class rules allowed it) but shifted the maximum weight down to 15kg, unless the class stated a lesser or greater weight, in which case the max weight was set at 20 kilos.

I was part of the first Laser generation (first hull was #931) that wore water bottles in the 70’s when we raced. I think the Laser class max was set at 10 kilos (which was basically two water bottles, a t-shirt, a PFD, pair of shorts, watch, socks and Aigle boots). My back is now permanently injured with two degenerated discs.

In 1997, ISAF completely banned the wearing of clothing and equipment for the purpose of increasing the sailor's weight, again for health reasons. That ban is currently rule 43.1(a). The way they completely banned it was to remove from the rule the exception clause that had been in the book from 1973-1996 which allowed the classes to permit the wearing of clothing and equipment for the purpose of increasing weight. Note that rule 43 cannot be changed by class rules or the sailing instructions (see rule 86.1).

The answers to your four Cases therefore are (and this is without studying the current Laser class rules other than what you quote in your blog, which I read in its entirety):

Hypothetical Facts
Case 1:
Sailor A wears an additional shirt that has been specifically designed to allow for the insertion of lead weights and weights are inserted, however, the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 7.5 kg, as measured according to Appendix H, which was strategically calculated to be just below the 8 kg limit imposed by RRS 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?

Case 2:
Sailor A wears an additional shirt that is heavy when wet solely for the purpose of adding weight, however, the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 7 kg, as measured according to Appendix H, which is well below the 8 kg limit imposed by 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?

Case 3:
Sailor A wears an additional shirt that is heavy when wet for the primary purpose of warmth with the added benefit that it also adds additional weight, however, the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 4 kg, as measured according to Appendix H, which is well below the 8 kg limit imposed by 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?

Case 4:
Sailor A, due to financial limitations, wears technical sailing gear that is old and outdated and made of heavier materials, therefore the total weight of Sailor A's clothing is 8.5 kg as measured according to Appendix H, which is in violation of the 8 kg limit imposed by 43.1(b). Is Sailor A in violation of 43.1(a)?

Case 1 - yes, because the purpose of wearing the clothing and equipment is to increase the sailor's weight.

Case 2 - yes, for same reason as Case 1.

Case 4 - clearly the sailor breaks 43.1(b) unless the class rules permit a higher weight or the sailor is on a boat required to be equipped with lifelines (see rule 43.1(c)). Whether they also break 43.1(a) depends on the reason they wore that gear.

Case 3 - this is the tricky one, because it becomes a gray area between wearing a garment for warmth or protection, and wearing it for the purpose of adding weight. Setting aside the issue that some people will try to take advantage of this gray area by "saying" the gear was for warmth or protection but "knowing truthfully" that they are wearing it to increase their weight, the answer to whether Sailor A is breaking rule 43.1(a) is in the truthful answer to this question: why did the sailor choose to wear that garment?

Case 89 is the only ISAF Case on this, and stemmed from a situation in, I believe, the 1996 Olympics where a top finishing 470 crew, I believe, was wearing a camelback garment with a water bottle inserted, with a drinking tube attached. The crew was protested for breaking rule 61.1(a) (equivalent to rule 43.1(a) in the current book). The crew claimed the purpose of wearing the garment was to provide hydration during the race which otherwise was very difficult as the crew was on the wire most the race. The protestor claimed the purpose of wearing the garment was to increase the sailor's weight. The Jury could not bring itself to DSQ the boat, but soon after the Games, Case 89 was published, with the intent to ban the wearing of clothing or equipment that had the effect of increasing the sailor's weight when it was not otherwise necessary to wear that garment. ISAF's opinion was that crews could find a way to put a water bottle in the boat and get drinks from it during the race without wearing it. ISAF also realized that windsurfers could not realistically drink water while racing unless wearing it, so they are allowed to, by exception to the rule in their Appendix B.

Case 89

Question: Does rule 43.1(a) permit a competitor to wear or otherwise attach to his person a beverage container while racing?

Answer: No. Except on a windsurfer or a kiteboard, there is no necessity for such a practice, and therefore its primary purpose must be considered to be to increase the competitor’s weight. (Note that rules B4 and F4 modify rule 43.1(a) for windsurfing competition and kiteboard racing.)

So back to your Case 3, if the sailor truthfully wore the extra layer so their weight would be increased, then they broke 43.1(a). But if it was necessary for them to wear the extra layer to stay warm, and the additional weight of the extra garment increased their weight, that to me doesn't break rule 43.1(a). But, if they intentionally wear that extra layer on the outside of their other gear, and they let it get soaked such that it increases their weight when they could have worn it inside a waterproof spray top, etc., then I'd be more inclined to say the sailor wore that extra layer for the purpose of increasing their weight, and broke rule 43.1(a). Otherwise they would have made the effort to keep that layer dry in order to stay warmer.

***

The Case 3 grey area causes me concern. It seems that two sailors could be wearing the exact same clothing but for different reasons and one would be legal and the other illegal. So ... following a suggestion by Dave, I joined the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club (an organization that is a member of US Sailing) and have asked them to submit a revised set of hypotheticals to US Sailing for an official interpretation. Not only is anyone seeking membership with Scuttlebutt automatically accepted, but membership is free. My kind of sailing club. And when I asked them if they'd be willing to submit the hypotheticals to the US Sailing Appeals Committee on my behalf, they immediately agreed to help. To be continued ...
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