Doug won’t write this post but we’ve talked about it often over the years and it’s a topic that I find interesting. Then we saw an example play out this past week where some zigged and others zagged. I believe it is what separates those at the front from the rest of the fleet.
Have you ever observed the mark roundings on a keelboat course on a windy day with traffic converging as the crews set and douse spinnakers? Ever noticed how the front of the fleet rounds in almost complete silence with flawless crew work, the skippers communicate with each other with simple glances or nods. The loudest thing you hear is the spinnaker pop as it fills and the sound of waves as they disappear downwind. It’s a thing of beauty to watch. Then the middle of the fleet starts rounding and you start to hear the skippers shouting ‘starboard’ and ‘room’ as they get close to the mark, which is followed by calling out instructions to their crew. Then, it gets even louder as the back of the fleet arrive, skippers shouting at each other and at their crews and the crews shouting amongst themselves, feet pounding on the deck and poles being slammed around and dropped as things go horribly wrong. It’s hilarious to watch and such an incredible contrast from the front to the back.
We are all subject to the same Rules of Racing but we don’t all play the game the same way. The back of the fleet tends to be very rigid, tacking on each other, enforcing their starboard rights, often without any good reason other than to just keep someone behind them. Their strategy is often just to beat so and so. They protest each other and argue about the rules. I don’t find it fun. It gets a little better in the middle but oh how I would love it if we could all sail like I hear they do in the front.
There are unwritten rules at the front … get clear of the fleet, separate, and then we’ll play. They work together, they don’t tack on each other out of the starting gate, they let each other sail their own race, and sometimes even let each other “play through” so to speak so that they can separate from the pack and go play and learn from each other and they all just keep getting better and better. There is a fluidity, a give and take and they save their battles for the end when they know how many points separate them and then everything they do is for a strategic purpose that yields x number of points. They don’t protest each other over technicalities and things that clearly do not yield an advantage (it's not honorable). When they do see clear infractions without circles, they note it for sure and it factors into their respect for the sailor but they usually let it slide and balance it against everything else ... he’s sailing better than me and is going to beat me anyway … or he’s sailing worse than me and I’m going to beat him anyway … or sure he may have just grabbed a point but I lost 5 with stupid mistakes so I’m not going to make a big deal of it, etc. They embrace the essence of the rules … safe, fair and fun competition … more than they do the specific rules. Sure, there are times when a protest is necessary but it is usually based on things that do matter or happen to be a zero tolerance issue of a particular sailor (like Rule 42).
So, when Doug was faced with someone accusing him of breaking a rule, he was thinking like those at the front of the fleet. When he consulted with a class representative who is also a front of the fleet sailor, and offered to toss the races, the representative was also thinking like those at the front. In the grand scheme of things, it was irrelevant because there was no harm, no foul. When that resulted in others being all up in arms and insisting that it darn well does matter, it still didn’t matter to Doug and he was still willing to withdraw and not waste his time on the matter. However, not being a front of the fleet sailor, I wanted to get down in the mud and "wrestle with the pigs" and don’t want him to concede the point unless it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
In the meantime, Doug has moved on but asked me to go ahead and remove his World’s journals from the blog. In being transparent, there was an implied agreement of trust between he and the readers and that trust has been violated. It’s unfortunate. Prior to having a blog, during the Worlds he simply sent out a daily email to friends who were interested, supportive and offered suggestions. He’ll probably go back to that format.
Yes, we are all supposed to follow the same rules and play the same game. But there are two different ways of playing the game and following the rules. Do I want to encourage new sailors to be rigid, inflexible and judgmental of their fellow sailors or do I want to encourage them rise above it all, embrace the essence of the rules with a slightly different concept of honorable sailing? I play one game and Doug plays another. His game and the people he plays with seem to have a hell of a lot more fun.
The World's journals have been removed. That's the game Doug plays … he moves forward while others sail themselves to the back of the fleet. The posts and comments with all the drama have not been removed. I think it's educational and shows the game that most of us play. Which one is more appealing to you?
Update: see more in this post.
Update: see more in this post.
We are all poorer for the journals being removed.ReplyDelete
Sign me up for the email distribution in the future.
IT is really unfortunate to lose such great knowledge and experiences. I'm new to the laser master class and your great sharing of knowledge has quicken the learning curve. Please add me to the email list as well. Keep blogging please!!!Delete
With pleasure - please use the Email Us (see the the link at the top of the right column) so we have your address .Delete
I echo Michael's sentiment. However, I completely understand Doug's reasons for it.ReplyDelete
This is a great post and is, in my experience, absolutely true.ReplyDelete
Whilst I understand it I'm sad to hear Doug's decision. I'm sure there are far more people lurking and enjoying the posts than commenting - I'm a prime example.
I look forward to reading more in future and enjoying the commentary for what it is: a celebration of the joys (and challenges!) of racing.
Sign me up for the email distro list also. mjohns77 at aol dot com. Hey anonymous, how about revealing your name?ReplyDelete
wearing clothing with the intention of absorbing water and adding weight is cheating. And a good way to injure your back. next time , change down to a smaller sailReplyDelete
I don't think it is "cheating" when there is a funny rule that you are not aware of at the moment. Maybe illegal. I do an illegal thing every time I sail. My Cunningham is hooked into the sail, not tied. Easier to rig and unrig... might not do it at the world championships, but if you don't beat anyone who cares.ReplyDelete
I'm still waiting on ISAF and US Sailing to get back to me on interpretation 43.1(a) and 43.1(b) to find out if, in fact, wearing heavy when wet clothing that is under 8 kg is illegal. This interesting article in the New York Times back in 1993 in the early stages of banning of weight jackets seems to lend credence to what I was told by a US Sailing Judge regarding the evolution of rules being first to ban the use of weight jackets and then to prevent other methods of increasing weight by imposing a maximum total gear weight.ReplyDelete
Is there any way at major championships like the Masters Worlds to request an interpretation of a Rule like this from the Jury?ReplyDelete
I seem to remember from the days when I used to do Masters Worlds that sometimes competitors would write a note to the jury requesting a clarification of the SIs or something like that, and the question and answer would be posted on the regatta notice board.
I also noticed that on the RRS - Look to Windward blog (which hasn't been updated for 4 months - hope it's not dead) there is a reference to a case from the ISAF Call Book related to Rule 43.1 (a) which is interesting but doesn't directly deal with the case in point. Full text of the post below...
Rule 43.1(a), Competitor Clothing and Equipment
A competitor may not wear or otherwise attach to his person a beverage container.
Does rule 43.1(a) permit a competitor to wear or otherwise attach to his person a beverage container while racing
No. Except on a sailboard, 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 rule B2.1(b) modifies rule 43.1(a) for windsurfing competition.)
Yep ... I saw that case and another which sort of contradicted that case (a layer worn for warmth that also had the effect of increasing weight wasn't illegal). I have inquiries out to ISAF, US Sailing and a US Sailing Judge on how to seek clarification of the rules. From what I can tell ISAF requires a Judge to seek clarification ... regular folks can't do it. It will be interesting to see if there is a contraction in interpretation between ISAF, US Sailing and the ILCA. I haven't sent anything off to ILCA yet since I thought it would be better to have the interpretation of ISAF and US Sailing for them to refer to. I'm more concerned about the Laser Class Rule about the non-floating clothing. That one seems much more relevant and something I might violate every time I sail since I don't use technical fabrics the majority of the time that I sail.Delete
I do find it interesting that competitors are allowed to protest on these grounds. It has to be done by those appointed and they have to fill out a report.
Clarification ... competitors are not allowed to protest on these grounds.Delete
It has absolutely no relevance to how Rule 43.1(a) should be interpreted for Laser sailing, but I did come across this rule on the US Sailing website in the rules for the US Team Sailing Championship. Obviously they had felt the need (perhaps based on previous experience at this event) to extend and clarify Rule 43.1(a) ...Delete
10.4 Competitors shall not wear wet clothing for the purpose of increasing weight. Water bottle or weight jackets are prohibited. Clothes worn on the water must be reasonable in terms of weather conditions, and all clothes worn for additional warmth shall be worn inside foul weather gear.
Seem to be an attempt to prohibit wet sweaters worn outside other gear and clearly not worn for warmth.
That SI about competitors not being allowed to protest certain violations is fairly standard at major events as I recall. In fact a version of it is included in the RRS Appendix L (Sailing Instructions Guide.) Not sure why it is used. Maybe it's to inhibit competitors from becoming "neighborhood watch" officers, sniffing around for minor violations which did not affect them directly and personally? Was that ever a problem?
Back on topic:ReplyDelete
I haven't sailed all that long, but haven't noticed that the rules are interpreted differently at the front vs. the back of the fleet. In fact, as I am often in the latter group, friendly chatter may develop as we are trying to round the marks in a somewhat seaman-like manner, while the leaders are disappearing in the distance.
Good point Wavedancer. I think Pam was right when she said that the way the sailors use the rules varies up and down the fleet. Sailors at the front are smart enough to prioritize sailing clean and fast and separating from the fleet, over using the rules to slow down or get into a duel with a single competitor. At least not until that really matters right at the end of a regatta and there is one guy you just have to beat to win the regatta.Delete
But I'm not so sure she is right in implying that tolerance of rule violations by others or by oneself is very different.
In fact, isn't there some famous example of a top sailor retiring from a very important race while winning a race simply because he touched a mark and nobody else noticed (in the days before alternative penalties were introduced)? The violation didn't give him an advantage. Nobody else knew. But he knew. So he retired. Can anybody remember who was involved in that famous incident?
It would be interesting to see the statistics on the number of protests at the top versus the middle or back at significant events. That would be a more definitive answer to the question of rule violation tolerance at the top versus the middle or bottom. But then that might lead to the question of which end of the fleet breaks rules more frequently but you'd have to add a discount factor for the back since many are new and still learning the rules.Delete
For sure the personal intolerance of one's own rule violations is a matter of personal character that is probably no different throughout the fleet. Over time, those who normally sail near you will either respect you or disrespect you as a result which will eventually factor into their tolerance or intolerance but I think the guys at the front will still be more tolerant even of those that they disrespect simply because getting involved in rule enforcement is a distraction that is rarely worth their time.
Perhaps the famous example you are thinking of was Peter Barrett at the 1964 Olympics: http://www.ussailing.org/racing/championships/adult/singlehandedchamps/previous-winners/previous-winners-sportsmanship/
That example involving Peter Barrett is a great example of what I was talking about Pam but it was some other similar example I was thinking of. Perhaps it will come to me. Isn't i amazing that people are still holding up that as an example of good sportsmanship 50 years later? Who would be talking about him if he had (merely) won the gold medal?ReplyDelete
I don't think there are a lot of protests taken to the room at the bottom of Laser fleets. At the end of the day who wants to miss two hours of drinking at the bar with friends just so you can finish 63rd instead of 69th? Speaking purely personally as a back and middle of the fleet sailor I have only been to the protest room as a competitor once in over 30 years of Laser racing, and that was in my first year or two of racing when someone protested me for tacking too close to him. Now I would do my turns if that happened but I was green and so went to the room. I lost. A good learning experience. Never again!
But wasn't there a recent Master Worlds Championship that was actually decided in the protest room after the final race? Brisbane 2012 Grand Masters Full Rigs I think?
You have a point. I usually find the absolute tail end of a fleet to all be new and quite tolerant of each other. It's loud for sure but more for lack of control and laughing rather than complaining. I do find that the middle tends to be the roughest place for me to sail. In the rare instance when I somehow end up at the front, the guys are quite tolerant and treat me as a speed bump as they go around me or they talk me through mark roundings or some other difficulty I'm having. In the middle I'm frequently sailed off the course and tacked on and I see alot of bad behavior that I could certainly protest but I don't. I only protest Doug and I do it as often as possible often for no violation whatsoever. He gets a kick out of doing circles and still beating me.Delete
Indeed there was a protest in Brisbane which Doug says is rare. I don't have enough experience to know if that's correct. Tracy Usher lost the protest. Last day of racing, last race and he too has a blog and wrote about the racing. His conclusions sound sort of like most front of the fleet sailors, admitting he gave away more points with his own mistakes ...
"Losing on a protest is definitely an "in & out, heart-brrreak!" kind of moment but it is a part of the way the sailing game is played. In the end, I finished second overall, securing that with a race to spare, against a tough fleet and in conditions I'm not normally known for sailing well in. As well, Wolfgang sailed extremely consistently the entire week only finishing out of the top four in one race. In the end we were separated by only five points and if I'm honest with myself I can (and have in these writeups) identify several situations in the regatta where I gave him more than enough points to overcome that deficit." ... http://sfbaylaser.blogspot.com/
Pam, I really don't think those at the front of the fleet have a higher tolerance for rule violations. Quite the opposite in fact - they're playing for big stakes and won't let anything come between them and their objective.ReplyDelete
What they do do is not let others' rule violations get in the way of the bigger picture. So they'll wave a port tacker through if it makes it easier for them get to the favoured right hand side without being lee bowed. They won't push an argument about a mark overlap because they know that, right or wrong, the argument could cost them more time in the race.
This is very different to the laissez-faire approach I think you are describing, where the rules are treated as secondary to a higher level racing game. Most front-of-fleeters are very respectful of the rules and know them inside out. If Doug had been in first place in Hyeres, then I bet half the top ten would have happily protested him over this.
Tillerman- you might be thinking of the 1963 Star Worlds. The guys leading the regatta (Burnham and Reynolds) bumped a mark when way in front and promptly retired from the race. There were no drops from the series so they had to carry the race, and ended up seventh overall rather than first. I have a feeling Buddy Melges tells the story in his book, so you may have seen it there.
The point is not that the guys at the front of the fleet have a laissez-faire attitude to the rules but rather about how they implement them. The most obvious distinction is in a port-starboard situation upwind (and I know I generalise here).ReplyDelete
At the front of the fleet, in most instances where a port tack boat is probably-only-just-crossing a starboard tack boat the starboard tack boat will hail the port tacker to carry on. It makes sense; you don't want someone tacking on your lee bow. Clearly there are exceptions, for instance if you're trying to control a side of the course.
On the other hand, further back in the fleet it's all too common for the starboard tacker to see an opportunity to catch another boat, yell starboard and force the tack even though from a fleet perspective it's the wrong move. I can think of plenty of situations where the starboard tacker has in fact luffed to try and catch me crossing even though this is against the rules (lack of understanding rather than deliberate breach).
If I've had a poor start and am at the back in a big fleet I find it very frustrating trying to make progress in the light of this kind of behaviour... heavy luffs on a downwind leg are another one where you're stopped from getting past but five or six boats get through to leeward in the process. Again, it's certainly not spite or aggression, it's just a focus on close boat racing and beating the person nearest rather than a full fleet perspective. I'm sure we've all done it and when I'm coaching juniors it's commonplace amongst the younger sailors.
The situation with Doug is a slightly different one. If I'm racing and I see a boat at the front of the fleet touch another boat or a mark and not do any turns, pump their way down the run like they're kitesurfing or otherwise make an obvious and deliberate illegal action I'll certainly shout 'protest' at them (whether or not I'd actually go through with it is a different matter). For a minor and arguably accidental breach, though, I'd let it go and I'm sure the majority of the guys at the front of the fleet would do the same. I might have a chat afterwards, but If I wanted to let the lawyers run racing I'd try and get involved with an America's Cup campaign...
Oooh... sorry, Abe. Your comment wasn't there when I posted and I'm repeating what you're saying. Not sure about the half of the top ten protesting, though. Olympic fleet maybe. Masters fleet... I'd be more likely to shout at him that he owed me a beer after the race.ReplyDelete
Great points Paul and Abe.ReplyDelete
I don't pretend to be a front of the fleet sailor but I do race with and train with and have beers with some guys who are. (There were three sailors from my local fleet who had podium finishes in Hyeres.) They certainly do care about observance of the rules. Maybe they don't always bother to protest every infringement but they sure do talk about the sailors who won't respect the rules like they do.
I really wish Doug would have written the post. My interpretation of what I hear and see will always be different from first hand experience. He says we're all sort of saying the same thing. Those at the front don't get distracted by things that take the focus away from the ultimate goal. They do care about the rules and they do expect expect people to follow them but they are bigger pictures sailors.ReplyDelete
Doug is certain he would not have been protested in his fleet if he'd been in the top 10 but it's sort of a moot point. Technically, they couldn't have according to the SIs but these guys have been sailing with each other for decades. They knew who could earn a top 10 spot before they ever arrived and, at his weight, Doug was never a contender for the top 10 in heavy air. If it had been a light air event and he'd earned a top 10, they already know it would have been earned. No one is going to point a finger at a shirt.
Which kind of takes you back to the beginning Pam, in suggesting that it doesn't matter. The energy that you have expended in researching this, and responding to all is commendable and hopefully a number of people have learned something, but, it would be great to see a definitive response from a named authority - be it ISAF,US sailing or the Laser Class regarding the legality or otherwise of Doug's action. Clearly the rule in question is open to interpretation - but - we should all understand it properly for future reference. The consequences of a teenager reading your blog and deciding that it is OK to layer up with heavy when wet clothing up to 8kg or more in order to compete in a breeze is pretty alarming from a safety viewpoint. Doug struggled with one wet sweater - from memory - it exhausted him ? surely that's a concern. There is a big safety issue here. Perhaps if you re-post the original blog some of your more emotive commentators might better understand.Delete
For what it is worth, I agree with Doug's assertion that you are all saying much the same thing above, front of fleet sailors in my experience very much understand the rules, and apply them, but they avoid stress at all costs and do sail with a view to the bigger picture. Mind you, rounding a mark 2nd or 3rd in space is an awful lot easier than rounding 3 deep in a mid-fleet pack ! No surprise there is more stress.
I know of a number of sailors in the top quartile ( including the top 10) of Doug's fleet in Hyeres that would not ( and do not) agree with his statement above though.His certainty is very much misplaced. If they had read his blog while in Hyeres, or had been aware of his actions at the time, they would certainly have made the Jury aware of it - as you rightly say - they could not have protested - but that would have been sufficient.Then they would have had a beer or two and continued to enjoy racing in such awesome conditions, at a great venue.
We will get a definitive statement from the proper authorities on the rules. I predict that we'll learn that the Laser Class rule on the weight of non-floating, non-protective clothing will be more restrictive and applicable than RRS 43.1(a) or 43.1(b).Delete
We will never know whether one of the top 10 would have protested Doug because he will never again subject himself to a higher level of scrutiny than his competitors (or trial by blog comment, for that matter). But really, one shirt (not a sweater), one day, one race with a bottom of the fleet result and a non-contender for the top 10. Why would a top 10 guy concern himself with what's happening behind him and not focus his attention on what's happening in front of him?
Plus, just for the sake of being argumentative (and realistic) he only wore the shirt one day. I don't think it's even possible to protest someone based on an alleged infraction based on a blog entry, when on the day the jury could be informed, he wouldn't be wearing the shirt?
As to the safety issue of wearing too much weight. Wouldn't a life jacket that will float an extra large guy all geared up also float a lighter guy with less weight overall? Not suggesting adding weight is a smart idea, it's not. It's restricts movement and does exhaust you. Sailing in windy conditions and hiking with everything you've got (when it's not enough) is also exhausting though. Doug trained for spurts of full exertion but the conditions required full on exertion and not spurts. He's at the top end of the age bracket in his fleet and was probably the lightest guy on the course and he was just as or more exhausted on the windy days when he wasn't wearing the shirt. The shirt was not the biggest factor in his safety, his exhaustion or his result but it did keep him warm. Would he do it again? Absolutely not. He would add a lightweight but warmer, warmth layer inside his spray top and he'd either gain some weight or switch to a smaller rig.
all makes sense Pam, other than the safety point - it's not so much about floating, agreed the BD does it's job there when in the water, it's all about getting back inn the boat or even up onto the centreboard ( great post above btw - fascinating) when tired and extra heavy. I remember weight jackets ( the Musto absorbent version) fine in the water - neutral - but oh so tough to get back in the boat after long race and an unexpected swim. I think that Doug commented that he capsized 3-4 times on one leg and found the whole thing to be totally exhausting?Delete
Doug capsized twice, same race, different downwind legs and he spun out 3 times. He was indeed exhausted but Doug has some issues (that are not public) which make it difficult for him to get up onto the centerboard in the best of circumstances (shorts, t-shirt, flat water) so he is always very conservative about adding additional weight, especially in trying circumstances. Which sort of makes all this flak seem to be blown way out of proportion. Full boots would have weighed more than the shirt.Delete
got it - but you're missing the point, it's not flak aimed at Doug per say, it's an attempt to clarify the rule, which, by your interpretation, makes it OK for someone to have the issue I describe above, even if Doug was OK at Hyeres...it's the principle. Perhaps time to move on... !Delete
I see what you're saying but I don't think Rule 43 is what protects from that issue. I believe the Laser Class Rule 6(b) is what will protect from that issue but there have been no comments on that rule.Delete
The example posted below about the gold medalist at the Olympics doing the exact same thing in full view of the world without issue is quite revealing. She added weight by adding heavy clothing (not violating one definition of 43.1(a)) and was probably still under the maximum weight allowed 43.1(b) but the weight she added was also protective clothing which keeps her in compliance with Laser Class Rule 6(b). All the safety issues you cite are still there but she is in compliance.
Rest assured, when we know the applicable rules and their proper interpretation, we will post it.
Lest we all forget this is Amateur yacht racing. It is suppose to be fun, somewhat legal but fun in the end.ReplyDelete
Well yes. But games and sports have rules. Without rules we would just all be having fun sailing around randomly (which is OK in its place too but it's not what anybody went to Hyeres to do.)Delete
sorry for asking you this, but I wonder why you are not telling us who you are. You are exposing your point of view about this matter with your arguments and frankly speaking I would appreciate to associate this point of view to a name. I am the less important person to judge what you write and I do not want to judge you at all. But, again, I feel strange not to know your name. If you have trouble in setting an Account you can simply write your name in the Post. Greeting from Italy! Roberto
what an odd post. you want a name but not to judge, so why it is important?Delete
I would guess there are at least 3-4 anonymous posters here, maybe more given the content and comments provided - for me it is easier to select anonymous than set an account - and surely the content is the main thing so it should not matter. It's great that Pam faciliates such a debate, agree or otherwise - it's OK to disagree, we all learn.
By reading your comments I think I can know new sailors and new persons Who I hope to meet one day during some regattas, as well as understand their personality. With all these anonymous this is nearly impossible.that's all.Delete
Roberto, does truth have to have a name? Can you not recognise truth if there is not a face to it.? You are European and I am surprised at this. There is not just one Anonymous in this blog....two or three if I am not mistaken. Sometimes it is the wisest thing to stay concealed if there is mischief about.ReplyDelete
It's fairly clear that what Doug did was not illegal. Lily, the 2012 olympic radial gold medalist, did exactly the same in a world class fleet, where she would have been taken down by jury and competitors if she was violating a rule. However, she wore thick woollen jumpers on windy days and jumped in to make it wet before the start, and there was no issue with that whatsoever. I think Doug can chill in the confidence that a) no one really cares b) the olympic GM did the same thing c) it's just racing, it's meant to be for fun. Please put the worlds journals back online, they are an essential and worthy contribution of this bog. CheersReplyDelete
Thank you! I really appreciate this comment. Your conclusions reflect my own attitude about the situation. I believe we will ultimately put the journals back online but the current one will always remain a delayed publication to avoid this type of situation in the future. During events I'll simply post pictures or videos and we'll share some of the fun and games and light news of the event and leave the racing stuff for later publication.Delete
you sure? that's a major statement. looking at some photos now of Lily winning the ( windy) medal race. Looks to be wearing a sleeveless wetsuit and one zhik hydrophobic top. no thick wollen jumpers. take a look on google.Delete
I agree, Anonymous October 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM. Anonymous October 23, 2014 at 1:17 AM, what do have to substantiate your assertion that Xu Lijia wore thick woolen jumpers while racing in the Olympics? (Geeze, I wish all you anonymous commenters would at least sign your posts with an initial or two.)Delete
Anyway, all the videos and images I can find online show her wearing either a rash guard or some kind of warmer Zhik top. If she really was racing in the Olympics in woolen jumpers I am sure there would have been news stories about it and photos published. To say the least it would have been very unconventional and I don't think it's true that "no one really cares" about it as can be seen from some of the comments in this thread.
I know because I regularly race against her coach, and he told me! He also told me why she decided to bang right in the medal race when the rest of the fleet went right, and she ended up leading at the top. Turns out when the wind was 5 degrees further right, there would be more right shift and pressure, while 5 degrees left and the left would absolutely dominate. So it was a risk she was willing to take based on their prior knowledgeDelete
But please don't take my word for gospel, it was a brief chat with her coach and he may have been joking but I have heard it from others in the UK fleet too. And Tillerman, I think the issue is that so many people DO care. Doug could have worn 15 layers and say he was wearing them because "he was cold", but actually intending to be heavier. In the same way, as long as Doug was under the 8kg limit, his shirt was only a choice, he same as wearing 15 layers, even if it was simply to out on weight. The point is - it doesn't matter! It's sailing, have fun, sail quick and chill.Delete
Anonymous October 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM, I have to disagree with your last statement. Rule 43.1(a) is not about what the sailor "says" his or her intent was. At the end of the day a protest under that rule would be decided on what the protest committee judged their intent to be. People say all kinds of things in a protest room. Sometimes the protest committee doesn't believe them. Sometimes they say things that absolutely convince the race committee they have broken a rule because they don't actually understand the rule.Delete
The point is, it does matter. Actually it is more important that sailors are aware of and understand this rule than most other rules. The reason is that this rule was introduced for safety reasons. There was a time when wearing weight jackets or several heavy wet sweaters was commonplace in sailing. At those times a lot of sailors injured their backs and others found that it was hard or impossible for them to get back into their boats after a capsize with several heavy wet sweaters weighing them down. We don't want to be encouraging young sailors to think it's OK to wear "15 layers" of wet woolen clothing if they only say they were wearing them because it was cold. Not only would it be unsafe it is encouraging them to lie.
I don't really care too much about the rights and wrongs of what Doug did on that particular day in Hyeres. I have refrained from commenting either way on his specific case. But I do care about people understanding generally why they should not be wearing extra layers of wet clothing simply to increase their weight.
Tillerman, I have to disagree. The US Sailing Judge that I talked to indicated that 43.1(a) was for the prevention of the use of weight jackets and the use other specifically modified clothing that inserted weights and that it did not apply to weight added by layering up. He may be wrong but he is a US Sailing Judge and no one commenting here has cited any similar qualification for their opposing view. This Judge is currently seeking consensus in his district as well as from US Sailing but this particular Judge lives in the world of J/24 sailing where crew is routinely weighed as are the boats. He did indeed talk about the safety issue of layering up but said that 43.1(b) was to address that issue.Delete
However, I keep bringing this up and NO ONE has said one word about it, Laser Class Rule 6(b) says "Competitors shall not wear or carry non floating clothing or equipment which in total weight exceeds 500 grammes dead weight except protective sailing clothing." The eliminates all possibility of layering up to a degree that safety is a concern.
Nevertheless, the rule requires clarification. Is "dead weight" dry or wet because a large cotton t-shirt typically worn on a nice summer day has virtually no weight when dry but exceeds 500 grams when wet and I would imagine an extra large t-shirt would be close to 1 kg when wet. So if "dead weight" is wet, then we would have to know the definition of "protective sailing clothing" to see if a typical summer's day t-shirt is compliant. It certainly isn't "protective sailing clothing" (in one sense) but it does offer protection from the sun. But this "wear or carry" applies to equipment too. Does "carry" mean on the boat or on the person because a compass surely exceeds 500 grams? So, what about if one person wears a floatable spray top and loads the pockets with tape, tools, sunblock, energy bars, drinks, etc. while another wears a non-floatable, under 500 gram layer who can't load it with the same stuff and stay under 500 grams. Is one compliant but has clearly added weight while the other is compliant but clearly weighs less?
All this to say ... yes, we do have rules. Some are more relevant than others and but why keep insisting on a given interpretation of one rule and citing safety as the main reason for that interpretation and adherence to that rule when another rule is much more relevant and restrictive and would certainly address any safety concerns? Is it because no one knows the Laser Class Rules and/or does not obey them? Or is everyone uncertain of their own compliance so they refrain from discussing it? Or is it just more fun to argue about something that, in light of the other rule, really does not matter?
It may take awhile for all the relevant authorities to get back to us but we do fully intend to get definitive answers and guidelines which will leave no questions about compliance and acceptable workarounds and loopholes.
But Tillerman, even if a jury did place weight on intention (whether the person was wearing more clothing for weight or warmth), it would be impossible to prove the intent of the sailor wearing the clothes. Personal choice, lucky charm, convenience, forgot your kit, economic reasons, no one would ever get chucked out for wearing more clothes, unless it was over the weight limit. Also, unfortunately sailing is a sport where cheating is almost inevitable. The rules can be interpreted in so many ways. I can almost guarantee everyone in every fleet breaks rule 42 on at least one occasion during a race, even if unintentional. The Olympians pump and push the rules to the limit. A coach once told me the biggest cheat he knew was Paul Goodison, Olympic gold medalist. I'm not encouraging cheating in any way, but I think how much we wear is of little importance. What about the this we eat?! I ate 10 Weetabix this morning before a 20 knot day 1) for energy, 2) to put on weight. I also drank a lot of water, for both reasons. Eating and drinki have duel purposes, so do clothes. Yet we can't control what we eat, even if the intentions are skewed. We should stop worrying about clothes; how we sail is what will make us go more quickly, not worrying about bits of cloth! AmenDelete
Absolutely no relevance to racing Lasers in 2014 but here is a great story about racing 505s in San Francisco (date not specified) wearing "several layers of wet sweaters to bring the combatants up to fighting weight."ReplyDelete
Jeez. Seriously guys? I hope nobody thinking of getting into sailing reads this discussion. It would put them off for life:) I suppose you need something to do in the winter!? Cheers GerranReplyDelete
It's the most comments we've ever had before. But I guess half of them are mine. And yet ... still I wait for answers from US Sailing and ISAF with nothing but the sounds of crickets. I guess that means this will all start up again when I finally do get answers.Delete
Doug / Pam - are you likely to resurrect the worlds journals any time soon?! I was watching Doug's video of the Laser masters worlds at Oman (day 1) and I have a question!ReplyDelete
Yes, I've talked Doug into letting me putting the worlds journals back online but the current version will forever be published several months after the event, however, our email list is growing for those that wish to received daily emails during the event. I've been a bit snowed under with work and haven't had a change to put the journals back up but will do so when I have a block of time available.Delete
Fire away with your question. Doug will answer.
Ok, thanks... it was a few days ago that I watched the video and I don't have time to at the moment so apologies if I get my facts wrong.ReplyDelete
So, on the Oman worlds day 1 video Doug gets a reasonable start mid-line. He has decent speed against the guy underneath him and is pulling out from the guy above.
However, as he continues he doesn't gain any further on the guy to leeward. When he looks round he can see the boats over his shoulder looking good and the boats who started nearer the pin tack and cross. To me it looks like he's sailing on a big header.
In that situation I would have tacked as soon as I realise this. It looks like Doug continues until he's almost the furthest left boat before tacking for the mark. My question is: why?
Thanks Paul for your question, I remember this first race well.Delete
All my life I've relied on boatspeed to make up for my lack or experience in really good fleets (there are none in Dallas). But my speed coming off the line was really bad and I remember thinking to myself, "this is going to be a long week."
When the boats below tacked, they were well ahead. With my lack of speed, tacking below them would have meant losing even more. If a top 10 finish was all that I wanted, this would have made sense. But I wanted to do better.
So my only option was to get some separation and look for more wind or better angles. This meant continuing to go left. My basic strategy is:
If my speed is good, stay with the leaders and wait for them to make minor mistakes.
If my speed is bad, get some separation and look for wind or angles (and be thankful for throwouts!)