LionessRacing

Cancelling a Race for High Winds: No limits in SI's

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Today's Beer can was cancelled due to winds that were stronger than the RO was comfortable with.

Venue: Oakland/Alameda Estuary, protected tidal waters with the USCG Pacific Base 1 mile to the East.  image.thumb.png.3dab3bfe15813ca79a2f53fc0eb1d1c7.png

 

Forecast had been originally NW, > 20 kts Gusting 30+, then downgraded to teens and gusting 30. 

Actual winds measured at 15' height on end of dock at "K" in Oakland Yacht Club: Red is Gust, Solid Blue is 5 min average, Green is Lullwinds.thumb.png.2814c002a0fd15da5340ce39ad541b67.png

 Starting Times were to have been 1300-1330,

Race was cancelled by club RO at 1100 because " it would be hard for the little boats" and was a "safety" concern, with NO mention of cancellation in SI's. 

Disappointing to not sail, especially as we have had 2 previous races in < 5kts and this would have actually been wind we would excel in but its supposed to be fun etc.. 

Questions:

What are reasonable wind limits for this type of club venue and fleet (Mixed PHRF, and a One Design 5.5 M) ? 

For both min and maximum sides to be fair... 

  • maximum Gust vs maximum 5 min average
  • minimum Lull and 5 min average
  • in what time period before start ? 
    • Forecast vs Actual ? 
  • Corrected to 10m vs actual sensor ? (wind instruments on Lioness at 52' were reasonably close to 15' measurement) 

 

 

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It is a liability issue.

I've been out on the SB Channel where it kicked up to 25 at the oil rig. But at the start it was 8. The forecast was for 20 to 25. One of the most fun races I've sailed in a while. We hit 15+ twice and maintained 11 to 13 for 40 minutes. No one got hurt in during the race either.

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19 minutes ago, Meat Wad said:

It is a liability issue.

 I've been out on the SB Channel where it kicked up to 25 at the oil rig. But at the start it was 8. The forecast was for 20 to 25. One of the most fun races I've sailed in a while. We hit 15+ twice and maintained 11 to 13 for 40 minutes. No one got hurt in during the race either.

I think that Liability was not the issue, but that some of the < 26' boats would have had a sportier sail than some were comfortable with.

The 5.5 meter fleet pretty much canceled en mass, with a lack of self-bailing cockpits, that may make sense. 

Some nice images of boats out sailing with a reef etc... 

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2 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

Juste a quicke looke; Rangere lookes trimde, O29 lookes overte powered.                 JM2C                   :)

Olson 30's  are ULDB, they are always overpowered... that's the charm... 

 

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2 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

Olson 30's  are ULDB, they are always overpowered... that's the charm... 

I no peopel licke thet to..........        :)

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2 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

I no peopel licke thet to..........        :)

Yup, fond memories... 

 

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Getting harder and harder to have fun. That this happened in SF Bay is sort of astounding. But details matter. Home of the laser "heavy air" thing going way back. Every dinghy sailor from the East dreams of someday racing in August in SF Bay.

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Clubs seem way more prone to cancel racing because of high winds than they were say 15-20 years ago. 

The problem with this, for me, is that if safe Beercan racing (i.e relatively sheltered waters, probably in a bay or estuary, with club patrol boats on hand) gets cancelled in it looks like it might hit 25 knots, where do inexperienced crew get experience of heavy weather sailing in a relatively safe environment? The answer seems to be that they don't, so the first time they experience putting in a reef in heavy breeze might be in open ocean with big seas as well as big winds.

I understand that we have become a progressively more litigious society, but I wish it were not so, and that skippers were the ones responsible for deciding whether or not to go out there. 

 

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Quote

 

Rule 27.3.
 
Before the starting signal, the race committee may for any reason ...  abandon the race 
 
Rule 32.1.
 
After the starting signal, the race committee may ...  abandon the race ... ,
  1. because of foul weather,
  2. because of insufficient wind making it unlikely that any boat will finish within the time limit,
  3. because a mark is missing or out of position, or
  4. for any other reason directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition,

 

 

You, through your Club's Sailing Committee and Race Committee have appointed a race officer to exercise judgement.

If you don't think the race officer has exercised good judgement, then write a polite letter to your Sailing Committee.

Don't tie your RO hand and foot by putting numbers in the SI, failure to comply with which will be an improper action and may give rise to redress.  If you absolutely have to, let the club give a direction to the race committee in accordance with rule 90.1.

That said,, the forecast and observed conditions you describe do not appear particularly dangerous and the reasons you recorded appear a bit 'soft'.

So the forecast wind for the area was NW 15 to 20 gusting to 30.

In Australia that would not even get a Strong Wind Warning

Quote

 

Strong wind warning Winds averaging from 26 knots and up to 33 knots.

Gale warning Winds averaging from 34 knots and up to 47 knots.

 

As a RO I would have difficulty abandoning by reason of foul weather if there was no wind warning at all (absent other factors).

Your gust range, both forecast and observed is rather high.  We normally expect gusts of up to 40% above the forecast average, and gusty conditions can be an 'other factor'. Other 'other factors' obviously include sea state, left-over swell etc, etc.

What's the typical difference between your Yacht Club on-dock weather observations and observed winds in the racing area?  Are winds in the racing area typically significantly higher than those at the dock?

These winds should not be a 'safety' concern.  Presumably your competing boats are well found, self-righting, self-rescuing keelboats (which I would say should include 5.5s).  5.5s should be capable of sailing safely in those conditions, even if it is necessary to reef and reduce sail.  If all or some of the class don't want to race that is up to them:  if most of the class don't want to go, the RO might consider abandoning for that class only, although this might disadvantage the 5.5m equivalent of Lioness, who has been just waiting for these conditions.

There are some factors that a club RO might consider (which are somewhat less relevant at Regional and higher and Championship events).

  • Safe conditions for operation including anchoring and staying at anchor for RC vessels (always a factor, and some might say a primary factor)
  • If you are going to abandon, try to do it earlier rather than later, so people know not to rig up, or not to come out at all, but not be premature,  but on the other hand, given the OP forecast and AM observations, I would not have abandoned ashore:  I would have got out onto the race course and had a look, radioing ABN ashore back to the club if necessary.
  • If its miserable weather, particularly for a Twilight/Beercan race, I'm inclined to abandon at a bit lower level than for a serious pointscore race:  it's supposed to be fun, people.

 

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1 minute ago, See Level said:

Maybe they wanted to watch the 49ers play football.

Mabey, butte Brasse scarres me, he nose evereythinge..................               :)

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7 minutes ago, Weyalan said:

Clubs seem way more prone to cancel racing because of high winds than they were say 15-20 years ago. 

The problem with this, for me, is that if safe Beercan racing (i.e relatively sheltered waters, probably in a bay or estuary, with club patrol boats on hand) gets cancelled in it looks like it might hit 25 knots, where do inexperienced crew get experience of heavy weather sailing in a relatively safe environment? The answer seems to be that they don't, so the first time they experience putting in a reef in heavy breeze might be in open ocean with big seas as well as big winds.

I understand that we have become a progressively more litigious society, but I wish it were not so, and that skippers were the ones responsible for deciding whether or not to go out there. 

They go out training.  Days on which racing is cancelled because of heavy weather may be ideal for heavy weather sailing training.

Training is not racing, racing is not training.

OK, if we are talking about dinghys that need safety boat cover, I'd suggest that racing should be abandoned if race management activities cannot be conducted safely, or the event is likely to become 'survival sailing' where boats are just struggling to keep afloat, and are incapable of competitive racing:  In these conditions, the club might consider facilitating a training session, using club safety boats etc.

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3 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

Mabey, butte Brasse scarres me, he nose evereythinge..................               :)

Well, I didn't know 49ers could play football.

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Not disputing the rights of the RO to cancel, just asking for what is considered "reasonable" wind ranges, so that the decision is not arbitrary and possibly capricious. 

My boat is 20,000 lbs with a yawl rig and comes alive over 10 kts.

We would have loved racing in teens with gusts over 20, unfortunately making me race boats 1/8 the displacement in 2 kts is part of our winter, you grin and bear it. Canceling the race as they would have had a rough time is my question.... 

The on dock weather station is 20 meters from the Start Line, and the first image contains the racing area.... 

So the observed weather was what we would have had to sail in. For reference, I had also logged the wind at ~55 ft at my masthead, which is essentially on the starting line (one end ashore, line goes through the docks to the starting mark.) and it was comparable to the 15' height on the adjacent dock. 

 

Here are the entries: 

 

Make   ↓ Rating       Boat Type
Corsair 31 1d   -15       Multihull
F 31   36       Multihull
F-27   45       Multihull
Beneteau first 405tm 90       Monohull Spinnaker
Olson 30   99       Monohull Spinnaker
Olson 30   99       Monohull Spinnaker
Tartan 3400   114       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
U20   144       Monohull Spinnaker
Catalina 34, 1994 147       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Moore 24   150       Monohull Spinnaker
Ranger 33   156       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Olson 25   159       Monohull Spinnaker
Hinckley bermuda 40 162       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Capo 26   162       Monohull Spinnaker
Olsen 25   162       Monohull Spinnaker
Merit 25   168       Merit 25 & J24
J24   168       Merit 25 & J24
Merit 25   168       Merit 25 & J24
Merit 25   168       Merit 25 & J24
Alerion express 28 168       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Merit 25   168       Merit 25 & J24
Newport 30 mkii 174       Fat 30
Columbia 5.5   177       Columbia 5.5
Columbia 5.5   177       Columbia 5.5
Columbia 5.5 meter 177       Columbia 5.5
Columbia 5.5   177       Columbia 5.5
Tartan 30   180       Fat 30
Cal 2-29   183       Fat 30
Santana 525   189       Monohull Spinnaker
Santana 525   189       Monohull Spinnaker
Ranger 26-2   189       Monohull Spinnaker
Santana 525   189       Monohull Spinnaker
Santana 525   189       Monohull Spinnaker
Santana 22   234       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Santana 22   234       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Ericson 23-1   234       Monohull-Non Spinnaker
Newport 20   270       Monohull-Non Spinnaker

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13 minutes ago, Brass said:

Well, I didn't know 49ers could play football.

Apparently they can't :huh:

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2 minutes ago, See Level said:
15 minutes ago, Brass said:

Well, I didn't know 49ers could play football.

Apparently they can't

They cane, juste notte the Andey Reide verssione....................                     :)

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1 hour ago, Brass said:
  • Safe conditions for operation including anchoring and staying at anchor for RC vessels (always a factor, and some might say a primary factor)
  • If you are going to abandon, try to do it earlier rather than later, so people know not to rig up, or not to come out at all, but not be premature,  but on the other hand, given the OP forecast and AM observations, I would not have abandoned ashore:  I would have got out onto the race course and had a look, radioing ABN ashore back to the club if necessary.
  • If its miserable weather, particularly for a Twilight/Beercan race, I'm inclined to abandon at a bit lower level than for a serious pointscore race:  it's supposed to be fun, people.

The "Race Deck" is off the 2nd floor bar, so no issue of the Committee Boat, and the "sea state" was perhaps 30 cm, wind against the tide... 

The abandon 2 hrs before start was not unreasonable, all things considered. Some competitors were in the room having brunch, some of my crew was in transit etc. 

 

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Y'all seem to be forgetting the second rule of racing sailboats, which is that . . 

the RC is always right, even when they are wrong. 

If you don't like it, get out there are volunteer your sorry self. 

(As you all know, the first rule is to race on someone else's boat) 

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4 minutes ago, AJ Oliver said:

If you don't like it, get out there are volunteer your sorry self. 

 

Been there, have done that (and thanked the RO for volunteering, while asking for amended SI's)

.. and been very careful to let the boats race and not to influence the results

 

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Lioness,

What exactly are you asking for here?

If you're unhappy with the decisions of the RO - then have that discussion with your race committee at the next possible convenience.

Trying to determine what's right from other people's experience is pretty useless. I reckon many Kiwi's would think you're all soft if you abandonded under 35-40kn, but they're crazy. We'd abandon our intermediate races in 18kn, but not our senior races until 25.

Ditto we might postpone or abandon if the wind is < 3-4kn, but you'd probably never go sailing in SD if that was the case.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, duncan (the other one) said:

Lioness,

What exactly are you asking for here?

If you're unhappy with the decisions of the RO - then have that discussion with your race committee at the next possible convenience.

Trying to determine what's right from other people's experience is pretty useless. I reckon many Kiwi's would think you're all soft if you abandonded under 35-40kn, but they're crazy. We'd abandon our intermediate races in 18kn, but not our senior races until 25.

Ditto we might postpone or abandon if the wind is < 3-4kn, but you'd probably never go sailing in SD if that was the case.

 

 

 

 

 

I looking for a sense of what is "Normal" for PHRF club racing.

My personal opinion was it would have been great fun, I would have needed to change to my 95% jib and possibly take a reef.  No big deal and good sailing. 

one of the fears expressed was that with that much wind, boats would be moving fast and if they lost control would be close together... Not sure I followed the argument, but at least in my case I would have steerage... 

I was surprised to say the least that weather I would feel comfortable in was considered too much. And I asked my RC to define what they think is a good criteria, as I would prefer to not have it be a decision made by personality... 

We race on protected water where there's no seas, and the  Main base of the USCG is near one of the marks "Coast Guard Island" where they have the various RIB and Helicopter as well as currently 3 national security cutters... 

 

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35 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

 Main base of the USCG is near one of the marks "Coast Guard Island" where they have the various RIB and Helicopter as well as currently 3 national security cutters... 

 

Well if you have three coast guard cutters as safety boats....go for it. Coasties are always deliriously happy to launch the helos and RIBs to help out Weds night beer can racing. :)

If the presence of nearby USCG is even close to a factor in the decision to race, it might be too much weather.

But if I was lucky enough to own a 1960's Hinkley B 40, I would want to go racing as well, so I get the disappointment.

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8 minutes ago, Mambo Kings said:

Well if you have three coast guard cutters as safety boats....go for it. Coasties are always deliriously happy to launch the helos and RIBs to help out Weds night beer can racing. :)

 If the presence of nearby USCG is even close to a factor in the decision to race, it might be too much weather.

But if I was lucky enough to own a 1960's Hinkley B 40, I would want to go racing as well, so I get the disappointment.

The hilarious aspect is that the response would probably have had to come from "Station Golden Gate" ~ 6 miles away, who would motor past "Sector San Francisco" at Yerba Buena after about 2 miles to get 4 miles into the Estuary where we race 0-2 miles from the Bertholf, and sisters at Base Alameda. We get to see the maritime security team (USCG Special Ops) guys playing in their high speed pilot house RIB's on the Estuary. 

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Our local clubs tend to abandon twilights if a gale warning in effect, insurance liability issue apparently. (Had some fairly sporty rides in a strong wind warning.....)

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2 hours ago, LionessRacing said:

I looking for a sense of what is "Normal" for PHRF club racing.

My personal opinion was it would have been great fun, I would have needed to change to my 95% jib and possibly take a reef.  No big deal and good sailing. 

one of the fears expressed was that with that much wind, boats would be moving fast and if they lost control would be close together... Not sure I followed the argument, but at least in my case I would have steerage... 

I was surprised to say the least that weather I would feel comfortable in was considered too much. And I asked my RC to define what they think is a good criteria, as I would prefer to not have it be a decision made by personality... 

We race on protected water where there's no seas, and the  Main base of the USCG is near one of the marks "Coast Guard Island" where they have the various RIB and Helicopter as well as currently 3 national security cutters... 

 

yeh - but my point is it depends on so many local factors (including vessel type, typical crew experience, etc), that other club's methods are almost meaningless.

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3 hours ago, Brass said:

Well, I didn't know 49ers could play football.

Turns out, not as well as KC.

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I'm not really sure what your hang up with the SIs is.

 

Some guidance for the RO is an idea, but writing things into the SIs is going to lead the sea lawyers and grumpy people.

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2 hours ago, European Bloke said:

I'm not really sure what your hang up with the SIs is.

 

Some guidance for the RO is an idea, but writing things into the SIs is going to lead the sea lawyers and grumpy people.

No hang up at all.

Having somebody decide that < 20 kts sustained on very protected waters is too much wind for PHRF boats, because the "little ones would be in danger" makes for grumpy people, especially any who drove for an hour and didn't get to race. 

If the SI's said something to the effect that: 

Races for Fleets X,Y,Z will not be started in wind of less than 4 kts at Warning time, or more than 20 kts for a 5 min average, or gusts exceeding 25 kts observed during the hour before starting time, as measured at the  Club anemometer.

Races will not be started if visibility is affected by fog, rain, or smoke to where the Race Officer can not observe the entire course.  

Then that's not an argument, it's a specification. 

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Lionness, I feel your pain. What's the point of Rule 4 if the RO is making the decision for you, right?

My biggest beef was a day of racing sponsored by the Storm Trysail Club that was cancelled because of 20 - 25 and 4' seas. Clear skies. On the plus side (and as Brass alluded to), we used it as a heavy air training day and planed our way to Boston and got a new high speed out of the boat, put the boat away, and made it back north in time for the awards.

Another time a race was cancelled because the committee boat couldn't anchor. Fair enough - that race has a new provision for an 'inside' course if that happens again. A lot of our beercans were cancelled because of the threat of squalls. Sometimes it was the right call, other times not. As an RO I always hate to cancel a race and always try to keep rule 4 in mind. I was up north for a thursday night and that was the attitude of the RC. Our boat invoked rule 4 and didn't go out. several did and most got caught in a squall (and fog) that caused at least one collision and a lot of messed up sails. Live and learn.

I get that you're looking for feedback on "normal" practices, but I think you just need to approach your RC and ask them what their guidelines are (and make suggestions to improve them), because nothing that's being done anywhere else is going to be relevant - it all comes down to risk management.

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15 hours ago, Meat Wad said:

It is a liability issue.

I've been out on the SB Channel where it kicked up to 25 at the oil rig. But at the start it was 8. The forecast was for 20 to 25. One of the most fun races I've sailed in a while. We hit 15+ twice and maintained 11 to 13 for 40 minutes. No one got hurt in during the race either.

I hate it when people want to make everything a "liability" issue. So your only concern is about potential liability if someone is hurt or killed ? Here's an idea, don't hurt or kill anyone. It's a SAFETY issue dumbass. We need to be concerned about people's safety not about liability. You get insurance, just like for your car and house for liability ,then just concern yourself with what is safe . 

BTW, I race in big breeze and practice in big breeze in a finn and I'm never upset when RC's cancel a race when it is unsafe for some of the fleet ( as long as its over 25 ) . I'll still go out and sail because it's exhilarating and fun. Nothing makes me feel more alive than the finn in big breeze.   

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Our fleets define a max wind steady, max gusts, and an "abandon if it exceeds" number. These are guidelines, not rules. For instance, we won't start a race if we see a steady 20, gusts over 25. If the anemometer hits 28, we abandon a race in progress. The gusts are supposed to last 5 seconds or more (Small lake). Once you have that, it at least sets some sort of base line. You of course argue about the anemometer used.....how they held it, etc, but it seems better than nothing. 

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I think it partly depends on the prevailing winds in the area and what the majority of boats are equipped for.

For instance, the conditions you describe appear to be around force 6, which would decimate the fleet in a light air venue like San Diego, but should be considered good sporty sailing in many other higher-wind areas such as San Francisco Bay.

That said, even in the relatively light-air PNW, I've sailed lots of races in force 6-7, and they typically only cancel races when the forecast is force 8 and above. 

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17 hours ago, LionessRacing said:

Today's Beer can was cancelled due to winds that were stronger than the RO was comfortable with.

Venue: Oakland/Alameda Estuary, protected tidal waters with the USCG Pacific Base 1 mile to the East.  image.thumb.png.3dab3bfe15813ca79a2f53fc0eb1d1c7.png

 

Forecast had been originally NW, > 20 kts Gusting 30+, then downgraded to teens and gusting 30. 

Actual winds measured at 15' height on end of dock at "K" in Oakland Yacht Club: Red is Gust, Solid Blue is 5 min average, Green is Lullwinds.thumb.png.2814c002a0fd15da5340ce39ad541b67.png

 Starting Times were to have been 1300-1330,

Race was cancelled by club RO at 1100 because " it would be hard for the little boats" and was a "safety" concern, with NO mention of cancellation in SI's. 

Disappointing to not sail, especially as we have had 2 previous races in < 5kts and this would have actually been wind we would excel in but its supposed to be fun etc.. 

Questions:

What are reasonable wind limits for this type of club venue and fleet (Mixed PHRF, and a One Design 5.5 M) ? 

For both min and maximum sides to be fair... 

  • maximum Gust vs maximum 5 min average
  • minimum Lull and 5 min average
  • in what time period before start ? 
    • Forecast vs Actual ? 
  • Corrected to 10m vs actual sensor ? (wind instruments on Lioness at 52' were reasonably close to 15' measurement) 

 

 

Sailings gone to hell in a hand basket

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Cancelling races in SF Bay for winds in the 20's seems a tad conservative. That would greatly limit the number of possible days IME.

When I was first starting sailing I was told that small craft warnings were when the sailing got good - I still think it was good advice.

A few years ago they didn't cancel the Southern Straits Race in the face of a 50 knot forecast.

I thought that was downright irresponsible and I was proved right - total carnage and it was only luck that no-one died.

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Maybe because it was a "beercan" race?  Beercan implies a lower key, we're just out to have fun, sort of event that would attract a wide range of boats and sailors, not all of whom are prepared for all conditions.   

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The unfortunate reality is that not only have we made it a liability issue, we've transferred the liability from the individual crew, and from the Skipper (because they are too dumb to know better?   And these days it's too callous to say "They died or got hurt because they made a bad decision.")  So now we have to dumb down (restrict) the conditions at the RO level to protect both the club, and the committee.

Welcome to America, where individuals no longer have to be responsible for their own decisions.  And if and when someone does make a poor decision, that person's family still has someone to sue who is presumably reasonably wealthy.    

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6 minutes ago, Crash said:

The unfortunate reality is that not only have we made it a liability issue, we've transferred the liability from the individual crew, and from the Skipper (because they are too dumb to know better?   And these days it's too callous to say "They died or got hurt because they made a bad decision.")  So now we have to dumb down (restrict) the conditions at the RO level to protect both the club, and the committee.

Welcome to America, where individuals no longer have to be responsible for their own decisions.  And if and when someone does make a poor decision, that person's family still has someone to sue who is presumably reasonably wealthy.    

So we change "texts" to "tacks" and "totaled" to "sunk"?

 

1fde6b0a4e7bb2609d856199a041f17.jpg

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This thread’s focus on the big, heavy boats in the PHRF fleet ignores the other fleet of 5.5 meter boats also scheduled to race, as well taking a cavalier attitude towards all the smaller and lighter PHRF boats : Olsen’s, Merit’s, and Santana’s (and a J/24?) , which might have considered the conditions dangerous    At the time the decision was made to cancel, the wind  was up.  The fact that it died down after that indicates that the RC was wrong to have made the decision when the wind was up and they thought it was going to increase further, according to the forecast?  If the wind had increased would this thread have been started?  We had a race cancelled this past season due to hurricane winds forecast.  The forecast was wrong: winds were SW 10-15 knots. Too bad. Race another day.  As others have suggested, if your crew is there but the race isn’t going to happen, go out and practice. 

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19 hours ago, LionessRacing said:

 winds.thumb.png.2814c002a0fd15da5340ce39ad541b67.png 

 

 

so wind speed is mid teens with gusts in the low 20's...   and they cancelled racing?  uh, no...  we have flying scotts and 55 year old day sailors (not the brand)  racing in those conditions..  our rule of thumb, is if you've got 6 boats willing to head to the starting line,  you set up a course..  everyone in the club knows it's the skippers responsibility whether they race or not or to continue racing once you're out there..   we raced from 1-4pm yesterday... here's our wind speed..  from 11 - 20 mph..   all our boats out yesterday..  <20ft,  including Snipes, lasers, and an opti.

 

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Here in Seattle we generally race no matter the wind. What you posted would not even register concern. The only times we have canceled is in a severe condition where the CG asks people not to go out due to rescue issues. Seen that once or twice here wind, was >50kn forecast and easily got to 60kn gusts. But we have often raced in the 30's and 40's 

Have seen specific classes not race because they have a limit in their class rules. Our club also specifically says its up to the skipper to race or not and make sure you are comfortable with the conditions before you go. Makes sure to let people know at meetings over the hailer email etc. 

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I will say that in the inner harbor of Boston, those conditions would make the RC think twice, but it would depend greatly on the wind direction because that limits the course selections. In certain wind directions, those conditions would come howling through all the new construction on Fan Pier and the North End, and restrict us to a 1.2 mile upwind or reach to the first mark and back to the finish. This with several commercial ferries, casino shuttles, occasional oil and LNG tankers, and apparently new for this year seaplanes(!) crossing our paths in the narrowest part of the harbor. Most of the boats can handle the conditions, but maybe not as well with so much other traffic plying the same waters. Now out in President Roads or Broad Sound where there's plenty of room to turn down in a puff and a lot less traffic... shouldn't be much of a consideration.

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I've been racing in my venue (open ocean) for 30 years and  there's no doubt  that  races are being cancelled  due to windy conditions  much more often nowadays  than in the past.  In fact, the only reasons races were cancelled long ago was that the committee boat (usually a big trawler-like boat) couldn't make it to the starting area,  set an anchor, or the marks would drag.  Visibility was not a factor unless the committee boat couldn't see the pin end.  There was never any mention of wind limits in the NOR/SIs and Rule 4 squarely placed the decision to race on the individual competitors shoulders.  In the last few years thanks to much better weather forecasts some RCs have  even begun to cancel the race three or so days prior if NOAA says it'll be 20-25kn come race day.

I think there's several reasons for the trend.

  • 30 years ago boats were heavy and slow with SA/DISP ratios below 20 for the most part.  Spars and rigging were overbuilt, hull shapes were conservative.  Seaworthiness (now a forgotten factor) in high winds trumped performance in average/light winds where most racing is undertaken.  No longer the case.
  • Sail wardrobes used to involve light and heavy air mains,  several genoa/jibs, two or three kites, various specialty sails, each optimized for  performance in a given wind condition.  A lot of weight to haul around the course if unused.  Nowadays (partly thanks to incredible advancements in sail technology & sail shape controls) most boats use a single main, wiggly mast,  single kite, and two or so jibs/genoas, plus maybe a Daisy staysail and jibtop to cover the typical wind range/direction in their venue.  They're essentially one trick ponies optimized for 90% of their prevailing conditions  and unable to make progress in big winds.
  • In Grand Prix racing the boats became so fragile that wind restrictions were implemented which trickled down to the  masses. In the AC 12-meter era and before, explicit wind limits were not established.  Now there's a shitfight over a 4mph difference in wind restrictions.  Why?  Given a certain venue, boat design and structural integrity (given that a lighter boat is always faster before it breaks up),  and sail complement and controls have to be optimized to the razor's edge for that venue to win.

So amatuer campaigns have followed suit (ya' wanna win?) and in typical light/moderate conditions run ridiculously light unstable boats that cannot take a brisk day but are winners on a typical weekend in most venues.  Lest you think I'm a pussy I've Rule 4'd myself out of some races because  I suffer in big seas/lighter air from too much hobbyhorsing because of considerable overhangs.  Not seaworthiness, just too slow and it would be a super unpleasant race.  OTOH I've training sailed in 35-40kn winds with moderate seas under a 90% high tacked jib & reefed main and been able to make 4kn speed  and maybe 1kn made good upwind; the cockleshells would have been on the beach in short order.

I know I'll get flack for this but if the committee boat can establish a start line, bring it on dudes, wind  & sea conditions bedamned.  Bail using Rule 4 if you wish; but that's *your* decision, not the RC's.  The whole cancel a race because of liability, too much wind, damaged boats, possible collisions, death  'sitch is bullshit.  It shifts the onus onto the organizing authority where the the RROS have clearly stated for hundreds of years it's your decision to start, retire or press on.

 

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I think only 2 things you can do when the RC cancels yet you want to sail.

1) go out there and show em how it's done

2) volunteer to be involved next season


 

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I think it's also relevant that the race was not on not SF Bay, it was on the Alameda Estuary. Typical winds in the Estuary are 5-10knots so the conditions yesterday were extreme for the venue. The Estuary is also a very narrow body of water with little room for maneuvering and lots of commercial traffic, etc.

Anecdotally as I was driving across the bay bridge at 2:30 it was definitely "nuking" / survival conditions out the bay itself. 

Chris

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5 minutes ago, pointbreak805 said:

I think it's also relevant that the race was not on not SF Bay, it was on the Alameda Estuary. Typical winds in the Estuary are 5-10knots so the conditions yesterday were extreme for the venue. The Estuary is also a very narrow body of water with little room for maneuvering and lots of commercial traffic, etc.

Anecdotally as I was driving across the bay bridge at 2:30 it was definitely "nuking" / survival conditions out the bay itself. 

Chris

yeah, it was gnarly out there. I saw 1 boat on the bay coming out of Emeryville, looked like a reefed down folkboat or similar. Perfect for the conditions. Oh, and it was cold too. 

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2 hours ago, PaulK said:

This thread’s focus on the big, heavy boats in the PHRF fleet ignores the other fleet of 5.5 meter boats also scheduled to race, as well taking a cavalier attitude towards all the smaller and lighter PHRF boats : Olsen’s, Merit’s, and Santana’s (and a J/24?) , which might have considered the conditions dangerous    At the time the decision was made to cancel, the wind  was up.  The fact that it died down after that indicates that the RC was wrong to have made the decision when the wind was up and they thought it was going to increase further, according to the forecast?  If the wind had increased would this thread have been started?  We had a race cancelled this past season due to hurricane winds forecast.  The forecast was wrong: winds were SW 10-15 knots. Too bad. Race another day.  As others have suggested, if your crew is there but the race isn’t going to happen, go out and practice. 

Paul, 

I don't think this thread in anyway "ignores" the smaller/lighter boats.  Nothing/nobody in this thread says the smaller boats had to go out.  If a Skipper considers the conditions too dangerous for his boat or crew, it completely respectable to say "we're not going today...its beyond my comfort limits."  But if the Skipper of a B-40 has to suffer racing  (or deciding not to race) because of not enough wind for his heavier displacement boat, shouldn't a skipper of a Merit 25 have to make the same choice at the higher end of the wind scale?  Or do we all have to race light to medium air boats?  The RO unintentionally, yet unfairly biased the series against a portion of the racing fleet.

Crash

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Difficult decision for the PRO, Do you cancel early according to forecast and allow people to do other things or wait until the start and call off then if its honking..

Either way you will get it wrong at least some of the time.

Round here we stay ashore if its consistently over 25 knots or if there's a gale warning in operation.

We usually retire if it gets above 35 true  in the gusts as that is when we start to do damage.

We're lucky enough to have a camera and weather station at the start line so real time information is available to all sailors.

Id say that 20 - 25 knots with no sea state sounds like great fun, a great practice opportunity if nothing else.

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2 hours ago, axolotl said:

I've been racing in my venue (open ocean) for 30 years and  there's no doubt  that  races are being cancelled  due to windy conditions  much more often nowadays  than in the past.  In fact, the only reasons races were cancelled long ago was that the committee boat (usually a big trawler-like boat) couldn't make it to the starting area,  set an anchor, or the marks would drag.  Visibility was not a factor unless the committee boat couldn't see the pin end.  There was never any mention of wind limits in the NOR/SIs and Rule 4 squarely placed the decision to race on the individual competitors shoulders.  In the last few years thanks to much better weather forecasts some RCs have  even begun to cancel the race three or so days prior if NOAA says it'll be 20-25kn come race day.

I think there's several reasons for the trend.

  • 30 years ago boats were heavy and slow with SA/DISP ratios below 20 for the most part.  Spars and rigging were overbuilt, hull shapes were conservative.  Seaworthiness (now a forgotten factor) in high winds trumped performance in average/light winds where most racing is undertaken.  No longer the case.
  • Sail wardrobes used to involve light and heavy air mains,  several genoa/jibs, two or three kites, various specialty sails, each optimized for  performance in a given wind condition.  A lot of weight to haul around the course if unused.  Nowadays (partly thanks to incredible advancements in sail technology & sail shape controls) most boats use a single main, wiggly mast,  single kite, and two or so jibs/genoas, plus maybe a Daisy staysail and jibtop to cover the typical wind range/direction in their venue.  They're essentially one trick ponies optimized for 90% of their prevailing conditions  and unable to make progress in big winds.
  • In Grand Prix racing the boats became so fragile that wind restrictions were implemented which trickled down to the  masses. In the AC 12-meter era and before, explicit wind limits were not established.  Now there's a shitfight over a 4mph difference in wind restrictions.  Why?  Given a certain venue, boat design and structural integrity (given that a lighter boat is always faster before it breaks up),  and sail complement and controls have to be optimized to the razor's edge for that venue to win.

So amatuer campaigns have followed suit (ya' wanna win?) and in typical light/moderate conditions run ridiculously light unstable boats that cannot take a brisk day but are winners on a typical weekend in most venues.  Lest you think I'm a pussy I've Rule 4'd myself out of some races because  I suffer in big seas/lighter air from too much hobbyhorsing because of considerable overhangs.  Not seaworthiness, just too slow and it would be a super unpleasant race.  OTOH I've training sailed in 35-40kn winds with moderate seas under a 90% high tacked jib & reefed main and been able to make 4kn speed  and maybe 1kn made good upwind; the cockleshells would have been on the beach in short order.

I know I'll get flack for this but if the committee boat can establish a start line, bring it on dudes, wind  & sea conditions bedamned.  Bail using Rule 4 if you wish; but that's *your* decision, not the RC's.  The whole cancel a race because of liability, too much wind, damaged boats, possible collisions, death  'sitch is bullshit.  It shifts the onus onto the organizing authority where the the RROS have clearly stated for hundreds of years it's your decision to start, retire or press on.

 

 

No flack from me, you are spot on!!  30 years ago, we didn't have Melges, Vipers and all the other super light "sport boats".  Times change, and "horses for courses", and conditions.

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7 hours ago, surf nazi said:

I hate it when people want to make everything a "liability" issue. So your only concern is about potential liability if someone is hurt or killed ? Here's an idea, don't hurt or kill anyone. It's a SAFETY issue dumbass. We need to be concerned about people's safety not about liability. You get insurance, just like for your car and house for liability ,then just concern yourself with what is safe . 

BTW, I race in big breeze and practice in big breeze in a finn and I'm never upset when RC's cancel a race when it is unsafe for some of the fleet ( as long as its over 25 ) . I'll still go out and sail because it's exhilarating and fun. Nothing makes me feel more alive than the finn in big breeze.   

First I am not a dumb ass,, but you seem to be going a bit to the extreme.

Not every boat is like yours. There is also the thought about 3rd party collateral damage from someone racing, get in trouble and brings a 3rd party.

As for my self. I have never hidden from this community about who I am and my issues.
I am a 22 year paraplegic, 62 years old, been sailing and racing since the 70's. I actually made sails for 11 yrs out of high school.....been there done that. Race all over the USA and SO Cal. Oh yea, tried to do the Paralympic shit but it was too expensive. But I met a lot of cool people.

When I go on any race (my boat is below, me driving in light air), I tell the crew. "You cannot save me unless you save yourself.". But I still must consider the issue of a 3rd party suing my estate for some fucking attorney digging for gold. You have no idea unless you have been through the legal ringer.

This is a Safety and a Liability issue....................you are not a dumb ass but you are misguided.

 

rounding2_2_sml.jpg.86fc4a3e2c3a2c79aa7f93fe7103b3aa.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, billy backstay said:

 

No flack from me, you are spot on!!  30 years ago, we didn't have Melges, Vipers and all the other super light "sport boats".  Times change, and "horses for courses", and conditions.

Vipers will never want the RC to blow off racing for the heavy boats just because it is too much for us.

Our class guidelines suggest it is too sporty when wind averages exceed 25 knots but there are plenty of boats that revel in those conditions and we would not want them to be denied their fun.

That said, we strongly believe in the discretion of an experienced local PRO.  For a Viper, 25 knots in flat water at Fort Walton might be fun and 20 knots in big seas might be survival conditions. What I hear about SFB, 20 knots and current in SFB is harder than 25 knots on Long Island Sound.

Ultimately, the fairest approach is for a class to choose an experienced, trusted local representative who will call it, so that light displacement boats like ourselves head back to the dock without cancelling racing for everyone. If it is a PHRF series and we score a DNC while heavier boats pick up some well earned points, so be it, we'll be back at you when we plane past in a 12 knot breeze. PHRF is about fun and  participation. The light displacement boats who cannot sail that day, should be the first ones to high five the wet and soggy displacement sailors who come into the bar with big grins on their faces. 

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On 2/2/2020 at 8:41 PM, LionessRacing said:

Olson 30's  are ULDB, they are always overpowered... that's the charm... 

 

Sailed a Olson 30 , LIS and fall series MBFS, over 30+kts took one knock down that bent the spin pole in half, never remembered a race cancelled!

I was going to get T-shirts " I survived a Garuda knock down ",, but I would have made 100's on them for the crews , some of my crew would call them a tactical knock down's , also did the ALIR in her 220nm

What a fun boat to sail in heavy stuff, think we had it planning over 16kts

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I'm pretty sure anyone laughing off liability wouldn't trade places with the trustees of the Fairhope Yacht Club on Mobile Bay.

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Everything that happens is someone else's fault.

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I'm on the 'don't try to write this sort of thing into the SI's, other than as guidelines' - its best left to the discretion of the RO and their judgement on the day.

 

We're discussing wind strength here, but what about other hazardous conditions?  We've had a fair bit of bushfire smoke and summer heat around here recently. We called off a race a day early a couple of weeks back due to excess heat (forecast was 45C) and smoke (more of a health hazard than visibility problem). Our concern was for our mostly elderly volunteers on the finish panel, who could have a much more comfortable and risk-free day in their air-conditioned homes, rather than being dragged down to the tin-roofed weatherboard club in the sun with hazardous particulate levels in the air.

Of course, some people weren't happy and we copped some shit.

Do we write a heat limit into SI's ?  What about other hazards? Floating debris in the water?  Excessive cold? The list could be endless,

I follow the advice of Brass's post, rule 27.3 and 32.1. If people want to bitch, then step up and do the job yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s constructive for a fleet to give indicative guidance to the race committee but wrong to write that into the SIs. Ultimately the PRO has to take responsibility to start the race, or not, and the SIs should not prevent or deter them from exercising their best judgement. 

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On 2/3/2020 at 2:29 AM, LionessRacing said:

The 5.5 meter fleet pretty much canceled en mass, with a lack of self-bailing cockpits, that may make sense. 

Absolutely. I’ve sailed a dragon in a good 30+ and  downwind it was quite a handful. Flat sheltered water, and the squall lasted for about fifteen minutes only, but still. The embarrassment of swimming ashore, or being picked up by a launch, then hiring a crane to get the boat out of the public waterway the next day wouldn’t exactly be fun. 

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6 hours ago, dogwatch said:

It’s constructive for a fleet to give indicative guidance to the race committee but wrong to write that into the SIs. Ultimately the PRO has to take responsibility to start the race, or not, and the SIs should not prevent or deter them from exercising their best judgement. 

That is certainly our view.

These guidelines are designed as input to assist Race Committees decide whether to start a race for an international Viper 640 Regatta. They are not prescriptions. The conditions that determine whether to race are affected by many variables including wind, wave conditions, current, lee shores, depth and safety resources. The Race Committee and the Organizing Authority will make the final decision based on their judgement, local knowledge and experience with the assistance of these guidelines. Major international regattas for the Viper Class should be a test of skill in fair and safe conditions. Sailing in higher wind conditions is part of the skill set that can form part of a major regatta and the judgement call is to distinguish wind conditions where the competitors are still racing rather than surviving and avoiding conditions that will cause widespread damage to equipment.   

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Point to point racing in 30-35 is fine. Sporty but survivable. Reef, put up a #3, and don't use the nice chute, or maybe break out the 1.5.  Bi

Short course W/L racing in that?  Sketchy.  Makes the starts and mark roundings a little insane.  As we were reaching away from the committee boat in similar circumstances last fall - reaching away at 9 kts with under-trimmed main only in really angry water with a tide that didn't pair well with the wind direction - I was bummed we'd had to go that far out in crap weather only to get a cancellation, but thought it was probably the right safety call for my crew.  I'd have done a p-to-p race in that though.  Have done.  Not a big deal.   Wednesday Worlds with ~180 boats in a small harbor would be completely unworkable in that wind, actually gets tough when it's over 20 due to lack of maneuver room. The racetrack loops up and down the line get mighty tight with 6 or 7 good sized classes buzzing around at 6:05...   I don't begrudge the RC its discretion here.

 

 

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Wave state is IMHO at least as big a factor as wind speed.

We had a junior regatta last week on our inland reservoir with (in the afternoon) sustained 20-25 knots and occasional gusts up to 35. It was tough but manageable, although we did call off the last race because energy reserves would have been running out. On the sea sending the kids out racing in that would have been grossly irresponsible. 

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There is a unique perspective on "windy" when it comes to SF Bay. 

I moved here 30 years ago, and noticed it the very first winter of sailing. Racing takes place all summer long, typical 15-20 knot days and plenty of days racing in over 25 knots with the regular winds out of the west. No one ever blinks an eye. It is why many of us chose to sail here 

Most of the midwinter racing is in light an variable winds, that is often the expectation. Then when some frontal activity comes through, and it promises winds over 20 knots from any OTHER direction then the west, many RCs, and many competitors get freaked out and choose to cancel or not to sail. Oh, and don't get me started on how folks deal with rain around here. 

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RRS covers it. RO can cancel if they feel its too much/ too little. NEVER allow this written into the SI's for club phrf series because then some idiot will protest the race committee. It will happen. They will be sour as a committee and now you need new volunteers. 

Like anything , river rapids are rated 1 through 5, if you fall out of the canoe in a rated 3, well thats a 5 for you!

If the golf will be suspended at dusk, well is it too dark for you or everybody else 

beercan series need flexibility, because its a mixed bag of boats, and skill sets. If they blow off a race for too much (in thier opinion which is the only one that matters) and  your crew is there/ on route, get a couple other boats to go out a pace each other for speed drills, do a rabbit start from a fixed point, just go and sail the day. Nobody needs to sit around long faced if they choose not to. 

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2 hours ago, JimC said:

Wave state is IMHO at least as big a factor as wind speed.

We had a junior regatta last week on our inland reservoir with (in the afternoon) sustained 20-25 knots and occasional gusts up to 35. It was tough but manageable, although we did call off the last race because energy reserves would have been running out. On the sea sending the kids out racing in that would have been grossly irresponsible. 

Sea state is a big deal especially for RC.  Often the wave action is such they can't get anchors set.  Did a CRW ocean course several years ago.  Under pressure the RC tried to go out and almost sank the boat when the anchor line got hung on a prop and turned her stern to the waves.  One of the RC members also broke an ankle or tore something in her knee when someone fell on her.

I also agree on the point to point vs round the marks.  Point to point you can plan sail changes and not have to make quick maneuvers and/or have close/crossing situations with other boats.  Smaller boats are easier than big boats too.

So, lots of things to consider when making the "go-no-go" decisions.  At the end of the day if you're not in the volunteer position that makes those calls you need to just roll with it and not complain or next time there may not be any volunteers to make a call at all.

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19 hours ago, bloodshot said:

I'm pretty sure anyone laughing off liability wouldn't trade places with the trustees of the Fairhope Yacht Club on Mobile Bay.

a windy day and not paying attention to weather are two different things...  on iffy days our RC's are in constant monitoring of the situation around us.. 

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If the RC feels like it is not a good idea for them or you to be out there... what? Do you want to force them to run a race for you? Seriously?

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No, I'm not trying to say that.  If the RC isn't comfortable or doesn't feel they can reasonably handle the wx, then by all means cancel.  No issues there.  My issue is when they cancel because they don't believe the skippers can exercise proper judgment, and/or when they cancel for the smaller lighter boats in a series of races.  If you have a diverse fleet, you cannot (I believe) "skew" the conditions to a certain portion of the fleet - i.e. those that excel on light or med days.  What about the part of the fleet that excels on heavier days?  They just have to take their lumps and be basically non-competitive?  I don't want, nor need an RC to tell me when the weather conditions exceed the capability of my boat or crew.  I am quite capable of making that decision myself.  And if that means I get scored DNC in a race that is part of the series, thats OK with me.  Sorry, but I hate all aspects of the "nanny state."

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I was once put off the race course due to high winds and while the 30+ foot fleet was funneling into the harbor, the opti kids were coming out.  I was in tears.

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On 2/3/2020 at 3:00 PM, LionessRacing said:

one of the fears expressed was that with that much wind, boats would be moving fast and if they lost control would be close together... Not sure I followed the argument, but at least in my case I would have steerage... 

Crazy Ivan....

when i was mountain biking lots I went riding with a mate.  We were elbow to elbow down this trail drifting through corners with shear drop offs on the outside.  It was fun because we trusted eachother’s capability implicitly.

I have the same implicit trust (and distrust) of my fellow skippers.   some I outright avoid, others I have no quams about being gunwhale to gunwhale with knowing that should something go pear shaped, the other would respond.

I’ve come to expect even great sailors have the odd crazy ivan.   It’s how you both react when you are close that makes difference between fast, fun, and safe.

As to abandonment, as Fast said, devil is in the details.  I would have thought that was a bit soft, especially because it was closed flat waters, but maybe Im missing something.   I certainly agree documenting wind speeds makes things more complicated.   unfortunantely here,  racing will be cancelled on strom and gale force warnings regardless of conditions.   that’s a liability issue.

On the flipside, i’ve had arguments with RO’s who refused to abandon despite active lightening storms on course.  The RO had the idea that lightening would go aound the boat, and besides, his kid was winning.  That day on another course a laser was struck, exploded, and the sailor found himself in hospital for a week.  on our course another boat returned to shore after apparently experiencing an electric shock holding on to the stay.

That club developed an explicit storm risk policy after that as part of their risk mitigation plan, providing clear guidance to RO’s introducing greater consensus and the ability for the executive team to overrule the RO on such things if it was deemed appropriate to do so.  it was a policy document though, not an SI.

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Optis sail in 30+ kts all the time. I always point tat out when someone tells me 25+ kts is too much. Racing is always at the discretion of RC regardless of any wind limits in the SIs.

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2 hours ago, Mark Set said:

... Racing is always at the discretion of RC regardless of any wind limits in the SIs.

Sorry, that's nonsense.  If the race committee does not comply with requirements that it has stated in the SI, in accordance with rule 90.2, that is clearly an improper action and may found a request for redress.

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10 minutes ago, Brass said:

Sorry, that's nonsense.  If the race committee does not comply with requirements that it has stated in the SI, in accordance with rule 90.2, that is clearly an improper action and may found a request for redress.

Which is exactly why you want to be very careful what you write into the SIs.  You can make your like very difficult, and it's only a matter of time before someone fucks up.

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27 minutes ago, Brass said:

Sorry, that's nonsense.  If the race committee does not comply with requirements that it has stated in the SI, in accordance with rule 90.2, that is clearly an improper action and may found a request for redress.

They dont have to give a reason, they can put up AP at any time before a start for as long as they want. Request redress all you want, doubt you'll get any.

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1 minute ago, Mark Set said:

They dont have to give a reason, they can put up AP at any time before a start for as long as they want. Request redress all you want, doubt you'll get any.

They can use their discretion to cancel any time, what they cant do is use their discretion to run a race when the wind is outside the limit.

I have experienced this at Rhodes nationals, when a race was thrown out because the wind dipped below the minimum threshold briefly during the start sequence and the RC decided to continue the race.... 

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3 minutes ago, JohnMB said:

They can use their discretion to cancel any time, what they cant do is use their discretion to run a race when the wind is outside the limit.

 

yes thats a much better way to say what i meant. 

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20 minutes ago, Mark Set said:
24 minutes ago, JohnMB said:

They can use their discretion to cancel any time, what they cant do is use their discretion to run a race when the wind is outside the limit.

yes thats a much better way to say what i meant

Thanks JohnMB.

My apologies ot Mark Set:  I didn't think about a SI saying that the race committee would NOT abandon a race in some wind conditions.

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