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are umpires good enough?

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That might seem a damning heading but don’t get me wrong. Most umpires ARE god enough, it is just that it can be a very frustrating job at times.

Our sport prides itself on being self-policing. That may have been good enough in the ‘good old days’. When asked about the ‘wonders’ of sail boat racing I always used to say because it is played by the ‘right kind of people’ but increasingly this is perhaps not always the case.

Sure there have been the odd high profile cases over the years, the iPunkt incident is one that springs to mind. In fact I was a victim myself once (many, many years ago) when a competitor ran aground, motored off then about 100m  down the race track. It was only family cruisers and it mean my 10 yr old daughter & I didn’t get 1 more winner’s glass (really – so what?).

My good buddy didn’t get 1 more 2nd place trinket (same attitude – it had been fun) but the real victim was a young woman who was denied her first ever podium trophy. The story spread round the clubhouse and the prize giving announcement was met by a strange silence except for a comment from the back “Not bad for a F**king motorboat”. Small beer, it was water off a ducks back and I should have protested – today I would.

And that is part of the problem where there are mixed ability and mixed experience in a fleet. Sometimes the more experienced (and cynical) will knowingly push the rules betting that the less experienced sailor will let them in and not fly the flag and it usually works, certainly when there is no judge on the water and even when there is on the water judging the self policing concept of no flag, no foul lets these rules pushers get away with it.

Well not always!

I was on the water judge with a very experienced friend, during a regatta with money prizes, when twice we clocked a boat forcing their way inside at a mark when they had absolutely no rights under RRS 18 but the less experienced boat let them in and although they appeared unhappy neither shouted nor flew the flag.

Basically they were bullying which is an activity which is illegal in the workplace and not acceptable in everyday life. Our angst wasn’t so much that we couldn’t fly the flag but that the actions of the boat in question were clearly bullying and not fair sailing. Then in the penultimate race in the starting sequence they were clearly going to be OCS but bore down on the leeward boat and there was (gentle) contact and off up the beat they went.

We gradually trickled through the fleet (very light weather) until we were about a boat length from the offending boat then through a translator asked them if they knew they broke a rule n the start line to which they answered “Yes” (not as smart as they thought they were).

Our response was that if they didn’t do a penalty then we would protest them under RRS 2 and we all know where that could lead. Clearly not happy they rolled into their penalty which given the light winds was expensive but justice was done. Perhaps not as per the judges or umpires manual but clearly illustrates the problems with our sport being self policing if people wish to try and take (unfair) advantage of the situation.

To answer the question in the title, and considering the umpire or the judge is in the equation to ensure, as far as possible, fair sailing, then on that occasion the umpire WAS good enough. In fact that same team, with weaker officials in a different regatta walked away with a prize they had absolutely no entitlement to – but that’s a story for a different occasion.

So do certain events need a refinement of how we keep people honest on the race track or do we stay with the same old same old. As the saying goes “If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you’ve always got”.

What do you think?

See ya on the water – I’ll be the one with the flag & whistle. - SS

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Can you find someone to write front page articles rather than Shanghai Sailor? He is so fucking self-absorbed and insufferable. This is maybe the 7th time he’s been published on the FP in a month and he makes up way more than 25% of the content we get. 

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2 minutes ago, jackolantern said:

Can you find someone to write front page articles rather than Shanghai Sailor? He is so fucking self-absorbed and insufferable. This is maybe the 7th time he’s been published on the FP in a month and he makes up way more than 25% of the content we get. 

we have a lot of varied content, and i like what he writes about. i can't please everybody...

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1 hour ago, jackolantern said:

Can you find someone to write front page articles rather than Shanghai Sailor? He is so fucking self-absorbed and insufferable. This is maybe the 7th time he’s been published on the FP in a month and he makes up way more than 25% of the content we get. 

Why don't you try your hand at writing something?

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11 hours ago, jackolantern said:

Can you find someone to write front page articles rather than Shanghai Sailor? He is so fucking self-absorbed and insufferable. This is maybe the 7th time he’s been published on the FP in a month and he makes up way more than 25% of the content we get. 

100% agree this Shanghai guy is a complete joke, and lives completely off the coat tails of others....... no substance to any of his writing, its a whole bunch of showboating and name dropping.... clearly he has a lot of time on his hands. I I I I I is all he writes about. We love the fact he writes articles also about himself and all the good he has done to yachting around the World.... the guy is a complete knob. I know a bunch of guys that know him... not complementary thats for sure. Time to move him on from the front page of this website.

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This article isn’t about whether umpires or judges are good or bad at all.  It’s about whether the game ‘needs’ more umpiring or judging.

Leave the racing to the racers.

The starting point for the discussion, I suggest should be what the RRS expect.

RRS Basic Principles Sportsmanship and the Rules says, right up front:

Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce

It doesn’t say ‘rules that are enforced by race officials’.

If that isn’t enough, Case 39 tells us:

The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitors.

The fact that we have invented certain forms of the game that cannot be played without umpires (Match and Team Racing), and the fact that WS, and their marketing and media advisors have persuaded themselves that TV Audiences need instant gratification and ‘Umpired Medal Races’ says absolutely nothing about the needs of more or better official interference in the way everyday racers race their boats.

Certainly, the sport has its share of egomanics who don’t care about rules or in some classes think that they are so important and ‘elite’ that they can choose to save themselves the bother of the protest process and ‘contract out’ their consciences to on-water umpires.  I don’t think that that’s a good way for the game to go.

Articles like this do nothing to help the game.  By spreading false slogans like ‘No Flag no Foul’ they make matters worse, and by advocating more on-water umpiring, in fact encourage a trend to ‘play to the whistle’, which ultimately could end up with race fleets behaving like 8 year olds soccer teams, running this way and that, waiting for the whistle to tell them how to behave.

The role of race officials is not to ‘keep people honest on the race track’ or to enforce the rules.  That is the competitors’ job.  The role of judges and umpires is to decide protests brought before them by the established protest processes.

We have a carefully crafted set of rules, based on a self enforcement principle.  If competitors choose not to use the protest process that is their business.

By all means encourage people to protest, and provide efficient fair protest committees but we don’t need more race official interference and motor boats and whistles.

Leave the racing to the racers.

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Only problem I had with Umpires is what they do to the yacht club's power boats!

Jamming the outboards from forward to reverse and gunning, sometimes not waiting for the revs to decrease, just raises all kinds of problems. Especially the lower unit gears are affected. We had one Match Race weekend where one judge went through two lower units on Yamaha 50s.  We didn't let him drive again.

Once a Umpire/judges' driver had to leave for a flight in Tampa before the end of racing. I was conscripted to take over. The Umpire got all frustrated because I wouldn't 'work fast enough' for him. To do so would have been destructive. 

Dave Ellis, St. Petersburg Yacht Club employee, 1987-2000

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9 hours ago, Brass said:

SNIP

Articles like this do nothing to help the game.  By spreading false slogans like ‘No Flag no Foul’ they make matters worse, and by advocating more on-water umpiring, in fact encourage a trend to ‘play to the whistle’, which ultimately could end up with race fleets behaving like 8 year olds soccer teams, running this wa

SNIP

I think this is a very fair point. I grew up (perhaps most of us grew up) playing organised baseball or cricket. But surely like me, many of us grew up playing our own version of cricket or baseball (or touch football or other games). The expression, "take your ball and go home" reminds me of what sometimes happens. Most of the time, we "self-regulate" our play. We know the rules--that we have agreed to. If you are playing with your friends and one of them just will not agree on LBW or strike calls, somebody is liable to "take his ball and go home." End of game.

If you cannot agree on playing fairly, the game ends.

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On 5/12/2020 at 10:47 PM, jackolantern said:

 he makes up way more than 25% of the content we get. 

You calling me a liar? You must be a Trump script writer "We have evidence, I'm not going to give the evidence but it is so"

So what's you reasoning because I can assure you I don't make it up.

So tell the world!

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22 hours ago, Bro.Town said:

100% agree this Shanghai guy is a complete joke, and lives completely off the coat tails of others....... no substance to any of his writing, its a whole bunch of showboating and name dropping.... clearly he has a lot of time on his hands. I I I I I is all he writes about. We love the fact he writes articles also about himself and all the good he has done to yachting around the World.... the guy is a complete knob. I know a bunch of guys that know him... not complementary thats for sure. Time to move him on from the front page of this website.

What is your fucking problem. Newbie with 21 posts? Go troll someone else. You know a bunch of guys that know me? Yawn!

You input next to nothing and think you are important.

You clearly know what a knob is as you no doubt see one in the mirror every morning.

It is impossible to be liked by everyone and i am pretty sure that i would have the same opinion of the "Bunch of guys that know him"  as they allegedly have of me. And you know what? I frankly don't give a shit!

Besides the decision to post my 'stuff' or not is that of the editor not some newbie tail trying to wag the dog. 

 

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20 hours ago, Brass said:

The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitors.

 

20 hours ago, Brass said:

If competitors choose not to use the protest process that is their business.

...

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20 hours ago, Brass said:

This article isn’t about whether umpires or judges are good or bad at all.  It’s about whether the game ‘needs’ more umpiring or judging.

Leave the racing to the racers.

The starting point for the discussion, I suggest should be what the RRS expect.

RRS Basic Principles Sportsmanship and the Rules says, right up front:

Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce

It doesn’t say ‘rules that are enforced by race officials’.

If that isn’t enough, Case 39 tells us:

The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitors.

The fact that we have invented certain forms of the game that cannot be played without umpires (Match and Team Racing), and the fact that WS, and their marketing and media advisors have persuaded themselves that TV Audiences need instant gratification and ‘Umpired Medal Races’ says absolutely nothing about the needs of more or better official interference in the way everyday racers race their boats.

Certainly, the sport has its share of egomanics who don’t care about rules or in some classes think that they are so important and ‘elite’ that they can choose to save themselves the bother of the protest process and ‘contract out’ their consciences to on-water umpires.  I don’t think that that’s a good way for the game to go.

Articles like this do nothing to help the game.  By spreading false slogans like ‘No Flag no Foul’ they make matters worse, and by advocating more on-water umpiring, in fact encourage a trend to ‘play to the whistle’, which ultimately could end up with race fleets behaving like 8 year olds soccer teams, running this way and that, waiting for the whistle to tell them how to behave.

The role of race officials is not to ‘keep people honest on the race track’ or to enforce the rules.  That is the competitors’ job.  The role of judges and umpires is to decide protests brought before them by the established protest processes.

We have a carefully crafted set of rules, based on a self enforcement principle.  If competitors choose not to use the protest process that is their business.

By all means encourage people to protest, and provide efficient fair protest committees but we don’t need more race official interference and motor boats and whistles.

Leave the racing to the racers.

I actually agree with you Brass. The problem is that with self policing - and perhaps from the naivety of my youth (shit - that wasn't yesterday) i always thought that sailing was played by 'gentlemen (and women)' who knew the rules and stuck to the rules. I know Case 39 states where the primary responsibility lies and i wish that was always good enough but that depends on a) the sailor knowing their rights under the rules and b) having the confidence to follow through with the rules and the, (let's call them less scrupulous) sailors often take advantage of this. The umpired medal races were as much to keep the IOC happy as the media as pretty much with all other Olympic sports the winner is known almost immediately. 

On the 'No flag no foul' "slogan". It is not suggested to be a "slogan" it is (unless you are under 6m hull length) a requirement in the protest regime under RRS 61.1 ( i think) and sad to see so many protest thrown out as invalid because a less experienced sailor forgot one or the other  meaning the perpetrator gets away with it by default and not because what he did wasn't wrong.

It would be great if there were no cheats or bullies in our sport but that is sadly NOT the case. If they get away with it against someone 'who sort of knows the rules' but is unsure that diminishes the enjoyment levels of that aggrieved competitor. If that happens enough we potentially lose one more person from our sport.

In summary , it would be great to see our sport being self policing continuing and in the ideal world where nobody tried to take advantage of that it would be great but just ask any on the water judge how many times they have see something and are ready to fly their flag only to be frustrated because the aggrieved doesn't ask. Every time that happens there is one more chance that a sailor enjoys his/her day  that little bit less that (perhaps) sends him a little further down that slippery slope until he decides to not bother and take up tiddlywinks instead - mark you they probably cheat at that as well.

I honestly don't know the solution, - I'm not that smart -  the idea of the article on the Front Page was to try and get discussion going as  just how we can eject these cheats and bullies from our race courses.

All views and comments welcome.

SS

 

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1 minute ago, shanghaisailor said:

Thanks Mid - nice little guide. I shall read that.

Welcome , sat in a seminar with Graeme at CSC many moons ago .

It was there that his push to declare protests valid if at all possible rather than toss em at the first opportunity on a tec was impressed on me .

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39 minutes ago, shanghaisailor said:

I actually agree with you Brass. The problem is that with self policing - and perhaps from the naivety of my youth (shit - that wasn't yesterday) i always thought that sailing was played by 'gentlemen (and women)' who knew the rules and stuck to the rules. I know Case 39 states where the primary responsibility lies and i wish that was always good enough but that depends on a) the sailor knowing their rights under the rules and b) having the confidence to follow through with the rules and the, (let's call them less scrupulous) sailors often take advantage of this. The umpired medal races were as much to keep the IOC happy as the media as pretty much with all other Olympic sports the winner is known almost immediately. 

On the 'No flag no foul' "slogan". It is not suggested to be a "slogan" it is (unless you are under 6m hull length) a requirement in the protest regime under RRS 61.1 ( i think) and sad to see so many protest thrown out as invalid because a less experienced sailor forgot one or the other  meaning the perpetrator gets away with it by default and not because what he did wasn't wrong.

It would be great if there were no cheats or bullies in our sport but that is sadly NOT the case. If they get away with it against someone 'who sort of knows the rules' but is unsure that diminishes the enjoyment levels of that aggrieved competitor. If that happens enough we potentially lose one more person from our sport.

In summary , it would be great to see our sport being self policing continuing and in the ideal world where nobody tried to take advantage of that it would be great but just ask any on the water judge how many times they have see something and are ready to fly their flag only to be frustrated because the aggrieved doesn't ask. Every time that happens there is one more chance that a sailor enjoys his/her day  that little bit less that (perhaps) sends him a little further down that slippery slope until he decides to not bother and take up tiddlywinks instead - mark you they probably cheat at that as well.

I honestly don't know the solution, - I'm not that smart -  the idea of the article on the Front Page was to try and get discussion going as  just how we can eject these cheats and bullies from our race courses.

All views and comments welcome.

SS

 

All views and comments welcome.... but you told me to go away.... hahah you joker dude.... ill keep watching for more great articles by you.... knob.... hahahahaha

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1 hour ago, shanghaisailor said:

You calling me a liar? You must be a Trump script writer "We have evidence, I'm not going to give the evidence but it is so"

So what's you reasoning because I can assure you I don't make it up.

So tell the world!

I thinks thats exactly what he was calling you.......

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2 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

You calling me a liar? You must be a Trump script writer "We have evidence, I'm not going to give the evidence but it is so"

 So what's you reasoning because I can assure you I don't make it up.

So tell the world!

"Makes up" as in "comprises" or "is a component of"  or "amounts to"

The only Trumpian thing about you is that you have an over-inflated concept for how many people care to listen to you blather on in your writings which so often eschew your semi-informed opinions or limited experiences as broad-based fact

I would rather stick pins in my eyes than read a 3 part series about you being pen pals with Ed Dubois

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On 5/14/2020 at 1:14 PM, jackolantern said:

"Makes up" as in "comprises" or "is a component of"  or "amounts to"

The only Trumpian thing about you is that you have an over-inflated concept for how many people care to listen to you blather on in your writings which so often eschew your semi-informed opinions or limited experiences as broad-based fact

I would rather stick pins in my eyes than read a 3 part series about you being pen pals with Ed Dubois

hahaha gold.......

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On 5/13/2020 at 9:37 PM, shanghaisailor said:

I know Case 39 states where the primary responsibility lies and i wish that was always good enough but that depends on a) the sailor knowing their rights under the rules and b) having the confidence to follow through with the rules and the, (let's call them less scrupulous) sailors often take advantage of this....

If they get away with it against someone 'who sort of knows the rules' but is unsure that diminishes the enjoyment levels of that aggrieved competitor. If that happens enough we potentially lose one more person from our sport.

On the other hand, there is a risk that some competitors may eventually quit racing because they grow tired of oppressive surveillance by umpires or on-water judges. Too, official boats sometimes inadvertently obstruct racers (I was at one regatta where a RHIB driven by a senior judge collided with boats in two separate races: pretty embarrassing).

I question whether competitors are really all that “aggrieved” if they don’t actually protest. And a working grasp of Parts One and Two is not much to ask.

Officials stepping in to police the RRS because competitors can’t be bothered to learn the basic rules of the game, or lack reasonable self-assertiveness, seems like a ‘nanny state’ solution. IMO we should expect racers to be adults and exercise some personal responsibility, rather than delegating it to officialdom.

On 5/13/2020 at 9:37 PM, shanghaisailor said:

In summary , it would be great to see our sport being self policing continuing and in the ideal world where nobody tried to take advantage of that it would be great but just ask any on the water judge how many times they have see something and are ready to fly their flag only to be frustrated because the aggrieved doesn't ask.

The sense of personal ‘frustration’ individual judges may feel seems a rather weak rationale for increased on-water enforcement.

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Thanks Swan,  I've been struggling to come up with a reply that wasn't pissy, and I think you've hit the nail on the head.

As an umpire or on-water judge, I've very rarely felt 'frustrated' because I've been denied the opportunity to fly my flag, firstly, because I'm clear in my mind that I'm only responsible for making a decision when a boat does ask by flying a protest flag, and secondly because I just cannot recall seeing many incidents where it even appeared that boat might have protested but did not because of inexperience or ineptitude.

I’ve declared my fair share of protests invalid in my time.  Generally the reasons were not that anyone ‘forgot’ the requirements, but that the protesting boat just didn’t try to comply with them, and in fact quite often boasts about not having a protest flag available, as if that was some sort of display of superior ‘sportsmanship’.

In any case:  the requirements for hail and flag at the first reasonable opportunity are there to enable the protestee take an on-water penalty if she chooses:  A boat intending to protest, who doesn’t comply with the rule 61.1 requirements deprives the protestee of her chance to properly take an on-water penalty and, in fact herself breaks rule 61.1(a) ‘A boat intending to protest shall …’

 

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On 5/14/2020 at 11:14 AM, jackolantern said:

"Makes up" as in "comprises" or "is a component of"  or "amounts to"

The only Trumpian thing about you is that you have an over-inflated concept for how many people care to listen to you blather on in your writings which so often eschew your semi-informed opinions or limited experiences as broad-based fact

I would rather stick pins in my eyes than read a 3 part series about you being pen pals with Ed Dubois

Give me a physical address & I will gladly send you the puns

 

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7 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

Give me a physical address & I will gladly send you the puns

 

I look forward to opening an envelope full of Jokes

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On 5/15/2020 at 9:17 PM, jackolantern said:

I look forward to opening an envelope full of Jokes

Bloody auto-correct i'll send you the pins but i did find your last comment mildly amusing

 

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On 5/15/2020 at 11:45 AM, Svanen said:

On the other hand, there is a risk that some competitors may eventually quit racing because they grow tired of oppressive surveillance by umpires or on-water judges. Too, official boats sometimes inadvertently obstruct racers (I was at one regatta where a RHIB driven by a senior judge collided with boats in two separate races: pretty embarrassing).

I question whether competitors are really all that “aggrieved” if they don’t actually protest. And a working grasp of Parts One and Two is not much to ask.

Officials stepping in to police the RRS because competitors can’t be bothered to learn the basic rules of the game, or lack reasonable self-assertiveness, seems like a ‘nanny state’ solution. IMO we should expect racers to be adults and exercise some personal responsibility, rather than delegating it to officialdom.

The sense of personal ‘frustration’ individual judges may feel seems a rather weak rationale for increased on-water enforcement.

From my observations and conversations with relatively new sailors (and there are a lot of new sailors in China) including many who express unhappiness with the 'rule pushers' they are far more likely to "quit the sport" and many have. Umpires cannot provide "oppressive surveillance as we can only respond to a flag and a hail and the cheats and bullies know this. If those cheats and bullies "eventually quit" our sport it can only do the sport good unless people are happy to have cheats and bullies compete amongst them.

Official boats obstructing racers is a rare occurrence or should be a rare occurrence. If an individual has attended an umpire seminar and not gone on the water as a driver without (at least) an experienced  umpire alongside him then they should not be getting in the way of competitors or providing wake disturbance etc. Trouble is quite a few regattas put people on the water that ARE NOT properly trained in the role or people who think being a judge or umpire is a piece of cake. If an umpire is doing their job properly they come off the water as knackered as the sailors.

Also a good number of umpires think they are the be all and end all after 5 minutes performing the role. I currently have over 700 races logged and i STILL consider myself a newbie.

I agree Svanen, and agree 100% one would think that understanding up to RRS 18 say would not be such a huge task but for many young or inexperienced sailors that is a little bit too much like going back to school and the whole point most people take up ay sport is for fun and relaxation. I say this having spoken to goodness knows how many about why they don't understand them. I even penalised 1 guy many years ago and he was furious until i sat him down on the concrete afterwards and explained RRS17 to him and why he had been penalised, his expression softened and he apologised profusely for telling me to fuck off earlier. He was an Olympic sailor.

I agree, in an ideal world that the sailors should be responsible but it is a bit chicken and egg. They hear stories of the "Room" and they are scared off - we are talking about real people here. If we don't do something about it the bullies and cheats will continue to get away with it and our sport will be the poorer for it. Some of it is as cynical as the shit that goes on in a game of soccer.

I honestly don't know what the solution is and I wrote the article to get opinions but to deny there is a problem is sticking our head in the sand.

I suppose my real frustration is that one season you see someone young to the sport, full of enthusiasm then the start of the next season they are nowhere to be seen then when you dig amongst those who were friends of theirs you find that on a number of occasions they thought they had been treated wrongly but didn't have the confidence to do anything about it - that's what cheats and bullies rely on.

Sorry if i get emotional about the problem but it is tough enough attracting people to our sport without a small minority (and it is very small) spoiling it for all. 

Final comment - judges and umpires are human too and if they cannot perform what they are on the water to help achieve - to help keep the game honest - they too are less likely to  want to continue and there are precious few coming into that role in our sport. Me I'm just bloody minded and hope one day do catch the cheat because someone sticks a red flag in the air.

Anyway, bigger fish to fry!

Stay well

SS

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Bullies tarnish many sports, though intimidation is part of them as well. In sailing, knowing your boat and your competitors well enough to maneuver with authority in what seems to be a likely collision can be exhilarating. Having the audacity to choose a port start, tack on a lee bow or otherwise sail aggressively within the rules is a great part of the fun of competition. 

None of that involves yelling at the other boats, or barging into starts, or sailing below a proper course. Hailing something that's not accurate is poor sportsmanship, distracting at best and dangerous at worst. 

Requiring umpires, or video replay for adjudication is not a viable answer. As noted the stentorian observation from the back of the awards ceremony can be quite effective. 

 

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On 5/13/2020 at 9:37 PM, shanghaisailor said:

On the 'No flag no foul' "slogan". It is not suggested to be a "slogan" it is (unless you are under 6m hull length) a requirement in the protest regime under RRS 61.1 ( i think) and sad to see so many protest thrown out as invalid because a less experienced sailor forgot one or the other  meaning the perpetrator gets away with it by default and not because what he did wasn't wrong.

I sail in a Wednesday night fleet where "no flag no foul" has descended into "no contact no foul." The only protests that ever make it to the protest room are the ones where boats have serious damage or where the 1st place glasses are at stake. Newer sailors aren't comfortable because they don't think it's worth it or they don't see a big difference between eighth and ninth place in a ten boat fleet. That's fair, but as those sailors climb the ladder and become more experienced they hold on to that reluctance to protest. "Protest"at my yacht club have become a dirty word among many. There is a general unfamiliarity with the rules and in many situations I have been reluctant to protest a clear foul because I was only 99% sure of the rules. The current rules of sailing work when people bother to learn them.

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5 hours ago, jamesmalcolm said:

I sail in a Wednesday night fleet where "no flag no foul" has descended into "no contact no foul." The only protests that ever make it to the protest room are the ones where boats have serious damage or where the 1st place glasses are at stake. Newer sailors aren't comfortable because they don't think it's worth it or they don't see a big difference between eighth and ninth place in a ten boat fleet. That's fair, but as those sailors climb the ladder and become more experienced they hold on to that reluctance to protest. "Protest"at my yacht club have become a dirty word among many. There is a general unfamiliarity with the rules and in many situations I have been reluctant to protest a clear foul because I was only 99% sure of the rules. The current rules of sailing work when people bother to learn them.

Not just bother to learn them but bother to use them. The concept of self policing is useless if people don’t self police. Could you A) imagine trying to play chess if you Didn’t know how the knight could move or b) allowing your opponent to move the knight in an inappropriate way and not doing anything?

 

 

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2 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

Not just bother to learn them but bother to use them. The concept of self policing is useless if people don’t self police. Could you A) imagine trying to play chess if you Didn’t know how the knight could move or b) allowing your opponent to move the knight in an inappropriate way and not doing anything?

 

 

It's more like castling to the wrong side of the board. When a pro does something wrong, someone new may not be confident enough in their knowledge of the rules to stop them. It may just be me but there is a reluctance to protest among many sailors because they see protests as these big important events that should be a last resort when the rules are broken instead of the first one, and only used in very serious situation. There would be more self-enforcement in sailing if protests were viewed as routine events that weren't worth writing home about. 

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5 hours ago, jamesmalcolm said:

It's more like castling to the wrong side of the board. When a pro does something wrong, someone new may not be confident enough in their knowledge of the rules to stop them. It may just be me but there is a reluctance to protest among many sailors because they see protests as these big important events that should be a last resort when the rules are broken instead of the first one, and only used in very serious situation. There would be more self-enforcement in sailing if protests were viewed as routine events that weren't worth writing home about. 

I agree James. Many People see a protest as Playing dirty & if someone wins a race because of a protest they are playing dirty. In actual fact the opposite is true. If someone wins a race through breaking a rule & not being protested then that is much more serious as it means the rule breaker has got away with it. If they get away with it, they will just chance their luck again & again. If they are protested & DSQ’d they might just think twice about doing it again

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When I am teaching the rules I tell people to always protest if someone breaks a rule, it is the only way to keep our sport clean. Might appear strict but what is the point of the rules  if they are not adhered to

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On 5/13/2020 at 12:32 PM, Bro.Town said:

100% agree this Shanghai guy is a complete joke, and lives completely off the coat tails of others....... no substance to any of his writing, its a whole bunch of showboating and name dropping.... clearly he has a lot of time on his hands. I I I I I is all he writes about. We love the fact he writes articles also about himself and all the good he has done to yachting around the World.... the guy is a complete knob. I know a bunch of guys that know him... not complementary thats for sure. Time to move him on from the front page of this website.

BroT did you get the name of whoever banged you solidly up the arse plus with a round or two in the gob to try and shut you up....a relationship you now find to have been unfulfilling..thus creating this nasty streak you now display here??

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We put on the jury on the water at last years Irish IRC Nationals. No point in paying IJs to sit around drinking coffee all-day is my book ;)

Some uncertainty beforehand but by the first evening we had competitors actively asking for their fleet to be observed.

For me, the key is for the jury to be there as a witness for most incidents leaving the choice to initiate a protest in the hands of competitors. Agreeing on a threshold of RRS2 or 14 gives the jury space to take independent action for stuff that they shouldn't be expected to "unsee".

Between the 2 these measures keep things fairer in terms of coverage of the course too.

...

In terms of the OP and getting involved in the middle of a race? Never seen an IU/IJ behave in that fashion.

...

Stopped umpiring after taking time to explain a pretty technical call when a competitor queried it post-race only to get f bombed. Add a coach having a drama as I had the temerity to make a straight forward call on one of his team at an event earlier, and time pressure mounting up anyway put an end to it.

 

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7 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

BroT did you get the name of whoever banged you solidly up the arse plus with a round or two in the gob to try and shut you up....a relationship you now find to have been unfulfilling..thus creating this nasty streak you now display here??

Wowdowsers Mr Sparrow..... seems a bit harsh hahahahahah

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On 5/17/2020 at 12:01 AM, shanghaisailor said:

From my observations and conversations with relatively new sailors (and there are a lot of new sailors in China) including many who express unhappiness with the 'rule pushers' they are far more likely to "quit the sport" and many have.

I’m not knowledgeable about the demographics of sailing in China or about the circles in which you mix, but I cannot overcome a feeling that you are dealing with the very sorts of wealthy individuals who I have referred to above as eager to ‘contract out’ dealing with the personal characteristics of others, in preference to looking people in the eye, or using established processes, either under the RRS or under sailing club disciplinary rules, where they are aggrieved by other’s behaviour.

You seem to be advocating changing the competitive structure of the game to solve some sorts of social behaviour problems:  intrusion of ‘not the right kind of people’, 'cheats and bullies'.  I think that’s a serious mismatch:  if you want to change social behaviour or composition, then use social means:  club structures and rules, don’t mess with the competition structure.

 Umpires cannot provide "oppressive surveillance as we can only respond to a flag and a hail and the cheats and bullies know this.

While you are displaying your good knowledge of how the rules govern judging and umpiring structures, you are also advocating more judging and umpiring, and, by referring to umpires being frustrated at not being able to use their flag, you certainly seem to be advocating that umpires should be using more umpire initiated penalties to deal with ‘cheats and bullies’.

 If those cheats and bullies "eventually quit" our sport it can only do the sport good unless people are happy to have cheats and bullies compete amongst them.

As a competitor, on the race course, I really don’t care about another person’s social qualities. If they bother me by cheating or otherwise breaking the rules on the race course, I’ll protest them.  If they display those characteristics ashore, and it bothers me, I’ll avoid socialising with them, and in the unlikely event that they really bother me, I’ll write to the Club Committee.

Official boats obstructing racers is a rare occurrence or should be a rare occurrence. If an individual has attended an umpire seminar and not gone on the water as a driver without (at least) an experienced  umpire alongside him then they should not be getting in the way of competitors or providing wake disturbance etc. Trouble is quite a few regattas put people on the water that ARE NOT properly trained in the role or people who think being a judge or umpire is a piece of cake. If an umpire is doing their job properly they come off the water as knackered as the sailors.

It should be rare.  But if, as you advocate, we have more umpiring, that means more umpires and lower standards.  Problem is hugely acerbated in fleet racing where you have more boats on the race course than in MR/TR:  Umpires positioned for an incident between two boats have a very good chance of getting in front of other boats in the fleet.

Also a good number of umpires think they are the be all and end all after 5 minutes performing the role. I currently have over 700 races logged and i STILL consider myself a newbie.

I agree Svanen, and agree 100% one would think that understanding up to RRS 18 say would not be such a huge task

It isn’t.  Acquiring a sufficient knowledge of Part 2 to keep out of trouble isn’t at all difficult, if only it wasn’t for people bleating about how difficult it is and validating the excuse.

 but for many young or inexperienced sailors that is a little bit too much like going back to school

Then they are welcome to avail themselves of the learning experience provided by the protest room.

Teaching sailors the rules on the water is the job of coaches, not umpires and judges.

 and the whole point most people take up ay sport is for fun and relaxation.

Ok, then they can have a fun and relaxed time down the back of the beercan fleet with their fun and relaxed buddies

 I say this having spoken to goodness knows how many about why they don't understand them.

First, “I didn’t understand the rule” is the first refuge of the protestee that got nailed bang to rights.  The problem is not that they didn’t understand the rule:  it’s most likely that they haven’t even read the rule in the first place or that they failed, in either judgement or execution to comply with it.  “I didn’t understand the rule” is an excuse to avoid admitting to themselves, or to others, that they didn’t attend to the rule, or they couldn’t handle their boat.

Where people really don’t understand a rule it’s usually because they have made no effort to read it carefully, or to look at any of the many rules commentaries that explain how the rules work.

 I even penalised 1 guy many years ago and he was furious until i sat him down on the concrete afterwards and explained RRS17 to him and why he had been penalised, his expression softened and he apologised profusely for telling me to fuck off earlier. He was an Olympic sailor.

I agree, in an ideal world that the sailors should be responsible but it is a bit chicken and egg.

Not ‘should be’.  Sailors ARE responsible:  that’s the principle upon which the rules are based.

 They hear stories of the "Room" and they are scared off - we are talking about real people here.

So stop spreading stories.  Stop saying that protesting is a problem.

Encourage implementation of Appendix T Arbitration as a quicker and less stressful alternative to full protest hearings (provided you have competent Arbitrators).

 If we don't do something about it the bullies and cheats will continue to get away with it

Get away with what?

I’ll say it again:

  •  If they bother you by cheating or otherwise breaking the rules on the race course, protest them;
  • If they display those characteristics ashore, and it bothers you, avoid socialising with them or take steps according to your club’s rules to discourage or exclude their behaviour.

and our sport will be the poorer for it.

I don’t think that the sport qua competition suffers from any presence of ‘cheats and bullies’:

  • ·Firstly I just don’t see that many of these egregious characters around;  and
  • Secondly, if it interferes with the competition, competitors have a remedy:  protest or submit a rule 69 report:  if they choose not to do that, they get what they deserve (or maybe SS is just exaggerating a problem that nobody else agrees exists).

If the social side of sailing is being damaged by the presence or behaviour of ‘cheats and bullies’ address this by appropriate social mechanisms such as club rules about behaviour.

None of this is the job or Race Officials

Some of it is as cynical as the shit that goes on in a game of soccer.

So there’s a risk that our sport will become poor like the most popular game in the world?

I honestly don't know what the solution is and I wrote the article to get opinions but to deny there is a problem is sticking our head in the sand.

As far as I can see the only problem that you have identified is that there are people involved in sailing who are ‘not the right kind of people’ and who are, in your view ‘cheats and bullies’

If there is any truth in those propositions, those problems are absolutely NOT things which Race Officials, Umpires and Judges should be concerning themselves about, unless and until issues are raised through the formal processes specified in the RRS.

I strongly deny that:

  • It is impossible for competitors to understand and apply the RRS, given a moderate effort to become acquainted with those rules, such as is needed to compete in any sport;
  • Wider use of umpired fleet racing is a good thing for the sport in general and at club and local level in particular
  • Race Officials should become involved in any sort of crusade to exclude ‘cheats and bullies’ from the sport.

It is NOT the role of Race Officals to ‘keep the game honest’ or to drive out ‘cheats and bullies’.  It is the job of Race Officals to conduct racing and to decide protests validly brought before them according to the rules, not be conducting crusades based on their personal morality and values.

I suppose my real frustration is that one season you see someone young to the sport, full of enthusiasm then the start of the next season they are nowhere to be seen then when you dig amongst those who were friends of theirs you find that on a number of occasions they thought they had been treated wrongly but didn't have the confidence to do anything about it

If that is really a problem, it’s up to the club to address it:  provide mentors, training sessions, whatever the club flag officers and committee agree is necessary.  IT IS NOT A PROBLEM FOR RACE OFFICIALS.

 - that's what cheats and bullies rely on.

Sorry if i get emotional about the problem but it is tough enough attracting people to our sport without a small minority (and it is very small) spoiling it for all. 

Final comment - judges and umpires are human too and if they cannot perform what they are on the water to help achieve - to help keep the game honest –

It is NOT the role of Race Officals to ‘keep the game honest’ or to drive out ‘cheats and bullies’.  It is the job of Race Officals to conduct racing and to decide protests validly brought before them according to the rules, not be conducting crusades based on their personal morality and values.

 

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14 minutes ago, Brass said:

 

Woh Brass - quite a tome and so far off the mark in many instances it is incredible.

The word assume breaks down into making an ASS out of U and ME. Wealthy individuals are generally so because they are competitive and are a little less likely to let someone get away with something - let's get that straight. Are you suggesting that people of wealth in China are less likely to look people in the eye and face up to things than elsewhere?  Mmm - what do you call that again?

You clearly started your career in sailing 100% knowledgable of the rule book and never interacted on the water in a negative way with a cheat or a bully and if they did immediately knew what to do and too k them to the room. - SO you are the one - i bow to your greatness.

One comment i would make though is i nearly fell off my chair in fits of laughter when i read that "Coaches should teach sailors the rules" - many of them teach them how to get round the rules. FACT

Perhaps you your neck of the woods there are no sailors who try in one way or another circumvent the rules. All i would say to that is you are very very lucky.

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SS

I make a considerable effort to engage with your arguments, and you respond by playing the race card and some sarcastic personal attacks.

I did NOT impute any racial characteristics on Chinese sailors.  What I suggested was that rich and powerful people  might be disproportionately represented in Chinese sailing and, I'll admit to stereotyping here, some rich and powerful people tend to like to have their experiences and human interactions mediated by paid staff, i.e. umpires, instead of managing them themselves.

Of course I didn't start sailing 100% knowledgeable.  But when my lack of knowledge became apparent, I set about gaining more knowledge, or at least had the decency not to whine about it, or seek to have the world changed to accommodate my shortcomings.

I certainly think I'm fortunate about where I live and sail.  Of course there are some loud mouthed boofheads around, who seem to have very 'selective' memories when they get into the protest room.  That said, I can't remember a protest hearing where I have formed the opinion that a party or witness was intentionally lying, or had cheated.  Maybe you see what you want to see.  I want to think well of my fellow sailors, and, dare I ssay it, assume that they are telling the truth until proved otherwise.  If you want to see 'bullies and cheats' everywhere then, I suppose that's what you will see.

But Race Officials have no business crusading against personal or moral fallibility of sailors:  just apply the rules and leave the racing to the racers. 

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8 minutes ago, Brass said:

SS

I make a considerable effort to engage with your arguments, and you respond by playing the race card and some sarcastic personal attacks.

I did NOT impute any racial characteristics on Chinese sailors.  What I suggested was that rich and powerful people  might be disproportionately represented in Chinese sailing and, I'll admit to stereotyping here, some rich and powerful people tend to like to have their experiences and human interactions mediated by paid staff, i.e. umpires, instead of managing them themselves.

Of course I didn't start sailing 100% knowledgeable.  But when my lack of knowledge became apparent, I set about gaining more knowledge, or at least had the decency not to whine about it, or seek to have the world changed to accommodate my shortcomings.

I certainly think I'm fortunate about where I live and sail.  Of course there are some loud mouthed boofheads around, who seem to have very 'selective' memories when they get into the protest room.  That said, I can't remember a protest hearing where I have formed the opinion that a party or witness was intentionally lying, or had cheated.  Maybe you see what you want to see.  I want to think well of my fellow sailors, and, dare I ssay it, assume that they are telling the truth until proved otherwise.  If you want to see 'bullies and cheats' everywhere then, I suppose that's what you will see.

But Race Officials have no business crusading against personal or moral fallibility of sailors:  just apply the rules and leave the racing to the racers. 

Brass, I was exactly the same as you. I thought if i was going to 'play the game'  there would be no point if i didn't know the rules. In fact rules knowledge, to me, and clearly to you actually enhances the 'fun' and indeed competitiveness of our sport.

If i was sarcastic it is not and should not have been directed at you, i have been trolled by some individuals recently and your long post was perhaps the tipping point. 

In your post i tied  demographics of sailing in China +  dealing with the very sorts of wealthy individuals + ‘contract out’ dealing with the personal characteristics of others to suggest that people here play the game differently to elsewhere - that is racism. As you state that was not your intent then i apologise wholeheartedly. Perhaps i have been a little sensitive of late.

It is a fact that many people DON'T take our sport as seriously as the like of you and i do which is a shame but many people just want to have fun on the water.

Your comments about the protest room? I never ceases to amaze me how versions of the same event can differ, even when one of the witnesses was an on the water judge armed with a video camera.

I too believe in the general 'goodness' of the human race but the bad apples exist and do try it on either through ignorance or sheer rules bending. I would also say this is not only my experience it is through hearing tales from other umpires, many experienced to World Sailing Special Events standards eg, AC, VOR etc

Sorry if i appeared overly antagonistic but it only takes a few of those "bad apples", particularly at beyond club level, to spoil the game.

Will take a time out from this discussion and once again it is nothing personal.

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To be fair, I have never sailed a race with an umpire but I have wished for one when being barged on a couple of times. I certainly get the concept that I should be protesting and have resolved to do so since bullies should never prosper, but to be honest I still don't own a protest flag. In addition, I do feel the pressure to not be a squealer but I do see that this is completely self-imposed. Perhaps because the protests I have seen become really acrimonious and my world is such that I don't need any more angry people in it.

If I could offer any suggestions it would be to have Fleet Captains and Race Committees make the processes to protest more widely know and accepted to the racers. My girlfriend has quit a ladies golf league due to the pressure of being snapped at over rules violations by women I can only think are paying it forward and I think the leadership at the golf course could make the situation much more healthy since no one is cheating, merely ignorant of the rules. 

Dan 

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13 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

It is a fact that many people DON'T take our sport as seriously as the like of you and i do which is a shame but many people just want to have fun on the water.

Not everyone enjoys competition or wants to race. There is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring to cruise or daysail.

And many sailors like to race but do so on a more or less casual basis. They don’t practice, don’t upgrade their boats with new sails, and don’t study the RRS. Again, there is nothing wrong with that.

Of course, casual racers are unlikely to do as well as those who take the sport more seriously. If they find that result off-putting (some do, some don’t) they can either up their game, seek a different level, or cease racing. It is entirely their choice.

13 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

It never ceases to amaze me how versions of the same event can differ, even when one of the witnesses was an on the water judge armed with a video camera.

Different people with different personalities, and observing from different vantage points, perceive the same incident differently. Try to bear that in mind whenever you feel frustrated that no protest or penalty turns follow what you believe was a clear Rules violation.

14 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

I thought if I was going to 'play the game'  there would be no point if i didn't know the rules. In fact rules knowledge, to me, and clearly to you actually enhances the 'fun' and indeed competitiveness of our sport.

Bravo.

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27 minutes ago, Svanen said:

Not everyone enjoys competition or wants to race. There is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring to cruise or daysail.

And many sailors like to race but do so on a more or less casual basis. They don’t practice, don’t upgrade their boats with new sails, and don’t study the RRS. Again, there is nothing wrong with that.

Of course, casual racers are unlikely to do as well as those who take the sport more seriously. If they find that result off-putting (some do, some don’t) they can either up their game, seek a different level, or cease racing. It is entirely their choice.

Different people with different personalities, and observing from different vantage points, perceive the same incident differently. Try to bear that in mind whenever you feel frustrated that no protest or penalty turns follow what you believe was a clear Rules violation.

Bravo.

Thanks Svanen. I actually do agree with you, the point i was originally trying to make is that there are those who unfairly take advantage of the less competitive/experienced/ outgoing sailors.

Anyway, i've said enough and the differing views are indeed interesting.

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7 hours ago, danstanford said:

I certainly get the concept that I should be protesting and have resolved to do so since bullies should never prosper, but to be honest I still don't own a protest flag.

If you race a boat of 6m LOA or greater without a protest flag readily available, then you have effectively decided that you will never protest, regardless of circumstances. Which is your call, but is inconsistent with your professed resolve.

I recommend purchasing a protest flag: they are inexpensive. Then you will at least have the option of protesting. And if you tape the flag on your backstay, ready for immediate deployment and where it can be seen by other competitors, possibly it may deter potential bullies from pushing you around.

7 hours ago, danstanford said:

I do feel the pressure to not be a squealer but I do see that this is completely self-imposed.

Some competitors believe that ‘victory should be decided on the water, not in the protest room’. Is that sentiment what is holding you back?

If so, reflect that ‘winning on the water’ necessarily implies doing so within the rules. If and when you protest, you are helping to ensure that this actually occurs.

Please never use words like “squealer” when discussing protests. They send a message that is directly contrary to the one you suggest officials should be publishing.

7 hours ago, danstanford said:

If I could offer any suggestions it would be to have Fleet Captains and Race Committees make the processes to protest more widely know and accepted to the racers.

If a racer is determined to push the boundaries, deliberately flout the RRS, and bully weaker personalities - which, as I understand it, is Shanghaisailor’s primary concern - it seems unlikely that a lecture from the RC will make much real difference.

The only measures likely to stop such behaviour are (i) effective protests, and the DSQ or DNE consequences thereof, and (ii) contempt and ridicule from a majority of the fleet. Both of which are largely in the hands of competitors, not officials.

7 hours ago, danstanford said:

My girlfriend has quit a ladies golf league due to the pressure of being snapped at over rules violations by women I can only think are paying it forward and I think the leadership at the golf course could make the situation much more healthy since no one is cheating, merely ignorant of the rules. 

There will always be a few self-appointed arbiters/enforcers of etiquette. Often they publicly chastise, rather than offering a a tactful private word of advice. Result: defensiveness, resentment and ill-feeling.

Many YCs avoid this problem by having a rule within their bylaws that no member may discipline or correct another member or club employee, and must instead direct any complaints to the Secretary or similar person for action. Too bad your girlfriend’s golf club (apparently) lacks such a provision.

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2 hours ago, Svanen said:
9 hours ago, danstanford said:

If I could offer any suggestions it would be to have Fleet Captains and Race Committees make the processes to protest more widely know and accepted to the racers.

If a racer is determined to push the boundaries, deliberately flout the RRS, and bully weaker personalities - which, as I understand it, is Shanghaisailor’s primary concern - it seems unlikely that a lecture from the RC will make much real difference.

The only measures likely to stop such behaviour are (i) effective protests, and the DSQ or DNE consequences thereof, and (ii) contempt and ridicule from a majority of the fleet. Both of which are largely in the hands of competitors, not officials.

I have to disagree with Swan.

Tone begins at the top.  If the Flag Officers, Board and senior club members have a 'no protest' attitude, that is most likely to prevail throughout the club.  Conversely if those 'influencers' actively facilitate protesting by arranging rules training, implementing slick protest procedures, and 'talking up' rules compliance and sportsmanship, this WILL establish norms within the club about rules compliance and protesting.

Cheats and 'bullies' whatever that means, normally respond to social norms:  they do what they can get away with.  If the norm within the club is that rules breaches should and will be protested, I have no doubt that this will have an effect on the 'rules pushers'.

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On 5/20/2020 at 12:32 AM, Brass said:

I have to disagree with Swan.

Tone begins at the top.  If the Flag Officers, Board and senior club members have a 'no protest' attitude, that is most likely to prevail throughout the club.  Conversely if those 'influencers' actively facilitate protesting by arranging rules training, implementing slick protest procedures, and 'talking up' rules compliance and sportsmanship, this WILL establish norms within the club about rules compliance and protesting.

Cheats and 'bullies' whatever that means, normally respond to social norms:  they do what they can get away with.  If the norm within the club is that rules breaches should and will be protested, I have no doubt that this will have an effect on the 'rules pushers'.

Tone does begin at the top. But that's mostly the competitors who are winning.

The PC is a tool available to competitors, nothing more. It just needs to make it protesting easy and fair, giving everyone the opportunity to have their say and get along (if they want to) and apply the rules in an impartial and ruthless fashion.

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