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Start/finish line as an obstruction?


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The club I help out at held a regatta over Easter for off-the-beach boats.  A last minute shortage of bodies meant we couldn't use the original plan of separate start and finish boats and lines, so the Start line was shortened after the last start and became the finish line.

To avoid confusion, the amended SIs provided that, unless a competitor was starting or finishing, the line was an obstruction.  Theoretically, after the start, if a competitor crossed the line after the start, the duty crew would know that the boat was finishing and record the finish time.

My question is "Does your club do this also?" and "If not, how does your club manage the issue?"

Of course there was one competitor who didn't read the SIs and wasn't familiar with this rule!  We are now tossing around ideas to avoid the situation where this competitor picked up 3 DSQs in one day and then complained that the result was harsh and overly officious!

Comments and ideas welcomed.

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Clearly the extent of the problem depends on the number of laps between start and finish.

The more laps the more critical it is to keep non finishers away from the line.

But yes, our club prohibits passing through the line when not finishing. The finishing line is between the clubhouse and a buoy, so not as much as of an obstacle as something sitting in the middle of the course. 

By the way, another way of dealing with the situation is having the start line one side and the finish the other of the same boat. Good if you've got multiple back to back races on the same day. But still don't want a non finisher passing through the finish line.

Of course you could go the other way, call it a gate, and count the laps as each boat goes through.

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9 minutes ago, Bsquared said:

For what it’s worth, this used to be pretty standard in Hobie racing.  Competitor’s fault for not reading SIs, but nobody told him after the first one?

Apparently it is not standard anymore, this was a state championship for H16s.  The class rep gave evidence at a request for redress that it isn't used in Hobie events.

All 3 races were back to back - no opportunity to tell the competitor.  I had an inkling that it was the same boat the last 2 breaches and was going to seek the competitor out on the beach the next morning, but he had already become aware and lodged a request for redress.

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18 minutes ago, Rambler said:

Clearly the extent of the problem depends on the number of laps between start and finish.

The more laps the more critical it is to keep non finishers away from the line.

But yes, our club prohibits passing through the line when not finishing. The finishing line is between the clubhouse and a buoy, so not as much as of an obstacle as something sitting in the middle of the course. 

By the way, another way of dealing with the situation is having the start line one side and the finish the other of the same boat. Good if you've got multiple back to back races on the same day. But still don't want a non finisher passing through the finish line.

Of course you could go the other way, call it a gate, and count the laps as each boat goes through.

We have done the start one side, finish the other but the issue is still the same of non-finishers crossing the line.   Often there will be a large number of boats, sailing different number of laps and with considerable disparity in skill level and thus speed.  Unless we have a dedicated boat counting laps, it becomes mayhem quickly, which is why we planned to use a separate boat and finish line, but illness meant we didn't have the numbers to do that.

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1 hour ago, Recidivist said:

We have done the start one side, finish the other but the issue is still the same of non-finishers crossing the line.   Often there will be a large number of boats, sailing different number of laps and with considerable disparity in skill level and thus speed.  Unless we have a dedicated boat counting laps, it becomes mayhem quickly, which is why we planned to use a separate boat and finish line, but illness meant we didn't have the numbers to do that.

Again, it may not suit your circumstances or desired course, but in the title we just ran, the start/ finish line was downwind of the lee turning mark.

As long as you are happy with a downwind finish, it sorts the whole thing out.

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10 minutes ago, Rambler said:

Again, it may not suit your circumstances or desired course, but in the title we just ran, the start/ finish line was downwind of the lee turning mark.

As long as you are happy with a downwind finish, it sorts the whole thing out.

Yep, we've done that as well.  But we often have 60 - 80 boats at a regatta and downwind finishes tend to be very crowded and it's hard getting sail numbers.  If it's a mono regatta, they tend to prefer upwind finishes because there is the opportunity for tactics and making a place or 2 right at the end.

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Just now, Recidivist said:

 If it's a mono regatta, they tend to prefer upwind finishes because there is the opportunity for tactics and making a place or 2 right at the end.

Understand, although it can work the other way in skiffs. Just had someone lose first overall place in the last race with a (looking for a non controversial way of putting this) capsize while gybing meters from the line after some 'close tactical interaction' with the eventual winner

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On the river you have no choice but to allow boat to cross through the line, but we do arrange the courses so generally so that you only come back through once in the race + finish, so we can shorten course easily.

Sometimes on the river they use down wind finishes, so the finished boats aren't in the way of those still arriving..

Up on the broad, we generally have every one come through, always in the same direction on every lap, that way the line can report to the time keeper, Class, then boat number..  We  can have 60 boats, in 6 or 7 classes  going through during every 15 minute period ..   Each class started at 5 minute intervals.

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Did your SI specifically allow the RC to DSQ a boat breaking it without a hearing? 

If not, unless there was a valid protest & hearing I think the boat would have to be scored in her finishing place. 

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Additionally, just making the line an obstruction doesn't prohibit boats from crossing it. 

You'd want language that restricts the line as well as defining it as an obstruction so boats approaching it are entitled to room to avoid it. 

And an alternative penalty less than DSQ wouldn't hurt. 

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The Cow Bay Regatta is one of the "busiest" keelboat and multihull regattas in British Columbia.

The start and finish are somewhat in the middle of the course, albeit off to the side, and per the SIs both are restricted and boats may not pass through unless starting or finishing.

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2 hours ago, TJSoCal said:

Did your SI specifically allow the RC to DSQ a boat breaking it without a hearing? 

If not, unless there was a valid protest & hearing I think the boat would have to be scored in her finishing place. 

This

Although it ought to be pretty easy to hold a hearing.

FWIW it's pretty common in my experience to have a "closed" start/finish line. Sometimes it just says this exact wording in the SIs, most often followed by a brief statement/explanation at the Skippers' Meeting. This really makes the work load for the Race Committee much easier.

A few times, I've encountered... and used myself, when P.R.O. on occasion... the opposite: the sailors must pass thru the start/finish line at each lap of the course. This makes it much easier to shorten course and to notify boats of anything they might need to know.

FB- Doug

 

 

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Suggested wording from Dick Rose:

After completing the first leg of the course, a boat shall not cross the starting line. A boat shall not cross the finishing line until she is completing the last leg of the course and finishes. A boat that breaks this rule shall not correct her error. However, she will be exonerated if she takes a Two-Turns Penalty (see rule 44.2). This changes rule 28.1. On a leg of the course from W to L or from L to W, boats may leave the line between S and F either to port or to starboard.

For reasons of safety, on legs of the course from W to L or from L to W, the starting and finishing lines and the buoys S and F are, taken together, one obstruction, and therefore rules 19 and 20 may apply between boats while they are approaching and passing it.

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Our club has done this for years. Used to be unwind or DSQ. Now its  2 turns prior to the next mark and you are good.  People ran afoul and they didn't do it ALL the time so there was some confusion open or closed?? 

This way the penalty is correctable without heroics 

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23 minutes ago, Locus said:

Our club has done this for years. Used to be unwind or DSQ. Now its  2 turns prior to the next mark and you are good.  People ran afoul and they didn't do it ALL the time so there was some confusion open or closed?? 

This way the penalty is correctable without heroics 

Yeah, if your objective is to keep boats out of the start/finish area then making a violator unwind just makes it worse

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Our club treats the entire line as a obstruction after the start, primarily because we run multiple starts for dinghy’s of all speeds. We typically do 2-3 laps, which could make it more confusing for guys on the boat. 
 

As to the penalty, if it’s in that particular days rules then you need to follow it. They and the rest of the competitors will now read them. 

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Thanks everyone.  Yes, the SIs do provide for DSQ without a hearing, and yes the additional words are there, not just that the line is an obstruction.  And yes, we would like the ability to apply a lesser penalty - DSQ is pretty unfriendly when we want to encourage people to sail and compete.

After many emails yesterday we have settled on 10% scoring penalty as the default.  In an egregious case where a competitor knowingly and deliberately breaches the rule to gain an advantage, the scoring penalty would likely render their advantage nugatory, but in any case the RC could protest and seek disqualification.  If 10% proves to be too little, we can up it in the future.  We will use a separate finish boat and line when the resources are available - I gather this is called a "Hollywood finish"?? (I hadn't heard that term before).

Hopefully we have struck an appropriate balance.  Thanks for the comments and advice.

R

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Put the SF line to leeward of the leeward mark so no one would ever go through it unless they're finishing. Having a restricted line in the middle of the racecourse takes away a lot of tactical options during the race 

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21 minutes ago, some dude said:

Put the SF line to leeward of the leeward mark so no one would ever go through it unless they're finishing. Having a restricted line in the middle of the racecourse takes away a lot of tactical options during the race 

That's a good option if you have the room - this is a lake where we have issues getting enough runway as it is in certain wind directions.  And some classes specifically request upwind finishes.  We bring the pin buoy in closer to the boat after the last division start to minimise impact of the obstruction - it's pretty easy for competitors to work around it.

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1 hour ago, some dude said:

Put the SF line to leeward of the leeward mark so no one would ever go through it unless they're finishing. Having a restricted line in the middle of the racecourse takes away a lot of tactical options during the race 

It adds some tactical options too, smart racers can use it as a 'pick'

FB- Doug

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One of the local clubs has separate start and finish. Finish is below and to starboard of the start line. Requires a second boat but also does not take as much space as putting the lines below the leeward mark. 

Curious why 10%? Do we need to do math on the course to determine position? Two turns is probably in that ballpark for a short course and it makes compliance visible to everyone. 

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1 hour ago, Locus said:

One of the local clubs has separate start and finish. Finish is below and to starboard of the start line. Requires a second boat but also does not take as much space as putting the lines below the leeward mark. 

Curious why 10%? Do we need to do math on the course to determine position? Two turns is probably in that ballpark for a short course and it makes compliance visible to everyone. 

Separate start and finish was the original plan.  But some of the rostered duty crew were struck down by health issues (not covid) and couldn't make it.  We had the boat, but not enough bodies to man it.

10% is a policy setting, which isn't my role. The club has replaced 2 turns with 360 degree for all fleets.  This predates my involvement but I think it's due to a high percentage of catamarans and also raceboards.  And who calls for the turns if there are no other competitors nearby? And failure to comply results in DSQ but would involve a hearing.  Too many downsides IMHO.

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At our club on the river, due to lack of manouvering room, turns are replaced by flying a green flag, in acceptance of a penalty, the line then adds one minute to the finish time. Leaves grabbed from passing trees or reeds have been used as an alternative. The receiver of the penalty is also supposed to notify the box of the flag when passing through the line or as soon as possible after..

Used to be we had film photo canisters attached to boom or stay , with red or green flags inside, pull a string on the bottom and the flag would pop out.. I've still got some, but a variety of plastic tubs are used now..

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I was over the line early in a 35 nautical mile race. I was in my Laser, the much larger boat to windward was blocking my view of a huge line. Another guy was way over and had to turn back. Long and the short, they gave a few of us a 10% penalty. It took me 5 hrs(300minutes). 30 minute penalty. I lost the overall trophy by 1 1/2 minutes, because I had 30 minutes into the next guy. 10% can make a big difference. Lesson learned don't worry about the start in a 5 hour race.

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1 hour ago, CaptainAhab said:

 Lesson learned don't worry about the start in a 5 hour race.

Now that is good advice

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8 hours ago, Recidivist said:

Separate start and finish was the original plan.  But some of the rostered duty crew were struck down by health issues (not covid) and couldn't make it.  We had the boat, but not enough bodies to man it.

10% is a policy setting, which isn't my role. The club has replaced 2 turns with 360 degree for all fleets.  This predates my involvement but I think it's due to a high percentage of catamarans and also raceboards.  And who calls for the turns if there are no other competitors nearby? And failure to comply results in DSQ but would involve a hearing.  Too many downsides IMHO.

Makes sense

I think the few times it happened the RC pointed it out so they could do turns. 

We are 360 as well for most penalties.. Mark rounding and a couple others are still 720

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ho lee shit. 

Of all the shit that you have to do before a regatta:

  • find a boat
  • prepare the boat
  • find crew
  • train with crew
  • get time off work
  • acquire insurance
  • make sure your transportation works
  • check the weather
  • figure out the course
  • find accommodation
  • organize food/nutrition
  • put the dog in a kennel
  • tell your wife you're going away for the weekend
  • tell your girlfriend that you're going away for the weekend
  • put on sunscreen
  • drink water
  • make sure you're not too fat
  • make sure you're not too thin
  • get out on the course early
  • a million other things
  • read the fucking SIs

 

READING THE FUCKING SIs is the easiest fucking thing to do. They're only ever a few pages long. Seriously. FUCK THIS ILLITERATE CABBAGE . They put the amendment in there specifically because you didn't have enough RC members. It's not a brown m&m trick to see if they're read. It was to make it easier for a short handed team to run a regatta.

No sailing coach has ever said, "don't bother reading the SIs. It's a waste of time". No. one. ever.

You said that you had a shortage of RC people. I'll assume that they were mostly/all volunteers. Why would someone want to ever volunteer again when some dickhead not only didn't bother following simple instructions, but then made a shitstorm out of it. You say you worry about participation, but really, there won't be any regattas if you can't get people to run them.

You should rule 69 his ass for bringing the sport into disrepute and being a massive dickhead. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Schnappi said:

ho lee shit. 

Of all the shit that you have to do before a regatta:

  • find a boat
  • prepare the boat
  • find crew
  • train with crew
  • get time off work
  • acquire insurance
  • make sure your transportation works
  • check the weather
  • figure out the course
  • find accommodation
  • organize food/nutrition
  • put the dog in a kennel
  • tell your wife you're going away for the weekend
  • tell your girlfriend that you're going away for the weekend
  • put on sunscreen
  • drink water
  • make sure you're not too fat
  • make sure you're not too thin
  • get out on the course early
  • a million other things
  • read the fucking SIs

 

READING THE FUCKING SIs is the easiest fucking thing to do. They're only ever a few pages long. Seriously. FUCK THIS ILLITERATE CABBAGE . They put the amendment in there specifically because you didn't have enough RC members. It's not a brown m&m trick to see if they're read. It was to make it easier for a short handed team to run a regatta.

No sailing coach has ever said, "don't bother reading the SIs. It's a waste of time". No. one. ever.

You said that you had a shortage of RC people. I'll assume that they were mostly/all volunteers. Why would someone want to ever volunteer again when some dickhead not only didn't bother following simple instructions, but then made a shitstorm out of it. You say you worry about participation, but really, there won't be any regattas if you can't get people to run them.

You should rule 69 his ass for bringing the sport into disrepute and being a massive dickhead. 

 

 

:lol: well played, sir

Completely agree

I am convinced that one of the big problems currently afflicting the sport of sailing is the number of assholes. Back when regattas were larger, more normal people sailed, the percentage was lower, more tolerable. With the sport shrinking, the last to leave are the fucking jerks and dicks who make it a PITA for others... and are proud of being dicks and assholes, usually.

FB- Doug

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6 hours ago, Schnappi said:

ho lee shit. 

Of all the shit that you have to do before a regatta:

  • find a boat
  • prepare the boat
  • find crew
  • train with crew
  • get time off work
  • acquire insurance
  • make sure your transportation works
  • check the weather
  • figure out the course
  • find accommodation
  • organize food/nutrition
  • put the dog in a kennel
  • tell your wife you're going away for the weekend
  • tell your girlfriend that you're going away for the weekend
  • put on sunscreen
  • drink water
  • make sure you're not too fat
  • make sure you're not too thin
  • get out on the course early
  • a million other things
  • read the fucking SIs

 

READING THE FUCKING SIs is the easiest fucking thing to do. They're only ever a few pages long. Seriously. FUCK THIS ILLITERATE CABBAGE . They put the amendment in there specifically because you didn't have enough RC members. It's not a brown m&m trick to see if they're read. It was to make it easier for a short handed team to run a regatta.

No sailing coach has ever said, "don't bother reading the SIs. It's a waste of time". No. one. ever.

You said that you had a shortage of RC people. I'll assume that they were mostly/all volunteers. Why would someone want to ever volunteer again when some dickhead not only didn't bother following simple instructions, but then made a shitstorm out of it. You say you worry about participation, but really, there won't be any regattas if you can't get people to run them.

You should rule 69 his ass for bringing the sport into disrepute and being a massive dickhead. 

 

 

Great rant!;)

I'll be a tad more compassionate.  My understanding is that the culprit is a midfleeter, probably not very experienced at championship level regattas.  I only met him at the hearing, but I didn't come away with the impression that he was being a dick.  I also think he was influenced by others to lodge the request for redress - my impression was that he'd never "been to the room" before.  I suspect he'll be a bit more diligent at reading the SIs in the future, so there has been a benefit from it all.

As PRO, I was a witness, not a party to the protest, so it wasn't up to me to present an argument or make submissions - we just get to abide by whatever decision was made.  The decision was, in my view, a bit confused, but it did ameliorate the harshness of the penalty and drew the race committee's attention to seeking a less nuclear option.

We originally had plenty of people (yes, all volunteers) but last minute health issues dropped the available numbers - we are all getting older!  I don't think anyone will stop volunteering over this - no-one enjoys DSQing competitors who have travelled a long way to compete at our club and have a good time.  

Thanks all for your comments and suggestions.

R

 

 

 

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On 4/6/2021 at 4:24 PM, some dude said:

Put the SF line to leeward of the leeward mark so no one would ever go through it unless they're finishing. Having a restricted line in the middle of the racecourse takes away a lot of tactical options during the race 

Back in the 70's AYC hosted the SC27 Nat's and it was the old style course with the restricted start in the middle. One boat was in contention for the top 3 and went through the restricted Start Line. OOPS, boy were they pissed, lots of ill will from that as they came from Newport Beach and the "We never restrict the line" attitude. Sorry Bro, read the SI next time.

I do like the new style courses as 90% of the finishes are downwind. A good crew and skipper can gain tons when paying attention to shifts and laylines. Everyone loves to relax when the kite goes up, but that is really attack mode time. 

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