Are we(racing sailors) a culture of cheaters?

sailorman44

Member
281
71
CT/FL
"If you aren't cheating you aren't trying hard enough" 
 
How often have I seen those words on these pages? Headlines in the news about sports cheating, Tour de France, Olympics, Americas Cup, J-70 Nationals.
 
PHRF seems to think so as their second most important activity seems to be foiling cheaters. Their attitude is punitive rather than supportive.
 
When I look at my sailing community, Wednesday night series, ECSA weekend races, and Off Soundings I don't see rampart cheating.
 
So, are we a culture of cheaters?
 
 

Glenn McCarthy

Super Anarchist
1,825
274
Elmhurst, IL
Allegations are made all of the time, you never see anyone protest it and prove it.  Why don't they protest it?  Is it just easier to use this as an excuse why they beat you?

 

From the Helm

Anarchist
557
24
Michigan
Allegations are made all of the time, you never see anyone protest it and prove it.  Why don't they protest it?  Is it just easier to use this as an excuse why they beat you?
It's also a question of procedure.   To "protest" a boat, and therefore a person, in PHRF you will be responsible for costs if you are wrong, you will have to do your own invasive investigating, and you have the burden of proof without support of the organization.   It's about as simple as any lawsuit, therefore the best way to win is not to start the suit.   

 

ctdriver

Anarchist
501
9
having just watched a high school sailing coach coach his kids to cheat, then lie when confronted about it ("the PRO pre-approved it", the PRO later denied this claim) and given the courtesy chance to withdraw from the race (a withdraw that wouldn't have changed the outcome of the regatta), I say yes there are cheaters among us. 

So yes, we have some people actively cheating and promoting it with our youngest sailors.  

 

DarkHorse

Member
230
29
There are guys who just don't know the rules

There are guys who streeeetch things a bit

and then there are cheaters (J70 class has been a perfect example although they seem to be cleaner this year).

 

sunseeker

Super Anarchist
3,585
548
having just watched a high school sailing coach coach his kids to cheat, then lie when confronted about it ("the PRO pre-approved it", the PRO later denied this claim) and given the courtesy chance to withdraw from the race (a withdraw that wouldn't have changed the outcome of the regatta), I say yes there are cheaters among us. 

So yes, we have some people actively cheating and promoting it with our youngest sailors.  
And therein lies the problem of pros and amateurs. The coach is, in all likelihood, being paid. He’s looking for his next bigger payday, which is going to based on how much his team wins. 

 

MauiPunter

Will sail for food
Are we talking about actual cheaters (those who broke the rules), or are we talking about "cheaters" (those who take advantage of loop holes, pushing the limits)?

Kind of like taxes.  Some people accuse people of cheating on their taxes just cause they took advantage of some loop hole or deficiency in the rules.  But, are they actually cheating?

 

PeterHuston

Super Anarchist
5,903
81
I remember a talk Buddy Melges did when he was raising money for Heart of America.  He had just won the USYRU sportsmanship trophy and someone congratulated him on it, and he said "aw shucks, sportsmanship is nothing but cheatin' fair".

 
Last edited by a moderator:

jhc

Super Anarchist
2,366
226
There is not a simple answer to your question.

My granddaughter's sailing coaches tell their kids over, and over no ooching, no pumping, no sculling. I tell her it's better to learn those techniques, she may be in the SSL someday. 

The history of sailing has been firstly pirating, win at all cost, or die. Yachting is an offshoot of that tradition and philosophy. It's natural that any athletic, competitive situation the rules will be pushed to the breaking point. What has become the norm is a mutual agreement among competitors to follow guidelines to promote a fair contest. Rules will be broken. 

You cannot blame our current presidential administration for problems with society. The opposite is truer. Obviously a system to hold people accountable is what is needed, for our sport, our nation, or it becomes more and more like Russia. Russia is a cheating society, and has been called out, held to account for altering the human body, which is a big health risk, just to win competitive contests. Countries other than Russia, and people do that too. 

Also this question has nothing to do with "pro" vs "amateur". Amateur, and corinthian yachtsmen are snowflakes, and need to feel entitled to participate. We all need those people, and other enthusiasts in our sport to fill the ranks. That does not change their status as "exceptional". Just as we need to provide platforms for other "exceptional" people in society. 

 
There is not a simple answer to your question.

My granddaughter's sailing coaches tell their kids over, and over no ooching, no pumping, no sculling. I tell her it's better to learn those techniques, she may be in the SSL someday. 

The history of sailing has been firstly pirating, win at all cost, or die. Yachting is an offshoot of that tradition and philosophy. It's natural that any athletic, competitive situation the rules will be pushed to the breaking point. What has become the norm is a mutual agreement among competitors to follow guidelines to promote a fair contest. Rules will be broken. 

You cannot blame our current presidential administration for problems with society. The opposite is truer. Obviously a system to hold people accountable is what is needed, for our sport, our nation, or it becomes more and more like Russia. Russia is a cheating society, and has been called out, held to account for altering the human body, which is a big health risk, just to win competitive contests. Countries other than Russia, and people do that too. 

Also this question has nothing to do with "pro" vs "amateur". Amateur, and corinthian yachtsmen are snowflakes, and need to feel entitled to participate. We all need those people, and other enthusiasts in our sport to fill the ranks. That does not change their status as "exceptional". Just as we need to provide platforms for other "exceptional" people in society. 
No sculling when the oscar flag is up ;)

 

sailak

Super Anarchist
2,872
47
AK
Are we talking about actual cheaters (those who broke the rules), or are we talking about "cheaters" (those who take advantage of loop holes, pushing the limits)?

Kind of like taxes.  Some people accuse people of cheating on their taxes just cause they took advantage of some loop hole or deficiency in the rules.  But, are they actually cheating?


Some might say it is your patriotic duty to pay as little in taxes as legally possible.. not cheat.  Hard to look at tax laws and not think this thing is designed to be a game.  

One of the things I have always appreciated about sailing is that this is one of the few places where the design safety factor is often less than 1:1.  You just don't get to push limits like that in most other things (and rightfully so, but hey breaking things is fun sometimes if not a little on the expensive side).  

So playing the game and pushing the limits... how do you know what the limits are if they don't get occasionally broken?  Call it cheating if you must my take is the community pretty much takes care of that.  I am not close enough to racing currently to be sure but what little I have been involved in the past in has revealed a tight knit and welcoming, yet competitive community of people pushing boundaries and limits in sometimes very new and creative ways.  Cheating implies dishonesty. Dishonesty is in a cultural context.  Is it the culture to be dishonest by default?  To find better ways to be dishonest? God I hope not.  

Exploring the limits? 

 
How about yelling bs "rule" numbers and hails to intimidate the newbies at mark roundings?  That's cheating, and it happens all the damn time.  How about "not hearing" calls for room or "up" at the line?  Cheating, and it happens all the time.  I gave up course racing a few years ago because of the open cheating on the course, the the straight-faced lying in the protest room, and the drunken confrontations in the club bar.  Maybe I've just had bad luck with the fleets I've sailed in.  Back in the day, I sailed out of a club where everyone cheated, in part because nobody really knew the rules.  I got a ride on a boat with a skipper who'd coached for years for a top college team.  He proceeded to sail right to the bleeding edge of the rules and protest every single infraction.  All legit--and it got him driven out of the club and killed racing for a decade there.

 




Top