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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 6:18 am 
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Back in the day when I was an active racer there was always a line in the Sailing Instructions that prohibited boats from sailing through the start/finish line, unless you were actually starting or finishing. With a bunch of classes I can certainly see why this was a clever idea. In the regattas I've been to lately it's not there. Which leads to my questions:

What is current practice? Do most regattas allow this, some, all?
When did this change? Did you guys just sneak this in when I wasn't looking? :wink:
Why did this change? I saw the logic in prohibiting boats from going through the start line, but at Madcatter this year the SIs encouraged boats to "avoid the starting area during the starting sequence for other classes". Which is just common politeness from my point of view.

Thanks for your responses. 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:06 am 
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Today's courses typically have the start-finish line located outside of the course with the gate marks situated upwind of the committee boat/start-finish line, so it isn't an issue.

Otherwise, it should be described in the sailing instructions. Typically, if the committee boat is flying a blue flag, this means they are finishing boats and the start-finish line is closed (except for people who are finishing). If they are not flying the flag, then it is open. If you're unsure, ask at the skipper's meeting.

sm


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:07 am 
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Good question. I had to ask at the last regatta if we were allowed to go through the gate on our last downwind leg to the finish. The answer from RC was that that's ok.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:00 am 
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There is no standard as to whether the start / finish line is open or closed. The default is open.

If the race committee wants to close it, then they must do so in the sailing instructions. The wording can be very tricky - a sample wording is not included in the rule book's Appendix L (Sailing Instruction Guide). You'd have to create an obstruction, define it, define when it applies, define a penalty for violating it, and state if there's a way to exonerate yourself (turns, 20%, unwinding). I'd wager that 99% of race committees make some sort of error in doing all that - which would make it invalid. It's a redress hearing waiting to happen.

The use of a blue flag to denote the state of the line (open / closed) is common, but fraught with problems. In the RRS Race Signals, the blue flag merely means, "This race committee boat is in position at the finish line." What happens if the RC decides to raise the flag when some of the fleet has already sailed through the line yet others have not? How would you feel if you were headed downwind towards the line (not to finish) and suddenly the blue flag appears and you have to make a sudden, drastic course change to avoid the line?

IMHO, as a US Sailing certified National Race Officer and Judge, closing the line is just lazy race management - it's for the convenience of the race committee and not in the interests of the competitors - which means the RC's priorities are reversed.

As for Zach's comment regarding the gate - unless you are heading to the gate to round it, it's as if it were not there. You can even touch the marks - as long as it doesn't bound the beginning or end of the leg you're on.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:37 am 
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You can hit the gate? So a circle is not necessary for touching it?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:19 am 
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Quote:
31 TOUCHING A MARK
While racing, a boat shall not touch a starting mark before starting, a
mark that begins, bounds or ends the leg of the course on which she
is sailing, or a finishing mark after finishing

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:35 am 
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yea, I still don't get it. Only start and finish right? Bound? What does that mean?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:42 am 
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It's basically saying that the only marks that you can't touch (without penalty) are the ones that are currently relevant with your leg of the course.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:51 am 
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Hmmm. I did a circle in Michigan for hitting a gate mostly due to current I think and it cost me a lot. Bastards.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:17 am 
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PurdueZach wrote:
It's basically saying that the only marks that you can't touch (without penalty) are the ones that are currently relevant with your leg of the course.


This is correct. The only mark(s) that "count" are the one(s) that bound the leg you are currently sailing. Everything else is the equivalent of a crab pot buoy - no penalty for hitting it other than when you get fouled in the ground tackle and waste a bunch of time getting yourself clear. The other thing to consider when dealing with a gate in a mixed fleet, if you're sailing through or near the gate on your way to finish while other boats are rounding the gate to go back up to A-Mark, you could get tangled up with the other fleet which could cost you finish positions.

sm


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:20 am 
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Unless you hit the ground tackle and it pulls the mark into your boat... Then you have fouled.

But you haven't fouled right up until the mark touches your boat.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:24 pm 
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xanderwess wrote:
mostly due to current I think

Current? ya right, You just need to pay attention. Next your going to say Matt pushed you into the gate...


Last edited by hobieandy on Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:42 pm 
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I was being pulled towards your boat when I hit the gate because you SUCK so bad.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:09 pm 
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Andy... I was only responding to part of SRM's post because I thought the rest of it had been answered...

:mrgreen: :twisted:


Last edited by ronholm on Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:14 pm 
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ronholm wrote:
Unless you hit the ground tackle and it pulls the mark into your boat... Then you have fouled.

But you haven't fouled right up until the mark touches your boat.




I think I may know of one exception to this rule though... I started a race late... Was headed up to A mark when suddenly I lost track of it... I took me a minute but I found it... So I sailed over to this flying scot sailor who was looking quite frustrated... So I had to let him know that if he would clear the anchor line from his rudder his spin might just pull him downwind a bit faster... Funny thing is I don't think the mark ever actually made contact with his boat, even after dragging anchor and all more than 300 yards...


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