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Simple Racing Rules

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kneewrecker View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kneewrecker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Simple Racing Rules
    Posted: 20 Aug 14 at 4:43pm
Okay, Rupert's set the challenge.... let's see if we can write a simple rule-set for dinghy sailing...

Here goes, first draft:


1) Port and Starboard 

- a port boat shall give way to a starboard boat, there are no exceptions
- a starboard boat shall not be obliged to 'hold course', however attention is drawn to Rules 5 and 7

2) Windward Leeward 

- when there is an overlap of any part of two boats on the same tack, a windward boat shall give way to a leeward boat

3) Mark Rounding

- marks must be rounded in the direction of the course as set by the Race Committee
- competitors may not use any apparatus (e.g. boat hooks, spinnaker poles, warps and mooring lines etc) to physically assist the rounding of a mark, this includes manual and foot handling. 
- a boat entering the 2 (maybe 3?) boat zone on the non-prevailing tack (e.g. the tack from which you would exit the mark rounding in favour of the new mark without tacking or gybing) shall have no rights whatsoever. 
- for the purposes of course setting, committee boats, start boats and distance markers are all considered marks of the course

4) Illegal propulsion 

- a class or club may elect to allow any physical methods of propulsion including, but not limited to: pumping, ooching, rocking, tiller waggling and swimming propulsion.  The use of oars, paddles, punts or any other device for propulsion is strictly prohibited.

5) 'Water' and Collision Avoidance

- a boat in distress or incapacitated or incapable to taking avoiding action from 1) or 2) may hail for 'water', where upon the boat with rights, must take effort to avoid collision under the terms of Rule 7.

- Any boat claiming  'water' must immediately perform a penalty move at her earliest opportunity.

Where possible, all contact should be minimal and damage free.    

- In the event of serious damage or injury whereby a fellow competitor cannot continue in her race, both boats must offer to immediately retire and offer assistance in the recovery and safe rescue of their fellow competitor.  Failure to offer retirement and assistance may result in a breach of Rule 7.

6) Penalties

- a boat in breach of any rule, except rules 4 and 7, may exonerate herself by a series of penalty turns as defined in the Sailing Instructions. 
- a penalty turn constitutes a 360 degree manoeuvre involving at least one tack and one gybe.
- a boat that fails to undertake a penalty turn can elect to retire from the race, or the Race Committee may deem a breach under Rule 7
- in the event that the Race Committee deem a breach of Rule 7 has occurred, they may either a) set a penalty involving one or multiple non-dscardable DSQs b) temporary banning from the series/club or c) in serious cases, referral to an ISAF MNA (e.g. RYA) seeking formal banning from the sport.  
- the Race Committee's decision is final.  Any appeal must be administered by either a) an ISAF MNA or b) an ICAS accredited arbitration service 

7) Fundamental Fair Sailing and Sportsmanship

Sailing is a non-contact sport where equipment and personnel can be placed in situations of danger.  It is the fundamental right of every competitor to expect her fellow competitors to respect this and avoid unnecessary contact, damage and/or injury.  

If a boat receives any outside assistance or assistance from another competitor during the racing period, they are obliged to retire.  The use of electronic aids and radio services will be defined under class rules and/or the Sailing Instructions.

These rules are designed to protect the concept of fair play and sportsmanship.  In the event that the Race Committee deem the spirit of these rules has been broken or abused, they may impose special penalties, and/or monetary fines as set out in the Notice of Race.
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maxibuddah View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote maxibuddah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 14 at 4:50pm
Or grfs version

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Everything I say is my opinion, honest
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 14 at 5:46pm
I think the task is a great deal more difficult than it might seem at first sight - which is no doubt why the racing rules are as they are!

Just to take the first example that came to mind: 

- a starboard boat shall not be obliged to 'hold course', however attention is drawn to Rules 5 and 7

So hunting is effectively allowed - except in so far as it's not by rules 5 (any damage should be minimal) or rule 7 - which says that "These rules are designed to protect the concept of fair play and sportsmanship" . All that would probably work during well behaved club races (but then so do the current rules) but would fall to pieces as soon as anyone tried pushing the limits or playing them for advantage.

I'm not entirely sure of the value of trying to come up with "simple" rules. But if there is then surely it is for very simple rules of the sort we used at my old club when introducing new sailors to racing. Those didn't generally get beyond port gives way to starboard, and you might introduce one or two more (inside boat at marks) as (if) they progressed. Outside that scenario I think we have to accept that a lot of minds a lot better qualified than mine and most of ours here have slaved for countless man hours over almost countless decades to produce what we have. By and large it works. Many club races are carried out under a pretty relaxed interpretation, and I don't see that as a problem. At higher levels competitors really have to be prepared to make sure they have a better understanding.

Whatever system you use there are always going to be a few who will try and play the rules to their advantage, in ways that are not within the spirit we'd hope for (at least at club level). That will always exist, but hopefully not as too large an issue - and at club level I'd hope that anyone operating on that basis would be taken aside and had a quiet word with. Ultimately, at club level, it's up to members, and in particular officers, to decide what sort of culture they want to race in and to act where possible to develop that. I don't think a simpler rule set is going to help that process much.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MerlinMags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 14 at 6:05pm
I like the idea...but it makes my brain hurt.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kneewrecker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 14 at 7:05pm
Yes Peter, hunting is allowed, as it is currently in some circumstances (dial-downs) BUT on your head be it... any serious damage enables both boats to effectively veto the other boat's race.

Now this could be manipulated over the course of a series - eg match racing someone out BA / Schiedt style, but the aim of Rule 7 would be to catch that sort of unsporting behaviour out, if so felt by the RC. At the Olympics in crash and burn TV... Why not bumper cars???
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 14 at 1:37am
I am not convinced that the rules should be simplified (i.e. dumbed down) in general. As has often been observed, compared to the rules, referees interpretations etc etc for many other sports, the RRS are by no means long or complex.

There are, however, numerous rules beginners don't need to know, for example, if the RC uses course diagrams, then the stretched string bit of rule 28 is unnecessary: the requirement to 'follow the course on the diagram' is obvious. Likewise a beginner doesn't need to know that it is a rule that the spinnaker pole or whisker pole must be attached to the mast (rule 50.2): unless the beginner sees some experienced sailor who should know better doing it, it would never occur to them to do otherwise.  Obviously the 'infrastructural' rules in Parts 3, 6 and 7 can be left 'ticking over' in the background.

There's an IRO on the talk-show circuit in Sydney who claims that beginners can get by with (I think) just 6 rules, most of which can be illustrated with a simple, memorable thumbnail diagram
  • don't hit other boats
  • port and starboard
  • windward leeward
  • clear astern/clear ahead
  • Don't mess with a boat that is keeping clear of you
  • Don't run another boat off the racecourse or into something like an obstruction or a mark.
I am at least convinced that we could produce a subset, possibly re-worded, set of simplified rules that would allow a beginner to get around the race course without 'fouling' other boats: this would involve omitting some of the protections and exceptions: thus the competitor following the 'beginners' rules could be disadvantages by not knowing how to use the rules to their advantage, but this would be an incentive to learn the 'proper' rules.

I think the ISAF 'Introductory Rules'  http://www.sailing.org/training/newtosailing/start_racing.php and   http://www.sailing.o...V1.1-[5178].pdf are problematical: they are incompatible with the proper rules and require beginners to sail on a separate course, they require a 'Rules Advisor' (half way to a Referee), and they needlessly meddle with Definitions.

That said, we use them quite successfully on Opti Green Fleet, which has to race separately from the other fleets in any case.


Edited by Brass - 21 Aug 14 at 2:01am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 14 at 1:45am
Originally posted by kneewrecker

Yes Peter, hunting is allowed, as it is currently in some circumstances (dial-downs) BUT on your head be it... any serious damage enables both boats to effectively veto the other boat's race. 
Mate, if you are even talking about 'dial-downs' you need the full strength rules, AND the Cases AND the Calls.

The essence of any simplified rules is that they will only work as a shield, not a sword.

Originally posted by kneewrecker

Now this could be manipulated over the course of a series - eg match racing someone out BA / Schiedt style, but the aim of Rule 7 would be to catch that sort of unsporting behaviour out, if so felt by the RC. At the Olympics in crash and burn TV... Why not bumper cars???

So, under the guise of simplifying the rules you want to:
  1. introduce a rule banning conduct that is expressly permitted under the current rules (Case 78);  and
  2. give a race committee a brand new power to arbitrate disputes.
Whew!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bootscooter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 14 at 7:00am
Luffing rights...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 14 at 7:48am
If simplifying the rules, then we could bring in "overtaking boat keeps clear". Never mind from what angle - if you are going faster, you keep out of the way of the slower boat. This would give automatic luffing rights to a slower boat if the faster goes to windward, but would mean an overtaking boat to leeward can't push the windward boat higher. The rule would hold until clear ahead.

The mark rules - no one really knows where 3 boat lengths is, so scrap it. Inside at the mark, you have RoW. Any doubt, go back to point of last certainty, like now.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kneewrecker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 14 at 8:29am
@Brass - yes I agree it's complex, but no I don't agree we shouldn't simplify, hence the purpose of this (pointless) exercise.

with regards expressly ban something, no, not really.  The purpose of this rule set is to enable the RC to set the tone of the event/series appropriately.  And yes, I do believe that the RC are best placed to arbitrate disputes- the only area this naturally falls down is in situations where a competitor protested the RC, I guess a Grievance or Complaints Procedure could be introduced as an addendum.  

The essential point to take from the rule set above is that if damage occurs, which renders a boat/competitor unable to continue, then BOTH boats involved are obliged to offer to retire and offer assistance.  

In practice, I would imagine a friendly club race might result in the damaged boat declining this offer - call it club mates 'goodwill'.  But if there's no guarantee of this, so don't go T-Boning someone, even if you are on Starboard, and don't go shredding asymmetric kites to windward with your spreaders either....

@Boots - luffing rights are covered under Rule 2

@Rupert - overtaking boat keeps clear is a good one, it makes a lot of sense in other disciplines too.  I also accept your point re 3 boat lengths, I think the second draft should feature this.
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