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Shortening course

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Post Options Post Options   Quote piglet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Shortening course
    Posted: 25 May 15 at 8:28pm
My understanding of shortening has always been:
RO makes the shorten signal BEFORE the 1st boat to be finished rounds the last mark of the course, thus allowing finishing boats to make tactical decisions on their last leg before they start sailing it.

Today the RO did just this but a competitor then sailed directly to the line without rounding the last mark and made substantial gain.

The explanation was based on interpretation of RYA race management guide, P51.
If possible, display the signal as soon as the leading boat commences the leg to the shorten course finishing line (although the RRS states that the course shall be signalled before the first boat crosses the finishing line, thus allowing this to be a late signal).

AND RRS 32.2 If the race committee signals a shortened course,
the finishing line shall be, (in our case)
(b) at a line boats are required to cross at the end of each lap, that line;
The shortened course shall be signalled before the first boat crosses the finishing line.

I'm struggling to see the words 'go directly to the finish line'
Has anyone had experience of this? Apparently it was discussed at a recent RO course.
Thanks in advance


Edited by piglet - 25 May 15 at 8:31pm
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 15 at 8:40pm
Sounds daft to me. Course gets shortended just before the 1st boat reaches the mark before where you want the finish line to be. Pretty straight forward, just as you say. The competitor made no gain - simply sailed the wrong course, and should be dealt with as such. What do they expect, that as soon as you shorten, everyone sails from wherever they are to the finish line? Interesting concept.
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 15 at 10:05pm
Originally posted by piglet

My understanding of shortening has always been:
RO makes the shorten signal BEFORE the 1st boat to be finished rounds the last mark of the course, thus allowing finishing boats to make tactical decisions on their last leg before they start sailing it.


Not true any more. Used to be the case, but now they can put the flag up any time before the lead boat crosses the line.

Could it be that you're actually getting into something unusual in SIs? I know of at least one club where they have a fixed line, and their SIs state that the shorten course arrangements are to sail from, IIRC, the next mark the leader gets to straight to the finish line.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote piglet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 7:44am
Thanks Jim & Rupert,
Someone has since read our club SI's, they cover it:

"When a shortened course is indicated either by a single smart race light or flag S all boats will finish when they cross the finish line completing the lap they are on."

For my own peace of mind I would like clarification on the RRS/RO manual interpretations.
Has anyone done any recent RO training?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kev M Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 7:53am
That still doesn't seem right against what your original post says. Surely competing the lap means going around all of the marks which your first post suggests they didn't.

My old club had this odd rule that where a fixed mark was used as part of the finish line and was also the leeward mark, then when the course was shortened the race could be finished by sailing down through the gate rather than rounding up through the gate like every other lap. That caused on more than one occasion when RO's didn't know that rule existed and didn't finish people properly.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 8:18am
"When a shortened course is indicated either by a single smart race light or flag S all boats will finish when they cross the finish line completing the lap they are on." 

Your competitor clearly didn't finish the lap
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 10:07am
What the race management guide says is really irrelevant. It's a guide anyway and it's certainly not part of the rules.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote piglet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 12:33pm
Sounds like we are all of the same opinion, under club SI's at least the boat did not complete the course, but club SI's aside how can this be right under RRS?
I was hoping someone would step in as devils advocate and give an insight to the other argument,
and what is being discussed at RO courses?
We were all baffled and befuddled at the time, I still am.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 1:21pm
32.2: If the race committee signals a shortened course (displays flag S with two sounds), the finishing line shall be, (a) at a rounding mark, between the mark and a staff displaying flag S; (b) at a line boats are required to cross at the end of each lap, that line; (c) at a gate, between the gate marks. The shortened course shall be signalled before the first boat crosses the finishing line.

In this case clearly b) applies - cross the line that marks the end of the lap. If you miss a mark then it's not the end of the lap. And in case there's any confusion the next rule (33) deals with changes to legs of a course - which clearly hasn't happened here.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote transient Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 1:52pm
Interesting. It all seems clear.

Always something to learn. I was not aware that the RO could signal "shorten course" at any point. I shall probably still use that signal on the last leg for club races because the boats are closer to the race office, they can see and hear the signals clearer. Nice to know I don't have to though.

Edited by transient - 26 May 15 at 2:03pm
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