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when should a race be postponed?

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cboshier View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote cboshier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: when should a race be postponed?
    Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 1:31am

a question to all racing sailors and race/duty officers,

when should a race be postponed and on what grounds?

here's a situation that disappointed me recently (probably becasue I'd been itching to go sailing over Christmas and this isn't the first time it's happened.)

anyway, here's the situation, you decide and comment

It was a published open race over the Christmas/new Year period, the wind forcast 20 knots and falling, about 30 boats entered for the race (or at least rigging up and out and about in the dinghy park ) some travelled a considerable distance for the race, the wind an hour before published start time, 26 gusting 32mph, tide not yet in.

A decision was taken by the powers that be to postpone the race to a fortnights time 45 mins before the tide was in to a decent height, the grounds given to me that it was a bit windy for some people to handle.

the actual wind at the publish start time dropped to 17mph and an hour and a quarter later (which I deem to be a fair time for the average sailor to be out in the winter, I watched gust up to 22mph from 16), ubfortunately the place in question does not have an hour average wind on their instruments, however a club reasonably close does and recorded a 15mph average over the last hour.

Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, so to speak, some sailors decided to go for a sail anyway and a club rescue boat was espatched to keep an eye on them, commendable yes, responsilbe, I'm not so sure, fortunately there were no damages or a need for the rescue boat, however if the officials decide it's too windy to race is it correct to encourage sailing after postponing the race for the reasons that it was too dangerous for some, or should the race have infact been run on the grounds that it was sailable by many?

I am aware that in the wonderful culture we live in today that there is often the need to sue for one's own incompetence and poor decision making and in this respect,  I am also aware of the possible illegality of  RRS4 and disclaimers within SIs of liability with regard to the unfair contract terms act 1977.

with regard to all of the above I'd be very interested to know other sailors thoughts on the postponement, the decisions taken and the legal issues involved, from you as the people engaged in this wonderful sport, whether as club officials, race officers or sailors as to where you think the responsibilities and decision making proceses and the law lie.

rant over, happy sailing in the New Year

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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: 31 Dec 07 at 1:37am
Sea state is usually at least as important a factor as wind strength. I don't think you can ever make a hard and fast rule.
It sounds as if the club was keen to make an early decision rather than keep folk waiting for a postponement later. There are pros and cons to that approcah like everything else. Sometimes the wind drops unexpectedly and you get it wrong. Without knowing what the feelings of the majority of competitors and support folk there were on whether an early decision was needed or not its impossible to say whether they got it right.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stefan Lloyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 5:57am

"when should a race be postponed and on what grounds?"

When the RO believes there is an unacceptable risk to competitors or the race committee.

It's not unheard of for the owner of a borrowed committee vessel to say "Not in my boat, you don't. Not in these conditions."

It's not unknown to be expecting two rescue boat crews but only one turns up.

I'd expect an open meeting to be run in 20 knots but it isn't really clear what happened in this case.

So did you actually speak directly to the race officer? If not, why not?

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote cboshier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 7:28am

thanks for your comments so far, to add a bit more detail,

the wind was forecast to drop,

the published start time was early afternoon,

the sea state could not be determined as there was only around a foot of water on the beach when the race  was postponed, in fact as a rib could be launched and retrieved sea state was not an issue, as in the past in onshore breezes it has been deemed too dangerous to launch or recover ribs. Also, support folk were happy to take a rib out so there was no complaints from them that the conditions were acceptable, there were also enough crew to man the rescue boats who suited and booted at the time of the postponement.

the feeling of myself and other sailors around me was the same and also voiced, to the flag officer of the club who informed us of the potponement, however it was not taken into account, the attitude of the official was that "that's the way it is"

and the start was to be from the shore, so there couldn't be a problem with the owner of a borrowed commitee boat refusing use.

I guess my main issues are, the early postponement with the knowledge of the forecast  and the attitude of the commitee. My reason for this post is to hear the thoughts of other sailors as to  whether I'm feeling unnecessarily agrieved and if I should pursue it.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Scooby_simon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 9:23am

The RO makes the decisions.  Good RO's seek the opinions on trusted persons who will be sailing, the Rescue drivers and the forecast.

 

It sould, in this case, given the info provided that a decision may have been taken a little early.  What was the published start time?  Where were you sailing, was the wind off shore.

The reason I ask, is would you start a race 90 mins before sundown with a strong off shore wind?  

I prefer RO's (when there is time at the end of the day) to postpone an hour or so, and then make decisions.  Same thing happaend at Grafham this year for the Cat open.  No wind un Sunday. Races canned by 13:00 (I think). 

If the RO's were not taking any input from the competitors, then that is poor, however, remember they may have been short of people, short on rescue cover, or there may have been other factors. 

RO's have a difficult job, usually don't get much thanks.

Ask questions and find out why the decision was made.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote alstorer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 11:42am
Most of the postponed/cancelled/abandonded races I've been entered in this year have been down to lack of wind- though at the Iso Eurocup a democratic fleet descion was taken not to launch on the first day, with reports of large, steep chop in the bay, and at a circuit event at Calshot, a 30knt and building wind on the Sunday saw the fleet depart before the race officer even arrived at the club in the morning.

Light winds are perhaps a trickier prospect to deal with- nothing seems to bring on the wind like raising N over A, or the entire fleet tightening the cover straps having taken the mast down and loaded onto the road trailers.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stefan Lloyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 11:56am

Originally posted by cboshier

if I should pursue it.

No. You should either have said something at the time or keep your peace.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote tack'ho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 07 at 6:10pm

Ultimatly the choice on whether to run a race lies with the PRO. As these are more often than not unpaid volunteers, either arm bent (or every now and then power hungry!) you can't criticse them to directly. However if you feel that in this case a poor decsion was made your only real option is to avoid opens at that club an encourage whatever class you sail in to avoid scheduling events there.

 

I might be sailing it, but it's still sh**e!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 08 at 7:49pm
Yes too many race officers are making decisions too early on htis sort of thing.  I hate the early decision to allow people to do other things.  If that's what they want to do then they can decide!  People who have come to race should not be inconvenienced by those who are less committed.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Merlinboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 08 at 10:32pm
Absolutely 100% right Matt!
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