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Junior events race officers

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john.d.knight View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote john.d.knight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Junior events race officers
    Posted: 11 Apr 05 at 10:25am

At a topper open my son recently took part in there was a bit of a mess up by the race committee. They put up a numer on the course board the wrong way round. So instead of going round to startboard, the obvious way, the course board instructed the toppers to loop round on port. Needless to say most of the fleet went the wong way and then were not finished at the end. I know that this was technically the correct thing to do but this was a junior open meeting, some of the children were in tears when they came off the water. I see this a very hard lesson to learn from a race officers error. There were several things that irritated me about the race organisation given that it was an open meeting for juniors.

  1. The course was posted on the side of the committee boat in the form of red and green numbers. Fine if it's your local club, but not for visiting juniors. Would it be too much trouble to draw it on a board.
  2. When so many boats went round the mark the wrong way couldn't the race officer admit to a mistake and restart the race.
  3. There was a rescue boat at the mark making a note of which boats had gone the right and wrong way round. Would if have been too much trouble to inform the boats who had got it wrong to either correct themselves or to retire. As it was 80% of the fleet sailed to the end of the race only to not receive a finish gun.
  4. It got quite windy in the race and quite a few boats retired. These boats got a DNF whilst those that completed to course and didn't get a finish gun got a DSQ.
  5. This comment is aimed a junior opens in general, why 3 long races? The positions don't change that much after the first 20 minutes. I would prefer to see 5 short races if the lake is small. It does get quite boring sailing round the same course 8 or 9 times. 

Again, I know technically the race officer was right, but this was a junior event and I do think that some clubs do need to make some allowances for the inexperience of the children. Unfortunately this spoiled what was a good and up until that point, well organised event

And I have now joined the long line of Annoyed sailing parents and am now starting to realise what my parents went through.

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Ralph T View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ralph T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 05 at 6:31pm

Presume your statement “went the wrong way” meant that they left the mark to starboard. I used to advise juniors to find where the windward mark was by checking the wind themselves, until one day when they all went to the wrong mark due to the race officer not responding to a big shift before the start

 

Sadly, the lesson now is don’t assume that the RO has laid a perfect course & know the rules well enough to know what to do . It has been a hard lesson for the youngsters but they will not make the same mistake twice.

 

Whilst I totally agree with you that a lot of short races are better than a few marathons (but I am biased, being a 9er person ), there are many others who disagree.

 

Without wishing to denigrate the efforts of volunteers in our sport, this is the price that we pay in assuming that the race management will be as good as the sailing water and/or its members - sadly this is not always the case & even National Championships can be a disaster.

 

“And I have now joined the long line of Annoyed sailing parents”

Been there, got the T shirt. My solution was to become a Race Officer myself & demonstrate to sailors that there are many, many RO’s who are not ignorant so and so’s, will talk to competitors without fear of retribution and if we do make a mistake (after all we are only human!) we own up to it, apologise & get on with running a good race.

 

Why not become a qualified RYA race officer (as well as chauffer, financier, bacon buttie provider etc etc)  - at worst, the view of racing from the committee boat is much better than trying to identify a speck through the binoculars
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Garry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Garry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 9:10am
Originally posted by john.d.knight



  1. The course was posted on the side of the committee boat in the form of red and green numbers. Fine if it's your local club, but not for visiting juniors. Would it be too much trouble to draw it on a board.


  2. Probably not to much trouble to draw on a board but I suspect the sailing instruction told the competitors where and how the course would be displayed (did anyone bother to read them?) That might have added to the confusion and why did no one (either safety boat or older youth) question the course before the start (if they did then the course was either deliberate or you had a bloody minded race officer) Even if they had started the start sequence they could have postponed at any time up to the start - sorted out the course and restarted the sequence

  3. When so many boats went round the mark the wrong way couldn't the race officer admit to a mistake and restart the race.


  4. Is that fair on those who completed the course correctly?

  5. There was a rescue boat at the mark making a note of which boats had gone the right and wrong way round. Would if have been too much trouble to inform the boats who had got it wrong to either correct themselves or to retire. As it was 80% of the fleet sailed to the end of the race only to not receive a finish gun.


  6. That's a difficult one to answer. under the 2001 -2004 rules it would have been illegal, however, the new rules would have allowed it, but again is it fair on the others?

  7. It got quite windy in the race and quite a few boats retired. These boats got a DNF whilst those that completed to course and didn't get a finish gun got a DSQ.


  8. If you've finished and then realise you've completed the course incorrectly you should retire - but not sure how this would have affected the scoring.

    If, because of an error by the race committee someone is disadvataged then under the rules you can request redress - did anyone do that? In theory 80% of the fleet should have!


  9. This comment is aimed a junior opens in general, why 3 long races? The positions don't change that much after the first 20 minutes. I would prefer to see 5 short races if the lake is small. It does get quite boring sailing round the same course 8 or 9 times. 

Again, I know technically the race officer was right, but this was a junior event and I do think that some clubs do need to make some allowances for the inexperience of the children. Unfortunately this spoiled what was a good and up until that point, well organised event



While I tend to agree shorter races would have been better you also have to consider the logistics of getting 80 juniors launched or the strain of back-to-back racing.

And I have now joined the long line of Annoyed sailing parents and am now starting to realise what my parents went through.



As the previous post suggests improving racing means having people prepared to volunteer and take the time to get trained to do the job properly (or we, as competitors, have to be prepared to pay for a professional race crew).

I would suggest a constructive letter to the club and class association - it might then, be better next time.


Edited by Garry
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moomin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moomin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 10:22am

Just a quick comment using a very much simplified triangular course, imagine a simple Port rounded triangluar course.  If the wing mark is accidentally listed to be rounded to Sbord as seemed to happen here the correct course is not to do a loop round the wing mark, it is just to sail the sausage between the windward and leward marks, by doing this the wing mark will have been passed to Sbord, as required in the course, there is no definition of how closely a mark needs to be passed, it must just be left to the correct side.

Hope this makes sense computer skills couldn't manage a diagram

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Ralph T View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ralph T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 10:52am
Originally posted by moomin

.. to be rounded to Sbord ..... the wing mark will have been passed to Sbord, as required in the course

Sorry to disapoint you but unfortunately your advice is not strictly correct as the key words are "rounded" and "passed".  The wording of the SI's are absolutely crucial on this subject in terms of how the course is to be described & sailed.

If your SI's state something like ... the order & side that marks are to be rounded, your scenario requires boats to do a full 360 round the mark . If the SI's refer to  the order & side in which the marks are to be passed, then your advice is spot on!

RRS does not cover this problem in App L as ISAF do not seem to recognise that there are issues asociated with club racing round fixed marks.

This is why it is worth a club, who runs open meetings, ensuring that they sponsor at least one, qualified RYA Regional Race Officer who has direct access to an excellent advice service from the Race Management Committee (no I am not a member!).

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Post Options Post Options   Quote KnightMare Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 11:34am

Oh I can understand that annoyance of the parents in a situation like this, I have been both sides of this srgument (Kind of) I have been a competator in many a jounior open event that has gone slightly wrong. I definatly think that someone should have noticed that error. As the class is toppers im not sure about the ages of the kids wether they would have been able to visualise the course before they sailed it, so dont know if they should have noticed. As momin said a trianglular course would be the answer to this, what could be done is to set out a triangular and trapezoidal course in the SIs (course A and B) and then have a board of A or B and the direction (port or starboard) and you cant have only one mark the wrong way round. This would mean that the competitors should know where the marks would be (roughly), before starting. An added bonus is that the race comitty dont need to worry too much about their course.

I definatly think that the race comity should have admitted its error, but im not sure if it would have been fair to give the competitors that didnt do the course correctly a finnish, or chuck the race out. They may have been able to decide that since it was thier error that they would give everyone their finnish positions regardless of which way round THAT mark they went. (not sure about what the rules would say to this, but if someone protested the comittie??)

On the topic of 3 long races, I dont realy know how to argue against that as this is what i am used to the whole time. Depending on what discard system they had it would be good to have an extra race so that one discard would be allowed (would have helped in this situation). But looking at it, a larger number of shorter races would be good as it is only a junior open it would give them more experience in starting etc. also i dont think that the racing back to beck would be a problem, having 3races a day they would have to have 2back to back at least, and having more shorter races would still take up the same length of time.

But from the point of view of a race officer it can be hard to set a course for the ability of the racers if you have never seen them race before, and in events like this you normaly have a huge range of ability. I think that sometimes they have to take ctep back and stop thinking about setting a perfect course and runnign the race and think if the kids understand etc. The RO should work closely with the rescue cover before that start, breif them on the course and get them to stand off the line a bit and say to the kids before they go on the water if they are undure of anything ask the rescue crew (as it is harder to gety close to the comitty boat).

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Post Options Post Options   Quote moomin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 12:15pm
Just a quick clarification then on what is obviously another grey area of the rules, when does a rounding become a passing, many clubs using fixed marks set courses with all sorts of obtuse dog legs etc not always requiring a significant change of course, or even using upwind or downwind gates halfway along the leg to allow OODs to track the lead boats more easily.  I would suggest that most sailing instructions use the word pass rather than round because the difference only becomes a apparent with incorrect/bad courses.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ralph T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 6:03pm

Originally posted by moomin

.. when does a rounding become a passing...

Rule 28.1 refers to the piece of string rule "when drawn taut, pass each mark on the required side and touch each rounding mark"

When visualising the taut string, it strikes me that it touches a mark when there is an angle of less than 180 degrees between approaching and leaving the mark.

On this basis, a rounding mark is one where you must change direction (however slight) whereas a passing mark is literally that - the string does not actually touch the mark and you just sail past it on a certain side.

You may ask what is the point of a passing mark if you don't have to turn but I have used this sometimes in club racing when short of space & I need to stop boats from going too far over to another area.

Hope this helps & no doubt someone will correct me if my interpretation is wrong

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Post Options Post Options   Quote iansmithofotley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 05 at 10:30pm
Originally posted by moomin

Just a quick comment using a very much simplified triangular course, imagine a simple Port rounded triangluar course.  If the wing mark is accidentally listed to be rounded to Sbord as seemed to happen here the correct course is not to do a loop round the wing mark, it is just to sail the sausage between the windward and leward marks, by doing this the wing mark will have been passed to Sbord, as required in the course, there is no definition of how closely a mark needs to be passed, it must just be left to the correct side.

Hope this makes sense computer skills couldn't manage a diagram

Hi moomin,

I agree with you in your example.  As I understand it, in the rules, there are no definitions of 'rounding' and 'passing'.  In my experience, the course displayed, often just on a board with numbers on red or green backgrounds, for port and starboard sides, is the only indication of the course ( i.e. no course 'plan'), particularly when it is displayed on the committee boat only. The course board indicates the method in which the marks of the course are to be left and the 'string' example should be complied with if the course has been correctly set.

A problem which can occur is when marks have been moved from their original positions that they were in, that ties up with a course board (plan), say in or outside the club house.  I have often known courses to be displayed on a course board (plan)  that looked fine but, because the marks were in the wrong places, to sail the course would involve hooking or looping a mark in the, logically, wrong direction.

In club racing, at inland clubs, if marks have been moved previously, for example at an open meeting, it is often the case that they are just left in that position and not moved back to their proper positions at the end of racing.  Often, on another day, duty teams turn up at the eleventh hour, get everything ready and swiftly put a course up, having never looked at the positions of the marks which can lead to the problem outlined.  At my club, I have seen courses displayed on the course board and plan, which included a mark which was missing (sunk), but nobody bothered to check.

Ian  (Yorkshire Dales S.C.)



Edited by iansmithofotley
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moomin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moomin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 05 at 11:10am
[

You may ask what is the point of a passing mark if you don't have to turn but I have used this sometimes in club racing when short of space & I need to stop boats from going too far over to another area.

[/QUOTE]

My question was not what is the point of a passing mark rather what is the point of a rounding mark, any course can be laid just using the term passing and in order to pass certain marks to the correct side you will be forced to "round" them, you would only need the term "round" in the SIs if you wanted to deliberately lay a bad course that included a looped mark.  My only suggestion is to remove the term rounding from all SIs as I can see no need for the term.  I fully agree that passing marks are a vital tool in the OOD kit to control the boats on the water whether to restrict the sailing area or the use of mid leg gates in order to keep track of positions on each lap.

Moomin
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