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Unidentified boats on a black flag start?

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Chas Bedford View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chas Bedford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 11 at 5:08pm
Many thanks to all for your input. It is always good to kick things around, even in hindsight, as it helps in getting it right for the future.

Yes, it was the Darts, and we did have a pin-end observer who was useful.

Looks like we got it right in the first race. There were a few boats over about 20 secs before the start and we BFD'd them but then had a starboard-end breakthrough in the last couple of seconds where we couldn't identify numbers so let them go.

Second race, the starboard-end breakthrough happened at 5-10 seconds before the start and was just too confusing. We recalled it and displayed a note, "Too many to count, you got away with it this time" which caused a couple of moans but a lot of chuckles. Whether because of that or not, they all behaved themselves and stayed well clear on the second restart. Phew.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ASok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 11 at 5:13pm

Starting in the Darts isn't normally a huge problem and we normally don't have that many problems.  Its been a rare event to see a black flag......or maybe its been a while since I did a nationals!!

Its a tough job keeping track when there are so many boats starting in a breeze - especially when they are cats that can go from parked to full throttle in a few seconds.  I would however say that those that you could call over should be pulled up.  Those that don't get called over will inevitably get away with it, but as people before have said this will sort itself out on the next start as the numbers reduce.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jon711 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 11 at 11:45pm
When I was deputy RO for the Tera's at Netley last year, we had a black flag start, I was at the pin end, recording numbers, talking direct to the PRO over the mobile phone, which was recorded, on his dictaphone. We, believe that we got all the transgressors, but it was so hard, once we got to the windward Mark to tell the transgressors to go home (Particullarly when they were in good positions!).

We worked on the basis that boats we could identify, that were over were out!

However, we didn't go straight to Black flag, but started with round the ends, thinking this may tame them! However, the Tera fleet is soooo competitive, it had no effect!

We did attempt to lay a mid line Mark, to give them an idea of where the line was, but getting three marks lined up in tide, and depth proved too difficult.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Femto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 9:25am
Originally posted by RS400atC

".....If a boat breaks this rule and is identified, she shall be disqualified

without a hearing, even if the race is restarted or resailed, but not

if it is postponed or abandoned before the starting signal."



This suggests that the correct thing to do if you cannot identify a large number of boats over is to fly the AP just before the start? It removes the requirment to DSQ those over the line if you feel it is unfair to only flick a few boats when the majority were OCS.

I was at the J109 nationals at Weymouth and Portland this weekend and this tactic was used a couple of times by the RO when on black flag starts- these are the guys who'll be running racing for the Olympics so i guess they know what they're up to!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 10:02am
I guess they don't do that actually loading the starting canon with a ball and firing it down the line any more then? 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RS400atC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 11:07am
Originally posted by Femto

Originally posted by RS400atC

".....If a boat breaks this rule and is identified, she shall be disqualified

without a hearing, even if the race is restarted or resailed, but not

if it is postponed or abandoned before the starting signal."



This suggests that the correct thing to do if you cannot identify a large number of boats over is to fly the AP just before the start? It removes the requirment to DSQ those over the line if you feel it is unfair to only flick a few boats when the majority were OCS.

I was at the J109 nationals at Weymouth and Portland this weekend and this tactic was used a couple of times by the RO when on black flag starts- these are the guys who'll be running racing for the Olympics so i guess they know what they're up to!!
If they've let it run to the one minute gun, the rule has been broken.
(or has it? the wording of the rule is 'a minute before the start', not the one minute gun IIRC(?), so you cannot be BFD on a start that does not happen.... is that right????
 
Do they AP at one minute?
How do they decide?
It's a worry that it could be thought to be influenced by the 'right' boats being in the right place.
 
these rules always get more complex the longer you think about them!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Femto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 12:02pm
Originally posted by RS400atC

If they've let it run to the one minute gun, the rule has been broken.
(or has it? the wording of the rule is 'a minute before the start', not the one minute gun IIRC(?), so you cannot be BFD on a start that does not happen.... is that right????
 
Do they AP at one minute?
How do they decide?
It's a worry that it could be thought to be influenced by the 'right' boats being in the right place.
 
these rules always get more complex the longer you think about them!


This was all happening in survival conditions (25-30 knots), so approaching the start was pretty full-on....

Is this case no boats were over until the last 10 seconds or so at which point most of the fleet came thundering over the line with the tide and a lifting gust. The AP went up at 5 seconds before the gun.

Can't a race be posponed at any point up until the start?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 12:33pm
They're entitled to run an AP at any time, but it sounds like very dubious behaviour... the whole point of the black flag is to discourage the sheep behaviour where everyone goes when the first one does secure in the knowledge that if everyone is over then the start won't count. If you regularly AP a start so the black flag won't take out people then you're back to encouraging the rush again.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote furtive Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 1:36pm
 As a race officer you need to try to be consistent, so trying two different approaches in two races seems odd.
 
As others have said, according to the rules any numbers that you gather before/at a black flag start should be displayed. The whole point of a general recall is that you can't identify all the boats over the line, so by definition some will get away with it. If you can identify them all then it's a valid staert and there should be no recall (BFD boats should be informed at the windward mark).
 
A black flag general recall followed by a blank board doesn't do much to inspire competitor confidence in the race team, or to promote a clean start next time around.
 
The option of postponing before the start gun should only be used (IMO) if something has happened that has impacted on the fairness of the start (e.g. big shift, loss of wind, aircraft carrier coming through the course, error in start signals), not just because lots of boats are pushing the line.
 
Note - if numbers have been gathered after the 1 minute gun, but the start sequence is then abandoned, those boats should not be BFD. This is not the case if the race is started but then abandoned (or thrown out by protest committee) - any BFDs from any valid starts are carried over to any subsequent re-run of that race, even if on a later day.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 11 at 3:18pm
Originally posted by furtive

As others have said, according to the rules any numbers that you gather before/at a black flag start should be displayed.

*Must* rather than should, surely....
Originally posted by furtive

The whole point of a general recall is that you can't identify all the boats over the line, so by definition some will get away with it. If you can identify them all then it's a valid start and there should be no recall (BFD boats should be informed at the windward mark).

An excellent point - the black flag/general recall situation is inherently going to result in some lucky competitors who deserved a BFD not getting it and in that respect is a bit unfair. But it beats spending hours trying to get the race off which is unfair to everyone.
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