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Shortening course

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Race Management
Forum Discription: For race officers and competiors to discuss the topic
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12016
Printed Date: 04 Dec 20 at 12:04pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Shortening course
Posted By: piglet
Subject: Shortening course
Date 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



Replies:
Posted By: Rupert
Date 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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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: JimC
Date 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.


Posted By: piglet
Date 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?


Posted By: Kev M
Date 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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Successfully confusing ambition with ability since 1980.


Posted By: PeterG
Date 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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Peter
Ex Cont 707
Laser 189635
DY 59


Posted By: JimC
Date 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.


Posted By: piglet
Date 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.


Posted By: PeterG
Date 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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Peter
Ex Cont 707
Laser 189635
DY 59


Posted By: transient
Date 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.


Posted By: piglet
Date Posted: 26 May 15 at 3:08pm

Transient,

Bearing in mind that shortening part lap would only work on lap average racing if all boats had sailed the same number of laps.
Piglet


Posted By: PeterG
Date Posted: 26 May 15 at 4:51pm
When I ran races at my old club, where the number of laps was never fixed in advance for club races, we always used to aim to do the shorten course signal as soon as the boat we were shortening for rounded the last mark - minimised the room for misunderstanding. Difficulties arose since the fleet was mixed - you might have a Spitfire following a Pico and you wanted the Spitfire  to do another lap, but not the Pico. Sometimes we used class flags with the S, but that wasn't always understood, so generally when that happened we had to wait for the Spitfire to cross the line (hopefully well ahead of the Pico) and then signal - not ideal but it generally worked OK for club racing.

-------------
Peter
Ex Cont 707
Laser 189635
DY 59


Posted By: GML
Date Posted: 26 May 15 at 5:00pm
Originally posted by transient

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.

Not sure exactly what you have in mind, but unless your SIs say otherwise, you can't shorten the course at a mark or gate by displaying flag S at the race office - you have to display flag S at the mark or gate. (Otherwise how will competitors know which mark or gate is the new finish line?)


Posted By: Brass
Date Posted: 28 May 15 at 2:55am

Originally posted by piglet

Thanks Jim & Rupert, 
For my own peace of mind I would like clarification on the RRS/RO manual interpretations. 
Has anyone done any recent RO training?

 

Quite neatly and presumably sufficiently authoritatively put in the RYA RM Guide you cited, p51

 SHORTEN COURSE FLAG S

When this signal is displayed, with two sound signals, the course is shortened. This means that the course which was displayed at the warning signal has one or more legs cut off.   

See also

 

RYA Appeal 2001/6

Rule 28.1, Sailing the Course

Rule 32.2, Shortening or Abandoning After the Start

When a course is shortened, the finishing line is at the line or to the mark that is nearest to the finishing vessel. If the shorten-course signal is made when boats still have to round other marks before they would reach the new finishing line, they shall sail so as to leave those marks on the required side and in the correct order, unless the sailing instructions make some other provision.

 

 

Originally posted by JimC

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. 

 

I don't think the rules ever said that.

 

Old (pre 1995) rule 5 covered all of signalling the course (present rule 27.1), abandoning (present rule 32.1) shortening the course (present rule 32.2) and changing a leg (present rule 33).

 

Old rule 5.4( c ) dealt with shortening the course and just referred to the signal being given 'at a rounding mark', while 5.4( b ) for changing a leg, required notice to be given to each yacht before she begins the changed leg.



Posted By: Buzz
Date Posted: 28 May 15 at 11:19am
During evening racing when the wind is dying we sometimes shorten course at the windward mark and the boats would sail directly to the finish line.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 28 May 15 at 3:14pm
I've finished races with the lead boat very near the line, but only when the line is either part of the course, or boats are going to be sailing through it on their way to the next mark anyway. Otherwise, I'll always shorten before the last mark. Last night, it was possible to sail up the far bank, missing the ODM by a good 50 yards. Giving the shortening early was the only fair method of truncating the race.

It also gave a chance for those just about to be lapped by the leader to cross just behind, not in front, and so get an average lap time and more time in the pub.


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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: GML
Date Posted: 29 May 15 at 12:06pm
Originally posted by Rupert

I've finished races with the lead boat very near the line, but only when the line is either part of the course, or boats are going to be sailing through it on their way to the next mark anyway. Otherwise, I'll always shorten before the last mark. Last night, it was possible to sail up the far bank, missing the ODM by a good 50 yards. Giving the shortening early was the only fair method of truncating the race.

Just to be really clear about this - unless your SIs make explicit provision to shorten the course in some other way, you can ONLY shorten course at a line or mark that is part of the existing course. That is to say the new finish line has to be at a line or mark that the boats were already going to sail through or round as part of the original course. Unless your SIs say otherwise, if boats don't have to go through the start/finish line on each lap then you can't shorten course at that line, even if you signal that you are shortening course "before the last mark". So what do your SIs say?


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 29 May 15 at 12:27pm
Its what the club have done for the past 40 years or so for pretty much every race that has been run, so even if it isn't in the SIs (I'd have to check) it is certainly expected by the competitors.

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 31 May 15 at 11:59pm
Looking at RRS 63.1 just now reminded me of why some of these problems arise.  Far too often RCs score a boat DSQ or DNC when it sails the wrong course without following the correct procedure.  As long as the boat has finished:

'A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side',

Then any breach of Rule 28 requires a Protest, either by a competitor or the Race Committee.  One would hope that, when notified, the competitor would Retire After Finishing, but that can not be relied upon.  I lost second place at a major event when I did not take action, assuming that the RC would.

And in the OP in this case the correct procedure would have been a Protest.......but even the RC has to comply with time limits.  Has there been one some facts might have been identified and a decision made.  Without one the only recourse is a hope that the infringing (or not!) boat will do the decent thing and retire.


Posted By: Brass
Date Posted: 01 Jun 15 at 2:34am
Note that rule 32.2 is carefully designed so that if course is shortened in accordance with it (and not some home grown SI), that any boat sailing the full course will automatically pass through the finishing line (as long as the RC doesn't put the finishing boat the wrong side of a rounding mark.

I would take issue with the RYA guidance on shortening.

It doesn't really take all that much careful consideration to decide to shorten:  course should be shortened so that majority of competitors can get a scoring finish.

Only at pretty sophisticated levels are the tactics sailing on a 'finishing leg' any different from the tactics to finish as soon as possible on any other leg.  I think it's perfectly OK for the race committee to be watching how the middle and back end of the fleet is getting round the preceding mark as the determinant for shortening, even if this leads to the shorten signal being given just as the leaders are approaching the short finishing line.



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