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Abandon for Wind Shifts

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Race Management
Forum Discription: For race officers and competiors to discuss the topic
Printed Date: 27 Jan 21 at 7:18am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Abandon for Wind Shifts
Posted By: Ralph T
Subject: Abandon for Wind Shifts
Date Posted: 20 Feb 05 at 11:18am

As a race officer, I am finding it increasingly difficult to decide when to abandon a race due to a big wind shift which is not likely to come back.

The definition of 'big' is always open to interpretation but decisions to abandon seem to vary considerably. The last 2 Olympics have seen some big shifts but the race was not abandoned (was it Sydney 49er 1st race when the wind did a 180 & lost Ian & Simon the race lead & probably Gold?).

Having decided that if it is good enough for the Olympics, it must be good enough for the UK, I have had one serious shift in a Nationals which I let go as the race was well under way & was berated (nicely, but forcibly) for the rest of the week.

Fellow Race Officers will obviously have their own views on when they would make a decision but the most important view is from the sailor. Would be really interested to know what the attitude of competitors (at National or big national type events) is towards this problem, but not just "If I am at the back bin it, but let it go if I am at the front

Posted By: bigwavedave
Date Posted: 20 Feb 05 at 11:48am

I think you will struggle to get away from "If I am at the back bin it, but let it go if I am at the front".  Whenever a race is binned it helps some and hinders others and the same goes for a big shift.  The regular front of fleet sailors seem to accept this and just get on with it.  I have found most complaints when it is mid fleet/back of fleet racers who suddenly find themselves at the front because of a big shift. 

They have got there by accident but seem to think that they spotted a big shift that the top flight have missed. I know this because it used to be me!

I remember one nationals when the wind shifted just before the start, and I got my best start of the meeting.  It was only when I read the report afterwards that I realised I was lucky. Whilst the top flight just clawed their way back through us donuts who were at the wrong end of the line before the shift, the mid fleet started shouting at the PRO.

Personally I think wind shifts are something that we as dinghy racers just have to accept.  I have never really understood why races are abandoned because of a shift in the wind.  It is the same for everyone on the race track. Let it go and we all sail the race.

I do think that there should be minimum wind speeds for racing, but that is a different rant altogether.


Posted By: Stefan Lloyd
Date Posted: 20 Feb 05 at 1:20pm
Maybe it depends on the classes you sail, but I've been racing for 20 years, including national and European-level events, and I can't think of a single race that was abandoned because of a wind-shift after the start. If there is a shift and some people are advantaged, who is the race officer to say that is unfair? Spotting and anticipating wind-shifts is part of the game. And like it or not, an element of luck is always involved in an individual race - that is why we have series.

Posted By: Harry44981!
Date Posted: 20 Feb 05 at 2:15pm
The only time a race has been abandoned for a windshift that ive been in is when the 2 flights would converge majorly.

Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 20 Feb 05 at 9:40pm

Before the start, if the shift is enough to turn the beat into a fetch then its worth trying again.  After the start, if the first half of the beat was a beat then that's good enough and the race should continue.

The only other situation I've felt an abondonment was justified was when we realised another club was using the same navigation mark - but the other way round.  It's not much fun in a Laser to be head -on with a Tornado!

Posted By: Stefan Lloyd
Date Posted: 21 Feb 05 at 8:39am

Originally posted by redback

The only other situation I've felt an abondonment was justified was when we realised another club was using the same navigation mark - but the other way round.  It's not much fun in a Laser to be head -on with a Tornado!

That has happened to me three times now when yacht racing in the Solent and it is very scary since it really isn't obvious who has rights and everything happens very fast. On two of those occassions it was fleets run by different race officers in the SAME EVENT. One time in Cowes Week in a brisk F5, 40 707s were attempting to round a leeward mark in the opposite direction as 80-odd XODs 

The Chichester Harbour clubs have an agreement to always use marks one way to avoid this problem, and I've never understood why the SCRA (Solent race coordination body) doesn't do the same.

Posted By: maxim
Date Posted: 21 Feb 05 at 11:30am
One race for me started with us fetching the
windward mark, it then shifted 90 degrees, and we
fetched the second mark, then it turned slowly back
to the first direction so we fetched the next two
marksincluding the final beat. (s - course). Quite a
weird feeling to sail an entire circuit without having to
tack or jybe once!! However, this was team racing -
maybe there might be more reason for abandoning
a team racing race in a large windshift, as there's
less forsight used, and more boat on boat tactics...

Posted By: stuarthop
Date Posted: 21 Feb 05 at 6:23pm
i've sailed a lightwind race at bala before which i won due to my amazing wind shift spotting ability where we reached all the way round the course from the start, and the race officer didnt abandon it


Posted By: Phil eltringham
Date Posted: 21 Feb 05 at 8:41pm
Yeah, i got the bulit in the last race of last years B14 inlands with that roose too, windshifts allow even the worst sailors to get a shot at glory once in a while, its all part of the fun!  Races - Once you pop, you can't stop!

Shifts Happen

Posted By: *GM*
Date Posted: 21 Feb 05 at 11:59pm
Scariest race I ever did - sailing in the cat class in a dinghy regatta with about five other starts sailing different courses after us.  Last race, running out of time after a flat calm morning, big shift during our prestart and the wind got up from about F2 to about F5.  We could fetch the windward mark, had to beat to the spreader mark and then reach straight at the leeward mark.  Problem was the Lasers and things doing triangles - got really scary trying to work out where the gaps were going to be when we crossed through them!  Almost glad we pitchpoled and decided to retire!

Posted By: Doctor Clifford
Date Posted: 22 Feb 05 at 8:16am
GM, you are over-reacting! I was there and saw none
of those problems!

(eyes were firmly clamped shut!!!!!)

Dr. Clifford

take two tablets twice daily

Posted By: Blobby
Date Posted: 23 Feb 05 at 5:53am

So all the votes so far are for "Don't ever abandon the race" then.

My thoughts -

Are you using permanent marks or marks laid specifically for the race?

Do you have the ability to move the marks without disrupting the fleet?

If you are using permanent marks then don't abandon.

If the marks are laid specifically for the race and you can move them without disrupting the fleet, do that and don't abandon the race.

If you are using marks specially laid, and they cannot be moved without disrupting the fleet then you have a difficult choice. 

However, abandonning is in my humble opinion a sop to those who believe that luck shouldn't be part of sailing - and these people will moan anyway.  But the more I practice the luckier I get, so personally I say race on!


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