Thursday, May 28, 2015

Action at the Inlands

I think the 2015 Inlands were the first time that the NSSA had on the water judging of rule 42, the illegal propulsion rule.

I think that it is important that we do this, as sailors develop the habit of moving their bodies in a way that propels the boat. They then progress to larger events and find themselves being penalised by judges and losing out for what has become an unconscious action.  Once the habit is formed it is very, very difficult to break. They also tend to revert to the behaviour in times of stress, inevitably this is in critical situations, and when the judges are watching, so a penalty becomes very costly.

So I have no regrets about Rule 42 Judging. The problem is what about other rules. What action should the Judges on the water take when they see boats breaking other sailing rules?

There is an argument that sailing is a self policing sport and that if sailors have a collision and don't want to do something about it then that is their business. But, is this reasonable when youngsters are just starting out? What about when no one else sees the incident? Such as hitting a mark. What if those around don't have the experience to protest? Should rule infringements be ignored? I have great difficulty with being blind to other actions on the water.

There again, what is the correct action to take. Should we just advise the sailors that they were in the wrong? (Which is what happened this time) Should we expect them to retire? (We did have an alternative 20%penalty available). Should we lodge a protest and who will hear it?

Does anyone have the answer?

2 Comments:

Blogger Steve Watson said...

There is much R42 variation around the fleets, both in junior and adult fleets. Perhaps some of the R42 infringements are caused because few know what the infringement looks like. Pages of guidance are available from ISAF but they describe the parameters not the appearance. There are some good video material but it remains it marginal judgment. How harsh do fleets want to be? We must assure competitive fun or lose participants in our sport. Sailing techniques are habit forming and in a nail-biting, chain smoking stressed situation the habit breaks out and the rock creeps in.

Other rules: self policing has to be the primary approach. Sailing is the 'original' Corinthian sport (CYC 1872) and promotes an attitude: "Character is doing the right thing when no-one is watching". We try to cover this by the Rule 2 caveat of deliberately breaking a rule. But how does this co-exist with taking a chance in a situation and getting away without actually infringing. The art of overtaking? Perhaps our rules education should focus on the tactical advantages to exploit the rules not to erect prohibitions.
Steve Watson

June 16, 2015 at 2:09 AM  
Blogger Benvenuto Falat said...

"... remains a marginal judgement .... ", is something I can totally accept; other sports have it and for example in top-flight rugby matches one will often see both teams during the first 10-minutes 'testing' their referee's interpretations (usually pushing the envelope when Not in a dangerous point's scoring situation); during the present Rugby World Cup the referees are so well known that the coaches help their players understand what to watch out for, as was talked about by the TV commentators.
My wife is always on the water excruciatingly 'fair' (I can be much more aggressive!) and once at a World Championship in Melbourne the U-Boat motored over at the finish to warn her/us that she was, '... nearly Yellow-flagged ...', .... Un-Believable, yet that was Their Interpretation of what most anyone else would have perceived as, "Nothing"; actually afterwards they said that there was some disagreement in their boat.
Self policing is good, then otherwise let's just get on and accept the Referees'/Umpires' decisions just like in any other sport .... and if the Referee hasn't seen it, then Play On, but most crucially even if the Ref has seen it, he may still choose to "Play Advantage !".

October 13, 2015 at 7:50 AM  

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