Feb 8, 2011, 4:56 PM
Post #18 of 24
* From Patrick Blaney, Ireland:
Re: [The Publisher] Starting system should have video backup
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I am amazed that anyone who has real experience in on the water race management is still suggesting that video recording the start will help either competitors or the Race Officer in getting the fleet away.
It is so difficult to get the video recording set up 100% along the line, and it still suffers all the same issues as a PRO in identifying boats over at the start. The fleet which gives the greatest difficulty are the lasers which have long numbers, identical hull/sail colours, and usually large fleet sizes. All the PRO can do is set himself up to catch the majority of those OCS, that way, over a series, everyone runs an equal risk of getting caught if they are OCS. All a video recording will do is further cloud the issue, and leave the judgment of the PRO up to question or second guessing by that most distinguished of bodies the “JURY”. In almost every sport the referee’s decision is final, and it is not perfect, the same goes for the PRO. The thing to do is to use technology to support the PRO’s judgment, make it better where possible, but not take precedence over it.
The better use of modern technology is probably the use of some tracker equipment where a beam along the line activates/pings a device on the boat (thereby recording the OCS boats and letting the offender know they have been recorded. I don’t know if such technology exists, but that is the only fool proof way, assuming it both works, especially in big fleets and with long lines and can’t be abused by the competitors (shielding it somehow).
In the absence of a simple, fool proof and tamper free technological answer, we need to have an independent referee/PRO determine, using his/her best judgment (supported by line spotters on the outer distance mark boat and perhaps even a RIB fixed in position along the line) who was over the line. There is still no technological method that is better than the judgment of a good experienced race officer. I would also point out that it takes time and experience for a Race Officer to become good, but I find that the top regattas get the top PRO’s, so horses for courses.
PS: Have you never seen a PRO have a short final 5 seconds just to get the fleet away?