Scuttlebutt Website SCUTTLEBUTT
SAILING NEWS
ForumIndex CLASSIFIED ADS Search Posts SEARCH
POSTS
Who's Online WHO'S
ONLINE
Log in LOG IN         

Forum Index: .: Dock Talk:
START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS
Team McLube

 



The Publisher
*****


Mar 24, 2011, 8:09 AM

Post #1 of 8 (16131 views)
Shortcut
START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS Log-In to Post/Reply

By Steve Pyatt

There is a recent trend in New Zealand that is very disturbing to me as a sailor and is one that I can’t really approve of as a Race Officer (RO). That is the banning of boats sailing through the start/finish line on a W/L course, where the S/F is part way up the course.

This practise effectively puts a huge ‘island’ in the middle of the course. Why go to open seas and then restrict the sailing in such a way? The arguments for it are to:

a. Differentiate clearly between boats racing and those finishing and
b. To avoid boats coming down through the line while others may be starting.

On the first point I would say that any RO worth his/her salt will know where their fleets are on the track and hence when the leader is really approaching to finish and on the second point, the normal rules prevent any issues here as the ones coming down the run are either port tack or windward hence will always be keeping clear of those starting upwind.

Do ROs realise just how much this practice limits the racing? It is bad enough upwind by splitting the fleet around a no-go ‘island’ but is really bad downwind as it takes out the entire tactical run with passing opportunities and replaces it with too broad reaches that require guesswork as to which one is right (and you lose big time if the wind shifts and you get the wrong option). On a normal run you can gybe each and every time the wind shifts. On courses that route outside the (often long) line you have to gybe at the ends of the line; no options.

Diagrammatically this is what we are creating with this practice... read on: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/11/0216/


The Publisher
*****


Mar 24, 2011, 8:10 AM

Post #2 of 8 (16129 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Bill Sloger:
I agree completely with Steve Pyatt’s opinion regarding "Closed" start/finish lines (in Scuttlebutt 3301). At our last Lightning regatta here in the SE the S/F line was so long and closed that boats going to the wrong end were never seen again. After rounding the leeward mark, one had a choice of starboard tack to lay the left end of the line or port tack to lay the right end of the line. This gives the idea of the length of the S/F line.


From Warren Nethercote:
I agree entirely with Steve Pyatt, that ‘closed’ mid-leg start/finish lines on windward-leeward courses remove too much of the field of play from competitors’ use. It is unlikely that we’ll persuade conservative (chicken?) race officers from totally abandoning the practice, but we might be able to sell a compromise. Assuming a finish on a beat, only close the line on windward legs that aren’t the finishing leg - leave the line open on the downwind legs. It is unlikely that even a sleepy race officer will confuse a boat running under spinnaker with one finishing on a beat - after all, isn’t it the reluctance to count laps for individual competitors that is the source of this unfortunate race management practice?


The Publisher
*****


Mar 24, 2011, 8:14 AM

Post #3 of 8 (16128 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Al Johnson:
I have to take exception to Steve Pyatt’s contention (issue #3301) that closing start/finish lines is a bad idea. There were a couple of follow-on posts that supported his opinion. Perhaps racers (and committees) have differing perceptions based on what kind of boats and how many classes are running, and that the right answer may be different depending on the type of boats, and the number of classes that are using the same S/F line.

For safety reasons, some of the Seattle clubs regularly close the start line as well as the finish line for PHRF boats doing W/L races. The 50-footers in the first start frequently round the top mark and are back down to the area of the committee boat before the fifth or sixth classes start. If the wind goes left, there is a significant advantage gained by going downwind through the start line and trying to squeeze through a class in the middle of their start sequence.

One perspective is that this should all be fine because the right of way rules cover all circumstances that could be encountered, and people shouldn’t be out there if they aren’t responsible for their actions or aren’t in control of their boats. However, mistakes can happen, and at some point common sense tells you that it isn’t a good idea to create a situation that significantly increase the probability of a fifty or hundred-thousand dollar mistake.


From James Tyson:
I totally agree with Steve's observations in Scuttlebutt 3301 about start/finish line restrictions being a bad idea. I would suggest that one tool that helps mitigate this problem is the removal of the starting mark shortly after the sequence. When it is later deployed (normally) when the fleet is well up the second beat (assuming) a four legged race, we then reset the mark at a much reduced length.



The Publisher
*****


Mar 24, 2011, 8:18 AM

Post #4 of 8 (16126 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply


In Reply To
From Al Johnson:
I have to take exception to Steve Pyatt’s contention (issue #3301) that closing start/finish lines is a bad idea. There were a couple of follow-on posts that supported his opinion. Perhaps racers (and committees) have differing perceptions based on what kind of boats and how many classes are running, and that the right answer may be different depending on the type of boats, and the number of classes that are using the same S/F line.

For safety reasons, some of the Seattle clubs regularly close the start line as well as the finish line for PHRF boats doing W/L races. The 50-footers in the first start frequently round the top mark and are back down to the area of the committee boat before the fifth or sixth classes start. If the wind goes left, there is a significant advantage gained by going downwind through the start line and trying to squeeze through a class in the middle of their start sequence.

One perspective is that this should all be fine because the right of way rules cover all circumstances that could be encountered, and people shouldn’t be out there if they aren’t responsible for their actions or aren’t in control of their boats. However, mistakes can happen, and at some point common sense tells you that it isn’t a good idea to create a situation that significantly increase the probability of a fifty or hundred-thousand dollar mistake.



From Craig K. Yandow:
Thinking about Al Johnson's too many boats in a small space justification for closing start and finish lines, I realize there are two reasons to avoid regattas put on by clubs that do that.

When there are too many other classes on the course, the quality of competition in our own class suffers just as it does when the lines are closed. Besides, sailing into a cloud of boats, even with a larger faster boat, is still slower than choosing a course around the dirty air.

At Alamitos Bay YC (Long Beach, CA), multiple courses are regularly used to minimize the problem. Perhaps that is why we still get a whole lot of boats on each course. So we take the next step: Our PROs have experience with the situation and choose course and marks to minimize the class to class interactions. Fast boats get long legs and courses. It is perceived as a PRO mistake when fast classes need to sail into the start of a later or slower class. It can happen, but it results in learning and seldom happens twice.




The Publisher
*****


Mar 24, 2011, 8:22 AM

Post #5 of 8 (16123 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply


In Reply To
From Al Johnson:
I have to take exception to Steve Pyatt’s contention (issue #3301) that closing start/finish lines is a bad idea. There were a couple of follow-on posts that supported his opinion. Perhaps racers (and committees) have differing perceptions based on what kind of boats and how many classes are running, and that the right answer may be different depending on the type of boats, and the number of classes that are using the same S/F line.

For safety reasons, some of the Seattle clubs regularly close the start line as well as the finish line for PHRF boats doing W/L races. The 50-footers in the first start frequently round the top mark and are back down to the area of the committee boat before the fifth or sixth classes start. If the wind goes left, there is a significant advantage gained by going downwind through the start line and trying to squeeze through a class in the middle of their start sequence.

One perspective is that this should all be fine because the right of way rules cover all circumstances that could be encountered, and people shouldn’t be out there if they aren’t responsible for their actions or aren’t in control of their boats. However, mistakes can happen, and at some point common sense tells you that it isn’t a good idea to create a situation that significantly increase the probability of a fifty or hundred-thousand dollar mistake.



From Warren Nethercote:
Al Johnson’s safety-based support for a closed line is totally understandable, but begs the question: why does a race committee even consider such a course configuration if the first class (50 footers at that) is coming downwind before the last one has even started. Isn’t this a case of needing a start line to leeward of the course? A closed line in the middle of the WL leg is the wrong solution to the problem.




The Publisher
*****


Mar 24, 2011, 8:23 AM

Post #6 of 8 (16121 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From R. Geoffrey Newbury:
It's hard to understand why any PRO would do this to a fleet. It's been about 25 years since I've seen this done in my sailing area. It is impossible to believe that anyone who reached the level of being a PRO was ignorant of the effect of that decision. There is no reason for it at all in a single fleet situation. In fact, it takes more work to write the SI's to restrict the start line when it is no longer a start line and not yet a finish line. You have to *properly* make the ends, marks of the course on intermediate legs, AND set a leeward mark.

So it can only be "reasonable" to consider doing this is a multi-fleet start. And why bother? Same number of marks to deal with. It messes up the run for the early fleets and the start for the late starters, some of whom may not yet be racing and subject to the Rules. The PRO should move the start line to leeward and set the leeward mark or gate well to weather of the line.


The Publisher
*****


Mar 27, 2011, 9:58 AM

Post #7 of 8 (15987 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I would love to hear the chatter at the bar or de-briefing of the crewmembers of a yacht that under their SI's states that they must avoid the starting line and its designated areas while sailing a leg of the course. Seems like now you have added "had to avoid the starting line" to the many excuses sailors use for losing. Large fleets are always set up with a gate option or leeward mark ABOVE the starting line to avoid giving those sailors the above excuses. We even discuss that option and lack there of because we do not want sailors complaining how unfair the course is.

Mike Brown USSC/Chicago




Mark Mayer
**

Mar 30, 2011, 7:11 PM

Post #8 of 8 (15938 views)
Shortcut
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

The start/finish line is cleary defined "staff bearing an orange flag" or something to this affect. The protocol I was trained to follow requires me to fly the line flag while starting and or finishing only. Restricting this area of the race course regardless if the flag is flying or not is not necessary, let me open and close the line based on the race I am running.
If we do our job of setting square runs and beats we will be anchored in the middle of the action.


Viewing the Forums: No members and guests
 


Search for (options) Contact Forum Forum FAQS Markup Tags Forum Rules