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Dilemma (on-the-water drama)
Team McLube

 



Trygve
**

Jul 24, 2006, 4:28 AM

Post #1 of 27 (62020 views)
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During a winter series club race on Saturday (we were the series leader at the time) and going upwind on starboard tack for second final beat, we realised we were being headered and decided to put in a tack onto port. A bigger boat was approaching on starboard, so we decided to bear off early and duck the starboard tacker (lets call this boat SP) as we wanted to be sure to get onto the starboard layline for the final bit to the weather mark. As soon as we were above the Starboard layline, we tacked back onto starboard.

SP tacked on the PORT layline to the mark as we were coming in on the STARBOARD layline. We started calling "STARBOARD" several times very loudly but had no acknowledgement from their skipper, despite him making eye contact with me. Just before an obvious T bone type impact (both boats doing above 6 knots) I crash tacked onto port to avoid a collission, missing SP by about 6 inches. We were on port tack (stalled)whilst SP had not yet completed their tack onto starboard. This happened within the 2 boat length circle of the weather mark. We lost more than a minute as we sheeted in and tacked back onto starboard and rounded the mark.

I was livid (to put it mildly) and if I could have walked on water, I surely would have decked their skipper. Instead I yelled a lot and shouted 'PROTEST' about 10 times - yanked the protest flag so hard on the backstay that I tore it in two and constantly yelled at SP to execute their penalty turns. They ignored me. Instead they put their kite up and broached which made me feel a little better, but I was still fuming at the absolute lack of responsibility, blatant disregard of rules and the worst one: I have a bigger boat than yours, so the rules don't count.

Back at the club, I filled in and lodged a protest against SP. It has not been heard yet, but I don't protest unless I am sure I will win. We did win the series by a slender single point and collected the silverware at the prizegiving an hour later. I had a few beers with my crew and as I was walking out the club, a crew member of SP stood up and asked me: "Have you calmed down yet? It was not necessary for you to shout at us like that. You could have taken other options"

Huh????

So I said sarcastically: "What is it about PORT/STARBOARD that you have difficulty understanding?"
And later probably something else not printable here and probably well beyond the boundaries of yacht club etiquette. The truth was that no, I had not calmed down yet.

After having sailed competitively for 40 years, I have found that 99% of people, after realising they are wrong, will walk over in the pub and offer to buy one a beer or just say sorry and that's the end of the story. This one was brutally ugly and I am not quite sure how to handle it from here.

Any advice?





mydawgcharlie
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Jul 24, 2006, 12:11 PM

Post #2 of 27 (61997 views)
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Go have a beer after you win the protest.


Trygve
**

Jul 24, 2006, 11:48 PM

Post #3 of 27 (61978 views)
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Son of a gun. That's probably sensible advice. Time heals all wounds and all that nonsense.....


Alun James
**

Jul 26, 2006, 1:23 AM

Post #4 of 27 (61959 views)
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No dilemma, you are right, subsequently actually confirmed by other boats crew.

Red wine would be better for your blood pressure...

I am sure in 40 years it is not the worst thing (maybe the most blatant) you have seen on the water.


Trygve
**

Jul 26, 2006, 1:48 AM

Post #5 of 27 (61958 views)
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Of course it's not the worst.

The worst was someone intentionally trying to ram me. I filed a Rule 69 protest on that guy, but after being begged by that club's committee not to take Joe Soap out of competitive sailing for the rest of his life and a public apology from him, I let it go eventually. Those were dinghy sailing days.

And the irony, is this same chap now also sails a keelboat and is moored directly next to me!

We greet each other these days.

By the way, I saw on the club's website yesterday that the offending boat has retired. Anyone wanting to read the full story can click on this link. It's on Page 2: http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/trazz





Alun James
**

Jul 26, 2006, 2:26 AM

Post #6 of 27 (61957 views)
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For a similar (and far more heated) story

http://crew.net.nz/...p;highlight=sportivo

It is worth a laugh.

Both are blisteringly fast boats by the way, Sportivo is a canting keel 50ft Elliot design and Timberwolf is a racing tri.





Bow Butch
**

Jul 29, 2006, 10:06 PM

Post #7 of 27 (61892 views)
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We have had two incidents in two years with the same boat, in the same race not 'noticing a boat (us) going to windward when they bear away around the top mark. In the last incident, they forced us to bear away because they didnt move, jybe then make our way back up to the top mark. The first incident cost us around 1 minute 30 to get back to the same point (all on video camera) and we missed overall honours by 28 seconds. We were Very unhappy with that!

Oh well atleast we beat them over the line boat times


Alun James
**

Jul 30, 2006, 4:45 PM

Post #8 of 27 (61881 views)
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Did you protest?


Bow Butch
**

Jul 30, 2006, 6:53 PM

Post #9 of 27 (61877 views)
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It was a 'friendly' race to show the public how offshore yachts go in a confined (30 yachts 30-60 foot in Fremantle Harbour which is 1km long by 500m wide) spaces. The SSI's i think state that there are no protests.

very intence hour and a half





Alun James
**

Jul 30, 2006, 7:05 PM

Post #10 of 27 (61876 views)
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What message is being sent to the public when blatant abuse of the rules appears to have no consequence.

If the display in Fremantle was truly for public benefit then a protest situation should have been staged.

Some OD classes in NZ have made it mandatory that all yachts have protest flags ready and class members are chastised if it is seen by other yachts that they could have protested and did not.

Such a united front promotes knowledge of the rules and collectively lifts the game for everyone.

Imagine a game of tournament squash where it was not encouraged or possible to call "lets".

In both situations people, equipment and confidence would suffer.


pb
*

Aug 1, 2006, 2:15 AM

Post #11 of 27 (61751 views)
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The protest has been filed, so only the race committee can allow it to be withdrawn. Don't withdraw. During the hearing add the fact that you wish to protest under the Basic Principles Rule.

"A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire." (you are allowed to do this by Rule 61.2)

Retiring after finishing is acknowledging their guilt and consequently they are in breach of the basic principle.

The integrity of the rules depends on all of us following up on protests, if only to show that we sail in accordance with the rules.

Good Luck




PeterO
**

Aug 1, 2006, 2:43 AM

Post #12 of 27 (61736 views)
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From your narration of the foul, it sounds as though you stand a good chance of losing the protest. The way you described the event, you did not immediately hail "PROTEST." Without the immediate hail and display of code flag B, juries seem to be tending to toss the protest. I feel your pain, but that seems to be the way decisions are going these days. It would also be useful to your protest if you had one or more witnesses from nearby boats who could validate your claims. Good luck. You immediately knew you were fouled. instead of fuming you should have hailed "PROTEST." Maybe you did and just failed to mention it. Maybe I missed it in your narration. In any event, that type of skipper isn't needed in any fleet.


Bob the basher
*

Aug 1, 2006, 2:43 AM

Post #13 of 27 (61735 views)
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Next time just T-bone them. They won't do it again. Believe me it works! And it feels so good! :-)





Trygve
**

Aug 1, 2006, 3:11 AM

Post #14 of 27 (61720 views)
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I like the Kiwi model described in this string. That creates the correct culture of rule obeyance.
Incredibly, we had yet another big boat try their luck with us last week. The full strory is recorded on this link: http://mysite.mweb.co.za/...trazz/homepage2.html

The basic incident happened like this: Two seconds after the start signal, The Farr 40 came steaming across on port tack, unable to cross ahead of us. We called "Starboard!" and held our (paltry 27 foot of) ground, forcing the big boat to tack. With stylish Gallic temper and vocabulary, the skipper stripped his box with several very loud “F*CK OFF” calls shouted at us, in his utter frustration of having to bear off and gybe around to go behind us. But at least, he did tack away, which is more than what some skippers do. Still, it brought home my comments about big boat bullying posted only days earlier. We stayed calm and held our course. What was he thinking?

I caught up with the skipper later in the pub. he offered a vague apology. Then an explanation, which I was very interested to hear. He said that another Class 1 boat ‘messed him around’ on the start line, so when we appeared in his path on starboard, he completely lost his temper. (Huh??!!) He also said that besides the fact that we were technically in the right (I liked that expression!), he felt that I should have waved him through and allowed him to win Class 1 (which he did anyway) and we could then have proceeded unfettered to lead Class 2…..This is the kind of thinking at our club, which I am trying to get unbundled. Why on earth should a smaller starboard tacker, duck behind a big port tacker (unless the smaller boat tactically wants to do that)? This story too, will go public today. I don’t really care how good, or how famous, or celebrated these guys are. It is wrong. Period!

Today will also mark the unveiling of a new page on this website, which I will call the ‘Hall of Shame’ – all these incidents will be recorded here for the world to see. Anyone who experiences this same type of big boat bullying is welcome to send me the brief details for publication. Let the crusade begin.





Trygve
**

Aug 1, 2006, 3:16 AM

Post #15 of 27 (61717 views)
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In Reply To
From your narration of the foul, it sounds as though you stand a good chance of losing the protest. The way you described the event, you did not immediately hail "PROTEST." Without the immediate hail and display of code flag B, juries seem to be tending to toss the protest. I feel your pain, but that seems to be the way decisions are going these days. It would also be useful to your protest if you had one or more witnesses from nearby boats who could validate your claims. Good luck. You immediately knew you were fouled. instead of fuming you should have hailed "PROTEST." Maybe you did and just failed to mention it. Maybe I missed it in your narration. In any event, that type of skipper isn't needed in any fleet.


If you read it again, you will see that I most definitely did call PROTEST immediately. Not once, but probably six times...so loud, that I had a sore throat the next day! Another interesting comment is that I permanently fly a protest flag off my backstay. Does anyone know if that is illegal? In a protest situation, all I have to do is point at the protest flag. Saves time and energy.


Corsair
*

Aug 1, 2006, 4:47 AM

Post #16 of 27 (61667 views)
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As you indicated, there will always be that 1% who don't play by the rules, depend on the "my boat's bigger philosophy" and totally disregard the rules.

But does it make you feel better to sink to their level?

"He who throws dirt gives away a lot of ground" Sounds simple but it's not always easy.


Trygve
**

Aug 1, 2006, 5:02 AM

Post #17 of 27 (61657 views)
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I dont think I am sinking to their level at all (well, that's my perception anyway). I just think that by making a public issue of this, it might make some of these culprits feel guilty and cease their bully-boy practices. Bottom line is, I think it sucks and I refuse to be intimidated by anyone simply because he has a bigger/more expensive boat than me. I would like to see other small boat skippers following suit.


Corsair
*

Aug 1, 2006, 5:15 AM

Post #18 of 27 (61636 views)
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I agree. On the other hand, feeling guilty requires a conscience and - if they had one to begin with - they wouldn't be ignoring the rules.

You can always take Bob the Basher's advice and T-bone them - feels good in the short run but there's always the potential for crew injury and expensive repairs.

Every club has their share of bullies and I've always found what goes around, comes around.


Trygve
**

Aug 1, 2006, 5:37 AM

Post #19 of 27 (61613 views)
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I wonder what my J27 will look like with a titanium bowsprit (sharpened of course) Wink


R Vaughan
*

Aug 1, 2006, 7:14 AM

Post #20 of 27 (61506 views)
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Anyone who disregards the rules in such a flagrant manner should be taken off the race course. Does he also run stop signs and red lights on the road? I bet he still has a "W-04" sticker on car.


sayrasail
**

Aug 1, 2006, 7:49 AM

Post #21 of 27 (61475 views)
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Check out RRS 55 concerning a "permanent flying" red flag





sailing_chick
*

Aug 1, 2006, 8:05 AM

Post #22 of 27 (61458 views)
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After reading your story and considering recent "rule infractions" I have witnessed, I'm convinced there is a small group of individuals that will always break rules to get what they want. I think they not only sail this way, they probably live their lives that way as well (and raise their kids with the same tendencies).

The only way to address rule breakers is for fair-minded sailors and orginaized classes to enforce rules, follow through with protests, and participate in some good, old-fashioned shame (it works for Catholics). BUT, eventhough I think these people should be held accountable for their behavior, I also now understand that THERE IS NO JUSTICE IN THE PROTEST ROOM.

So, good luck out there!


Cinnabar
*

Aug 1, 2006, 8:34 AM

Post #23 of 27 (61428 views)
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I really think it's worthwhile at the protest hearing to note that you believe your competitor also broke the Fair Sailing/Sportsmanship rule in addition to port/starboard. Simply having a discussion over that rule, and the skipper's realization that a finding against him could turn his racing boat into a cruiser for a few years, may have a positive effect.


Glenn
***

Aug 1, 2006, 8:35 AM

Post #24 of 27 (61428 views)
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To begin with, sailboat racing is just a game. It is supposed to be fun.

But like any game, soccer, Monopoly, etc., they all have rules. On the one side of the RRS, the guilty is to acknowledge their mistakes and take the corresponding penalty voluntarily. Sadly, many sailors know that many sailors hate spending time in the room and are using this tactically. It seems obvious to me, that the alleged offending party in this case is probably taking advantage of peoples desire to stay out of the room and doing what ever he feels like.

I have seen more of this type of activity in the Olympic class where money is on the line. Athletes are readily willing to completely ignore the rules to get the finish positions they need to keep their funding alive. I have even saw one not even turn the mark and start back upwind early to shave points!

As I have been munching on your frustration, I keep coming back to wondering if you should not only protest under Rule 10, but also protest under Rule 2 and Rule 3?

While the penalty could be different under Rule 2 (and more severe), what it does is put in writing to the alleged guilty party that not only are they wrong in the port starboard, but they are guilty of Fair Sailing and have violated the principle of Accepting the Rules. This would be more of a moral victory if the judges are willing to find the other party guilty of Rules 2 & 3.

Other than that, your frustration is what it is. The best you can do is use the process in the Rules, that the competitor on the surface ignores.

BTW, you are ineligible to file a RRS 69 protest. ONLY the Protest Committee can fill out a protest form for a RRS 69 protest. So while you are claiming to be an expert on Port Starboard, and want your competitors to have an equal understanding of the rules, you have shown not to understand one of the other rules in the book. Read things carefully.


Fred Roswold
**

Aug 1, 2006, 8:44 AM

Post #25 of 27 (61420 views)
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Delimma, what delemma?
The guy should have yielded, he didn't.
You should have tacked to avoid him, you did.
You should have protested, you did.
You should win, but you might not; you never know what he'll say or what the protest committee will believe.

So what is the delimma in all this? There is none.

Let it go, it's just a fucking boat race!

Besides, this smacks of rightous indignation to me. The guy probably was faced with a bad choice and while he was trying to figure out what to do, the situation progressed too far. (Some people call it "freezing at the helm".) It happens. Life goes on. (You are lucky there wasn't another stbd boat on your weather hip.)

So, try to be better than him. Next time try to remain calm, you don't have to go berserk just because you can. Be a gentleman, show some restaint, you'll live longer.


PeterO
**

Aug 1, 2006, 9:56 AM

Post #26 of 27 (61333 views)
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Well, if you sail a J/27 you must have been right. What a great boat! We raced one for three years, until our club decided to start a J/22 fleet. I wish I still had that J/27.

As for your protest, if you did hail immediately you should be OK. I would be sure that my written protest, and my testimony in the hearing both included that information in a positive, dispassionate manner. Regarding the "permanent" protest flag I assume you mean that you have a flag mounted on your backstay, rolled up in a tube that conceals the flag when you are not protesting.


Trygve
**

Aug 2, 2006, 12:05 AM

Post #27 of 27 (61100 views)
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Thanks Fred - You a psychologist? Your assessment is seriously flawed. the skipper of that boat is experienced and intelligent and he knows the rules. I had every right to be pissed off. My boat and crew's safety were in jeopardy.

Just a small update. This case is now history. The boat retired and that's the end of the story. I wrote a piece about that and other incidents along the tone of this string which has been published on the club's website as well as on our national sailing body's site. I have also learned that the guilty party has been spoken to by the club commodore about this issue, so I think he has probably learned his lesson sufficiently.

One thing that you might not realise Fred, is that the pen is mightier than the sword. I can change an entire clubs opinion on a subject, simply by writing about it. That has now been done and justice has been served. I am satisfied with the outcome.

The bush telepgraph also works efficiently in our club and I have no doubt that this story is on the lips of everyone. At the very worst they will keep clear of J27's


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