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Forum Index: DISCUSSION: Dock Talk:
Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated?
Team McLube

 



msherman
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Jul 31, 2006, 12:52 PM

Post #1 of 21 (9645 views)
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Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? Log-In to Post/Reply

Picking up on the letter to editor (Issue 2148 by Gordon Murphy), I can't help but think the rules actually are much simpler than people make them out to be. Yes, there are many situations that require lots of thought, but in general the rules are pretty simple and you only do need to know a few. Unfortunately, sea-lawyerly introspective books like Dave Perry's 200 pages on "Understanding the Rules" make the whole thing seem so intimidating that they get in the way of people just learning the basics!

port-starboard
windward-leeward
proper course
rounding marks

now go racing!





USA8016
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Aug 1, 2006, 8:44 AM

Post #2 of 21 (9610 views)
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Re: [msherman] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

agreed...try reading Dave Perry on rule 18...there are multiple instances of 2 or 4 3 pages without a diagram and each paragraph referencing multiple rules (without explaining them) or exceptions.

It is definition of irony (a la the tax simplifation act) that the attempt to simplify the rules requires such long, detailed and confusing explanations!


kyle
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Aug 1, 2006, 8:47 AM

Post #3 of 21 (9609 views)
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Re: [USA8016] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

check out today's letter to the editor arguing how the kid should have been listed as a finisher...to argue that it was a "fun" race, the author cited 7 rules to prove his point...talking about the gates of hell!


Glenn
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Aug 1, 2006, 9:38 AM

Post #4 of 21 (9606 views)
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Re: [kyle] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

So, how many right of way laws are there for operating your motor vehicle? How many different road signs are there to obey? It makes the racing rules of sailing look like a pretty easy read to me.

Pretty much cars have lanes, and cross roads. The only time that cars come in at all angles (as sailing provides) is in the demolition derby, and you know what the outcome of that is.

For as many different angles boats can meet each other, it is amazing that there are so few rules.


hookinnhangon
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Aug 1, 2006, 11:32 AM

Post #5 of 21 (9596 views)
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Re: [Glenn] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Glenn, are you saying that the rules for the car road are complicated? Angles have very little to do with the rules.

There are no exceptions to every stop sign, which there seems to be for just about every sailing rule...and the rules of the road are pretty simple, by evidence of the fact that most everyone can drive...whereas most people can't understand the sailing rules. Rule 18 is pretty simple, but just try to get someone to explain it simply.

The sport is shooting itself in the foot with making racing rules too complicated.


Glenn
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Aug 1, 2006, 12:14 PM

Post #6 of 21 (9592 views)
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Re: [hookinnhangon] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I was not suggesting that they were complicated. I was suggesting that there are tons of them. Federal, State, County, Local, etc.

Let me ask you this. How many driving laws did you break today? Any "rolling stops?" Any flutter of the speedo right over the limit? Skip a turn signal?

On the race course we expect everyone to abide by every rule to the nth degree.

Funny how the same doesn't apply on the roads.


hookinnhangon
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Aug 1, 2006, 1:08 PM

Post #7 of 21 (9587 views)
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Re: [Glenn] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

you're OT (off topic) here, Glenn.

The post was how difficult the sailing rules were to understand, not how many there were and not how often people don't stop at stop signs...I don't expect everyone to know the rules, because they are so complicatedly showcased as the previous posters mentioned (see 200 page "Understanding the Racing Rules")...

I think everyone knows that a big red sign that says "STOP" means you have to halt the forward progress of your car.


Glenn
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Aug 1, 2006, 1:58 PM

Post #8 of 21 (9586 views)
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Re: [hookinnhangon] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Well, the current rules are simplified. Do you want to go back 10 years to rules that were 3 times as long?

There is an attempt to provide a simpler set, for more relaxed fun races:
http://store.ussailing.org/...Width=450&ItemID

But don't forget, many people do rolling stops and run stop signs which is not too different than the boat who ignores a port starboard crossing. Both of which bring in additional rules (in the case of boats - the whole protest process, in the case of cars - 1st the criminal process, and 2nd possibly the civil process, neither of which are simple. The words are long and the application in court longer).


RC
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Aug 7, 2006, 11:43 AM

Post #9 of 21 (9472 views)
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Re: [Glenn] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply


In Reply To
many people do rolling stops and run stop signs which is not too different than the boat who ignores a port starboard crossing. Both of which bring in additional rules (in the case of boats - the whole protest process, in the case of cars - 1st the criminal process, and 2nd possibly the civil process, neither of which are simple. The words are long and the application in court longer).


huh???? if you had the same level of igonoring port startboard as you do rolling stop signs, you'd basically have no sailboat racing as we know it.

And I agree with msherman that the rules are made waaaay too complicated. As the letter to the editor said today, "It also takes education for those of us not blessed with a MENSA membership."

Can you imagine a sport that is so hard to understand the "basic" rules that you need a 200 page interpretation of them. Who has the time to read that?


Glenn
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Aug 7, 2006, 12:50 PM

Post #10 of 21 (9469 views)
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Re: [RC] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I hear a bunch of protests each year. Inevitably, there are repeats of similar rule predicaments year in and year out.

The two-length zone is one that seems easy enough to understand, but rarely is understood by the competitors. Do you know how many people who can place two model boats on the table and show me the positions of the two boats when the first one "touches" the 2-length zone? People can not answer that question. When the two length zone question is made, this snap shot is the critical question to answer. Nothing that happened before, or after, is critical in determining the rights. There has to be a bell that rings in peoples heads that they need to take a snapshot of the picture in their head right at that instant in time. Then they need to react (give room, keep clear, etc.). But since people can't place the boats on the table to show where each boat was, then they can't answer the basic question and the judges have no clue how to handle it.

But let me drop back a step. Wouldn't it be interesting to see the database of rules and the results of those protest hearings? Wouldn't it be interesting to learn that in the U.S. in 2005 there were:
No penalty decisions over RRS 1.
350 penalty decisions over RRS 2.
1 penalty decision over RRS 3.
No penalty decisions over RRS 4.
Etc?

Then education could be tailored to ram rod the teaching about those rules that people either ignore, push or need to learn about based on the number of hearings held revolving around them.

Then of course, I have had two different hearings at the identical place in two years where not one of the boats hailed "protest" AND "raised a red flag." They admit they haven't read the rules (I gave one of my copies to one guy who said he doesn't even own a set) and here they are angry that it is each others fault.

I think many many people haven't even tried to read them, much less spend some time studying them and read Rose's rules column in Sailing World each month. Much less spend the time reading Perry's thoughts on them.

There are two sides to the rules, I think. The first is the paramount issue of safety. Making it clear who must avoid the collision. The second side of the rules is tactics. How to use the rules in such a way to gain advantage or control of situations. I would hope you would agree that the first side is the side that needs most of the work, so that everyone at the end of the day goes home safe.


RC
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Aug 7, 2006, 1:08 PM

Post #11 of 21 (9467 views)
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Re: [Glenn] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Do you know how many people who can place two model boats on the table and show me the positions of the two boats when the first one "touches" the 2-length zone?

That's the point: people have gotten confused by 200 page "explanations" when they should have simply known the basics of "giving room". I too hear protests and I too am amazed that people come into the room without a rule book in hand. My observation is the rules are presented in such an arcane and complicated way that people don't bother - don't feel they have the time - to learn an intricate, new language.

If people simple knew one sentence definitions of:
  1. port-stbd
  2. don't hit
  3. proper course
  4. gaining an overlap
  5. rounding a mark (with starting exception)

I think the sport would be a whole lot better off.


Glenn
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Aug 7, 2006, 1:20 PM

Post #12 of 21 (9464 views)
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Re: [RC] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Frankly, the "new" rules have been in place for enough years, that the argument about changing them is worn out. They are what they are, the have been static for a long time now. Plenty has been written about them, websites with incredible graphics are offered, for free and pay-for.

What is lacking is people don't read. AND they always want to have the right of way. These are the two rules you missed!

Most of the rules are not complicated. The Right of Way rules are covered on 6 pages in a small book (an literally, you could skip the 6th page). Some are no longer than 1 sentence. What we have here is a failure to communicate (I don't mean you and me, I mean the sailing public who won't read the things in the first place no matter how simple you want to write them).


J109Guy
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Aug 7, 2006, 7:23 PM

Post #13 of 21 (9448 views)
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Re: [msherman] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Um, apparently no one has read Dave Perry's book, just noticed the 200 pages (243 actually, plus the actual rules) and said "too complicated". Cause if you DID read the book you would have noticed on page that Dave breaks it down into 10 basic rules that take care of 99.9% of your time on the water.

Read it, you'll like it!


waterline
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Aug 8, 2006, 10:34 AM

Post #14 of 21 (9396 views)
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Re: [J109Guy] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Good point, as others, I look at that book as best used for specific reference for detailed analysis of a particular situation (and I will agree that even there it is lacking clear diagrams to clear up references), so I have never had the time to sit down and peruse all those pages, start to finish.

I definitely agree that 10 (or less) basic rules is all we need.

What page it that rules summary on?


Guest
Deleted

Aug 8, 2006, 11:24 AM

Post #15 of 21 (9391 views)
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Re: [waterline] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Page 42. I have read and re-read that book several time, and everytime I do I learn not only more about the rules, but about how to think ahead on the race course to avoid being in bad situations. The book is not about learning each rule verbatim, it is about understanding the big picture, and that is what appeals to me.


Guest
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smokeandoakum@gmail.com

Aug 9, 2006, 8:27 AM

Post #16 of 21 (9354 views)
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Re: [Guest] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I think one of the reasons the rules ďseemĒ complicated is because people donít read them. Iím amazed at how often people donít read the RRS or the SIís for that mater. On average Iíd guess I read the complete part II and definitions twice a year. I do this because Iím often PRO or on a protest committee, (or less often because Iím in a protest.)


Guest
Deleted

Aug 10, 2006, 12:52 PM

Post #17 of 21 (9326 views)
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Re: [Guest] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Thanks for posting those "fun" club rules! My club was actually looking for those.

On to the question at hand:
The basic rules are super simple:

Rule 1 (Safety)
Rule 2 (Sportsmanship)
Rule 10 (On Opposite Tacks)
Rule 11 (Overlapped, Same Tack)
Rule 12 (Not Overlapped, Same Tack)
Rule 42 (Propulsion)

It's in some of the other rules that things get more complicated. However, with the possible exception of some parts of Rule 18, all the other rules of Part 2 are there for saftey. Is Rule 19 somewhat arcane and super specific? Of course it is. Does that mean it is unnecessary? Not at all. Rule 19 exists as a safety measure. The same is true of Rules 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, and 21. On the other hand, beyond Rules 1, 2, 42, 60 (? the requirements for a protest) and the rules of Part 2, your general sailor doesn't really need to know the rules. Sure, the I-flag and Z-flag rules can be important, but, as a competitor competing in good faith, I really don't need to know the specifics of, say, filing for redress. If I know about redress, I can look at a rulebook and deal with it if it comes up.

As to Perry's work, I think that it is a fairly important, and very helpful piece of writing. Can it get super specific and dense, yeah, it can. But on the race course, you can pretty much tell who's read the book and who hasn't by the first mark rounding. That, to me, says the book is useful. I also found it immensely readable. The other nice thing is Perry does a fairly good job imparting a career's worth of knowledge about how rules apply, what the jurry will say, what the appeals are, etc. Between reading Understanding the RRS and reading through the ICSA and US Sailing Appeals, I'll go with Perry. I've read the Team Racing Call Book, and, suffice it to say, after that experience, I have little desire to go through the Appeals.


Glenn
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Aug 10, 2006, 1:53 PM

Post #18 of 21 (9322 views)
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Re: [Guest] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

You might be interested in the most recent board minutes posted on US SAILING's website:

Dick Rose reported that the Racing Rules Committee (RRC) has been working for the past eight months on simplifying and clarifying racing rule 18, the rule that applies at marks and obstructions. Two working versions, one initially proposed by Rob Overton and the other by Ben Altman, will be offered to local fleets for trial. Rose asked members of the BOD to suggest to the RRC fleets that might be willing to test one of the two trial versions. He suggested that trials be limited to local fleet racing with minimal number of outside guests so that fleets do not need to educate visitors every week. The RRC's goal is to collect the comments and criticisms from those who try one of the rules and then revise the two versions of the rule. Rose will report on the project to ISAF in November, and the RRC will develop a submission to ISAF for 2007, in time for inclusion in the next edition of the rulebook.




bjarashow
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Aug 17, 2006, 9:35 AM

Post #19 of 21 (9240 views)
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In Reply To
Can you imagine a sport that is so hard to understand the "basic" rules that you need a 200 page interpretation of them. Who has the time to read that?


Yes.
NCAA Football not only has over 100 pages of rules in their rulesbook covering the conduct of the game ALONE, but also has an additional 80 pages of interpretations to those rules.
http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2005/2005_football_rules.pdf#search=%22ncaa%20football%20rules%22

NCAA Wrestling has 80 pages of rules to govern a match, and another 20 pages of interpretations.
http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2005/2005_wrestling_rules.pdf#search=%22ncaa%20wrestling%20rules%22

The basic rules of tennis are the first 60 pages of a 260 page book.
http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_4198.pdf

There are 43 pages to the Laws of Soccer
http://www.fifa.com/documents/fifa/laws/LOTG2006_e.pdf
and another 23 of Q&A
http://www.fifa.com/documents/static/regulations/Q&A2006_E.pdf

Remember, even of our 187 pages of the ISAF Casebook, only pg. 9-30 pertain to the Rule of Part 2. So we have approx 7 pages of rules, with 20 more to define their interpretation, of the rules which you absolutely MUST know to sail legally in a race. Beyond that, there are several more pages which are useful, ((i.e. how to protest) but not absolutely necessary. So, how exactly are our rules more complicated than those of any other sport you might undertake?

The only difference is that in our sport we take on the responsibility that in other sports is handed over to referees and umpires and judges. So we really do HAVE to know at least the basic rules to succeed.


baublesailor
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Aug 22, 2006, 1:29 PM

Post #20 of 21 (9203 views)
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Re: [msherman] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

As I see it, the entire "Rules of the Road" can be condensed into two words of instruction to the operator of any vessel: AVOID COLLISIONS.

All the rest is the "how" and "why" that is needed for those who cannot seem to comprehend that simple instruction and, of course, for the attorneys on both sides, should it come to that.


trough
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Aug 23, 2006, 4:18 PM

Post #21 of 21 (9175 views)
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Re: [Guest] Why do they make the Rules "seem" so complicated? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

People don't read in general, and think hard even less. But that is a requirement of the sport and the rules, unlike golf or soccer (ever seen how many golf rules there are???), you can't just go out and compete with basic understanding of the "game" - hit the ball with the stick into the hole with the fewest strokes or kick the ball in the goal more times than the opponant. I would guess that MOST golfers or soccer players know a LOT less rules relative to their sport than sailing, but they can still do it. No way you can get a kindergarten girl to race a sailboat the way she can play on a soccer team. yes, more rules, but an entirely different relationship between the rules and the "game".


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