Thursday, January 29, 2009

Normal Position (Or, another reason I don't race a Laser)

Q …does a capsized boat correctly finish if she crosses the finishing line when:

(a) all of the crew members are (somehow) on board even though the boat is capsized,

(b) some of the crew members are not on board but are very close to the boat and trying to straighten it out, or

(c) some of the crew members are not on board because they have become disconnected from the boat and its equipment, but are swimming to reach the capsized boat


A: Yes. It is normal for dinghies to capsize and therefore a capsized dinghy and its crew in the water are in a normal position. It follows that a boat finishes correctly in all the conditions stated in the question....

(Adapted from ISAF Q&A 2008-002)

Now why would people want to race a boat that is normally capsized? It's bad enough when these Laser sailors cause all sorts of confusion sailing by the lee with downwind windward banana overlaps or whatever (you'll have to look it up in volume 57 of the Laser Class Rules Encyclopedia or some such); what sorts of rules confusions are going to result when they sail by the turtled hull?

And how do you determine which boat has right of way when we have turtled-hull Lasers racing, even if they aren't sailing by the lee with downwind windward banana overlaps?

Let me race a boat that's normally right-side-up, thank you very much.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quick scorecard

As of January 26, 2009

9 days sailing including 1 day of racing

3 days race committee

1 kayak mini-adventure

Nautical days
Jan. 1, Thurs., "football break with Zorro"
Jan. 3, Sat., with Ribbons & crew on Caliente
Jan. 4, Sun., long day with two trips out on Constellation and long trip up to Monticello and Barney's
Jan. 9, Fri., fairly long trip north on Constellation
Jan. 11, Sun., lighter air, Constellation
Jan. 15, Fri., Evantagram Centerboard Regatta, Lake Pleasant, RC
Jan. 16, Sat., AYC 49th Birthday Regatta, RC
Jan. 17, Sun., AYC Birthday Regatta, RC
Jan. 22, Thu., ferry Black Magic north from Marina del Sur to Rock Canyon
Jan. 23, Fri., tuning Black Magic with Zorro on Constellation
Jan. 24, Sat., Frostbite Regatta, 3 races, redress after going to get aid for holed J/24, also skipper/crew meeting and evening club meeting/awards presentation
Jan. 25, Sun., ferry Black Magic back south to mast up, plus kayaking in the waves

Fleet flashes --
USA 125 at mast-up
1 kayak in Albuquerque, 1 at Rock Canyon
Mac 26 Syzygy at Mallard Lane, now has engine and can move to Warm Springs
USA 367 awaiting parts and assembly
2 Sunfish in E. Butte, 1 in Albuquerque, rest in Heron and need parts
Gerald's Laser 2 in Abq. needs boom and gooseneck
19' Cat needs balsa to re-do cockpit decking and bulkheads
rowboat needs trim renewal/teak oiling


Sailing at Elephant Butte Lake, Sunday, January 25, 2009

Etchells Constellation. After some comic-opera mis-communications, Zorro wound up with Blondie and a boyfriend on board, both of whom were unprepared for conditions on the water when the winds picked up.

Fickle winds made trimming the chute a frustrating exercise for a while during Cornhusker's solo sail on Sunday. Later on the winds came up even stronger than on Saturday, gusting into the 25-mph range with steady winds exceeding 20 mph.

Look ma, we can even sail dead downwind backwards!

We sailed around the lake for a while with Cornhusker and Zorro, then sailed to the courtesy dock near Marina del Sur. We dumped sails a bit too soon and fell short of the dock (which is still much better than ramming it because of going way too fast). The winds were too strong to let us scull or paddle to the dock, so we raised the jib and used it to sail to the courtesy dock. Then we had to wait quite a while for the winds to settle down; there was just too much wind to try to put our non-motorized thirty-foot keelboat on a trailer. So, we returned to Rock Canyon Marina, where Husker had returned with her boat, and visited with the marina staff, Ron, Lance, and marina co-owner Neal. I took a kayak out into the choppy water and whitecaps for a bit of exercise and play time while waiting for Constellation to return to the marina, which it eventually did with a soggy, chilled crew. Then we had lunch with Zorro, Blondie, and Matt. Returning to the ramp area, we found that the winds had moderated, so Carol Anne and I were able to retrieve the boat. We faced one additional challenge, however; the lot truck we used to haul Black Magic to the mast-up lot had no headlights.

Labels: , , ,

Frostbite Regatta, Elephant Butte Lake, Saturday, January 24, 2009

Three race boats move in light air before the first race of the Frostbite Regatta. The Hunter 28 Erebus, Etchells Caliente, and C&C 29 Nessie were among 13 boats racing in addition to the committee boat and a cruiser watching the races. The quiet conditions shown in these photos belied the winds that soon developed, with steady breezes reaching 18 knots before settling down to 14 knots for much of the racing, giving the boats plenty of power. The Etchells and J/24s did three buoy races while the cruising boats and scows set off on a long distance race that had them circling Rattlesnake Island and the central part of the lake.

MC scow and more

"Seymour" and his MC Scow.

Committee boat and five racers: Shonto, MC Scow 609, Hunter 28 Erebus, Etchells Caliente, J/24 Kachina, C&C 29 Nessie.

Two cruisers at left, probably 4774 27' Santa Cruz Warm N Fuzzy next to S2 34' Cultural Infidel. At right, MC Scow no. 609 and race committee boat (Ranger 31 Shonto).

Four boats on the water (probably Catalina 30 Salud, Etchells Caliente, C&C29 Nessie, and J/24 Kachina).

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Kachina's big owie

Kachina back on land the evening after receiving her big hit. During Saturday's third race, a port-tack boat t-boned Kachina, which was the stand-on starboard tack boat. The port-tack skipper and crew were relatively new to the boat and perhaps didn't keep an adequate lookout or lacked coordination to turn the boat quickly. The sound of crunching fiberglass could be heard 400 feet away in spite of the noise of wind and waves in the brisk 14-knot conditions.

we were up the course when the incident happened and responded to a radio request to provide assistance by ferrying the boat owner/master boat wrangler from the committee boat to the marina. The crew of Kachina heeled the boat over and duct-taped the bottom of the hole to prevent the boat from taking on water and sinking before motoring back to the boat ramp, where the boat owner quickly prepared the trailer for retrieving Kachina.

Skippers and crews of port-tack or other give-way/burdened/no rights boats need to be extremely mindful of their position on the race course at all time and should take early, decisive action to avoid a collision and the attendant risk of liability for damage, sinking, injury, or other grave consequences. It's also important for skippers and crews to be very aware of how their boats perform under different conditions.

Labels: , ,

Riverfront property

One interesting idea that came up would be the possibility of having an RGSC club house on the Rio Grande.

Labels: ,

Sailing at Elephant Butte Lake, Friday, January 23, 2009

Etchells USA 38 Constellation in winter sun at Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

Constellation ahead.

Friday, January 23, 2009, Seventh Day:
After Thursday's sail, I'd hitched a Jeep ride with Dumbledore to the Saturn, driven north all the way back to Albuquerque, and taken Carol Anne to work. After picking her up at the Montoya Campus after her class ended at 9:20 and stopping by home, it was nearly midnight by the time we got to our motel room in Truth or Consequences.

Thus, we were slow getting going on Friday and didn't check out until late morning. Zorro helped us re-attach the traveler control lines in spite of a few challenges before he went out. But, before long we had a bit of wind waiting at the marina, so off we went to catch up with Zorro and his boat, Constellation. Cornhusker and Bassmaster came out on her Freedom 21, Free and Clear 4, so we enjoyed lots of sailing. We did some rough tuning with Zorro, which consisted mostly of following him around some navigation buoys that we used as turning marks. We also got in some a bit of downwind spinnaker work early on, but then settled in for lots of windward-leeward work. All in all, this was yet another one of a surprisingly large number of good sailing days we'd enjoyed in January.

Constellation and mountain scenery

Constellation turning at a navigation buoy

Freedom 21, Free and Clear IV with nearby mountain scenery.

Free and Clear IV with Kettletop Mesa in distance

As we passed to windward of Free and Clear, our shadow passed over her in the mid-afternoon winter light.

Freedom 21 Free and Clear IV and Etchells 22 Constellation

Free and Clear IV and Constellation

Part of a lines drawing for the Etchells class sailboat that is said to be one of the last drawings Skip Etchells made for the boats.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thoughts from the Birthday Regatta

When my spouse, Carol Anne, meets with her fellow community college instructors, they often end their meetings with a “plus delta” review of the meeting. Pluses are the things that went well; deltas are the “opportunities for improvement” or items that need discussion. The idea is for the reviewers to concentrate on improvements without focusing on being critical or negative in tone.

In a similar vein, I tried to track the Arizona Yacht Club’s 2009 Birthday Regatta – the 49th in the club’s history, if I recall correctly. Cautions are, of course in order; my perspective is an outsider's and my information is limited. And, often, things are done in a certain way because of the history of an event, or because of what resources are available or not, or because of constraints imposed by finances, limited volunteer availability, or rules made by outside agencies.

Arizona and New Mexico sailors have much more in common than differences. Primary differences are that the Valley of the Sun has a much larger and more concentrated population base than New Mexico and far west Texas, more large corporations headquartered there, and two sailing venues, one fully within the urban area. And, there’s more of a marine and sailing infrastructure, with the Sailboat Shop at the lake, two West Marines in the urban area, and Valley Marine providing a lot of support for sailboat owners.

However, Tempe Town Lake is restricted to dinghies and has only been in operation for a relatively short time, and most sailors face a drive of from half an hour to an hour and a half to reach Lake Pleasant. As with the Rio Grande Sailing Club, the AYC does not have a bricks-and-mortar clubhouse. Conditions on desert/mountain lakes are similar between New Mexico and Arizona; sailors and race officers from the coast have difficulty in appreciating how fickle our winds can be. Neither state has much of a tradition of corporate or public support of sailors. Only fairly recently has Arizona begun a youth sailing program, while New Mexico is just taking its first steps in that direction. College sailing is fairly limited in both states, with Arizona State’s club program very limited in its budget and lacking a coach and other resources; college sailing in New Mexico is also extremely limited and ad hoc.

And, in both states we share the challenge of incredulous disbelief from the bulk of the populace who just plain don’t know that there’s sailing in the southwest.

The AYC and the Birthday Regatta have done a good job of integrating dinghy sailors into its ranks, which seems to have brought new blood with lots of new members into the AYC. The development of TTL as a dinghy sailing venue has given city residents an accessible option for casual sailing. The Birthday Regatta has a casual, friendly, down-home feel and a distinct lack of pretentiousness or snobbery. The development of the Arizona Sailing Foundation is a huge bonus for area youth, as well as a potential source of community goodwill and further new members for the AYC.

This year’s Birthday Regatta participants enjoyed blue skies, mild warm temperatures, and mostly good wind. Competitors were able to get in as many as eight races, allowing for lots of intense on-the-water action and opportunities to overcome bad luck in one race with good performance in others. Sunday’s winds were particularly strong and steady, giving the regatta a very successful, exhilarating, and somewhat early finish –- just in time for some participants to move on to watch some other oddball sporting event happening that Sunday afternoon.

Most race committee work went very well and there weren’t too many glitches; the r.c. was able to give competitors lots of races and get fleets started efficiently. On Sunday, the r.c. was able to complete two whole starting sequences without a break. The automatic timer/horn worked very well; even skeptics or first-time users were impressed with it. The pontoon boat is a big, fairly stable platform, and the new paint job is gorgeous.

The Birthday Regatta apparently set some records this year. Something like $67,000 was raised for the Leukemia Society’s research programs, and attendance was high, with 240 diners at Saturday night’s steak, swordfish, or chicken dinner. Bidding was spirited on many auction items, and the regatta received significant support from generous corporate and individual donors, who supplied prizes, auction items, microbrews, and even a small cruising boat. The mellow guitarist who played on Saturday night was good, with the volume kept down just enough so people could talk without being blown out of the tent, as happens at some regattas.

Items for discussion fall into the categories of the race committee boats and equipment, race committee actions, and generic notes. As noted before, my perspective is limited and many of these items have likely been noted and may have already been dealt with or recorded for future reference. Others maybe can’t be done because of limited resources.

Here goes:

Race Committee signal boat (big pontoon boat):

 The boat didn’t have power to back off dock on Sunday against strong wind. Moving forward and along the dock, the boat tore out a couple of screws holding a piece of trim molding/rub rail a bit above the waterline, port side aft corner. Perhaps if the fenders had been placed lower, the rub rail wouldn’t have pulled out. With competition across the bay, the marina might possibly in future years be more accommodating about providing regular slips to support the regatta.

 It seemed harder to recruit volunteers to get up early on Sunday to staff the r.c. than on Saturday.

 Later, a low-oil pressure light came on and the crew had to re-fill the oil reservoir (adjacent to the fuel tank in the port aft locker) in rough choppy conditions without an oil funnel to prevent spillage or rags to clean up the spillage, which got onto some volunteers' clothing and personal items. Having a funnel on board would have been useful, and perhaps an oil level check could be part of a pre-regatta check-up. Apparently tools are not kept on the boat because of the history and potential for theft/"borrowing".

 The pontoon boat had only one anchor; in the past it has been said to have had two. Perhaps the spliced anchor line could be replaced with a single long rode with depth flags sewn in at regular intervals (the winch might eventually chew the depth flags, but at least for a while the r.c. would have a more consistent idea of depth and scope). If someone were to be so generous as to give the r.c. boat a depth sounder that might be a useful toy.

 Some of the crew were unfamiliar with how to start the boat and use the keys or operate the automatic horn. Maybe it would be useful to have a laminated SOP on how to set up and operate the boat.

 The head door seems to require two keys and is "fiddly" to open. Early in the weekend some hardware on the inside of the head door was loose.

 An organized way to gather trash would be useful – a small trash bin or frame to hold a small trash bag perhaps.

 A perhaps silly-sounding but nice luxury would be having some cup holders. That would lessen the chances of spilled coffee or sodas and rolling water bottles making footing more treacherous, and avoid crew crunching water bottles when they open the lockers.

 With the line sighter in the bow and the scorers aft, communication was difficult between them. David A. has discussed this problem. Unfortunately, moving the scorers forward can make the bow congested. Maybe a courtesy board rail could be added port side, allowing the board people to work just one side of the bow and a couple of scorers to come forward. Also, in case times or sail numbers are missed by a scorer, perhaps a digital audio recording could be made from the line sighter’s position, allowing a chance to recover missing information. Yet another idea would be moving the finishing mark on the boat aft from the forward mast to the middle of the boat, perhaps at a second mast or at an orange flag.

 About 2/3 of the way aft along the courtesy rail (starboard forward side of boat) used to display fleet boards, there’s a spot where several of the boards wouldn’t fit in the track. Perhaps that could be filed or reamed out until the boards fit.

 One of the Viper fleet boards was too tall and hard to force into the flip rack; it could be filed down an 1/8 inch or so.

 One of the green PHRF spin boards was too short and tried to fall out of the rack.

 One of the "H" (Horse Island) course boards had the H made with duct tape and not painted.

 Neither the signal boat nor the other boats were equipped to signal a change of course leg; there would need to be a C (Charlie) flag, green and red flags, plus and minus flags.

 It was not easy to signal an abandonment for only one fleet; pretty much a crew member had to hold an N flag or board over a fleet board, supplemented by sending the mark-set boat out after the fleet.

Race committee actions

 We were inconsistent day-to-day about the exact procedures for displaying courses; on Saturday we gave competitors the first mark but on Sunday we specified all the marks.

 On Saturday, we displayed Yankee to require life vests, but on Sunday, when it was windier, we didn’t put it up – perhaps an oversight.

 It was necessarily hard to be consistent about signaling finishes; we most often used the forward horn when not running sequences and just called out time marks and sail numbers otherwise -- and not always as consistently as might be possible.

 As noted before, we needed better communication between the line sighter and scorers. Perhaps moving the finishing position to a mid-boat position would help.

 The PROs didn’t always have good info on which fleets had completed a race; as a result, we started the multihulls on a Saturday race when they hadn’t all finished. (Fortunately or otherwise, the wind had died and they weren’t having much fun anyway.)

 On Friday, some of the scorers were using a clipboard with a clock attached to it that had not been synchronized to correct time; as a result the finish times needed to be corrected to mesh with the starting times.

 The mark set boat had a good radio, but communication with other boats wasn’t as good. It would be good to have a means of discussing race committee business or even a way of having “sensitive” conversations privately.

 The on-water race committee volunteers didn’t have a list of phone numbers to answer questions about the boats or regatta. A printed phone tree could be posted on the boat during the regatta, or at least given to key volunteers. The list could also have names/boat names and cell phone numbers for the fleet captains.

 The SI’s didn’t use the word “obstruction” when specifying that the start and finish lines were closed to boats racing after their first leg and before finishing. Working the word "obstruction" into the SI could clarify and emphasize the need to respect the line.

 The SI’s did not have a hard time limit for finishes; this could be amended in various ways. Although the RC/PROs can come up with bases for shortening or abandoning a race due to poor wind or advancing darkness, hard time limits would give them more authority.

Generic comments

 The provision in the SI’s for protests is more suited for regular regattas. Perhaps the SI’s could specify that protest time will be sounded at a designated location adjacent to the regatta tent, and that protest forms will be available and protests will be received at a specific designated location at the tent, rather than at the more generic and out-of-the-way “Spinnaker Point” in the SI’s.

 The regatta web site didn’t have a provision for volunteers to pay for meals or order shirts during the week before the regatta, or for already-registered competitors to order more items, without incurring a late fee.

 Maybe the "how to save money" e-mail could be expanded into a guide for first-time Lake Pleasant sailors and Birthday Regatta participants.

 The regatta did not have a bulletin board. Bulletin boards could be set up to display lists of fleets, interim results, protest information, lost and found, crew availability and needs, volunteer sign-ups and assignments, schedule changes, maps for the park and area, resource lists, "brag" articles about the Leukemia Society, Arizona Sailing Foundation, etc.

 The regatta didn’t have a volunteer stationed at or near the tent entrance as a “traffic director” or greeter. It would be nice to have someone in that role (who knows all the who's whoms), and a marked station, and equipped with schedules, forms, phone numbers of key people, etc.

 Regatta volunteers didn’t have a well organized or specifically located place to gather and to find out where they were supposed to go, and when. That may have contributed to events starting off slowly on Friday and Saturday.

 Competitors weren’t as aware of the rules as they should have been, such as the start/finish line being closed, and some boats had to be scored as DNF because they violated the line. Competitors often didn't understand the use of the AP + H or N + H flags to end the day's racing.

Maybe or maybe not worth doing:
Putting an underline or stripe at the bottom of course boards to indicate the bottom and lessen the chance of a board inserter putting a board into the flipper upside down.
Having the mark set boat crew run a GPS track and be able to give the race committee a precise distance to the mark.

Again, some of these things may have been discussed or fixed already, or there just may not have been enough people to go around to do everything that wanted doing. The regatta depends on volunteers, and everyone needs to be grateful to them for providing their time and energy. And, the regatta was a big success.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Room at an obstruction

During the last race for one boat class at the Arizona Yacht Club's Birthday Regatta, an incident occurred when two 25-foot keelboats were overlapped downwind, both on the same tack. As they approached the mid point of their downwind run, they neared the pin buoy of the start line. The sailing instructions for the regatta had made the start and finish lines the equivalent of obstructions, severely penalizing any boat that crossed either line after its first leg, and before finishing, with a DNF.

Caveat: A real protest hearing would have established facts and conclusions based on input from all involved parties, and additional facts would likely have been found. This post is necessarily based on my personal conclusions and interpretations and thus cannot define all of what really happened or what a real protest committee would have decided. However, in addition to being a witness to the incident, I did visit with some of the sailors involved, and would have been the chairman of the PC had a full hearing been held, so this post should address the issue fairly reasonably.

The wind was about 8 to 10 kts from the NNE with the line oriented generally E-W and the two boats were approaching on starboard gybe at about at 70 degree angle to the line. The inside leeward (IL) boat appeared to have established its overlap at least some 5 boat lengths from the line and appeared to be within two boat lengths of the outside windward (OW) boat when it established its overlap. The boats were each flying mainsail and symmetrical spinnaker.

At that point, the boats' courses would have taken the outside boat just outside the starting pin and the inside leeward boat about a boat length inside the pin. The incident was viewed by several persons about 400 feet away on the race committee boat, who, however, could not hear hails or determine whether a protest flag was flown.

The IL boat did not get room and was forced to sail through the "poisoned line". It protested, and announced to the race committee that it was protesting at the finish. After sailing through the line, and continuing downwind for several boat lengths, the IL boat was able to take down its chute, sail back to the line, go back outside, and thus "unwind her string", as was allowable (exonerated) because she had been forced over the line by another boat's foul.

The OW proceeded most of the way down the course but completed a 720 (two turns penalty) before reaching the leeward mark.

Afterward I discussed some of the issues with crew members of the boats and in that fleet and noted some questions that they wanted clarified. Although a protest hearing didn't happen, the fleet members wanted to know their rights and obligations and had some theories about them that needed to be answered.

What rules applied here? 11 (windward leeward), 17 (proper course), 19 (obstructions) (also, 15, acquiring right of way)

Was the line a continuing obstruction? No.
A continuing obstruction is one that isn't passed momentarily, such as a beach, long pier, etc., that a boat is generally parallel too. At the speed and angle (almost a right angle) the 25-foot boats were approaching the pin, they would pass it in roughly 3 seconds.

The line could have been a continuing obstruction if for some odd reason the course the boats were following had required them to sail roughly parallel to it (for example if sailing between the east and west marks), but it wasn't.

What made the line an obstruction?
The SIs made it an obstruction by prohibiting the boats from going through it, and the basic test of an obstruction is whether a boat within a boat length of it would have to make a substantial course change to avoid it. IL, at boat length away, would have had to have headed up about 70 degrees to avoid the line, which is substantial, especially when dealing with a spinnaker in a healthy breeze.

Were the competitors aware of their obligation to avoid the line? Not all of them.
In addition to the incident with the 25-foot keelboats, two Buccaneers crossed the finish line on their downwind run, and were scored DNF as required by the SIs.

What were the boats' initial obligations?
When the overlap was first established, from clear astern, IL became the right-of-way boat (leeward boat, same tack under RRS 11) but was "limited" by RRS 17 (proper course, overlap established from clear astern) and could only luff OW up to IL's "proper course". However, IL's proper course was to avoid the "poisoned" line; therefore she had the right to call for OW to head up so IL could sail her proper course. IL was required to give OW enough time to respond to her hail and OW was not required to anticipate her hail.

What happened under the rules when they got close to the line?
Now the two boats came under RRS 19, dealing with obstructions. (RRS 20 didn't apply since the boats weren't heading upwind. Also, the starting line and pin were an obstruction, but they were not a rounding mark for the boats and they did not have a "zone".)

When IL got close enough that avoiding action was required, she had the right to get room from OW under RRS 19, subject to OW being able to do so. Under the obligations of this rule, OW was required to keep a lookout for the obstruction, and, once it was clear on which side the obstruction was to be passed, OW was required to give IL room, even without a hail being heard. Because the start and finish lines were very long, it was obvious from a very long distance (at least 20 boat lengths) which side the obstruction would be passed. At this point, the onus for following the rule fell upon OW.

Did OW exonerate herself successfully with the two-turns penalty? Maybe.
One crew member of the IL boat thought that the turn-turns penalty still left the OW boat in a much more favorable relative position than she would been in without the foul, because the IL boat had to take down her chute and travel perhaps an extra 15 boat lengths along with multiple turns. A boat that gains a gross advantage through a foul is not allowed to exonerate herself with turns, so a protest committee or arbitrator might have imposed a greater penalty upon OW.

Was the protest executed properly? Probably not.
The IL boat used the red cover of an inflatable PFD as its "flag". A strict protest committee could disallow this, since the rules specifically call for the flag and Dave Perry's 2009 edition of Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing notes that articles such as a piece of clothing don't qualify as flags; it's important that the flag be clearly understandable as being a protest flag. The protesting boat (small dinghies are exempt) needs to be equipped to display conspicuously something that's obviously a protest flag.

Would arbitration have been a good option? Likely yes.
An arbitrator would have had more flexibility to establish a fair settlement for the two boats while saving on the complexity, uncertainty, and perhaps more severe consequences of a full-fledged "trip to the room". As just one example, an arbitrator might have given OW a penalty less than DNF/DSQ, such as a scoring penalty, that might have more closely restored equity to the situation.

Are there lessons for the race committee and birthday regatta? Yes.

(1) It would be good to make it more obvious to the competitors that the line is "poisoned" even though this is done commonly in large regattas. The RC is not in the business of reading the NOR and SIs to the competitors, but it can be helpful to point out a few special features.

(2) To make the status of the line even more clear, the word "obstruction" should be
part of the wording about the start and finish line in the SIs.

(3) It would help for every club to periodically remind sailors of the requirements for protests. A mock protest hearing wouldn't be a bad idea.

(4) Rules awareness is always a good thing, and the AYC is very active in this area, with briefings on the new rules already scheduled.

(5) The procedure of signaling protest time at Spinnaker Point is more suited for normal regattas but less so for the Birthday Regatta, where all the on-shore action occurs at the large tent. A more specific site should be designated for receiving protests. This could be combined with having a specific site for bulletin boards for race and schedule updates, posting protest time, posting the NOR and SIs, etc.

Are there lessons for the competitors? Yes. Going into a protest hearing, the boats would have risked having the protest thrown out (IL) or being disqualified from the race (OW). Knowledge of the rules is good "risk management" for racers. Knowing their rights and obligations, the boats could have entirely avoided this situation and enjoyed a fair test of boat speed and sailing ability without the distraction of a protest situation.

Labels: , ,

Sailing at Elephant Butte Lake, Thurs., January 22, 2009

Mark 17 near Hot Springs Landing and s.e. corner of jet boat cove. These pictures were taken during a solo sail from Marina del Sur to Rock Canyon at Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico.

GPS reading near Hot Springs Landing showing 10 kph -- best reading of the sail was 12 kph or 6 kts.

Kettletop Mesa and mountains under boom

Framed view of mountains to starboard

Still about half mile to slip

GPS reading near Rock Canyon and jet boat cove

Marina panorama

Approaching tire wall andmarina

Boat and marina

Rock Canyon Marina

For what it's worth, that brings the tally up to six days of sailing (and three of race committee work) so far for the year.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday Eventagram Centerboard Challenge at Lake Pleasant

Waterdog and friends romp through the waters of Lake Pleasant, north of Phoenix, Arizona for their regatta on Friday. Usually, most of the smaller centerboarders sail at Tempe Town Lake, but this is one day of the year when they get a special welcome on the larger waters of Lake Pleasant.

Boats gear up for a start at the centerboard challenge on Friday at Lake Pleasant.

View to the west, with Evantagram boats sailing by the start line.

Megabyte 181, Waterdog sails by the fleet.

Capri C14.2 no. 4650 at left, Tempe Town Lake AYZ pontoon boat at right, and more. These were some of the centerboard boats sailing on Friday, January 16, 2009, at Lake Pleasant.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sailing Scenery at the 2009 Birthday Regatta

Bucc 5239, Erin Morgan, and C14 no. 3941. (end of Friday pictures)

Hobie Tiger Team Chum and Capri 26 no. 41 sail at Lake Pleasant on Saturday, January 17, 2009 during the Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup.

Hobie Tiger Team no. 1529 Team Chum in center; Bucc 5220 Cassiopeia at left, with Merit 25 at right (probably no. 841, Blue Streak).

View toward Scorpion Bay Marina with Catalina Capri 26 no. 41x at left and J/24 no. 999, To the Nines, at right.yacht Cassiopeia

Labels: , , ,