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Sailing standards


CornishRaine
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Having watched many IOM sailing events from all over the globe on you tube, and competed in some events  here in the UK, it is becoming apparent that the standard of sailing  isn’t anywhere near as good as it ought to be. If these were the real thing, then I’m sure many of those skippers responsible wouldn’t risk getting into a collision scenario due to damage and personal injury, however it does seem that because it’s a model boat they are happy to risk damage to a boat, and completely wrecking someone’s race by their actions, or in many cases inaction.

This is meant to be fun, and genuine mistakes will happen,but at the same time, these boats are pretty expensive, so concentrate and make sure you are not the one taking risks with someone else’s pride and joy the next time you sail.

Melissa Raine 

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Interesting point. I think this is very much class dependent - I’ve seen plenty of careful and respectful racing in some classes - perhaps oddly I would single out the RG65 class as being particularly good in this respect ( as well as my beloved 6 metre class!). 

Rule observance tends to be in inverse proportion to vocal volume in many cases. 

Comparing this to crewed boats is a bit misleading - fine judgements are a great deal easier from on board and I’ve never seen anybody deliberately ruin someone’s day - but it does happen inadvertently too often.  

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You are correct,  being  onboard instead of on bank, is certainly easier to judge , however, I think my point is that far too often, risky manoeuvres and last second decisions are made, in my opinion, which far too often causes a collision between boats. 

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I think the rate of collision is far higher than " full size" for two main reasons. The potential damage is far lower because of the lighter weight of rc boats and this creates a scenario where putting your boat into a situation  such as heading into the windward mark on the port layline is an option. After 50 years of dinghy and yacht sailing, I find a collision unpleasant but many dont seem to share this aversion.The second is the fairly low " cost" of incurring a turn penalty because of the fast response and small time loss of many rc craft taking a penalty.

How about a penalty turn of three tacks and gybes to make the cost of a collision higher and encourage more caution?

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5 hours ago, ianrmcdonald said:

I think the rate of collision is far higher than " full size" for two main reasons. The potential damage is far lower because of the lighter weight of rc boats and this creates a scenario where putting your boat into a situation  such as heading into the windward mark on the port layline is an option. After 50 years of dinghy and yacht sailing, I find a collision unpleasant but many dont seem to share this aversion.The second is the fairly low " cost" of incurring a turn penalty because of the fast response and small time loss of many rc craft taking a penalty.

How about a penalty turn of three tacks and gybes to make the cost of a collision higher and encourage more caution?

I share your aversion. IOM is perhaps the worst class and many people have given up, changed classes or changed clubs because their enjoyment has been spoilt.

Competitors should be more critical of their own behaviour and remember:

- Shouting or arguing creates a bad impression for spectators and potential recruits.

- Right of way does not give the right to knock another boat out of the way, and the overriding rule is to avoid collision if possible and then if appropriate to protest. Good umpiring or observing could support or dismiss the protest but a gentlemanly agreement between the opposing skippers would be preferable.

- A good sailor (or umpire) should think ahead and be aware of who in the vicinity may want to (or have to) tack.

- Start line is a difficult situation and barging or refusing to keep clear of windward boats is prevalent, perhaps even encouraged when the U or black Flag is enforced. However it is often caused by a badly laid line or a wind shift in which case the OOD should consider abandoning the start procedure. 

- We will all be on port tack at some time and,  except near the windward mark, it is frustrating to be  attacked by starboard tackers who have nothing to gain by standing on.

- At the windward mark the port tacker MUST decide whether it is possible to tack under the starboard tacker, to cross ahead or astern, and if none of these to bear away and keep clear of all approaching boats. Poor visibility of a distant mark is not a valid excuse for poor judgement.

- On running legs port tackers should be more aware of the need to keep clear of starboard tackers and beating boats coming the other way.

- A boat at fault must not gain advantage and must wait or take further penalty turns until the other boat is ahead and able to sail correctly. If the other boat is unable to continue the minimum possible penalty is to retire.

- The OOD has the power to announce increased penalties for all if bad behaviour happens or is anticipated.

 

Jerry

Edited by FRA 3759
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On 15/06/2019 at 12:05, FRA 3759 said:

 

- Right of way does not give the right to knock another boat out of the way, and the overriding rule is to avoid collision if possible and then if appropriate to protest. Good umpiring or observing could support or dismiss the protest but a gentlemanly agreement between the opposing skippers would be preferable.

- We will all be on port tack at some time and,  except near the windward mark, it is frustrating to be  attacked by starboard tackers who have nothing to gain by standing on.

I think I need to take issue to an extent with these two points. 

In the first case it is, perhaps sadly, the case, that for many people, if there is no contact, there is no foul. This is especially true in model yachting where the incident comes and goes so quickly. A lesson learned early on in dinghy racing is that on occasion you have to decide which boat to hit. It’s not ideal but the chances of someone else, anyone else, seeing the perceived foul without any contact is vanishingly small. 

In the second case, those are the rules. I may have my own reasons to put you about - Sailing is a tactical sport not a drag race (despite the current farce that is the America’s Cup).  I don’t have to explain myself for standing on - perhaps frustrating the port tacker is sufficient tactical advantage in itself.   

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I believe I am correct in saying that in the MYA handbook, it states, that having right of way, does NOT give you an entitlement to collide with another boat, which Jerry very kindly pointed out.  Even when on a starboard tack, with an inevitable contact with a port tacker, I will take evasive action to avoid any contact if possible. As Jerry says, a protest, followed by a gentlemanly discussion afterwards is always preferable in my book. 

 Also you say “If there is no contact, there is no foul” I totally disagree, as if someone on starboard tack has to take avoiding action on a port tacker, then a call of “protest” can be given despite there being no contact, as it may well have had a negative result to the persons race.

I feel I wont be the only one to disagree with you on these points.

Melissa

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The MYA handbook is not part of the rules. The point made is pertinent but just wait until you lose a protest because there was no contact. I’m not saying I approve, I’m just being pragmatic. 

Also, if you are going to quote me, please quote the full context. 

I’m sure some people will disagree with me - that’s fine. 

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13 hours ago, Downbytheriver said:

The MYA handbook is not part of the rules. The point made is pertinent but just wait until you lose a protest because there was no contact. I’m not saying I approve, I’m just being pragmatic. 

Also, if you are going to quote me, please quote the full context. 

I’m sure some people will disagree with me - that’s fine. 

Both boats are required to avoid a collision. The fact is that its  highly unlikely that with such light boats there will be serious damage,. The helm is 20 yds away on the bank so avoids injury,so a boat that does not try to avoid a collision cant be protested. The nomal process is to colide to avoid the standard RC "its too far away to see" excuse. Practically you will need to collide to win a protest although my understanding is that contact is not required tp protest.  That is why I sold my IOM and will just sail Df65,95. No pa8nt or gel to knock off and a new hull is £70.

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I stand by what I wrote.

 

I deplore the attitude that you must hit another boat to prove you were in the right, which I hoped had died out twenty years ago now we have fewer wooden boats and higher speeds.

I have seen boats disqualified for that even if Rule 14 says no damage no penalty. Profiting from legal loopholes may be part of the game at top international level, but should have no place for the amateur sportsman.

"Plastic" boats may seem to absorb contacts but cosmetic damage can develop into structural problems with weakened joints and . Clearly "I've got a shiny new boat, don't hit me" is no excuse, but tolerating beginners' errors  is an essential element of sportsmanship.

 

It may be difficult to prove that a change of course was to avoid collision rather than a tactical move, but  an obvious call of "XX is starboard YYY" or "Windward boat keep clear" would be good evidence and would alert observers to the possibility of an incident.  High quality umpires or vigilant observers could help to reduce bad behaviour or unnecessary risk taking. Habitual rule breaking is a symptom of poor race control.

 

Even in Formula 1 we are now seeing penalties for contacts with little or no damage (or dangerous manoeuvres without right of way), and it is said that these decisions should be applied consistently until such situations cease to exist .

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You don’t have to hit someone to protest them,its simple, avoid contact and then protest the boat in the correct manner. If they do not accept the hail then hold a protest hearing.

no point in complaining about the conduct and doing nothing. The rules and process are there.

Having said the above we also have to accept that we are in a competitive sport and mistakes and contacts do take place and we should accept when we are in the wrong and take our penalty turns without hesitation.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi Everyone,

May a chip into this subject. I think club racing which forms the 'Grass Routes' part of Radio  Sailing can provide a very important inclusion to a skipper's education. I am sure a good percentage of the (UK) MYA's membership does not have that Full Size or Dinghy sailing experience. If managed correctly club sailing can deliver the education required to make skippers more aware of themselves on the water and therefore raising the standard of the sailing we all see.

I race a variety of classes across the country, one of the biggest aspects for skipper education is understanding distance between two boats or to the buoy on the course. For example, 4 boat lengths to a mark on the course will be at a much greater distance for an A - Class in comparison to an IOM, that's double the distance to the mark. I find this piece of information not always understood but should be an important inclusion to a Race Officer's briefing. 

Generally, I think the standard of sailing differs across the fleet. The top skippers who represent A and B Fleets in most Championships all sail very well. An example I've witnessed many times, is some skippers will communicate with each other whilst sailing, or will just dip the transom of another boat and continue. There is the few who once they have purchased a high performing yacht will race with a 'Gun Hoe' attitude, It is a term I've become familiar with these past years. Again, I think this is where club sailing can help in the education of skippers. Maybe in the future the MYA Race Calendar could be slim down to allow more opportunity for club sailing?

JT

 

Edited by John Taylor
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John makes a good point.  How about a " I am new to racing" insignia that could be applied to the main by those learning ?

It would identify those that may struggle in tight conditions.  Tacking off even when on starboard is faster than a collision when the new sailer on port tack struggles to get out of the way

After 50 years dinghy racing, I own up to my mistake in thinking that 95% of the people close are sailors with race experience-  or at least after the first leg

 

 

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Ians idea for an insignia on the sail is a good idea but I feel not particulary helpful as sods law says the incidents will always be a distance from you and you cant see the sail number and a lot of the time subtle colour differences cant be seen, at our own clubs we should know who is inexperienced and make calls early and clearly. At an open meeting the HMS system soon sorts out the newbies and A fleet can  get on with racing.

Whilst it is a great advantage in many ways to have 2.4 ghz it does mean that we often have too many boats on the water in one fleet this should not just be get as few fleets as possible but look at the water the wind and the space available and make a judgement if its wrong then change, fewer good quality races are better than a lot of poor races with disputes and all the time loss that goes with it.

Mike Ewart

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