Accelerating at the start - playing devil's advocate

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by SFBayLaser, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Here is a common scenario:

    With about 30 seconds to go you are luffing head to wind (in, let's say, 5-8 knots of wind and smooth water), effectively stopped, on the start line with a nice hole to leeward. Just before the start, you scull down to a close hauled course, roll the boat to leeward then back to windward to quickly accelerate into that nice hole to leeward. The result is a great front row start.

    Question: is this ok under rule 42?

    Here is a link to the rule 42 interpretations on the ISAF web site.
     
  2. fosq

    fosq New Member

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    Providing that the roll is not repeated and that it does not have the effect of the stroke of a paddle, then I don't think any rule has been broken.
     
  3. USA26

    USA26 New Member

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    where is the onus of proof. who's to say it was more or less than a paddle stroke?
     
  4. fosq

    fosq New Member

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    There's no mention of an onus anywhere in the RRS though it is implied in rule 18. My limited experience with protest committees tells me that, in the absence of an on-the-water judge, they're not going to allow a protest, assuming the parties are not in agreement over the circumstances, without evidence of a violation. I guess that puts the onus on the protestor.
     
  5. sailor327

    sailor327 New Member

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    It's so common that even if it was a violation it would be really hard to enforce
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    It may be a violation. However, the way judges are required to rule 42 on the water there is no way for them to call on one roll. 42 requires 2 judges to observe the violation over a short period of time and agree together 42 has been broken by the sailor. One roll does not allow enough time for the judges to get together and rule.
     
  7. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Thw word "onus" does not exist in the current RRS book.
     
  8. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    I'm not sure we are focusing on the actual question here: is the described method for starting ok under rule 42? Let me try to get us back on track... here is the Basic Rule:

    Except when permitted in rule 42.3 or 45, a boat shall compete by using only the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed. Her crew may adjust the trim of sails and hull, and perform other acts of seamanship, but shall not otherwise move their bodies to propel the boat. ​

    (Italics are mine)

    There are two acts in the situation described:

    1) sculling from nearly head to wind to a close hauled course,

    2) once there, rolling the boat to leeward, then back to windward to accelerate into the hold to leeward.

    Clearly, the sculling is ok because it is explicitly allowed by 42.3.

    What about the rolling? What is the reason for the rolling?

    Is this ok under rule 42?
     
  9. fosq

    fosq New Member

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    I do not think the action you describe constitutes multiple rolls. According to the interpretations, "A roll is a single-cycle athwartship movement of the boat during which the mast goes to leeward and back to windward, or vice versa." You claim that there is a roll to leeward and then a roll back to windward. The interpretations label that action as one roll.
    Now...42.2(b) prohibits repeated rolling of the boat. In fact, the interpreations say, "One roll that does not have the effect of a stroke of a paddle is permitted." There seems to be some room for interpretation about that paddle stroke. The interpretations of Rule 42.3 indicate that if your speed drops after accelerating out of the tack you have broken 42.1. I would think that the same idea applies to a roll coming off the line...that if you don't slow down after your roll, you were only facilitating acceleration and were not propelling your boat by "other means".

    Rob B: I don't know where you were going with that, I already said there's no mention of onus in the RRS.
     
  10. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Member

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    I would say that a roll to windward by itself would be OK under 42.3(a) and its interpretations, as it is to facilitate steering i.e. bearing away.

    It is the roll to leeward in between the sculling and the windward roll that may be illegal under Rule 42. What is its purpose? Clearly not to facilitate steering as it would tend to make the boat head up and it is done between two actions that are intended to make the boat bear away.

    A judge might well suspect that the roll to leeward is so that the subsequent roll to windward has more power and not only steers the boat but also has the effect of propelling it forward as it bears away, somewhat like "one stroke of a paddle". On the other hand I have already argued that the windward roll by itself is legal; and the leeward roll by itself has no propulsion effect. Tough call.

    Has anybody seen an international judge blow the whistle for this action?
     
  11. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I've seen sculling on the line called, but not this. I believe it's a 42 violation as it does increase speed and similar to a paddle strock from a sitting still position. It is a "pump" to weather. However, I think it is very difficult to inforce for several reasons. I've done it for years as a lot of others do and have never been called or given any grief over it. That does not make it right. It is what it is I guess....
     
  12. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Member

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    I guess that's why Tracy raised it. It sounds as if it may be technically illegal, but it is common practice.
     
  13. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    A bit of a moral dilemma, IMHO.

    If it's illegal and you don't do it, you get blown out the back before the race even gets started. If you don't do it and complain and/or protest against those that do, you end up teeing off some (not all) protest committees and a number of competitors.

    I have to admit it was a bit of an eye opener the past couple of regattas watching guys blatantly scull to hold their positions on the line. That one's not even a grey area in the 05-08 rules, but it is obviously still going on...

    Again, protest and become the "a$$hole or whiner" , do nothing and have them drive over you, or when in Rome...

    What would help, again IMHO, is at the start of the regatta, if the PRO would make a comment such as "We will have judges looking for Rule 42 violations" or "Our protest committee is well versed in handling rule 42 protests and prefers that we all play by the same rules" or something along those lines that gets the message out to everyone that the pickle dish winners will earn them by sailing cleanly and within the lines and if someone doesn't, don't be afraid to call them on it.
     
  14. rock steady

    rock steady New Member

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    In my experience you do what ever it takes to start in the front row. Timid, law abiding sailors start in the second or third, or fourth row.
     
  15. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    So, you advocate cheating your a$$ off to get a front row start. How do you explain that to a junior sailor, perhaps your own son or daughter when ask your advice on starting or better yet, after explaining it, they question you on the legality of that ?
     
  16. rock steady

    rock steady New Member

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    I take your point, but it's really a case of "when in Rome..." I certainly don't advocate cheating, but big fleet Laser starts are more like a game of dodgem cars than anything else. It's up to the sailor. If you keep clear, don't scull, don't pump - your gone. Sad but true.
     
  17. Steve_Landeau

    Steve_Landeau New Member

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    This is pretty simple.
    If you are of the type that believes it to be a foul, then file a protest. If you have a witness, he's gone. Toss a few cheaters out, and the cheaters will stop cheating. You will also find out if the jury thinks it's cheating or not.
    I personally believe that witnessing a foul (or being fouled) and not calling a protest is just as bad as fouling and not doing a penalty turn. This is where the sport has lost its integrity. Too many drivers out there that think its Nascar. Rubbin' ain't yacht racing folks....
    If you are of the type that believes it to be a foul, but wish it were accepted, file a request for rule change with your local representative. If the majority of the class wants it, they can get it (unless the IOC has control of our rule, which they might since we are burdened with being an olympic class).
    If you are of the type that believes it to be legal as is now, keep doing it 'till you get tossed.
     
  18. BLaser

    BLaser New Member

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    I find it interesting that you use a motor racing analogy, Steve. I've been out of sailing for a fair while now, and have always maintained a concurrent interest (although a severly limited participation) in car racing... the most popular category here in Australia seems to be at a crossroads, thanks to the death of sportsmanship at the expense of a "win at all costs" mentality... one which seems all too prevalent in an age where the most-followed path to great personal wealth would appear to be professional sports.

    From my point of view (that of a guy who sailed for the pleasure, and the sport - you know, the thrill of the chase, of the tactical game, of the joy of sailing)... I would much rather blow off the start, and then enjoy duking it out for 80th position, than have to blatantly flout the rulebook to compete for sheep-stations among people whose opinion of themselves always seemed ridiculouly high... I obviously never took it seriously enough I guess.
     
  19. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    It is hard to argue that this is not against the letter of the law. It propels the boat. If it didn't, no one would do it. Definitely illegal.

    Having said that, no vaguely competent judge will ever penalise you for it, because like someone commented earlier, the judges are looking for the outliers, the extreme cases. They are not going to flag one person for doing something that 95% of the fleet is doing. Most of the time it's too hard for them to call on whether the sailor is rolling to windward to propel the boat, or simply pulling the boat flat. Until it becomes repetitive.

    If fact, the ILCA interpretations of Rule 42 (http://www.laserinternational.org/information/rule42.htm) acknowledge this. These interpretations state that more than one roll at the start is prohibited, which implies that one roll is allowed (or at least that one roll isn't enough to get you flagged).
     
  20. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    This, I believe, is exactly the case.
     

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