Accelerating at the start - playing devil's advocate

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

  1. Owyn in Barnsley

    Owyn in Barnsley New Member

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    I don't see the problem, pumping the tiller to get the boat to bear away and doing a big roll at the start is absolutely allowed in the link just posted, if it wasn't surely it would be protested by the very same win at all cost types described above, much better to get the competition DQed from the race than risk them beating you by not protesting them.
     
  2. fosq

    fosq New Member

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    I don't agree. I especially don't see how you can say it's "definitely" illegal when you say later in your message that it might be allowed. The basic rule prohibits propelling the boat by means other than wind but there are exceptions to that rule as I pointed out earlier. Roll tacks are legal even if they propel the boat provided the speed exiting the tack is not greater than that entering the tack. Your argument that anything other than wind that propels the boat is illegal does not hold water.
     
  3. Steve_Landeau

    Steve_Landeau New Member

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    That document makes it perfectly clear. One rock at the start is not cheating. I had not seen that page before, and thanks for posting its link.
    Good reading, and very clear as to what you can and can't do.
    Please skippers, take note of the last paragraph. "Competitors are reminded of their responsibility to ensure the continuance of fair racing by protesting if they see any rule infringements. If they are involved in a protest it is their responsibility to get witnesses, preferably other competitors who also saw the incident. They should not rely on members of the Race Committee or the International Jury to have seen an incident - they may have been watching someone else at the time." Yacht racing has always been a self policing sport, and we must continue to do so to keep it pure for the younger sailors coming up behind us (for those of you that are not as young as you wish you were). For the younger sailors; respect from your peers is invaluable, and while some peers may give you respect for winning, you will find more respect from sportsmanship and fair sailing more than any other action. Protesting someone does not mean you are an unfair sailor, or looking to gain by throwing someone out. It simply means you understand what the game is meant to be. It seems to me that it is more common for a skipper to see a 42 foul, and rather than protest, they will take the side of "well he/she's doing it, so I will too", or "if I don't do it too, I'm going to get beat". Next time, think about protesting. Either that, or start a campaign to change the rule.
     
  4. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Member

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    I agree. As competitors we should protest violations of rule 42 when we see them. But in all my years of Laser racing I think I have only ever seen one competitor-initiated rule 42 protest. But the violator was DSQ'd by the protest committee so it can work.

    By the way, that latest document on the ILCA site... any idea how old it is? I think it may have been around some time and pre-date the latest revision of rule 42. For example it says that "repeated tiller movements that do not cross the centreline to facilitate steering" are permitted. But the new 42.3(d) changes that to say that "when a boat is above a close-hauled course and either stationary or moving slowly, she may scull to turn to a close-hauled course." Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that sculling when you're below close-hauled and sculling to turn the boat towards the wind are both now illegal. So we may want to be careful about relying on that ILCA document too much.
     
  5. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Be careful with that ILCA link, those interpretations pre-date those posted on the ISAF web pages, in fact being an early pre-cursor to the current ISAF interpretations. I'm told that particular page on the ILCA website will disappear soon to be replaced with one which refers to the rule 42 interpretations on ISAF's web page. So I would NOT conclude that because you saw it there it is ok.

    In the mean time, I do not know what the current "official" interpretation of Rule 42 for this particular situation is. I was hoping to spark some thought about these types of situations, particularly given some of the advice being administered in some of the other threads on this forum. And I have to admit that some of the responses have been rather surprising to me...

    IMHO, if I read Rule 42 and its "official" interpretations I would conclude that the act of rolling the boat to help accelerate off the line is illegal. I think if you look at Rule 42 it is crafted along the same lines as the Laser Class rules with the basic rule telling you that, except for what is explicitly permitted in rule 42.3, you shall not move your body to propel the boat. So, sort of an "unless it is explicitly allowed it is prohibited" type of rule, like the Laser Class Fundamental Rule. I might be missing it, but I don't see anything in 42.3 that talks to the situation described at the start (except for the sculling down to a close hauled course). If I then asked myself "why am I rolling the boat" the answer would have to be "to accelerate more quickly off the start line." Therefore, I would conclude that, technically, it is not allowed (note that I am not a judge, etc., this is just my opinion).

    That's probably why I get such lousy starts in light air... nothing to do with my massive extra weight...

    I'm hoping to pose this question to an IJ with lots of experience judging major international Laser events. Hopefully a clear explanation will come along...
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    It's not only light air. I see it done, and do it in medium stuff too. I've always felt it played with the edge of being legal. Actually, in a protest situation most guys will say something like, "I couldn't see the guy below me so I leaned in to get a better look. This made my boat heel so I leaned back out to correct it." However, if this is a 42 infraction and it's called on the water by a judge....no chance to splain it in da room.
     
  7. halibut

    halibut New Member

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    Tracy,

    In this case it's pretty clear-cut, isn't it? Using the rudder to scull the boat from head to wind down to closehauled is specifically allowed by Rule 42.3(d). Heeling the boat to leeward and then rolling it flat while closehauled, with no change of course, clearly acts as a "stroke of a paddle" action to push the boat forward (that's why it's done, right?). I was flagged at the Nationals a couple years ago for that exact action at the start, and had the opportunity to talk with the judges about it later (I was lucky, the start was general recalled).

    Now if in the same situation you are below closehauled at the start, you can heel to weather to bring the boat up to closehauled, then roll flat ONCE and you are covered by 42.3(a) and should not be flagged.

    Or am I missing some subtle point here...?

    Mike S
     
  8. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I agree that the explanation makes the roll legal and I can see where this explanation could cover you in a protest hearing situation, (which is why I think this move dances on the edge of a 42 violation) but if you are flagged for a roll by an OTW judge you just have to do your turns right then.

    The thing for the judges is, (under their rules) a single roll is hard to catch and call as 2 judges in the same OTW judge boat have to witness your action and agree together that you have violated rule 42 before they can throw a flag. On a crowded starting line with maybe 3 judge boats on the water this is a very difficult task for them.
     
  9. halibut

    halibut New Member

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    One thing I have learned at big regattas is to take a look behind me before the gun, and if that judge boat is floating in the area to be *extra* careful about kinetics at the start...

    Mike S
     
  10. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Since I first heard a judge stand before a gathered fleet of Laser sailors and make the "stroke of a paddle" comment, I have been tempted to go do EXACTLY as I asked permission to do in that first meeting.


    Scenario:

    I take a paddle with me and sail near the judges boat well before the race begins. I bring my boat to a stop. I make one full long stroke with that paddle.

    I announce to the judges that I have just demonstrated the effect of one stroke of a paddle.

    Then I sit as Tracy described on the starting line and do one of the following.
    1. Make that same stroke just at the start and see if I can keep up. If I fail I protest.
    2. Make the one stroke and shoot ahead...and get tossed.
    2. Make only one half of the stroke ande base my claim that it was OK on the fact that cheating just is not cheating unless it propels the boat a full paddle stroke's worth

    The paddle stroke concept / explanation / guideline is a bull crap cop out. We have always made various actions illegal based on the action itself...not on its effectiveness.
    { Exception:recently, hitting the weather mark and the related penalties has changed to include an " if you gained by whacking the mark" clause. I have never seen anyone tossed or anyone who retired because the yacht "gained by hitting the weather mark."

    refocusing...Either rolling and pumping is illegal or it is not. The rules do not say. "IN-effective rolling and pumping is OK. Klutzes and those who don't understand physics may yank and rock "till they drop."

    I think when a Judge opens his mouth and says "stroke of a paddle." you should always hear, "This clown is clueless and a danger to the game of Lasering."

    Next time you hear someone say it, try to get him off the jury immediately.

    In fact, what you should do with that judge after removing him / her from any position of authority...( not forever. Just for some remedial education)..
    is...
    Take that judge to a boat and teach that judge how boats work. You may have to show the judge how to paddle a Laser. You will enjoy watching the judge as the difficulty of holding the tiller with the toes while stroking a paddle over the side is reacognized for the first time.
    It may take a few weeks or even months to teach the judge how to effectively pum0, ooch, rock and roll and generally develop a decent sense of which kinetics work to propel a Laser and how the moves are accomplished.

    Then when the judge has learned how much SAILING SKILL is need to actually use kinetics, it will be fun to watch and listen while the judge tries to explain how proper use of kinetics is not sailing..Ask if it it is bowling, golf or maybe really part of football??
    Ask "What is kinetics if it is not using the wind and water to propel the boat??

    But I digress and rant...

    Stroke your boat
    Do it on a Laser
     
  11. fosq

    fosq New Member

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    If their is any "bull crap," it's only to be found in your comment.
    1. I know some ISAF judges and they're all better sailors than you.
    2. The rules are designed to make sailing fair and keep the sport interesting.

    Everyone plays by the same set of rules and the ideas of rules governing kinetics, including the "paddle stroke," are a good way of making sure that physical prowess and athleticism are still a part of the sport while making sure that the sport doesn't digress into a race of kinetics. So far I've noticed a trend in that the fat old geezers on this forum, the ones that can't keep up, physically, like to bitch and moan about this and call anyone who's ever had a good start a cheater. If you go back and look through all the posts on this topic, all those with ages posted above 35 are kinetics-naysayers.
     
  12. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Fosq, you need to re-read (and read some other threads) and pick up your level of reading comprehension. Gouv wants kinetics back (at least certain segments of the rule) and is saying that the current rules are too restrictive AND too hard/ambigous to judge and sail under. Some (not all) of the "fat old geezers" as you call us agree, others remember what it used to be like and prefer the direction that rule 42 has been taking in the past couple of revisions.

    This thread pointed out exactly how grey the rule 42 issue is in peoples mind. That doesn't have to mean that some people are kinetic naysayers, it could mean that some people prefer to sail clearly/cleanly within the boundries of the rule, a second group may not realize they are pushing the boundries and perhaps a third that find/explore and yes sometimes exploit the fringe areas of the rules. It's not just rule 42 where this happens either. That the nature of competition. I can tell you it's not age based.

    PS - some day you will be an old geezer and depending on your life style you may be a fat one too. But don't worry, we will have aged even more and forgotten your comments by then. ;)
     
  13. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Wow...Quite a chip on your shoulder there.
    You are obvioulsy mad about something but I cannot make sense enough of your reply to decide what the heck you are trying to tell us.

    On the one hand you say the rules are the same for everybody and by extension claim the paddle stroke is a good way to define the level of kinetics which are allowed.
    I was attempting to explain that "a stroke of a paddle" is such an absurd measurement that I want to see it immediately dropped from use.

    I see the stroke of a paddle explanation as "bringing an additional unknown variable to help solve confusion."
    I don't have any idea what the effect of a stroke of a paddle is supposed to mean.
    You absolutely have no way to know what I think it means.

    Why the hell would you use something I don't understand to try to explain something to me??

    Does that method seem rather pointless?

    If you want to know how far I walked today, I could tell you about as far as from my house in Union City to the old Luptons Bakery. If you have no idea where I used to live or where Mrs Lupton had her bakery, you don't learn a thing from my explanation.

    My simple challenge to you:
    Gather a few friends together and go out on your Lasers. That is fun...I am asking you to go have fun. See? I am being really nice here.
    Take along a few paddles. Bring a big wide five foot paddle. Bring a three foot paddle. Bring one of those plastic paddles that hooks over your hand and behind your wrist. Bring a double ended kayak paddle.

    Now line up for some starting tests. Try to figure out which paddles are effective. Figure out which ones are not. Try to figure out how hard you can stroke the paddle. .
    Figure out how much of a flattening pump it takes to gain "a stroke of the paddle."

    Wait...which paddle?

    Is the paddler a big strong person who is great with a paddle or a frail person who does not paddle very well?

    Is there wind or very little? Or is it medium?
    Does the stroke of a paddle rule include consideration for the lost distance while the sailor who has just paddled sets the paddle down and resumes steering and trimming?

    My hypothesis is that in light wind, the well executed long stroke of a paddle done while holding the tiller with one foot could give a better push off the line than a well executed pump. In all other conditions, I believe the time spent storing the paddle and getting back to sailing would cancel any gain from using a paddle.
    Wait! Are we supposed to include the real version of a paddle stroke or just the initial theoretical surge.
    In fact, are the judges referring to a Laser that is paddled while the rig in down?
    My point:
    I don't know. You don;t know. Nobody knows

    When some well intentioned judge stands up in front of me and says." a stroke of the paddle" I want that judge to KNOW exactly what gain is made by taking one paddle stroke.
    More important that that>>

    I want everybody in the room to know exactly what is meant by "one paddle stroke."

    And even more important than thatL

    For your claim to be true>>>"Everyone plays by the same set of rules and the ideas of rules governing kinetics, including the "paddle stroke,"

    All the judges must absolutely understand the effect of a clearly defined paddle stroke and be able to recognize the exact energy as it is applied to a sailing craft.

    My age has nothing to do with this. I knew how to paddle when I was a little kid and regularly paddled around in my Oprimist. When there was no wind for sailing , our instructors knew the value of having good paddling skills and we regularly had paddling races around the buoys.
    If, when I was eight years old, a person had told me "the effect of one paddle stroke" was something I should understand I would have asked the same question I asked the first time I heard a judge use the stupid explanation in Corpus Christi.

    "How big of a paddle stroke with how big of a paddle and operated by what size person?"

    The judge at that meeting thought I was being a difficult smart ass.

    If I were being a smart ass I would have asked if he meant you could pump as hard as you wanted without hurting your butt. When I was in school, one stroke of the paddle hurt like hell...

    and the fact I remember that does prove I am old.
     
  14. Steve_Landeau

    Steve_Landeau New Member

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    Yes, you may be right. But, I don't think it's because of our age or our fitness (or lack thereof). It's because of our integrity. The rule says you can't do it, so it doesn't get done. You young pups are being trained to "get away with whatever you can", and that's not sittin' well with me. My son is just starting juniors, in a 4.7 . I don't want him taught to be a "rule bender" (PC phrase for "cheater" since calling a spade a spade is no longer PC).
    For the record, I am not a kinetics naysayer. I wish it were legal. The Laser is more exciting when you push it harder. I am however, a rule follower. Right now, the rule says you can't use kinetics, or you are cheating. Simple as that.
     
  15. SAILWRITER

    SAILWRITER Member

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    From the excellent position of sail-number-recorder for one of the several line-sighters at the recently completed Midwinters, I found the conduct of sailors in all fleets rather subdued compared to what I thought it was when I actually compete in Lasers. Gazing at the fleet from the signal boat, there seemed to be one rock and go. The top sailors did NOT heal far to leeward before the quick hike.
    Note that Anna Tunnicliffe was whistled for rocking in the first, light air start. But we General Recalled that start. Paige Railey was whistled for sculling in the second start. After a 720 and starting well after the fleet in light and patchy air, she managed to get back to 18th. The sailors were tied at the end of the series, with Anna winning by virtue of one more first place. Close.
    Also observed was on the run to the gates right in front of us, the full rig fleet was significantly more, uh, active in rolling the boat while changing directions in response to waves than the Radials. All of the top of the fleet were more 'side-to-side than the helicopter video of Paige Railey during the Miami OCR. I may change my mind and think that there is a different standard for the full rig. Oh, and I think it is good form that the on the water judges were not at all reticent to using their names on the judging digest in the results.
     
  16. blawson1

    blawson1 New Member

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    From practicing with college sailing teams, I have found that everyone that luffs at the line, accelerates at 5 seconds using this technique. Keep in mind that it does not have to be a large roll in a laser due to its pointing capabilities and lightweight. In FJ's, the team I practice with sculls and backwinds the jibs to get to a close reach and then submerges the leeward rail. After accelerating, one heads back up to close hauled. I would say that it is definately not against the rules in college fleet racing and is not a huge deal anywhere.
     
  17. HikedLikeCrazy

    HikedLikeCrazy New Member

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    I've heard from several top college sailing coaches including Ken Legler and Jeff Bresnahan that this rule is definitely illegal but you will not get protested for it in college sailing. In regular sailing I believe the rule is also illegal and I've heard cases of people getting protested for it, although you see it all the time at top regattas so I'm guessing that they'll only protest you if you do it an excessive amount.
     
  18. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    College sailing and a lot of junior programs incourage kinetics. You can tell at most open Laser evnets the folks moving around in the boat the most are of college age or younger. However, I've never seen or heard of anyone getting called down for a few pumps off the starting line.
     
  19. tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    Well.... my 2 cents...

    If you're in the conditions described, light - medium, i would expect that while sitting on the line in a "close to head to wind" position, there's no heeling effect on the boat so your weight will be in the center? Then, as you scull pushing the bow off the wind, the sail will fill providing a heeling effect driving the roll to leeward. If you do not move your weight immediately, the boat will roll away from the wind. If you just "delay" your reactions then you get the desired effect. I believe that this would be allowed as there was only one body movement which was to counteract the heeling motion of the wind albeit a few seconds late.

    I'm pretty confident that's what I do and I don't think it's cheating. If I see someone physically move into the boat to initiate the roll to leeward and then back out to windward to bring it flat, I'd have words with them. If they did it repeatedly, I'd have no issues protesting them.

    As for the kinetics discussion.... I'm not master age yet (coming up sooner than i want though) and I don't want kinetics. And it's not because I'm unfit, I'm pretty much the opposite, but i just don't want sailing to degenerate into windsurfing.
     
  20. blawson1

    blawson1 New Member

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    Ok, so I definately agree that kinetics are often used unfairly, but what can one do about it? I don't want to continuously protest a person at the line for rolling hard because I am out there mainly to enjoy myself. However, there is no way to compete with someone at the start who throws a huge roll to accelerate. Should the rules be more strict? I kinda feel that there is not much we can do except roll as well.
     

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