Racing Etiquette

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Merrily, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I was sailing my Laser in my club's Sunday afternoon races and after the start of the first race, I managed to get a small lead on the sailor next to me. He tacked away, for a minute, then tacked back. When he got within a few boat lengths of me, I tacked to cover him. He expressed some outrage and after the race explained. This guy usually sails a Thistle and said that in that fleet, a person doesn't tack and cover in the first leg--that it is bad form. He claimed it would be the same in large Laser fleets. Is this the case?
     
  2. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    No idea about a Thistle fleet but to my mind a tack to cover, give foul air, lee bow, pinch wind, etc. is fair game on any leg of the course. Part of the game.

    Normally I find I tack to give somebody a lee bow normally when I don't want to bear away round their stern or maybe if I believe I am on the wrong shift and delay tacking so I can lee bow them and encourage them to take away to the wrong shift (of course they can tack back once in clear air but they have done two tacks to my no tacks).

    I have had one person get annoyed when I tacked to lee bow them but he was somebody who is normally far ahead of me and I suspect what annoyed him was more that he was back with me rather than at the front where he is more used to being.

    Part of sailing and a bit "off" him getting angry - but I'm only talking club racing.

    Ian
     
  3. LaserBill

    LaserBill Member

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    In some local fleets it is considered bad form to start covering someone on the first beat. I am familiar with this etiquette in races where the course has 3 beats. I have never heard of it as a general rule, and it is only applicable if it is well known in that fleet. I know of no Laser fleet that subscribes to it. He may be right about his Thistle fleet but it is not bad form generally. It is frustrating to get covered early in a race when one is just trying to get clear air and get going, but it sometimes happens. On the other hand, unless you are in a points situation where you are essentially match racing another boat, there is not a lot to be gained by covering a boat so early in a race.
     
  4. Sean

    Sean Member

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    One thing you can gain from doing it is a fellow competitor who will return the favor in future and tack on you from now on when he gets the chance.

    One reason some sailors don't nail everyone they can is because they hope if they let others sail their own race early on after the start they might be returned the favor one day.

    If its on the way to the finish line or just 2 of you slugging it out for a certain position go for it and sail the guy to the back of the fleet if you have the skills but IMHO attacking someone early in the race will only get you a reputation for being someone that plays hardball and others will start to reciprocate that behavior to you.

    A good example of this is when some dude makes yours race a living hell tacking repeatedly on you upwind often to his own detriment, early on in the race particularly. You can be assured that once you do it to someone you will make their "list" and be forever fair game. I have found that sailors that like to cover and attack early in the race often do not like the same behavior done to them and in fact will get pretty upset.

    Sail the fleet not the individual sailor, if you need to tack for any reason like a clean lane or desire to get out to one side etc and you tack right on top of someone, no one would care, it happens all the time and it is racing, no point changing your game plan for someone else but planting a covering tack on someone just cause you can will for sure earn you the same treatment later on, if your happy with becoming a target go for it.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  5. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I agree with Sean's thoughts. I tend to live and let live on the first beat, especially when there is plenty of race course for everyone to play on.
     
  6. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Unless we were match racing for first, or overall position in a regatta, I would absolutely furious.

    If someone slammed me a few minutes after the start for no apparent reason other than to cover me, 1) he would probably hear something about it/get the death stare and 2) not only would he not get any favors from me on the course, but I might be inclined to try and hinder him if I didn't have to go out my way or change my race.

    There's a lot of "do unto others..." out on the race course. That should always be taken into consideration.
     
  7. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    I am surprised at the reactions so far. My take is that as long as we play by the rules there's no reason to be upset about this issue. Whether it makes tactical sense to cover somebody on the first leg of a Sunday afternoon race is another matter.

    :)...And I thought that 'etiquette' and Laser sailing were incompatible to begin with...:)
     
  8. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    There's a lot of "what if's" here. 1- did you tack to cover or lee bow him? 2- If you put on a lee bow were you the starboard boat prior to tacking? 3- Did you feel he was on the advantaged tack and making better vmg to the mark? 4- How short was the course?

    For me I focus on going the right direction first with a clear lane during the early part of the race. If this means I have to tack on or under someone to do this then that's what I do and I always expect the same from other sailors. If it hurts me more to duck someone, (by taking a BIG duck) than it does to lee bow them then I lee bow them. If I like the direction I'm going and the duck is minimal then I duck and engourage the other boat to cross me by yelling "CROSS!". If I cross someone and then decide I like their direction better I will tack, but only after I get far enough through the cross that I will not fall into their lee bow after my tack, (assuming it's a close crossing). If it is a club race I will go far enough away so my tack does not sit on their breeze. This allows me to check my upwind speed against the other boat.

    "Covering" someone just for the sake of covering is usually reserved for the latter part of the race and I do consider covering on the first beat kind'a poor sport.
     
  9. laserxd

    laserxd Member

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    Sounds like he had bad etiquette, it is racing after all
     
  10. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    Personally I always try to find clear wind at the right end when I am starting. A hard task at the best of times.

    To be honest I don;t think you have broken any rules, as for bad etiquette. We are racing here people, if you are going the wrong way are you really going to keep going to keep out of someones way before you tack on the the favoured side. Likewise are you going to tack in to their dirty wind?

    Sorry but the guy who was giving the mouth shout learn to chill, it is racing.

    I will admit on the first beat I do try to keep out of hassle normally because there are so many other boats around and finding a gap is nigh on impossible.

    I know it is frustrating to be on the other end but what you have to remember is (despite what they say) would they really have not done the same to you?

    All is fair in love and sailing.... :D

    Later on in the race then everything is fair game (within the rules). there are many times I have been much faster than the boat in front but have been unable to passt because of their better tactics. Likewise I have been the slower boat and able to keep people behind me.
     
  11. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    True. It's ok to be upset, but keep it to yourself unless a rule is broken. He could have handled it better w/a post race shoreside conversation, (which he did, but after he'd already run his mouth).
     
  12. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    That was one of the biggest lessons I learnt, when something happens on the water. Make your choice, say protest or ignore it and get on with racing. I have sail past far too many people who are having a discussion about an incident rather than concentraing on what they should have been doing.

    Laser racing is close and competitive, have a chat on the water after and if you still can;t agree take it to the protest room. Not to be confrontational you understand. Most of the times the guys on the PC are knowledgable about the rules and can give their view from the 'facts found'. In the UK we have the RYA Charter which is aimed as promoting more friendly club racing. This includes provision for an 'informal' hearing where the 2 parties sit down around a table wih a couple of people who are known to be knowledgeable about the rules. Most of the time this is good enough, they shake hands, buy each other a beer and that is the end of the matter.
     
  13. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks to everyone who weighed in. My questions are answered. It's not a good idea for your own performance, it is bad form in most situations, and it is not something the whole fleet knows like in the Thistle class.

    There is always something more to learn in sailing.

    BTW, I was a bit unnerved at first by being yelled at (with swearing), but took it in stride. The guy and his girlfriend are my buddies.
     
  14. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Understandable - screamers can kill a fleet faster then a recession, and the fleet as a whole should have a 5 minute group talk about why it's not acceptable and won't be tolerated. That approach has worked very well for Cedar Point frostbiting. It may still occur on the race course, and at that point it's up to a few of those around (but not involved in) the incident to "gently" remind the screamer to cool down.
     
  15. glexpress

    glexpress Member

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    Last weekend when racing my Express a competitor sat on my face after the start, twice. But that's what our class comes to expect from him.

    Next time I hand him a beer at a party I'm gonna shake it up good.
     
  16. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I would definitely have a word with him about acceptable on the water behaviour. Of if they are your friends them maybe get the class captain to "bump into them" and mention that the shouting he head the other week is not the way the Laser class behaves. Informal so nobody needs get upset, etc. but definitely "steer him" in a better direction.

    Sooner the better (as long as it can still be "noticed the other week ..." and thus informal)

    Ian
     
  17. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Tacking on another boat. Why?

    1. Because the wind shifted and it was time and the unfortunate other boat happened to be to leward of where I was going to tack anyway.
    2. Getting around the course wasn't particularly important to me and I just felt like messing with the other boat
    3. I had no particular confidence that my way to the finish would get me there within a couple boat lengths of the other boat's best possible course and I didn't want to leave any chance of my two extra boat lengths resulting in my losing the race to that boat.

    Summary:

    Either you are convinced the other boat is on a better path than your own or you are messing with the other sailor.
    It's a race. messing with other sailors is a part of the game. Taking both of you out of contention is a little silly or even downright ignorant.

    practicality:

    Lost of sailors are ignorant. The further from the very front of theh fleet you find yourself, the more of us are confused, lost and ignorant about which way to point our boats.
    Yelling at a person who gets in your way will result in many reactions but I submit two for your consideration.
    a. The yelled at cussed out person will get out of the way and remember your loudmouthed demeanor.
    b. The yelled at person will realize he has frustrated a jackass and seek further self satisfation by repeating the process whenever possible.
     
  18. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Gouv: love the last one, will keep it in reserve. ;-)

    Deimos: the fleet captain already had an informal talk with him, right after the race. She told him she didn't appreciate the swearing and to address "issues" off the water. Yes, I'm fleet captain.

    Just to be clear, even with the swearing, there wasn't any meanness involved. You all know I don't tolerate that very well at all.
     
  19. SailNJ

    SailNJ New Member

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    I was racing against my friend in a regatta about a month ago when this happened, sort of. EVERY time he was in front of me, he would follow everything I did. If I tacked, he tacked. The whole day I couldn't get away from him to sail my strategy and beat him. I lost every race to him because of his "strategy" and it really ticked me off :mad: because as long as he was ahead of me, I had no chance of winning. Afterwards, I ignored him. packed up, and left. We are not really friends anymore not just because of this but a lot of things like this. You have to be courteous on the race course while still remember it's a race. Theres a thin line between being competitive and being unsportsmanlike.
     
  20. StJulian

    StJulian Member

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    I must say I am a bit puzzled by some of the replies.
    I am never annoyed by people trying to cover me. It is surely part of the skill of racing to be able to deal with a covering boat by counter tactics. There will be plenty of opportunities to shake them during the course of a race.
    It is a lot harder, if not impossible, to pass a covering boat on the last beat, but by then you are beaten anyway.
     

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