Feedback from Master's Sailors sought!

Thread starter #1
The following proposal had its genesis with a group of frostbiters in the North East where it got kicked around, formalized a bit and brought to the attention of the Master's committee (Bill Symes, Peter Seidenberg, Dave Hartman and Al Clark). The current thinking is to try this "flag rule" at Master's events in the North American Region this year and see how it goes. But first it would be great to get feedback from the Master's sailors out there and get their opinions about it. So, please let us know what you think!

In alteration to RRS 42:

(1) Flag Q displayed at the start or near a mark indicates that “After starting or rounding the nearby mark, RRS 42 is varied in that except on a beat to windward, pumping and rocking are permitted”.

(2) Flag R displayed near a mark indicates that: “After rounding the nearby mark, RRS 42 applies without variation”.

(3) It is recommended that Rule (1) be invoked in winds of 15 knots and above, measured at deck level.

(4) Flags specified under (1) and (2) above may be changed in Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions. Display of flags may be accompanied by a sound signal.


I would like to know what the proposed changes are supposed to do for the game and what problems they would solve. (I think I know already, but it only makes sense to hear it from those who came up with the changes)

Next question would be how is the success/failure of the changes going to be measured at the end of the year to determine if they should be discarded, stay in place or be tweaked again ?
This has worked well in the 470 class. It work be nice to sail a race without judges in power boats cutting across in front of you,smell of outboard smoke. Anything that promotes sailing I'm in favor of trying.


49208 said:
I would like to know what the proposed changes are supposed to do for the game and what problems they would solve. (I think I know already, but it only makes sense to hear it from those who came up with the changes)

Next question would be how is the success/failure of the changes going to be measured at the end of the year to determine if they should be discarded, stay in place or be tweaked again ?
I'd like to hear the answers to these questions, too. What are the pros and cons? It seems to me that pumping favors those with upper body strength. Are there any women for this at all? As for judges in powerboats, is kinetics all that they are looking for?

The guys pumping on sailboards look goofy. Y'all already have me wearing hikers. . .
there is a good deal of merit in the proposed change, although save for the master world's there is little if any policing of rule 42 in the master's events; having said that perhaps after a test run and the North American fleet endorsing, perhaps the concept would have more weight with the ILCA
on the merit side, reflect on staying in Arhus Denmark during the laser worlds in 1989 with a group of laser world's judges and recall clearly the notion (agreed upon by the judges) that a judge must truly understand the on the water applicaion of the rule, and for the most part I believe most judges have over time; there have been sadly some exceptions, particularly in heavy air where in the open worlds in 1988 in Falmouth England in 1987 I recall one of the top three competitors at the time being flagged in thirty knots of survival breeze!....I think we all know that little if any advantage can be gained offwind in high winds which is where the competitor was pinched-the penalty was just short o absurd given the conditions-the result was that the individual lost his chance at a gold medal finish; in a similar scenario in 25-30 knots in 1999 at the world laser master champs in Melbourne a multi time world champion was flagged sailing nearby the writer and frankly the call was equally absurd to the Falmouth example and the bad call also adversely affected the competitor as well as several others flagged who were vying for top positons.......I believe there is indeed a case to made to go forward with the proposed change to rule 42 and fully endorse

Further about the rule generally, recall a few years ago speaking with a multi time Olympian from our club in Victoria about the logic in simply eliminating the rule as they have done eventually in other fleets, which has simply eliminated bad judging calls, and made the playing field 100% level and equitable; in fact, there is a breaking point in pumping/ooching etc equating to a loss in speed, never mind energy, but at least every competitor has the same opportunity to maximize the boat's speed, in fact generally fitness becomes an even bigger factor increasing the althleticism focus in sailing; ....if would be ideal if judges could be more focused on the real problems on the water and perhaps judges should be given back the authority/mandate to deal with an ever increasing number of ignored fouls in all fleets, which might restore some of the historical integrity and ethics of "clean sportsmanlike sailing"

Ken Brown
Here is my dissertation on it from the mailing list:

A lot of you are missing the point on this. In 15 knots of wind NO ONE will
be "wind rowing" the laser around the course. Constantly pumping and ooching at those wind speeds will not make you any faster. The point of relaxing rule 42 in planning conditions (which should be around 12 not 15 in my opinion) is to make it a lot easier to get up on a plane and sustain being on a plane. You are talking 2-3 quick pumps to get going then an occasional 2-3 quick pumps to stay up on it. These are planning dinghies and this way you get full enjoyment without some judge flagging you for going fast! Who came up with the 1 pump per wave rule anyway? That seems pretty archaic and short sited. If you can't manage the strength to throw in a few pumps here or there then you should be hitting the gym anyway because you are getting hammered on the up wind legs. However with all that said these rules do put quite a burden on the R/C. I've been supporting my kids in the 470 class the last year and listening in on the VHF conversations on the water between R/C boats and mark boats is sometimes commical as they try to determine if average wind speed is at the point to fly the O flag or drop it and fly the R. Anyway I think its worth a shot and you might enjoy it. Below is the 470 class rule.....Scott


In alteration to RRS 42:

26.1 If the average wind speed is above 10 knots, the race committee may
display flag O with the warning signal to signal that pumping, rocking and ooching are allowed after the starting signal.
26.2 After the starting signal, if the average wind speed is above 10 knots,
the race committee may display flag O with repetitive sounds at any rounding
mark to signal that pumping, rocking and ooching are allowed. This rule applies
to a boat after she has passed the mark.
26.3 If the race committee has acted under class rule 26.1 or 26.2 and the
average wind speed becomes less than 10 knots, the race committee may display flag R with repetitive sounds at any rounding mark to signal that RRS 42 applies. This rule applies to a boat after she has passed the mark.


Still would like to hear the original proposers of this explain why they think it's needed before I "vote".

I disagree with the premise that pumping and rocking above and beyond what the the current rule allows have no effect in 15 knots of breeze.

There seems to be some contradictions in Scott's opening sentences alone concerning this. (if it won't make you any faster then you wouldn't need the additional pump/rocks/ooches to get you on plane/surf or keep you on plane/surf, would you)

I will agree additional rocking/pumping has much less of an effect when the breeze gets above 20 - basically everyone, even the Clydesdales such as myself, are planing/surfing on all offwind points of sail all the time. Getting flagged by a judge in those conditions just seems nuts, so if we take away the need for a judge to have to make that decision, it seems like a good move.

Again, without knowing the intentions of the change, age would seem to play a big issue in this - what may be fun and relatively easy for a 35 year old to do (pump and rock his ass off for all the downwind legs) may be the last thing a 64 year old wants to do after hiking out upwind. I don't want to drive the 64 year old away from sailing Masters events because of that.

As far as the comparisons between the Finns, 470s etc, I'm not sure they are the right target to look at - The Finn Masters division in North America doesn't have the sheer numbers of competitors and I don't think they have been at it (trying to build a Masters division) anywhere near as long as the Lasers have. I'm not that up on the 470's but if you tell me they don't even have a Masters division (Forrester and Burnham excluded) I wouldn't be surprised.
Tim, you say "Anything that promotes sailing I'm in favor of trying."

Fair point, but WHY should allowing pumping actually promote sailing?

I know what pumping did in windsurfing - it played a massive part in destroying the fleets.

"in fact generally fitness becomes an even bigger factor increasing the althleticism focus in sailing; ..."

The problem is, this means that the skilled sailors are more likely to get beaten by those who are less skilled but spend more time at the gym. That means that being competitive demands more hours training, which means being a Laser sailor is more of a hassle.

I sail in two classes that allow pumping; one allows it about 50% of the time, the other 100% of the time. The racing is much less competitive because of the pumping; the fit guys can just pump away from their mistakes. They don't have to make any moves upwind, just sit there until the conditions or angles change and pumping becomes vital, then they move into top gear and pump away; using muscles rather than sailing skill. OK, there is some skill in pumping, but fitness becomes the overwhelming factor.

I'm competitive in both the above classes, partly because I'm a good pumper, so I'm not anti-pumping through lack of skill or fitness. I'm against it because it is very bad for the sport.

"The guys on sailboards look goofy."

Yep, and there are far fewer of them than there was before pumping was allowed. Now the Olympic windsurfer class is decided largely to make pumping less important, and we are trying to make it MORE important in Lasers. Why?

How bad is the problem? At our last Masters districts (about 120 competitors, including about seven who won their World championship this year or last) I saw no one pumping excessively, and we had no jury boats on the course IIRC.

The guy I regard as my arch rival is a three-time World Masters champ, and I have never seen him pump beyond the legal limits. If you can dominate your division like that without cheating, surely this can't be such a massive problem?


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
HECS said:
Tim, you say "Anything that promotes sailing I'm in favor of trying."

Fair point, but WHY should allowing pumping actually promote sailing?

I know what pumping did in windsurfing - it played a massive part in destroying the fleets.
THIS IS ABOUT LASERS IT IS NOT ABOUT WINDSURFERS!!! It is about Big breeze and riding waves downwind. It is about catching a wave you may have otherwise missed and as a result having more fun sailing.

Planing is fun. I love to plane. I would sail more if I could plane more. In fact I would race more if I beleived I would be allowed to make my boat plane more whi;le racing instead of sitting in the trough of a wave I missed and watching skinny runts like you go blithely riding by on their one pump.

I ate all that was on my plate and saved those kids in China. You and the likes of you killed them by wasting all that food and now you want me to sail slow?? Screw that!!

Go find a buffet and put on a hundred pounds and then we can have a man to man discussion.

Situation: You are in a big race on a reach in a good breeze. You just gave a reasonable pull on your mainsheet at the exact right moment and your boat did not quite catch the wave. (The pull was "reasonable" because five years ago on Lake Michigan you were sailing just ahead of the just crowned Collegiate national singlehanded champion, got a buit excited , forgot to only pull reasonably and ripped your fragile shoulder apart ....again. That took three years to almost heal and it is still gimpy.) The guy next to you pulled a bit harder and not even at the exact right moment and shot merrily down the wave. ( Not our merrily. the word wasn't capitalized) The current rule says

You worthless pussy!! You missed that wave on your first try! Na na na na boo boo you have to go slow now because you are too weak or uncoordinated or heavy to play like those who are worthy of planing!! Why dontcha quit you pussy?? You were too much of a weenie to catch the wave on the first try!! You suck! Loser!! Get off the damn course!! Sailboat racing for other people who can catch those waves on the first try.

If you believe it takes more time in the gym to pump multiple gentle pulls than one huge well timed pull you do not understand how to hurt yourself and someday you lilkely will.


I have a torn rotator cuff. I cannot get one huge long stroke out of my arm anymore. I can do a series of short yanks with my shoulder held still. But NOOOOOO *@#&^(## like you seem to think it is perfectly fair to make up silly rules keeping folks whos bodies aren't perfect off the winner's platform. I am not allowed to use an inferior system to almost keep up with the guy who can easily catch the wave on the first huge yank of his sheet.

The proposal is for fat old North American Masters. The proposal allows old fat out of shape guys tpo keep trying instead of having to immediately quit wqhen at first they don't succeed. If the rule would cause those old men to spend more time in the gym ( which it will not) GREAT!!!! The old fat guys need all the incentive they can get to make their bodies more healthy.
I have all the mental and finesse skills to play a great game with you prime physical specimen types. Over my 48 odd years of racing I am certain I have won more races than you have entered. Your silly one pump rule does NOTHING but make it impossible for old gimp armed guys to paly with the mighty physical specimens.

Last! I fully understand the skeptics who may think a rule might not work well. I absolutely do not understand the close minded brain dead fools who when approached by reasonable men with a request to TRY something have a knee jerk convulsive need to refuse to even perform any tests what so ever.

Oh I forgot...Some of you have sailed windsurfers in fleets where the entirely different rule applied to an entirely different rig in entirely different conditions did not work particularly well, according to you. The rule is still being used for some reason because not enough of the players of that game have been able to agree the rule sucks as bad as you say it does but why bring facts to the discussion??

I want to proceed with the experiment!!

Any one else have an open mind??


Really, Fred! I know you can express yourself without all the marginal language. Your post is a bad example for the young people on the forum, and you know better. :mad:

There seems to be two schools of thought here. One is that pumping will help the weaker sailors get on plane, sail faster, and have more fun. The second is that pumping helps the strong so that a gorilla can exclude strategy and so beat the older sailors despite their one best advantage--wisdom. They can't both be right. Which is it, people?

Also, I think shooting down waves is a capital idea. I used to body surf when I was a kid.

IMO this will deflect the need for good boat handling and seamanship and NOT level the playing field in anyway. From what I have seen of masters sailing is that the skills we now associate with world class Laser sailing are not prevalent in the fleet. There are some who can sail the laser in a "world class" fashion. Proper hiking, appropriate fitness for the conditions, proper and effective legal torquing of the boat, s-carving, proper kinetics the whole nine. By allowing pumping in windier conditions. Would these other skills take a back seat.
I have no problem with the Finn class or 470 rule changes. But. These fleets are predominantly sailed by Olympic hopefuls and have beens (as in they where Olympians or hopefuls not that they are all washed up) Those that are not and sail in these classes are outclassed for the most part.
I say give it a shot. Select a few events. Lets compare the end results from the whole fleet newbie to champion.
Fred. Just a warning. You will still have the little runts zipping by you on a plane or surf if pumping is allowed. You will just both be traveling faster at the time.
Pumping 3-4 times is not a whole lot more athletic as we all do this on a fun day sailing when we can "maintain" a surf or plane without getting flagged.



Super Opinionated and Always Correct
dang...sucked in to this discussion again.

Sorry about the language above. My point was that I FEEL the planing jocks are telling me all that nasty stuff. I am too wimpy to get on a plane with one pump and the jocks are laughing at me my head. Most of them are way too polite to mock a frail old man.

About the pumping in masters fleets. NOT IN YOUNGSTER FLEETS that would be a different situation.

In the masters fleets the NA sailors are 100% too old and tired to be kicking their boats around in big breeze. I know this from personal experience. I am old, fat, tired at the weather mark, and in the last NA Champs I sailed ..ahead of every other master at every single weather mark for the entire regatta. None of us had any strength left to pump effectively downwind. We gasped and choked and held on.

OK so a couple of the hotshot big guys like Tracy were not there. I have sailed next to Tracy in breeze and he gets tired just like the rest of the old men. He goes fast upwind mostly with great boathandling and yes he does sit out a little longer than the rest of the old guys but...NOBODY in the masters fleet has enough energy to hike hard upwind. Buns over the edge of the gunwale is considered hiking. Most of us sit upright and lean back only for quick occasional flattening shots.

So what happens if we can pump more? Remember the rule is only for OVER 15!! Maybe one or two sailors will round the weather mark and pull on the mainsheet a couple extra times on the first reach.
Those pulls would come after rounding the weather mark, pulling up the slipping hiking pants, adjusting a few things, catching enough air to maybe live until the leeward mark and then if we don't swim at the gybe mark, yank a couple times but not too much because we all know we have to endure another weather leg.

I am convinced the ONLY difference would be, sometimes a guy could yank an extra time or two to avoid sinking into a wave.
MOST masters are sooo tired on reaches and runs in heavy wind that they don't want to plane beciuase they will get going too fast and perhaps lose control and swim. Swimming for old guys always means the end of any chance at a decent race and a couple dumps wastes so much energy the day is shot.

I honestly believe the ONLY impact the available extra pumps could have is an occasional "whoopie" from a guy who catches a great ride.

The quick guys will go a little quicker and the slow guys might occasionally catch one extra nice ride.
translation? Everybody might have a bit more fun and the usual guys willl finish in the same order.

Will the extra fun be significant? Will we bring more sailors into the game or stay longer ourselves?? I don't know. I cannot estimate the effects of enthusiasm I have yet to witness.

What I really do NOT understand is the temendous level of paranoia about the impact of a test run. We are all wise old men with minds, feelings and the ability to observe.. I am certain we can see how it goes a few times and make a decision to stop, test more, campaign for permanent implementation of the optional rule or just go have some beers..

Don't worry so much. If there are sailors who are abused by the new rule we will notice they are unhappy and take care of them. Haven't we always done that for the fleet?? Our goal has always been to gather a large group and play together. That has not changed and will not change. What is the harm in testing a hunch?? Especially a hunch about which so many of us are certain there is a huge set of possibilities??
WE love to racew and we love to plane. If we can have more of both it seems worth trying.

Ps.. If this pumping test doesn't work let's try scheduling more regattas and local fleet races. I am certain that would give us all more chances to plane!!!.
"skinny runts", "*@#&^(## like you"; "close minded brain dead fools"; knee jerk convulsive need".

Really, Gouver you don't "want to proceed with the experiment!!"; you just want to silence anyone who has a different opinion to you.

The thread starter ASKED for feedback from Master's sailors; "it would be great to get feedback from the Master's sailors out there and get their opinions about it. So, please let us know what you think!"

He did NOT restrict the query to NA sailors.

I am not being paranoid, I am giving an opinion.

I'm not sure you have been appointed by anyone as the resident censor of the board or the thread so please cease the insults.

I know this is not about windsurfing but it seems that experience in the classes that have used pumping more than any other is relevant. Having won titles in boards and Lasers I think I'm on firm ground when I think it IS relevant.

No, I do not believe "it takes more time in the gym to pump multiple gentle pulls than one huge well timed pull".

But it's pretty damn obvious that the guy who can do MULTIPLE huge well timed pulls will go faster. I'm fit......I'll pump down every run in 15 knots if this rule gets in here, and I'll rock lots of times up the beat. The less fit and the women will drop behind, and to me that is such a rotten thing to do to them that I WILL speak out against this sort of proposal.

I'm not young for my Master's division, and by the next time I do the worlds I will only be 3 months from moving up an age group so I feel for older sailors. I am also one of the heaviest (74-75kg at the moment and in Radials), and the guy I have regarded as my arch rival or yardstick is 7kg lighter and a multiple world Masters champ. So I do know what it's like to have to compete against lighter sailors - and more pumping isn't going to help.

"I am certain I have won more races than you have entered."

Quite possible. I rarely do club or local races to win; I'd rather concentrate on getting championship wins or places in stuff like Olympic classes, J/24s, Lasers, the national champion of champions event, and across everything from offshore racers to wavejumping windsurfers.......sorry about that. Oh, and when you have to race against 3 world champs even in the Masters districts, it IS harder to get as many pickle dishes as you have earned.


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Damn tootin!! Right on! Well said!!

HECS is correct: After careful consideration ( or maybe it was sloppy consideration but I did some considering..) I don't really understand what "feedback" would be appropriate.

Ranting about how horrible the rule has worked in some other class is certainly a form of feedback.

There is a proposal to test a rule.

Is feedback:
"That sounds like a good idea?"
"That's a stupid idea?"
"I will quit if you even try it?"
"I would play more and drag in new guys if we tried it?"
"I have no clue whether it will work or not so let's test it?"
"I have no clue whether it will work or not so let's not risk it?"
"I think it will work and want to test it to find out in which situations it works and when it will make matters worse?"
"I am convinced that sometimes it will be great and sometimes it will be horrible and sometimes it will not matter. We need to test to see how to best administrate the game."
"I am convinced that sometimes it will be great and sometimes it will be horrible and sometimes it will not matter. I do not want to mess up the game for the sake of occasional good days."
"I think it will suck and hope we finally run the tests so we can see how correct I am and get off this subject forever?"
"I think it will suck and don't think you should run any tests because I know better than all the rest of you and all you have to do is listen to me and you will follow the correct path."

That is all feedback... In fact we have heard virtually all those positions clearly stated. I suppose the answer is always, Yes. That is feedback."

To that end my feedback is as follows>>>

"I am convinced that sometimes it will be great and sometimes it will be horrible and sometimes it will not matter. We need to test to see how to best administrate the game."
Don't change the rules. Folks like me who just got into sailing at age 41 need to challenged as much as anybody else, and, well, if my body doesn't react like a 20something's or I haven't had enough on the water time to feel the puff or anticipate a good surfing swell/wave, then when another guy passes me, that's too bad. I sail knowing my body's limitations and what I should work on, whether it be technique, strength, flexibility, or weather/water reading. My game is to beat myself as much as I can, improve on my previous performance, and do the best I can within the boundaries of the class rules. Not all my sailing is racing; I practice for races (when making mistakes is good so long as I don't "learn the wrong way"), and sometimes I prefer just taking a leisurely sail around the bay or lake to take the edge off the week. When I race, I still try to outbeat myself, and I have the added dimension of following right of way rules and rule 42 and the like to contend with. It's fun--even when I screw up, I still have fun. Do I like sailing against the kids with more experience than me? You bet--they keep me pushing hard and hopeful that after as much time on the water as them that I will beat folks with less experience. When it stops being fun, I'll quit, but until then it's a blast to learn and improve and get wet and laugh about should-haves and would-haves, and I know that I'm usually doing better than before.
Plus, someday the kids will be older and masters and I'll still be older and a master level racer and we'll then be on more equal footing. Til then, I'll sail with the mixed younger and older groups and enjoy every minute, even when skinny 43 year old me is shivering and the last thing my brain is thinking, "One pump now?" or "Wow, I really did catch that wave and just look at me glide forward past the next guy (who's either my age or older) who didn't even see the wave I'm riding.
Indeed starting to sail a physically demanding boat such as the laser at 41 urs young may have presented you with some challenges.........gosh, upon reflection, I startd just short of 36 yrs young in 1986 after being bored of big boat my first year , quickly came to realize that the cute little laser boats on the bay were not so cute -they were mean and required getting into good shape in order to firstly prevent injuries, but more importantly to become physically able to attemp to do what was then the norm............Carl Buchan (past Olympic medalist and long time laser sailor)wrote an article on Kinetics (in the early eighties if memory serves me correctly) which was way ahead of its time, and most folks never really knew what it was all about ..kinetics within the rules of the day of course, but always pushed to the limits to maximize boat speed and keep the boat planing as long as possible.........I think it fair to say that planing down a wave is indeed one of the most exhilerating aspects of sailing the laser-and the more the better.........with respect, everyone in the laser class races to the best of their ability, and results are highly related to the level of fitness, training and committment....the laser is not an easy boat to sail physically, and perhaps there are some in the fleet that need to understand that concept and either get with the program or sail a less demanding boat.....

in my attempt to sway those who are unwilling to endorse the test the new proposed 42 perhaps a little comparison of my current experience in another sport may help.......for the past two weeks I have had the good fortune to be doing a lot of skiing at Whistler and being an ex-racer some 33 years ago thought I would enter a dual giant slalom race in the 50-60 year old category and did so not quite getting my butt totally kicked, but was shocked at the level or depth of the field that has developed over time-it became quickly clear to me that if I would like to get back on the podium of old days, I must get with the program, as in practice, get some coaching, upgrade equipment, get fitter, get a racing suit etc etc and will do so and attempt a redeeeming race in a couple of weeks.......the point is , that we can all compete in the laser class, but need to set realistic objectives and expectations based on the level of committment, because , some competitors will committ much more time, effort, and money to working towards the front end of the fleet, and once you are in the hunt the last thing you need is a bad judge call in an air condition over 15 knots to destroy , the rule 42 proposed change is a wise test (notwithstanding some of the on the water management challenges) in order to keep each competitive area within the fleet equitable......if you really want to succeed in any sport, you find the formula and if you have the talent, you may have a chance, but if you have physical encumbrances, regardless of what they might be (age, injury, weight, on and on) then one must overcome or set realistic objectives, of any kind is not about beiing fair to all so that we can all win, that was the failed "Russian example"....what is key and critical is realiziing that there is a level playing field for all participants, and with the appropriate committment/resources/body weight (change rigs or classes is always an option) and bottom line , a yellow brick road to one's realistically set destination in the sport may well be achievable!

having recently had the opportunity to sail in a warm water regatta in the Dominican Republic and partake in a four day race clinic prior to, came to realize that with some serious work, it may be possible to get a little closer to the seemingly hyperspeed that top end sailors are able to achieve offwind-thank you to Ari at the Carib Centr and Dr. /coach Rulo from Argentina for getting the light a bit brighter at the end of my tunnel

the laser is wonderfully equitable fundamentally, we just need to insure the rules are too...the proposed change will assist in the equitable process regardless of what level you are sailing

Ken Brown