Race starts, OCS, and ISAF Control


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Quotes from Paul Henderson, President of ISAF (Scuttlebutt, 10/8/02)
Italics mine.

"Race Management - Most sailors demand good race management as that is
what makes for good racing. A specific area that must be addressed is
starting procedures and OCS. There must prevail an attitude that the object
is to get a fair and legal start. [i:8bc89fc7a9]Disqualifying several sailors for OCS
must not be considered a success.[/i:8bc89fc7a9]
The Race Committee should start warning boats who are over the line 1
minute before the gun by radio or simply using loud hailers. General
Recalls, except in response to a major windshift, should be considered as a
failure by the Race Committee to control the fleet.

[i:8bc89fc7a9]If a boat is OCS they should be told immediately and penalised
appropriately.[/i:8bc89fc7a9] Finding out at the first mark or when a sailor reads the
notice board that they were OCS does not make for good or fair sailing.

At the top events, [i:8bc89fc7a9]ISAF must approve[/i:8bc89fc7a9] the Senior Race Management Officials.
ISAF must provide a standard Notice of Race format and there must be a
single scoring system, so as all sailors know from event to event what the
regulations are and consistency is achieved." - Paul Henderson President ISAF

Interesting comments. I agree with all but the last paragraph. As a PRO, I [u:8bc89fc7a9]never[/u:8bc89fc7a9] use the Black Flag unless we are almost out of time to run a race. I [u:8bc89fc7a9]do[/u:8bc89fc7a9] make liberal use of the I-Flag, even for original starts. It helps keep the line clear for everybody's benefit.

If the line-caller can read sail numbers to a recorder, then the RC can also hail the numbers. It's just not that hard to do, even in 70-boat fleets, and it is necessary. The purpose of the RC is to serve the racers, and hails are a required part of that service. The sailors are not there to amuse the RC, and it is not a "game" to see how many they can disqualify.

However, I feel a chill when I read that the ISAF demands pre-approval of race officers at major regattas, and dictatorial control over Notice of Race and scoring. I know of no demand for this from the sailboat racing community. I don't think we have a problem that needs fixing in those areas, and Mr. Henderson's proposed "solution" could do more harm than good. Also, today's definition of "top events" might seem harmless, but it could easily expand in a troubling direction.

Comments welcome.
Eric Robbins
hailing is v. good... found out enough times at dinner when the results were posted. some people say the problem with it is that it favors people who started near the ends, as they can hear, but doesn't i flag do that too?
just my 2 cents.