Do you agree that wwomen should have a rhombus at the top of their sail?

  • Yes

    Votes: 11 29.7%
  • No

    Votes: 26 70.3%

  • Total voters
Just read through Jeff's post again.

Couple more things - first, it is a complete travesty for this to be put to a vote of the members of the ILCA since (as confirmed by Tracy Usher in our last go at the subject) approx. 85% of ILCA members are male. In all fairness, if it MUST be voted upon, surely it should only be female ILCA members whose votes count on this?

Next, I love Jeff's reference to "haves and have nots". Anybody else get this one??

As I pointed out before, if ever there was a completely clear-cut case of sexual discrimination . . . and it's especially sad that it's being considered in a sport where there is currently a more level playing field for women than in other sports . . . this is it.

People, Jeff Martin works for YOU. He loves to act as if the World Council work for him and you are his own little kingdom, but your Class officials are elected by you, and Jeff is hired by them to work for you. Make him do the right thing here, please! Take this stupid issue off the ballot.

As he has shown before, Jeff will simply continue to require female sailors to show the rhombus, as he has been doing for the last many years under the guise of "Laser Class policy". But at least if somebody DOES object to it, as I did and still do, they will be able to put up a fight - protest - about it and not be DSQ from the regatta.

This is the closest I've been to re-joining the Class in years! Just so I can go to a regatta and give Jeff grief about this again.

Cheers Lainie
Just for the record, I hired Fred. He was the Keeldude then, and still is, I imagine.

He was the Easter Bunny before he worked for the NA Class office. He also had an alter-ego named Rebecca on the old Laser List. She was 15 and very very funny. I also suspect that the new Ribecca has the same origins.

As for me, I am a fat old crotchety arthritic female sailor and I am as real as it gets.

On the sail would be as good a place as any for my hiking pants right now because it's highly doubtful I can actually fit into them. Luckily they are not needed on board my Melges 24.

<cackle> Lainie

aka Gilgamesh, gil, etc for attacking lions (similarly, bearded Brits) armed with nothing but rocks.
Nope..The new Ribecca is not my creation. It is not published by me. I have no idea who is was publushing as Ribeccca. As long as it is clear that Ribecca is / was absolutely not claiming to be Fred, I don't mind that the Ribecca makes / made posts.

I appreciate the humor which has been generated by whoever is / was using the Ribecca name. I have absolutely no knowledge, involvement or control of whoever is / was identified on this forum as Eliza Doolittle and publishing on this forum as Ribecca.

All writings published by Rebecca Mandeville of Bemus Point, New York under the assumed name Laserbabee were made with my support and absolute approval.

Getting away from our various aliases, and back to our rhombussess for a sec . . .

Anybody else think Jeff maybe "protesteth too much" in his post above? If I am, indeed, the only female ever to object to putting a rhombus on my sail, how come he suddenly needs it to be made into a Class rule, instead of just a "policy". ??

Either somebody else made some noise about it, or he's afraid they're going to, methinks.

I'd be interested to know if a member or members actually proposed this new rule, or if Jeff simply whiffed it over the heads of the WC at the last meeting so he could put it onto the ballot. (in one ear, out the other?) If it was suggested by a member, was it a woman? If not . . . geez, people! If so, I need to talk to her.

By the way, has there been another woman on the WC since me?
By the way, has there been another woman on the WC since me?

Oh boy !!! How I love a straight line!!!

This is way too easy!!!

Answer#1: Fool them once shame on us. Fool them twice shame on them.

Answer #2: I have never heard the WC privately use the word "woman "when referring to Lainie

Answer #3: Minth

Answer #4: What makes you think another woman would run if nominated?

Answer #5: Where would we find another woman who would serve if elected?

Answer #6: A chick did serve the tea during a WC meeting in Ireland

Answer #7: If one IS elected she will have to wear a red Rhombus on her forehead
Should this new rule gets passed (after all, as others have said the majority of those voting are male), what is to stop somebody proposing a further rule requiring all male helms to carry a "inverted" red rhombus on their sail. A similar rule would avoid and allegations of the class being prejudiced against women. However, it is a different rule as the rhombus would have to be inverted :D:D (and I am aware of the obvious here)

Thread starter #48
A few facts and reasons on the Rhombus proposed rule change:

1. I understand that some women object to being identified as a women. However there a number of women who sail in mixed fleets who also like to compete for an additonal women's prize. They like to know where their women competitors are on the course.

2. In large fleets, when women have a seperate start and are racing for women only trophies there may also be male fleets racing onthe same track eg Laser Radial Worlds and Europeans, Laser 4.7 Worlds and Europeans. With 3 or 4 fleets each of between 60 to 85 boats they frequently mix on the windward legs and also overlap. Having a quick visual indentification helps both men and women know immediately whether to be considerate to each other by not covering or calling for rights or if they are in the same race maybe be more agressive. At congested mark roundings it also helps to know what the next leg of the course may be for those around you. It can often be different.

3. It is not for Race Committee identification on the start line. Anyone who has sighted a startline of 70 Laser Radial or Laser 4.7 would immediately see that RC's can only work on sail numbers.

4. It is useful for RC's at a finish when for time limit reasons it is important to identify the leader of a fleet that is mixed with another fleet. It is also important for time limit reasons to quickly identify later sailors for end of time limit. Of course computers can sort out mixed fleets but they are no use to a finishing boat when 80 boats are crossing a finish line in groups of 4 or 5 and the whole fleet finishes in 4 minutes!

5. It is also useful fo RC's to know where the first boat is in a particular fleet if a course change is being considered.

6. Could we have asked the men to be identified insted of the women? Yes! Whether Men or Women or tagged makes no difference to te fact that any system will equally identify the "haves" and "have nots".

7. Why did we choose to identify the women and use a rhombus? Because we copied the 470 class who have de facto established an international convention and we have been using it for a number of years at large mixed fleet championships without complaint apart from Lainie Pardey. With RC's used to the 470 system it would be completely illogical to confuse things by adopting a different system that may vary from one event to another.

8. The proposed rule change does not make it mandatory for women to display the rhombus if there are no separate women prizes.

9. For press and TV at major events being able to quickly identify different fleets in when fleets overlap helps media coverage.

10.The system is not new and has been used at top level 470, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 events for a number of years without complaint. In my experiance by far the large majority of competitors (male and female) like the system.

11. The rule change was not proposed to to waste sailors time or to alienate a specific group of sailors. The benifits affect male and female sailors equally.

Jeff Martin
ILCA Executive Secretary
I have had change in mind now
I'm sorry but I'm just not buying the argument that the Laser Class is a sexist organization. That argument completely ignores that women are already an integral part of our organization, not only competing in events but also serving at nearly every level, from Fleet Captains, to District Secretaries (including several key districts, in particular District 7 which is the largest by membership in North America), to the ILCA-NA Executive Committee, to Executive Secretary of North America (which is clearly the most important - critical - position in North American Laser/Radial/4.7 sailing). It is true that there are currently no women serving on the World Council but that does not mean there are no women at those meetings. For example, Sherri Campbell,the ILCA-NA Executive Secretary, attends those meetings and while she doesn't have a vote she does actively participate in the discussion (and she was there when Adam French, the former ILCA Technical Officer, made the rule change submission for this year).

This argument also implies the the members of the World Council are, because they are male, sexist. Perhaps (and I only say this because I wasn't there then) that may have had some grounding ten years ago, but not now. Over the last ten years the World Council has had nearly complete turnover and the group that now serve are definitely a progressive lot who know they represent ALL the sailors in their regions. And remember, these are the same people who only a few short years ago helped push the Radial over the top into the Olympics. Playing the sexist card is certainly convenient for this particular rule change but it is really unfair to try to pin that label on the current group of hard working people who volunteer their time to serve on the World Council (not to mention also serving their regional associations).

Finally, I think I would give more credit to the membership of the Laser Class to do the right thing. Traditionally the membership has shown its ability to approve and/or reject rules based on their merit, I'd expect the same thing to happen in this case.

Please, argue against the rule change if you like but let's refrain from trying to pin offensive labels on people who don't deserve them.

Tracy Usher
ILCA-NA Chairman
Sail numbers distinguish sailors from one another. There is no need to segregate fleets by sex with a rhombus on the sail. Race Committees use sail numbers, or sometimes bow numbers for scoring. Finishing big Laser fleets is complicated enough without having to look at the sail for a rhombus.

If they race in events where there are men in their fleet, being as they're top contenders, you can absolutely bet your boots that they know the sail numbers of their competitors.

If I understand the logical extension of this argument, there is no need for anything other than a sail number on a boat. Minimally, I agree, that is all we need to go racing and is certainly true here in North America at pretty much all of our major championships.


I'm going to sail in the Master Worlds in Spain, in the Laser Master fleet. There will be 404 boats on the water in Spain and 117 in my fleet. So... I could memorize 117 sail numbers and the sailors that go with them... OR I could rely on the fact that I will have to place a red band on my mast to identify me as belonging to the Master fleet. I find this to be pretty convenient, especially when our fleet "collides" with another fleet so that I know who my competition is.

Sure, I will recognize some numbers of people I am used to racing against (e.g. Mark Bear). But I certainly don't know even a fraction of the sail numbers I'm going to compete against.

And, well, I bought a new boat this past fall... maybe I should use that sail number at the Masters instead of 171007 to fool everyone?

My point here is that as a competitor I see a good reason for an additional identifying mark on my boat at a major international championship.

I'm not saying the red rhombus is the best identifying mark for women sailors only that my experience tells me that an identifying mark can be useful to competitors.
I never said any particular group of people were sexist. I said the rule is.

IN MY EXPERIENCE male sailors, especially older ones, HATE getting beaten by any female sailor. You can't deny they're out there, still amongst the 85% male Laser membership. IN fact, I'd venture to guess that a majority of guys hate getting beat by a girl although they might not admit it.

That doesn't make them sexist, necessarily. It makes them pretty normal. My husband is quite liberal-minded, but he still hates it when I beat him AND he will tack on me to prevent it.

I'm confident that nobody on the World Council said "yeah, let's stick it to the girls" when they proposed this rule. From experience at the two World Council meetings I attended, I would bet that Jeff Martin asked that a WC member propose this new rule, because he has "been doing it for years" and wants to be able to continue uninhibited by people who might disagree.

For women like me who simply want good competition in a great one-design fleet, having to put any mark on my sail to distinguish me as a female sailor invites sexist behaviour by some sailors. I have never cared about "special" prizes for "First Woman". I want to measure myself against all the other sailors. That's the beauty of pure one-design racing - the best sailor usually wins.

If I wanted to race against only women, I would enter Women's Championships. I want to be treated like every other sailor out there on the race course.

As for the idea that the rhombus marking will make it easier for female competitors to identify their competition in a mixed fleet, let's see . . . Paige looks over and sees a sail on the opposite tack with a rhombus. She's still going to identify who it is - check the sail number, or the sailor herself before deciding to cover or let that boat cross. What a crock!

Sail numbers identify everyone equally. Extra identifying marks are not needed.

The reference to the 470 class is ludicrous. They have tiny fleets (at least here in North America) compared to Lasers and Radials. Most people racing 470's here are Olympic contenders, they ARE Men's and Women's classes.

Still, most and especially top level Race Committees are using computers that sort sail numbers into their sub-categories in a second, without the need for those spotting the finish lines to worry about whether they see distinguishing marks on the sails.

Bottom line, I'll bet that even if the membership does vote this new rule in, ISAF won't let it go. They'd be nuts to.


P.S.: At Kiel Week 2007 (biggest sailing event of the world) all the Radials of the female Laserites already had this rhomus at the top of their sails. There it already has been normalty, noboby cared about this rhombus....

Hi, here a photo, no comment from my side, to let our ladies lead the talk here.

Ciao and have all a great weekend on the water


Mostly, this thread is a lot of fun becuase it seems some folks actually care and others like me just live to wait until the fire slows and then stir the coals and toss on more fuel.

To that end....

They DO test in the Olympics....and in many international "woman's events"

Will there be testing of athletes to determine they are actually eligible for the red rhombus??

Finally.... in an effort to get a fourth or fifth page added to this thread>>>

How will the ILCA apply teh rhombus rule to lesbian, gay, and transgendered people?
I hope this is my last stab at this subject, but I'd like to also address the comment LooserLu sent about the Kiel Week regatta where "nobody cared about this rhombus".

How do you know they don't care? Did you ask? Did anybody ask??

Maybe they think they MUST show it or be DSQ so they do? Maybe it's too much headache at a huge event like Kiel, to go and find the RC and make a protest about it?

When I objected to using the rhombus at the Masters Worlds in Chile, I was on the World Council, and Jeff was running the regatta. I had no trouble finding him and bending his ear about it. My feeling on the issue was that I was THERE to do exactly that - speak for the members.

I raised Caine - at the Masters Worlds in Australia in 1999 when there was an issue with top sections. That's what you're supposed to do when you are elected to represent your fellow Laser Class members - stand up for them. Builders were chartering faulty top sections that were breaking right and left at $150 a pop, and the sailors were absolutely livid.

But I can sure see how others might be intimidated, or just think it's too much hassle to object on principle about the rhombus "policy".

I hope this is my last stab at this subject, but I'd like to also address the comment LooserLu sent about the Kiel Week regatta where "nobody cared about this rhombus".

How do you know they don't care? Did you ask? Did anybody ask??
Hi Laine,
yes, I have been there and I have been at the peer just in the moment the fleet of the women did arrive back for the races. Lainie, you know, aft one arrives back from a hard day of sailing, the thoughts of active sailors are more with the success or unsuccess on the water than with such issues like f.e. this rhombus. So it has been, how things went at that day there, during the ladies (you only see a very small part of all of them there) came in. In result, no one did talked about that rhombus, during I have there standing directly near the sailors to look how they rigg down the boats.

But, I not have been there the whole time. So, true, Lainie, perhaps it is possible indeed, beside there, might have been discussions about that what in this thread here is topic, f.e. at the daily briefing in the morning or so. At the evenings, you know that perhaps, young sailors at Kiel have more important things to do, than to discuss such aspects of sailing like this here. They go to bed early (to be fit for the early morning jogging) or have a great evening/ night at downtown Kiel, to forget quick the unsucces on the water of that day ;) ...

I try to get more informations about this topic here and ask this topic at our district forum at GER, but I can't promise, Lainie, that our ladies do reply. However, why not discuss such topics at the Masters in Spain? All those "celebrites of the Laserland" surely will be there (most active athletes, functionaires of ILCA, representatives of the monopoly-builders etc.pp. ...)

Maybe they think they MUST show it or be DSQ so they do? Maybe it's too much headache at a huge event like Kiel, to go and find the RC and make a protest about it?
Truely, an aspect that perhaps is hot. We all know, if one forgets only f.e. to rigg the mast retention line, a protest of one that recognizes this, might be able to destroy the whole success on the water of the day...
But, if you look at my photo, you also see sails of female athletes, that not have the rhombus at the top of their sails. All I know is, no one did protest them out. So, in my opinion, it is permitted for me to argue, that at Kiel Week 2007 nobody really cared about the rhombus sticker in the sail ...

My feeling on the issue was that I was THERE to do exactly that - speak for the members.
Laine, go forward! Well done! F.e. I'm one of those noumerous Laserites / ILCA members. I often wonder about, that perhaps this ILCA not really is interested about us common-Laserites - beside the aspect, that we pay our fee to them correctly every year and only get a few times a year such stupid "Laser World" papers plus this small book with the class rules and such a small plastic-card that is worthless for those that do not race at major events.

Imagine, Lainie, YEARS!! of contiuous ignoring TLF, the online community of the Laserites of this globe, this well known ILCA Executive Secretary now suddenly makes his FIRST reply here ... This, for me (as one of the nonames at the Laserclass), is "reallity-commedy", pure.
{But, f.e. Tracy, at the board of the ILCA, also: he is here, I guess, since the beginning of TLF...- That's how it should be}
I am not going to discuss his (ILCA Exec. Sec. 's) 10 points, because everyone that is able to read and compare his aspects in relation to the reality, in less than 5 minutes, is able to beat down most of this 10 points.
[To this aspect a lot is to tell, but I not want to have emigrate f.e. to Istanbul or so also, like ...] Unfortunately, Laine my native language is German and to argue correct in English, I not have the time and experience.
I'm with the gouv in one point of view: It's time to go for those old silverbacks at those active functionairs jobs - we are living in 2007, and not at the end of 1970.

Why not also have some clever ladies at the board of the ILCA again, that show the rest of the globe how things might be done perfect, too. The ratio of the mix female/male is the secret that makes it perfect to run, isn't it?

One aspect that concerns me is that, in my younger days I used to have to do a lot of changing of sail numbers (as I was always on the scrounge for better 2nd hand sails with very limited funds). Back then, changing sail numbers was a horrible job and the sail always ended-up sticky (which was not a problem when sailing).

As I understand it this Rhombus would only be required for a few events. However, the rhombus is actually marking the sail not the female. Sails have no gender (at least my parents did not explain about sails and gender to me in my formative years). Boats change hands and not always to helms of the same sex. What happens when a bloke buys a boat from a girl "in good faith" as being within class rules but then immediately finds that, because he is a he it is no longer within class rules !!

Ignoring the aspect as to whether women should be singled-out or not, I believe there are better ways to achieve the same thing. For example, in the few events that require women to be identifies, give them a strip of coloured cloth to tie to the top of the mast. Probably loads of better non-permanent means of achieving the same.

Would you a bloke buy a boat/sail marked as a female one ? and will this affect the 2nd hand value of female lasers. In fact I believe all boats are female.

As a slightly separate question, are there other rules where the sex of the helm determines if the boat complies with the class rules ? Just seems strange that should the boat be sailed by a different helm, it may no longer "measure"

(But I don't get a vote as still no contact with the Class Association)

If I understand the logical extension of this argument, there is no need for anything other than a sail number on a boat. Minimally, I agree, that is all we need to go racing and is certainly true here in North America at pretty much all of our major championships.


I'm going to sail in the Master Worlds in Spain, in the Laser Master fleet. There will be 404 boats on the water in Spain and 117 in my fleet. So... I could memorize 117 sail numbers and the sailors that go with them... OR I could rely on the fact that I will have to place a red band on my mast . . . my experience tells me that an identifying mark can be useful to competitors.
I agree with this. The colored bands denote fleets with separate starts. The mast band is not a permanent marker. It's only used at this regatta where the age categories are given separate starts. Perfectly reasonable.

So, the 117 boats in your age category (Still a Master?) will start together in a separate start, all with red bands on the mast. You are racing against every one of those 117 boats. When you see somebody with a different color band, you will know you are into the back-burners in the Apprentice fleet (or whoever started before you). Good deal.

HOWEVER within that 117-boat fleet, there will be, what? 20 or 30 women? Maybe fewer. According to Jeff's edict, or "long-standing policy" (which certainly did not stand in 1997 or 1999, but I digress) the Class requires they mark their sails with a rhombus. Are those women racing against you, or only racing against each other.

If I were there, I'd want to race against you! (except I'm a GM now . . ) I paid the same entry fee, so I should be racing in a fleet of 117 boats. Instead I get a fleet of 20 or 30? Sure it's nice to have a separate prize for the first female sailor. But that's not important to me.

Why go all the way to Spain for that? Why sail in Lasers, why not just sail at Women's events. Some women, including me, want to race the real thing.

At the Masters in Chile in 1997, I tacked on a guy. He was in the same start as I was, and had camped on me after the start. When I happened to tack on him, he hollered "hey, I'm not even racing against you!". I kid you not.

At that regatta there were only two women in my age category, sailing Radials. Did this mean to this fellow that I traveled to a Masters Worlds regatta in Chile to race against ONE other person? Give me a break!

Realistically, I know he did not even think about that. But he was certainly upset that I had passed him.

Thanks to Lu for your great response. I'm encouraged to hear that not all the women at Kiel had the rhombus on their sail, and that there were no protests about it. But it would have been really interesting if somebody HAD protested, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I've made all my points. I'm now composing a letter to ISAF in hopes that if the Class members actually DO vote this rule into being, they will veto it. Politically incorrect? Better believe it.

Oops, I'm back again. (sorry, it's raining and hot outside) Went and checked out the entry list for the Masters Worlds. Appears there are no women in Tracy's fleet at all, is this right?

Don't TELL me! Jeff has "decreed" that all female entries MUST race in the Radial fleet, right?? <huge sigh> It appears there are only about 20 female entries in total. Gee, the Laser Class is really encouraging women to enter the Masters Worlds regatta isn't it . . . .....

I sure hope some of the feisty women I met at those two Worlds' I attended will give Jeff some grief about this.

In particular, I do recall that Hilary Thomas enjoyed being the only woman in the Masters full rig fleet in Chile, and raced wearing a hat with a gigantic rose on it. But . . then again maybe she's just discovered the virtues of the wonderful Radial rig. How windy is it in Roses in September?

Boy, the guys hated seeing that rose ahead of them on the course.