Monday, October 24, 2011

Over board finish?

Can you finish, while you are over board? What kinda question is that? Well, I wasn't there to see it, but apparently this is just what happened in the Fizz Cup races during this weekend. Someone finished without being on board. Surely, that never happens in real life! Hehe, let me put it in a real life perspective...
Woohoo a Laser
I was way ahead in my dinghy; Finishing downwind. Strong wind, current flowing with me. Finish line like 50 meters ahead. That's when I decided to do a gybe. The boom smacked over, while I jumped to the other side - hanging only in the tiller extension. It broke off, and before I could get my feet under the straps I was offline - ehh - overboard. The boat turned into the wind, and crossed the line carried by current and wind - without me; Instead of a first, I received a DNF. Bad luck, but hey I just wasn't good enough to win, falling over board like that.

It's all in rule 47.2:

No person on board shall intentionally leave, except when ill or injured, or to help a person or vessel in danger, or to swim. A person leaving the boat by accident or to swim shall be back on board before the boat continues in the race.

So no! You cannot finish, while you are not on board yourself. Very unruly.

Plus: I just reread the Fizz Cup SI. Turns out the SI (section 1.iii) specifically states that a whole lot of special SL cases such as lag and crash and more are to be considered nothing more than a gear breakdown in RL, - equalling a DNF.

More on racing rules.

PS: I found a virtual Laser Radial, as you can see on the photo. So far, I've sailed a few other single-sail boats such as the Tako, the Lil-Laser, the Shelly, the MR-Trainer, the Leetlecat and the Moth.

Check back when I test the Laser Radial and the new Q-Scow.


  1. It's a well-known Laser fact, in RL as well as SL sailing, that the (a) the instinctive reach when falling overboard is to hold on to the tiller and (b)the tiller will not bend but break. I would argue, however, that you should be able to finish if you are in contact with your hull, even if in the water.

  2. I suppose it might count, if you are in contact with the hull, but being dragged after the boat holding on to a line or the tiller extension... I am not so sure about that. In my little case story I had a firm grip on my brand new tiller extension, but it was not at all in contact with the hull.

  3. I empathize with this problemo. :-)

    This issue came up several times in both the J-Classic and 2010 One World regattas.
    That's not surprising, since those were crewed events with 2-4 sailors aboard each boat.

    Although the concept of "Finish with the same sailors you started with" seemed pretty obvious back then too, it quickly became a lot more complicated. As most SLSailors know:

    1. If a racing sailor crashes off-line, their avatar often appears to stay onboard; it's hard to know when - or even if - a sailor went overboard.
    2. The hike position of a sailor's 'phantom avatar' continues to influence boat heel, so it still impacts race performance.
    3. Since the racing vessel assumes that the overboard sailor is still on the boat, other team members can't beam aboard to replace lost crew.
    4. To make matters worse, these issues seemed particularly common near the Finish. I've assumed that was due to multiple people and scripts active near the line.

    I think these are special circumstances where the SL interpretation of RL rules ultimately depend on the nature of the regatta and the particular boat class.

  4. Ahh Jane, no doubt we can all feel the pain of that sailor loosing a first. Seems to me the real problem is the RD and the jury choosing to disregard the rules and the SI. However, being a judge is not a popularity contest.
    Disregarding the rules due to special conditions is always controversial at best. At worst it is a can of worms, because we have no precedence established. We all sail under these conditions, so when is it fair to let a crash mean DNF, and when is it not fair, and to whom?
    We're even being nice here. Finishing without the full crew would get you a DSQ in a real race.
    Another thing is, how can we safely say that a boat with script problems of sorts is still sailing as a normal boat? How can we know the boat does not sail slower, - or indeed faster? Is it fair to keep that boat in the race?
    It is an interesting discussion, but perhaps we ought to have it in a forum, so it is better preserved :-)

  5. If you fall over the finish line in a running race and your shoes also come off, but you come in first then technically you have won. Same long as you finish imo.

  6. Yeah, u can fall over the line and win an running race. You cannot in sailing. A boat finishes when some of the equipment or crew - in normal position - crosses the line. Besides, you can't win a run by throwing your shoes ahead of you competitor. It is the person, that has to cross. Not the shoes alone; If you look at the shoes as your vessel, you must be in the vessel. Same with the boat :-)

  7. At last, I think that RL rules must not bend and obbey the "token-as-rules" SL weird issues, that finally are just that: ISSUES, that must be solved a.s.a.p., and not permitted as "soft-permissive-rules".

    If SL run bad, make it run better...

  8. Noodles: " A boat finishes when some of the equipment or crew - in normal position - crosses the line."

    Yes, but I think in a bigger context the SL application of some RL rules can get messy rather quickly. I also think there's an easy, reasonable fix: The Regatta Committee should have final say over how Rules are applied.

    A Regatta rules decision can stand alone for that particular event. It certainly doesn't need to 'set precedent' for any future ruling.

    Grin... look at Americas Cup... :-)
    or look at the Supreme Court Ruling that made George Bush President of USA.
    (but I digress... :-) )

  9. Yeah!! "If SL run bad, make it run better..."

  10. You have a good point, Jane. I am just not sure what will be messier. Sticking to the rules, or embracing the concept of rules bending.

    The RC always has the final word, when it comes to fairness, - within the limits of the rules.

    The concept of rules bending puts pressure on the RC. This is bad enough, but I fear it will open up an endless and probably fruitless debate. I may be wrong, of course.


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