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Solo News End Of Winter Series


    My how time has flown! It’s Thursday evening and I haven’t done the Solo News – and we have finished the Winter series.
    Working party on Sunday and then we’re into the new series.
    1st Sunday of the month = Pursuit race (I’m on duty on the 1st Sun in Apr)
    2nd Sunday of the month regular class race
    3rd Sunday is Anniversary series – for the new members that’s a great series to do because as well as the regular handicap it includes a Personal Handicap score so everyone has a chance to see how they do within a category. We seed everyone like golfers where the top sailors sail of scratch but then we have different bands ranging down to novice with big handicap bonuses for the lower bands. It is quite common for the lowers bands to win on the Personal Handicap results.
    4th Sunday is normally regular class race
    I propose we take the 4th Sunday out of the April for a training/buddy race if everyone is willing to give it a go. That means that week will not count towards the series. For this to work we will need a reasonable spread of experienced and novice sailors. The idea is that we pair the top sailors with the newest novices with as much on the water coaching as possible. It’s only the last of the pair that counts.  Helping your team-mate is the aim. If we can get a decent turn-out I’ll provide the prizes. I’ll remind everyone nearer the time. If the weather is awful we’ll do it another time but last year it worked well.
    The Tues Trysail starts 4 May
    The Wed evening series starts 28 Apr (This also has a personal handicap section.)
    The trophies from the winter will be awarded at the working party. Results were:
    Early winter: 1st Gareth, 2nd Arthur, 3rd Peter Cottrell
    Late Winter: 1st Gareth, 2nd Arthur, 3rd Malcolm
    Overall (Scored o-league) 1st Gareth, 2nd Arthur, 3rd Mervyn
    The mini open series concluded last week with 1st Gareth, 2nd Rob Wilder (Tamesis), 3rd Arthur
    Sunday’s racing was a change to light winds and warm sunshine – sunglasses needed rather than waterproofs. Huge contrast to the RS200 open on Sat when it blew hard and wet.
    In the first race there was a three way fight at the front between Rob Wilder, Mike Wilkie and Gareth with all leading at different times. In the end Gareth came away with the win followed by Mike and Rob with Arthur and Tony Penfold in close pursuit. With the light and patchy wind finding the next puff was usually the key. In the second race Arthur crossed the fleet off a port end start, Gareth went left while Mike Wilkie was avoiding a tangle at the other end of the line and went right. For once it clearly paid to go right as Mike pulled well clear and was never troubled. Tony Penfold again kept well out of trouble and sailing fast and free was second with Gareth just getting past Rob on the last leg.  Race three ended up again a close tussle between Arthur, Mike Wilkie and Gareth, this time Gareth pulled clear to finish the series with another bullet from Mike.
    Key light weather sailing points – keep the bat moving – gentle movements, don’t over-sheet – boat speed is more important than pointing until you start to sit out. If you get a puff let the boat accelerate before trying to point high. Look around for where the next patch of wind is coming from. Keep aware of what is happening all around you.
    Since I started on rules last week we had another incident last week which is worth thinking about.
    I was behind Arthur on a reach on starboard tack towards mark 7 from which we would bear away to run (almost downwind) to mark 6. Coming up to the mark I was behind but catching up on a nice puff. At three lengths I was still behind Arthur so no way could I duck inside. I had to go outside. That means I had to give Arthur mark room –
    Rule 18 (b)
    (b) If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone, the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter give the inside boat mark-room. If a boat is clearahead when she reaches the zone, the boat clearastern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room.
    (I hope the links work – if not look at
    Note that I do not have to give Arthur as much room as he wants, just sufficient room.
    Room for a boat to sail to the mark, and then room to sail her proper course while at the mark. However, mark-room does not include room to tack unless the boat is overlapped to windward and on the inside of the boat required to give mark-room.

    We can forget the last sentence because this was a downwind mark – no tacking. The boats ahead were all continuing on the same tack having simply eased from a reach to a run. As we approached the mark we were both on starboard with me to the right (outside) and Arthur on the left and inside.

    I was hoping that the extra speed I had coming into the mark would carry me round the outside (blocking Arthur’s wind while we were still on the reach) so I could get past as we started the run. I didn’t want to give him too much room, just enough – preferably making him turn more sharply and slow down more. What I hadn’t expected was that Arthur gybed and his sail swinging over as he gybed touched my sail. Clearly there was a collision so one of us was wrong… but who. Rob Wilder in front saw it and reminded us that someone had to do circles or protest or we’d both be wrong. Arthur and I looked at each other and BOTH immediately began to do circles because neither of us was sure who was right. – That’s a safe approach because if wrong we had exonerated ourselves, if not wrong we hadn’t lost too much.

    But… Who should have done the penalty. I think it is quite tricky.

    This is my take – please read the rules and if you don’t agree let me know…
    If Arthur’s ‘Proper Course’ was definitely not to gybe then I had given him sufficient mark room to get to his proper course and by gybing only port tack while I was on starboard he was wrong.
    On the other hand if gybing was Arthur’s proper course then he is entitled to room to gybe and I’m wrong. Just because the boats in front haven’t gybed doesn’t mean it is not right for Arthur to gybe (especially with the shifty wind we had on Sunday) For example if the wind had come round to a dead run it would be a very reasonable ‘proper course’ for him to gybe onto port and go slightly left to come to the next mark on the inside. In that case he would be entitled to gybe as he rounded and I had not given him enough room so I was wrong.

    As it was neither of us was sure and we both did out 720 degree turns. I had clearly not expected Arthur to gybe, but I can’t be sure that it was not a proper course for him to do that. He couldn’t be sure that we hadn’t completed the rounding and he gybed into me.

    Note the definition of proper course:
    A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term.

    Note “in the absence of other boats referred to in the rule” that’s just me in this case. If Arthur would have gybed onto port because of other boats ahead that could also make it his proper course.
    The rules are not that complex, but sometimes working out the FACTS is quite difficult.
    Hope to see you all at the working party on Sunday.

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