5 Dave L
6 Dave C
DNF Mabs (?) sailing 2052
OOD Chris, Mervyn, Peter
Seven boats on the line again with another three on duty. What seemed like a gentle westerly for a change with the RO showing all the options on flags for the starting sequence. Change of course once on the water so ‘N’ and three hoots (that’s the blue chequered flag), then postpone (red and white vertical pennant – elongated triangle).
CJ trying yet another different sail – borrowing Chris’s sail (Chris was OOD).
When we finally got going the line looked like it was port end and CJ and I started down there. CJ had the best start – must have been right on the line – I was just behind him but he had my lee bow off the line. I was also aiming for port end but I got too close behind CJ so that he started right on my lee bow. I needed to either roll over him before the start (dangerous because he could push me over the line) or I should have held back a fraction to get some space to leeward so I could accelerate and not have him close ahead and to leeward. I tacked and crossed the rest but I had expected it to pay to go left so I tacked back. I know that usually it pays to come into mark 8 on port (don’t quite know why but there’s usually a lift close to mark on port) so I wanted to get left. Alas playing the percentages doesn’t always work and although right at the end I did get the lift Roy had a flyer off to the right and crossed us all at the windward mark. It seemed in fact to pay most times to go right initially but left at the end. Finally I was lifted on the way into 8 on port, CJ was headed coming in on Starboard and couldn’t quite lay while Roy just ahead made it on starboard and sailed away down the reach. CJ tacked right in front of me (IMO far too close but I didn’t push it as I was really enjoying the close race). A general rules discussion on windward mark rules below ... but it ended up with Roy ahead of CJ with me right on CJ’s tail and Quentin quite close behind me.
No change along the reach to 7, but then we had a run (initially very broad on starboard) down to 4. Roy must have felt like the filling in a sandwich as CJ went slightly right over Roy’s wind and I dived left off to leeward hoping to get alongside and be on the inside at 4. I managed to ride a small gust and get to 4 just inside CJ who had crept past Roy. All the way from 4 to 1 CJ sat on my stern wave – his bow was about three foot from my stern and I couldn’t shake him off. I think the two of us crept away from Roy. At 1 I was still just ahead and inside so the procession continued down to 3. I crept away a fraction as the boats behind defended slightly by going high with CJ, Roy and Quentin now close. Up the beat again CJ and I started going left. I then saw Quentin – where did he come from - – had initially gone hard right and was looking very good coming back on starboard and pointing very high. I left CJ and tried to get into the wind that Quentin had. Quentin was coming over on starboard. I think he might have been able to cross me but instead he elected to tack (most likely he got a heading shift as the lift he had been in finally ended). That left me behind but slightly to to windward. What I don’t know is quite what happened to CJ. I think he tried too hard to hit the left corner looking for a big gain, but instead he wasn’t able to take advantage of the smaller shifts and ended up a long way back. I continued to be slightly lifted or just pointing a fraction higher than Quentin but he consolidated second place well clear of CJ and Roy. I think the race then settled down with CJ trying to catch back up with Quentin but never quite getting close enough.
At the end of the last beat I managed to fall over in a tack! I got tangled up with tiller and ropes and tripped myself up while boat fell over round me. Fortunately I was able to get back up quickly and there was just enough wind to self-bale over some of the reach. I keep harping on about practicing – recently I think I have improved my tacking but there are still times that are troublesome. The first is maintaining the good smooth tack when under pressure and close to other boats – very tempting to try and tack too fast (and thereby use too much rudder and stop the boat) or when under no pressure at all and simply not concentrating or thinking ahead too far about the next tack and mark rounding and just not executing. I saw a quote recently that said 60% preparation, 30% skill and 110% execution. All the preparation and basic skills don’t mean anything if you can’t execute reliably under pressure or when thinking about something else.
In both the B2Bs I more close starting tussles with CJ – I think we ended up about even on the day – he clearly won the morning start, I think the first B2B was even and I won the second B2B when I pushed him up over the line at the port end but he quickly re-rounded and half way up the beat crossed me by several lengths. It seemed to pay to go right initially but then left so you came into 8 on port. Round the first lap CJ maintained a slender lead. As we went up the second beat we had a long port tack and I seemed to be able to point a fraction higher but CJ was possibly going a faction faster. Very little in it, sometimes one gaining then the other on small shifts. When CJ tacked he still crossed me but only by a whisker. Towards the end of the beat things got very close with an RS200, a Laser and both CJ and me fighting for supremacy as the wind also shifted a lot and faded. The RS wisely opted out of the tacking duel and slipped away. Taking small shifts and making sure I tacked smoothly without rushing I managed to get through the laser and CJ rounding the mark right on the 200’s stern as the wind died. It’s really important to practice tacking and then practice some more so that in the heat of a close race you don’t lose your technique. (Unlike the morning race when I fell over.) The wind then went really strange (basically switched off, did a few circles and eventually came back very lightly from the original direction).
Coming up – Team Pursuit – start forming teams of 4. It will be based on personal handicaps so it will be whoever sails better than usual on the day. A group 3 or 4 sailor who has a good day might be what you need.
In October we will be responsible for running the Laser open meeting – just as they ran ours in July. Could you let me know that you are available and any preferences about which tasks you would like to do.
Coming in to the windward mark
Lots of interesting case details here – why not try each of them and see how well you know the rules. (No I didn’t get them all right first time either). Let me know if the link doesn’t work.
The key rules when rounding marks are:
(Not sure if the libnks will work in this format, if they do you can jump to the references and definitions)
SECTION C - AT MARKS AND OBSTRUCTIONS
Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them. When rule 20 applies, rules 18 and 19 do not.
18.1 When Rule 18 Applies
(a) between boats on opposite tacks, on a beat to windward,
(c) between a boat approaching a mark and one leaving it, or
Key here is that the mark rounding rules do not apply at the start – you can’t barge in at the committee boat thinking you have inside – water at the mark.
The next point is that they do not apply if boats are on opposite tacks, so coning into the mark on port (assuming a port hand mark) although you are ‘inside’ a starboard tack you are on opposite tacks on a beat to windward so (a) means that it is just straight port/starboard. On a run however the mark rounding rules do apply so inside on port has rights over outside on starboard.
Now we get to the interesting part for windward marks.
18.2 Giving Mark-Room
(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 clear ahead when she reaches the zone, the boat clear astern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room.
(c) When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 18.2(b), she shall continue to do so even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins. However, if the boat entitled to mark-room passes head to wind or leaves the zone, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply.
(d) If there is reasonable doubt that a boat obtained or broke an overlap in time, it shall be presumed that she did not.
Part (a) is the basic inside has mark room. (b) defines when this starts (now three boat lengths on the leading boat) “The area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.”
Part (c) makes it clear that it is the situation as you enter the zone that counts (unless a boat tacks).
Part (d) is why everyone clearly shouts to confirm when they do have an overlap or when they think one is not obtained at three lengths.
Part (e) is interesting as occasionally there is a massive raft of boats approaching the leeward mark, getting an overlap at the last second before entering the zone might be too late if it simply isn’t possible for everyone to keep clear.
Now we get the really tricky part... particular to windward marks.
18.3 Tacking when Approaching a Mark
If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them changes tack, and as a result is subject to rule 13 in the zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply. The boat that changed tack
(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid her or prevent the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and
Generally this means you are coming in on port and want to tack inside the zone to round the mark. You can if there’s a gap, but (a) you must not cause the other boat (someone approaching on starboard) to have to sail above close hauled. If the starboard tack boat has over-stood the mark you can push her up to close hauled but no further. Also if she ducks under you stern as you exit the tack you must give her mark room (b). That means that even if you tack to complete the tack just clear ahead of the starboard tack boat you can still be in trouble. If the starboard tack boat is forced above close hauled you’re wrong (that means a lee bow tack is tricky unless the starboard tack boat is above the mark), and if you tack dead ahead but are slow out of the tack the other boat can duck under you and claim water.