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Solo News April 4 2010

  • Solo news 4 Apr
    Its spring – not that you would have noticed on Sunday, but today I was at the club fixing one of the club solos and it was warm and sunny with a lovely south-westerly breeze.  Would have been perfect for a quick sail…
    I was on duty on Sunday so had a chance to watch some of the race from a different vantage point.  We had five boats out, not bad for a cold and quite breezy day with a few regulars missing. Dave Clarke unfortunately capsized before the start and decided the wind was a bit too strong, but the way I score it that counts the same as DNF. If you launch and sail to the start even if you don’t make it over the line you get the point for going out there.  The wind was actually pretty strong on the far side of the reservoir with a few rather good gusts. Mervyn and Alec decided to call it a day part way through. No problem with stopping if it’s getting too windy – that’s just good seamanship. 75 min pursuits can seem quite are quite long when it’s windy. In the meantime Paul Playle had got the bit firmly between his teeth and was carving his way through the Magno and Topaz and pulling away from Peter Halliday. By half way through Paul has a good lead but the leading laser had overtaken Peter and was starting to eat into Paul’s lead. With about ¼ hour to go the laser swept past on a reach and gradually pulled away into a decent lead. Behind the N12 was working through the lasers and from way back Peter Curtis in his new RS500 was starting to threaten the pack.  At the gun the laser was well clear, but Paul still had a clear second place ahead of the N12 and another laser followed by the RS500 and Peter Halliday. A pretty decent result on what probably not ideal solo weather – although I reckon we have the best ‘all weather’ class on the reservoir – we’re fast in light weather, not bad in medium and I think quite fast in very windy conditions.
    A couple of weeks ago we put a tape measure on Paul’s rig to compare with mine. Based on that Paul tells me he has moved his mast foot forward a bit and increased the rake which has made a major difference to beating. He certainly looked well on the pace upwind on Sunday.
    Watching from the committee boat I was again struck but how critical it is to keep the boat upright and not try to fight the gusts, but rather use them. Watch the front of any fleet get a gust and you see the boat barely heel but accelerate forwards, if you look closely you might see it point up a bit to spill a faction and you will see the mainsheet being worked to keep the boat flat. Watch the middle of the fleet and the boat heels, the sail is eased a bit the boat comes up and then accelerates. Watch the back of the fleet and the gust hits, the boat heels, the helm fights to hold the boat straight pulling hard on the tiller to keep the boat straight but still heeling hard, the rudder acts as a brake, the boat goes sideways and digs in and doesn’t accelerate at all until the gust passes.
    Continuing on the rules theme…
    Those of you who are members of the class association will have no doubt seen the article on rule 42 (means of propulsion). This attempts to define what you can and cannot do to propel a boat, not only looking at the rules, but also ‘case law’ where interpretations have evolved. I reproduce it here with my comments in blue. Those of you who are not association members I recommend that you look at the class web site (just Google national solo), see what a vibrant class we have and join!
    Any questions feel free to ask. (There are some terms I’d never heard before). They try to define as ‘yellow light area’ what I would say are the grey areas. This is where people are pushing at the boundaries of what is permitted, doing once probably just OK, repeating not OK..


    January 2005
    A term used as stated below is shown in italic type. Other terms that are specific to rule 42 are defined in the rule.
    Background rolling is the minimum degree of rolling caused by the waves.
    Body pumping is the movement of a sail caused by in and out or up and down body movement.
    A flick is the effect caused by body movement or pulling in or releasing a sail that is so abrupt that the normal shape of the sail is changed and almost immediately returned to the original shape.
    A pump is a single pull on a sail that is unrelated to wind or waves.
    Repeated means more than once in the same area on a leg.
    A roll is a single-cycle athwartship movement of the boat during which the mast goes to leeward and back to windward, or vice versa.
    Torquing is repeated fore and aft or rotating movement of the body.
    Yellow light area is a phrase used when it is not clear that an action is prohibited. It is unlikely that a boat in the yellow light area would be protested, but it is possible. If the action is repeated, the likelihood of a protest will rapidly increase.
    42.1     Basic Rule
    Except when permitted in rule 42.3 or 45, a boat shall compete by using only the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed. Her crew may adjust the trim of sails and hull, and perform other acts of seamanship, but shall not otherwise move their bodies to propel the boat.
    BASIC 1      An action that is not listed in rule 42.2 may be prohibited under rule 42.1.
    BASIC 2      A kinetic technique not listed in rule 42.2 that propels the boat, and is not one of the permitted actions covered in rule 42.1, is prohibited.
    BASIC 3      An action prohibited in rule 42.2 cannot be considered as permitted under rule 42.1.
    BASIC 4      Except when permitted under rule 42.3, any single action of the body that propels the boat (in any direction) with the effect of one stroke of a paddle is prohibited. 
    42.2     Prohibited Actions
    Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:
    BASIC 5      An action listed in rule 42.2 is always prohibited, even if it fails to propel the boat.
    42.2     Prohibited Actions
    Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:
    (a)     pumping: repeated fanning of any sail either by pulling in and releasing the sail or by vertical or athwartships body movement;
    PUMP 1       Fanning is moving a sail in and out not in response to wind shifts, gusts or waves.
    PUMP 2       Pulling in and releasing a sail in response to wind shifts, gusts or waves is permitted, even if repeated (see rule 42.1).

    This means you can keep trimming the sail in very light winds provided you only do so as the wind changes – watching your telltales and re-trimming even if that means it is repeated is OK. Just pumping the sail is clearly not OK.
    PUMP 3       Except when permitted under rule 42.3(c), one pump may be prohibited under rule 42.1.
    PUMP 4       A flick of a sail resulting from the sudden stopping of an eased sheet is permitted.
    PUMP 5       One flick of a sail due to body pumping, or a pump not permitted by rule 42.3(c), is in the yellow light area. Body movement that does not result in a flick of a sail does not break rule 42.2(a), but may break other parts of rule 42.
    PUMP 6       Repeated flicks of a sail due to body pumping are prohibited.
    42.2     Prohibited Actions
    Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:
    (b)     rocking: repeated rolling of the boat, induced by
    (1)   body movement,
    (2)   repeated adjustment of the sails or centreboard, or
    (3)   steering;
    ROCK 1       A roll of the boat caused by a gust or a lull followed by corrective body movement to restore proper trim is permitted by rule 42.1.
    So you can allow a gust to make the boat heel and then pull it upright (which will make the boat accelerate quickly). What you can’t do it to make a second roll to exaggerate the effect.
    ROCK 2       One roll that does not have the effect of a stroke of a paddle is permitted.
    ROCK 3       Background rolling is permitted. A boat is not required to stop this type of rolling.
    ROCK 4       Adopting any static crew position or any static setting of the sails or centreboard, even when stability is reduced, is permitted by rule 42.1 and is not prohibited by rule 42.2(b).
    ROCK 5       A single body movement that is immediately followed by repeated rolling of the boat is prohibited.
    42.2     Prohibited Actions
    Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:
    (c)     ooching: sudden forward body movement, stopped abruptly;
    OOCH 1      Torquing to change the fore and aft trim of the boat in phase with the waves is permitted, provided it does not result in pumping the sails.
    This means that on the sea in waves you can move forward to help the boat start to surf and then back to promote the surf and stop the bow burying. SO long as you do this in phase with the waves it is OK. It doesn’;t arise on the reservoir because our water is ‘flat’ we don’t get waves big enough to apply. – In my opinion on windy days at the leeward side of the reservoir we DO get waves big enough to make a pump to promote surfing legal (see later).
    OOCH 2      Torquing on flat water is prohibited.
    42.2     Prohibited Actions
    Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:
    (d)     sculling: repeated movement of the helm that is either forceful or that propels the boat forward or prevents her from moving astern;
    INTERPRETATIONS (Sculling)      
    See interpretations of rule 42.3(d).
    42.2     Prohibited Actions
    Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:
    (e)     repeated tacks or gybes unrelated to changes in the wind or to tactical considerations.
    INTERPRETATION (Tacking and Gybing)
    TACK 1       In a steady wind and in the absence of tactical considerations, a boat that tacks or gybes more than twice in quick succession breaks rule 42.2(e). In light wind a boat is in the yellow light area if she tacks or gybes noticeably more frequently than nearby boats.
    Two tacks can make sense because you get what you think is a header and tack only to find it was mare of a lull or a brief change and the wind has reverted so you can tack back.
    42.3     Exceptions
    (a)     A boat may be rolled to facilitate steering.
    INTERPRETATIONS (Rolling to Facilitate Steering)
    ROCK 6       Heeling to windward to facilitate bearing away and heeling to leeward to facilitate heading up are permitted.
    Using heel to steer is good practice downwind. Using the rudder slows you down.
    ROCK 7       Repeated rolling not linked to wave patterns is rocking prohibited by rule 42.2(b), even if the boat changes course with each roll.
    42.3     Exceptions
    (b)     A boat's crew may move their bodies to exaggerate the rolling that facilitates steering the boat through a tack or a gybe, provided that, just after the tack or gybe is completed, the boat’s speed is not greater than it would have been in the absence of the tack or gybe.
    INTERPRETATIONS (Rolling while Tacking or Gybing)
    ROCK 8       Body movements that exaggerate rolling and cause a boat to sail out of a tack or a gybe at the same speed as she had just before the manoeuvre are permitted.
    ROCK 9       It is permitted to move the mast to windward of vertical at the completion of a tack or a gybe.
    BASIC 6      After a tack when a boat is on her new close-hauled course, movement propelling the boat like a stroke of a paddle is prohibited under rule 42.1.
    BASIC 7      When the speed of a boat clearly drops after she accelerates out of a tack or a gybe, and there is no obvious change of wind speed or direction, the exception in rule 42.3(b) does not apply and the boat breaks rule 42.1
    Very hard to prove that there wasn’t also a wind change. In very light conditions the wind is usually very shifty so you would expect a lot of tacks as the wind shifts, but it is clearly illegal to fan the boat along by repeated tacking. Even if you do not come out of the tack faster, just maintaining the speed all the way through the tack means you have spend some time going directly upwind without slowing down. (Hence the note about not more than two tacks in quick succession).
    Somewhat easier to prove the someone roll gybes excessively if they were going at the same speed as others, gybe and accelerate but then slow back down to the same as everyone else. It is important to gybe well and not lose any speed, but you shouldn’t actually accelerate. I think many on the open meeting circuit overdo the gybes – in my opinion any gybe that puts a  foot of the boom in the water and then hauls the boat upright and back to windward is probably illegal. Heeling the bot more to windward to promote the turn into the gybe and then pulling the boat over to heel to the new windward side without dipping the boom is probably about right – but only if there are sound reasons to gybe.
    42.3     Exceptions
    (c)     Except on a beat to windward, when surfing (rapidly accelerating down the leeward side of a wave) or planing is possible, the boat's crew may pull the sheet and the guy controlling any sail in order to initiate surfing or planing, but only once for each wave or gust of wind.
    INTERPRETATIONS (Surfing and Planing)
    PUMP 7       A pull of the sheet and guy made to attempt to surf or plane when surfing or planing conditions are marginal is permitted even if the attempt is not successful.
    PUMP 8       If a boat repeats an unsuccessful attempt to plane or surf, she is in the yellow light area.
    PUMP 9       Each sail may be pulled at a different time, but only as permitted by rule 42.3(c).
    PUMP 10    It is only necessary for surfing or planing conditions to exist at the position of a boat for her to be permitted to makeone pull of the sheet or guy.
    PUMP 11    Surfing or planing may be possible for some boats but not for others. This can be caused, for example, by local gusts or by waves from a motorboat. Also, lighter crews may be able surf or plane when heavier crews cannot.
    Note that the (single) pump to INITIATE planning or surfing is legal, it is not legal to repeat to try and prolong the plane or surf.
    42.3     Exceptions
    (d)     When a boat is above a close-hauled course and either stationary or moving slowly, she may scull to turn to a close-hauled course.
    INTERPRETATIONS (Sculling to Turn the Boat)
    SCULL 1     Provided the boat’s course is above close-hauled and she clearly changes direction towards a close-hauled course, repeated forceful movements of the helm are permitted, even if the boat gains speed. She may turn to a close-hauled course on either tack.
    SCULL 2     After a boat has sculled in one direction, further connected sculling to offset the first sculling action is prohibited.
    SCULL 3     Sculling to offset steering of the boat caused by backing a sail is prohibited.
    42.3     Exceptions
    (e)     A boat may reduce speed by repeatedly moving her helm.
    (f)      Any means of propulsion may be used to help a person or another vessel in danger.
    (g)     To get clear after grounding or colliding with another boat or object, a boat may use force applied by the crew of either boat and any equipment other than a propulsion engine.
    I’m away this coming weekend – all being well I’ll see all you on the 20th
    Happy sailing
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