Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Which of the Racing Rules of Sailing are broken the most frequently?
It's a tough question on which to find hard data. It's not necessarily the same as the frequency at which protest committees find violations of the various Rules. Or the frequency in which competitors voluntarily take on-the-water penalties. Or even the rate at which protests are made. I'm asking about actual Rule violations, protested or not, accepted or not.
The clever folk who run the online racing simulator SailX have come up with an answer for their environment. They measured the total number of Rules breaches recognized by their Rules Engine in one year in just a couple of their sailing fields. The grand total was 661,023!
More interestingly the histogram above shows the breakdown by Rule of some of the most common breaches on SailX. For those of you who (like me) can't always remember their Rule 15 from their Rule 16, here is a cheat sheet.
Rule 10 - On Opposite Tacks
Rule 11 - On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 12 - On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped
Rule 13 - While Tacking
Rule 15 - Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 16 - Changing Course
Rule 17 - On the Same Tack; Proper Course
Rule 18 - Mark Room
Rule 21 - Starting Errors; Taking Penalties; Moving Astern
And if you don't have all of the Rules remembered by heart here is a link to the full Racing Rules of Sailing.
It's no surprise to me that the most common breach is of Rule 18 - Mark Room. SailX mark roundings are almost as crowded, confused and chaotic as they are in our local Laser frostbite fleet.
The Rules Engine also has some pretty good logic for calling the next two most frequent breaches, Rule 15 - Acquiring Right of Way and Rule 16 - Changing Course, but I don't think there are that many protests under those Rules in real life. That's not to say that they aren't regularly broken though.
So what do you think? Is this similar to the breakdown you see in real racing? What do you think the three most frequently breached Rules are? If the SailX pattern is different from real life, why would that be?