Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tie Breaker





There was a regatta last weekend.

It was a national championship.

The scores of the top two boats were…

A.  4 1 1 2 2 1
B.  1 2 2 1 1 2

The NOR said…

The low Point Scoring System, RRS Appendix A, will apply, modified ... as follows:
If five (5) or fewer races are completed, all scores shall be counted. If six (6) races are completed, a boat’s worst score shall be dropped.

Who won. A or B?

Do you think this is a fair outcome?

Discuss.

Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.

Bonus points for revealing what the crew of the non-winning boat did next.


17 comments:

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

By rules (RRS or SI's) I am familiar with, Boat A won on the strength of beating Boat B in the last race of the series. However, in a different circumstance, if the last race was the only possible throw-out for Boat B, I'm not sure. . . .

torrid said...

I went and read the rule book. Is that cheating? It actually seems quite clear, and my interpretation is that Boat A won, and that actually seems fair. I'm guessing Boat B misinterpreted the rules and got pissy.

Keep Reaching said...

I assume Rule 90.3(b) does not apply, which seems obvious if there were more than 4 boats in the races.

I agree that Boat A wins.

Totaling up the series score, after excluding the worst scores, we have a tie, which brings Rule A8.1 into play. That rule says the scores are listed best to worst (with no excluded scores used) and after doing so, we still have a tie. This brings into play Rule A8.2 which provides that the tie is broken by ranking in the order of the last race, next to last race, etc. until the tie is broken, but they include excluded scores.

A interesting hypothetical question. The NOR “modification” was irrelevant since 6 races were sailed, but if there had been only 5 sailed, would the NOR have validly changed the scoring so that no score was excluded? Rule A2 says the “sailing instructions” may make a different arrangement, not the NOR.

Tillerman said...

Yes. You are all correct. A won. But it can certainly be argued that B sailed a better series.

Tillerman said...

The event was the Snipe Women's US Nationals. Linda Epstein was crewing for Carol Cronin in Boat B. Linda went on to crew for Joe Berkeley in the 110 class US Nationals during the week - and they won.

Tillerman said...

I did post about a very similar scoring situation about 3 years ago - at the Sunfish Junior North Americans. Don't know why, but this situation always feels wrong to me. Why don't we use "add back in discarded scores" as part of the tiebreaker process? Was that ever in the rules?

O Docker said...


If you're looking for alternative tie breakers, what could be better than seeing who gets to the beer first after the racing?

This would establish who has more strength left at the end of the regatta and who, therefore, is the stronger sailor.

Of course it would also underscore why there is no place in competitive sailing for the Mommy Glove.

George A said...

If B's dropped race was the last one instead of one of the earlier seconds, then B would have beaten A during that last (5th) race. Tell B to get a sea lawyer.

Tillerman said...

A 8.2 If a tie remains between two or more boats, they shall be ranked in
order of their scores in the last race. Any remaining ties shall be
broken by using the tied boats’ scores in the next-to-last race and so
on until all ties are broken. These scores shall be used even if some
of them are excluded scores.

Don't think that would work George. Check out the last sentence of Rule A8.2.

Brian Lambert said...

I think that the old rules did provide for the discard being used in at least some tie break situations but I'm far too lazy to check. In this case my guess is the discard was a poor race and thus you may well argue B sailed a better series overall. However there are numerous situations when the discarded race was less clear cut eg 'I was nearly a leg clear in the lead and the mast snapped in vicious gust' or we couldn't sail Thursday as my hem was having an emergency amputation but dragged himself back to sail the last race on Friday and tie the series'.

Tillerman said...

I have some old Rules books somewhere. I'll se if I can find any info on whether the discard was ever used in tie-breakers.

I do agree with you Brian. When two boats have finishes in the top 5 for the whole regatta it seems to make sense to me to count the discards - at least in tiebreakers. But when a discard is a bad race for some act of god like "amputation" then it doesn't. I guess it's too hard to make a rule that covers both situations.

Pandabonium said...

It should be decided by who drinks the other under the table after the race.

Tillerman said...

Good idea Panda. I'm all in favor of using spurious contests that are nothing to do with sailing to resolve a tie-breaker. The two sailors have already proved that they are equally good at sailing. Let them use some other method to decide who takes home the trophy. Arm wrestling? Tug of war? Staring contest?

Chris Williams said...

How about using total elapsed time to break the tie? Be an additional pain to record, of course.

Damian said...

Discards were definitely used as a tie-breaker years ago - if a result was tied then the boat with the best discard won so in this case boat B would have won.

I didn't really understand the reason why it was changed, but I now see that it was due to the frequency of mid-event amputations. Speaking of which, arm wrestling as a tie break could be a little insensitive depending on the limb that was removed. Staring contests sound a lot fairer to me.

Tillerman said...

I did look back through some old Racing Rules books this afternoon (going back to the early 1980s when I started sailing) but I couldn't see any mention of using discards as tie-breakers. But what was obvious was the the rules makers have changed the tie-breaker rules a lot over the years. Enough material for a dedicated post, I think. But first perhaps I will have to find a way to access the rules before 1980.

Noodle said...

Interesting discussion. I guess the question is: Should the scoring system favour the faster boat in a boat race?

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