If a racing sailor receives information from someone else during a race has he infringed the Rule against receiving outside help?
The question came up in a friendly discussion among the Laser and Aero sailors after the finish of one race yesterday.
It seems the courses we sail most often at the club are W4 and W5. As you can see from the club sailing instructions a W4 course has a downwind finish and W5 has an upwind finish. On Sunday we were sailing W4.
Actually the diagrams in SIs don't tell the whole story because we also use W4 when we have the start/finish line in the middle of the course. Everyone knows (at least I thought we all knew) that this means start-1-2-1-finish. A downwind finish. The number indicates the number of legs, not the number of laps.
This is what happened on Sunday. The Aeros and Lasers were racing together (as usual.) The first boat - an RS Aero - crossed the line going downwind on the second run and was given a finish horn. (Modesty prevents me from naming the sailor.) A little while later the next two boats approached the finish line. One sailed outside the line and continued downwind towards the leeward mark. The third boat was clearly sailing a course which would take him outside the pin. So the winner of the race, being a kind, friendly person, hailed his two friends and told them it was a downwind finish. #2 came back and #3 changed course and they crossed the finish line downwind as required.
Then the discussion started...
1. Was the information received from another sailor against the Rule against Outside Help?
2. Even if it were legal in these circumstances, would it have been illegal in other circumstances?
3. Would it have been OK for the Race Committee to advise the sailors verbally of the correct course once they noticed that they appeared to be sailing the wrong course?
4. Would it have been OK for the Race Committee to answer a sailor's question if he had asked the RC if he was on the last leg of course and was approaching the finish?
Here is the relevant Rule. Other Rules may also apply of course.
What do you think?
And just because I like it, here is the video again of me (in the RS Aero 7) crossing the finish line of a W4 course at the club RS Aero/ Laser/ Sunfish regatta at the end of May. It was a little windier that day.
In the interests of full disclosure I should reveal that I was also suffering from course amnesia in the race in the video and was initially planning to sail outside the line and keep on going downwind towards the leeward mark. But I realized at the last minute that I should cross the finish line (maybe I saw the course board - duh!) and headed up to a broad reach to cross the line.
PS Apparently this video is one of the most watched videos on the MYCSunfish Fleet YouTube channel - (is that the right word?) but there's a lot of other good stuff there too, so head over there now and SUBSCRIBE!!!
I love this club.
I love my RS Aero.
I love this video (even if the caption is slightly misleading.)
No, I love this video because the caption is slightly misleading.