Saturday, February 10, 2007


For today's Speedlinking Saturday post, check out the debate that has been rumbling on in the past few days about Rule 42, cheating, ethics, Laser sailing kinetics techniques, pushing the line... all triggered by what happened to Paige Railey at the Miami OCR.

We touched on this topic here in Pushing the Limits and the comments to that post covered a broad spectrum of reaction.

Paul Henderson, former ISAF President, weighed in on the issue on Sailing Anarchy in an interview with the headline Hendo on Cheating.

This triggered a lengthy debate in the Sailing Anarchy forums that expressed about every possible view it would be possible to have on the subject from one extreme to another.

But perhaps the most reasoned discussion on the matter came in a second post by Craig Leweck on Scuttleblog titled Is it a question of ethics?

I'm still confused about my own reaction to Rule 42 violations. It annoys the hell out of me when I see other sailors breaking the rule. But I still can't see logically why 3 yellow flags at a regatta is somehow more morally reprehensible than 3 OCS scores.


Blogger said...

Good comparison between pushing the kinetics limit and pushing the start line. It is hard to catch everyone off the start line, and one boat's advantage is often another boat's disadvantage. Plus, great dinghy starters often are using some degree of kinetics to gain their edge.

Ultimately, Rule 42 needs to be self-policed to handle the mentality of "when the umpires are away, the cats will play." Also, Henderson's comment about the kinetics standard being the same regardless of what class is competing is contrary to both the interviews we did, and our own personal experience. Each fleet has a standard, and the umpires can effect it somewhat, but they can't equalize the amount of say, rocking, that occurs in the Laser fleet and the Laser Radial fleet. The greatest tool the umpires have is comparison, as in seeing certain masts in a fleet swinging from side-to-side more than others. That's how they spot the offenders.

It has been a great discussion, and hopefully it has heightened our awareness of the issue. However, it seems like it is time to move on, give Paige, etc. some air to breath, and pray to god that she doesn't get tossed again. I would hate to see the comments if that were to happen. - Craig Leweck

Anonymous said...

How would you feel about someone sculling off the line for 3 lenghts or until they get clear of the fleet? And you happen to start next to that person. Would you consider that cheating?

What about being OCS on purpose to camp on another boat and use it as a your throwout?

ANother situation to consider, rocking into an overlap at a mark. Is that cheating, or more like a mistake of being OCS?

Relating 3 OCS to 3 yellow flags is Apples to Oranges.

One is misjudging a situation. The other is purposely taking an action that you know is not allowed and is meant to and will improve your position if not caught.

The rulemakers think sculling,rocking and oching is too great an advantage to allow. And becasue of the subjective nature of interperation (and determining intent), they put in the 3 strikes, to give the sailors some leeway.

The very nature of receiving an OCS is penalty enough. It is black and white and imediate. the intent is not to be OCS.

Rule 42 has a lot to do with intent.

Anonymous said...

I don't think an OCS is cheating because you have and expect a judge (the race committee) to readily enforce the rules. Maybe having an "on-the-water judge" makes some feel relieved of the corinthian spirit required of sailboat racing.

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