● World Sailing held its annual conference in Mexico in November 2017 with a week of meetings involving several hundred delegates from all prominent sailing countries. There were many proposals to modify the racing rules discussed and voted upon, and for the most part, proposals that were accepted will not take effect until January 1, 2021, when the next revision of The Racing Rules of Sailing is published.
Four changes for 2018 clearly fix the problem U.S. Sailing identified. The changes also establish a clear process to be followed whenever the protest committee receives a report alleging a support person has broken a rule. Here’s a summary of the four changes World Sailing made:
■ A new rule, Rule 63.9, has been added, which specifies a process the protest committee must follow when it receives, under Rule 60.3(d), a report alleging that a support person has broken a rule. The committee must first decide whether the report is sufficiently convincing that a hearing should be called. If so, the committee must conduct the hearing following the procedures specified in Rules 63.2, 63.3, 63.4 and 63.6.
■ Section (e) of the definition Party has been expanded. For any hearing involving a support person, the parties to the hearing are: the support person alleged to have broken a rule, any boat that support person supports, and the prosecutor. This change means that if a hearing is held because a coach, a parent or any other support person may have broken a rule, every boat that that person supports is entitled to be represented during the hearing, and will have all the rights a protestee would have in a protest hearing.
■ Previously, Rule 64.4(b) referred to a penalty given to a competitor as a result of a breach of a rule by a support person. That did not make sense. A regatta is a contest between boats, and each boat entered is scored and can be penalized. When a competitor breaks a rule, his or her boat receives the penalty.
■ There are now four types of hearings: protest hearings, redress hearings, hearings following reports under Rule 69 alleging misconduct, and hearings following a report under Rule 60.3(d) alleging that a support person has broken a rule.
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The World Sailing Racing Rules Committee publishes The Case Book, which contains authoritative interpretations of the racing rules. Every year new cases are added to it, and occasionally an old case is revised.
Case 78 concerns tactics, usually applied near the end of a series, in which one boat, without breaking any rule of Part 2, closely covers another for an extended period of time in order to drive the other boat well back in the fleet.
From 2013 to 2017, Case 78 stated that such tactics do not break Rule 2 provided “there is a sporting reason” for using them. At recent major regattas for Olympic classes, that test has caused problems. For example, some national authorities use their sailors’ scores at a continental championship to select members of their national team or to select a boat that will qualify to represent their nation at a future event.
Another problematic situation happened at a recent event in which Boat A had clinched first place before the last race of the series. After the start of the final race, Boat A drove Boat B, at the time second in the standings, way back in the fleet, with the result that B ended up in fourth after the last race.
Because of these issues, World Sailing has changed the criterion for deciding whether extended close covering violates Rule 2. Effective January 1, 2018, the criterion will be whether the covering tactics “benefit [the boat’s] final ranking in the event.”
This could affect you in your local sailing series. Many clubs combine the standings of boats in several weekend events to create a season or to pick a seasonal club champion.
America’s Cup Race Gets A Radical New Single-Hulled Boat
This undated concept drawing shows a radical fully foiling monohull, the AC75, for the 2021 America’s Cup, created by Emirates Team New Zealand. Virtual Eye/AP hide caption
On Monday, the kiwi syndicate and rivals Luna Rossa from Italy unveiled the broad outlines of the boats they will be racing in Auckland in 2021. They are unlike any monohull familiar to the weekend sailor.
Looking bow-to-stern, the new AC75 resembles as much the ancient creature that first ploddingly crawled from the sea as it does a high-tech craft that scoots over the water at 50 mph.
Emirates Team New Zealand YouTube
Like its multihull predecessors, the 75-foot-long craft is designed to “foil” on underwater skis that raise the hull clear of the surface, greatly reducing drag. The AC75 features twin foil-tipped articulating keels. On a given tack, one is underwater providing lift while the other juts to the side to provide balance.
While the multihulls have their many advocates, they have also drawn scorn from some quarters — especially over safety concerns.
The new boats could mitigate one of the major complaints about the AC50 catamarans: their propensity to capsize or go end-over-end, Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said in a statement released in Auckland.
“Our analysis of the performance of the foiling monohulls tells us that once the boat is up and foiling, the boat has the potential to be faster than an AC50 both upwind and downwind,” Dalton says.
For many sailors, used to seeing the superior speed of multihulls, that’s a claim likely to be hotly debated in harbor pubs until a working prototype – still months or years away – settles the question.
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