From the The Racing Rules of Sailing
2. FAIR SAILING
A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalised under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. The penalty shall be either disqualification or disqualification that is not excludable.
What is fair sailing? Good question, Sailing is a corinthian sport, it relies on the honesty and fair principles of its competitors. For some this is pushed to the limit in the quest to win races or. It sees IRC yachts moving ballast (illegal – cheating) and all sorts of other ‘if no one sees does it matter’ style of behaviour.
Question (answers on a postcard to….) If you knowingly sail your boat into a shingle bar, knowing you will have to raise your centreboard and / or your rudder (lifting your rudder which is against your class rules) and maybe even run aground; to gain advantage is that fair sailing?
Racing at the ferry due to the tides, when the course is set, sometimes it gives just the first sea mark in which case how you exit the river is your call, you take the best route (or safest route?) you can take a hard turn to port to use the cut and take to open sea and then the first mark.
Sometimes the Race Office (RO) tries to encourage seamanlike behaviour by using the channel navigation marks, this is to stop racers intentionally racing over the bar and potentially damaging their boats. They want a fair race track for the sailors that everyone can compete on.
Wednesday evening saw a nice 10knot breeze and neap flood tide greet the monohulls. The first sea course of the season (well for Wednesday night racers), saw a course of:
Channel marks (as navigational marks)
The small back eddy on the bawdsey side was a busy place to be with 10 seconds to go, this eddy runs at around 1knot in opposition to the flood tide, so you want to be in it!
At the gun, John Eggett, John Daniels and Guy Pearse led, Simon Scammell & Matt Read in the Merlin following a length back. The usual shenanigans of short tacking to stay in the favourable eddy began. after the gun the Merlin Rocket trimmed themselves into high mode, forcing Mike Sherwan to tack off (laser Vs merlin rocket upwind?) with clear breeze the Merlin cleared out and then tacked back onto starboard as they ran into the tide, on starboard the Merlin forced John Eggets Laser to give way and tack back. Now clear the Merlin led the fleet to the Bawdsey cut.
The river Deben, although one of the best kept secrets in the country, offering amazing wildlife (otters, seals, ospreys, kingfishers etc.) is a tricky little river to sail in. The shingle bar moves err, ok a fair bit, there is a cut through the bar sometimes good and obvious sometimes not. The only trouble is finding it…without damaging the blades.
Leading the fleet team Scammell / Read in the merlin headed into the cut, but it wasn’t long before the carbon centreboard was begging to get back into deeper water. Scruples!
Risk the board and get out of the river (and tide) and then duck back in to tack the channel marks at the exit? Easy decision if you don’t want to keep repairing centreboards and rudders; the team Scammell / Read in the merlin rocket headed back into the the river, with no back eddies they were in full tide.
the lasers led by John Eggett sailed in to the shingle bar, Guy Pearse seemed to know the best way to deeper water and pulled out a strong lead. First to dip back into the river to take the channel marks, second was john daniels, third came John Eggett. Then came the merlin of Scammell / Read with Sherwan, Barkes and O’leary, all close by.
The fleet turned west knoll and headed for dip (port). no changes as Pearse led the fleet from Daniels and the other lasers. The Merlin lost out on this leg – to tight to spinnaker; the team had to grin and bear it. Rounding dip a short conflab about how tight to Haven and with nothing to lose Scammell / Read hoisted and started to claw back some time.
Haven saw Pearse gybe first followed by Daniels, Scammell / Read in third, the broad reach to the knolls saw Scammell / Read catch and overtake Pearse just before the River entrance.
as the wind began to fade the fleet started to rely on the tide to bring them home, Scammell/ Read drifted across the line first, followed by Pearse and Daniels.
well done to the half swim team, huge improvement – no swimming!
P.S. It is against the Laser class rules to sail with the rudder lifted.
Sailed: 3, Discards: 1, To count: 2, Rating system: PY, Entries: 12, Scoring system: Appendix A