Saturday, July 30, 2016

What It's All About

We had our Monthly Mug race yesterday - one 90 minute race.  Nice conditions - about 10 to 12 knots, with small waves and a gentle incoming tide.

I managed to come in second in the race - our top Kiwi sailor did his usual horizon job and our usual second place sailor was the race officer, so I managed not to screw up in any big way and hang on to beat a fellow who beats me often.

And it was a glorious afternoon.  I really concentrated - but in a non-stressful way.  I tried hard to think ahead - OK, at the leeward mark I need to account for a bit of tide, go slightly wide and watch out for the boat to windward - he will probably not get an overlap and have mark room, but be ready just in case.  Take your time, nothing rushed, round up next to mark and head toward the shallow water for beating into the tide.  Nothing dramatic, but a conscious thinking ahead.  Not a semi-panic process (which I know well), just a calm checklist type of thinking.

And I was really hiking.  Of course my old muscles have their limits (which arrive disturbingly quickly), but I was making concentrated efforts to do some real straight leg hiking (or at least my version of it) in prolonged (surely a few seconds count as prolonged) sessions.  And it helped.

And finally, sometimes I was sailing a bit closer to the wind than I often do - outside telltale flowing but inner one not flowing so well.

But, best of all, I was enjoying myself - just the sheer pleasure of being out there, going (relatively) well and staying ahead of my friend who tried several times to catch me.  It was definitely Flow.  I am reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's excellent book Flow now and that is definitely where I was yesterday.

Flow is basically having all one's psychic energy focussed on something where skill level and challenge are both high enough to produce a maximum of "flow".  The point is that even at my level of skill level, I can be in that state when the challenge is appropriate.  It is really a great feeling.

I will be teaching some beginner sailors this afternoon and I hope I can have them experience at least a few seconds of what I felt yesterday - if so, they will be hooked.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Support Persons

I am a bit of a geek when it comes to the Racing Rules of Sailing.

There has long been the issue of how to deal with coaches, parents and others who cause trouble. For the time being there is no way to really deal with them under the RRS.  

But, starting 1 January 2017, “Support Persons” will be covered and will be required to comply with the Rules (which include Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions).  The 2017 - 2020 version of the Rules are available at

Who is a Support Person?

A Support Person is any person who
(a) provides, or may provide, physical or advisory support to a competitor, including any coach, trainer, manager, team staff, medic, paramedic or any other person working with, treating or assisting a competitor in or preparing for the competition, or

(b) is the parent or guardian of a competitor.

Are Support Persons Covered by the Rules?

Rules 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 make it clear that Support Persons are covered:
3.1 A support person by providing support, or a parent or guardian by permitting their child to enter a race, agrees to accept the rules.
3.2  Each competitor and boat owner agrees, on behalf of their support persons, that such support persons are bound by the rules.
3.3 Acceptance of the rules includes agreement…
(d) by each competitor and boat owner to ensure that their support persons are aware of the rules.

Who can protest a Support Person?
There is no right for an individual competitor to protest a Support Person.

Only a Protest Committee may “call a hearing to consider whether a Support Person has broken a rule, based on its own observation or information received from any source, including evidence taken during a hearing.”  So, presumably a competitor could inform the Protest Committee who would then have the discretion to call a hearing.

What Penalties Can be Given for Breaches by a Support Person?

Penalty on the Support Person

When the protest committee decides that a Support Person who is a party to a hearing has broken a Rule, it may
(1) issue a warning,
(2) exclude the person from the event or venue or remove any privileges or benefits, or
(3) take other action within its jurisdiction as provided by the Rules.

Penalty on the Competitor

The Protest Committee may also may also penalize a competitor for the breach of a Rule by a Support Person by changing the boat’s score in a single race, up to and including DSQ, when the protest committee decides that

(1) the competitor may have gained a competitive advantage as the result of the breach by the support person, or

(2) the Support Person commits a further breach after the competitor has been warned by the protest committee that a penalty may be imposed.

Rule 69 Misconduct

A Support Person is subject to Rule 69.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Future Sailor

I am very pleased to post a photo of a future sailor - my second grandson, held by my daughter a few hours after his birth yesterday.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Toestrap Adjustment

While rigging up for our weekly races, I chatted with our Kiwi sailor, who in addition to being our best sailor is a very nice fellow, always ready to share tips and strategies.

The line holding my toestrap had broken just before a race last week and I had repaired it temporarily with a bit of line I had with me.  Now I was replacing it with something a bit better and I asked our Kiwi how he thought I should thread the lines.  He took the time to show me how he does it, but most importantly, we told me how he would set the looseness for upwind - he sets the toestrap so that I you pass a stick under it at its highest point, the stick would rest on the deck on both sides.  The point of this is to make straight leg hiking easier - and it does.

I had been using the toestrap tighter than that - why I really can't say.  But once I loosened it to what he suggested it did make straight leg hiking easier, with the calves more in line with the deck and not pushing down on the corner of the cockpit.

I did relatively well in our first race, finishing in the top quarter of the fleet. In the second race I did even better - but was also OCS which I learned about almost at the finish line.  The tide was pushing all of us toward the start line and I was struggling not to be pushed over, backing my sail and hoping. I heard no signal and saw no X flag so I thought I was lucky and sailed blithely on. But, it turned out the lack of signal and X flag were the result of a new member serving as Race Officer for the day - and who didn't know about those details.  Oh well.
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