Monday, May 31, 2010

Crew Race Proposal

Dave B. has made a proposal that we have a designated crew race each night to give race time to those practicing for the Barbara Stuart Memorial, and to help developing the skippering skills of the crews that sail with us.  I would suggest we change the SIs to accommodate this in our racing and score it separately.

I propose we change Section 5 of our sailing instructions to read as follows:

The Fleet may be scored in the Wood Division if they are sailing in a wood Star. The Divisions might be designated using color flags. If attendance warrants, the Divisions may be started separately. When sailing as a combined fleet the overall finishing place will be used in the scoring for both Divisions. A race on any night may be designated as a Crew Race where the crew will race as skipper. The Crew Race will be signaled with a yellow flag flown before and during the starting sequence.  The crew race will not be included in the night or season scoring for a boat and will be scored under the name of the crew. The crew races for the season will be scored as the Season Championship Series is scored. If the crew of a boat is not participating in the designated crew race they will notify the RC and not be scored.

This proposal is intended to encourage more participation and leaning to race in our fleet without the pressure of jumping into the boat and sailing with the more experienced sailors without impacting the score of a boat.  If you have any other suggestions please comment. Laura* says she would like to learn to skipper a Star in this way and would make it easier to give it a try. I would like to get your input so please leave a comment and indicate your bow number,  name with the comment.

*A note from Laura: This is actually a comment sanctioned by me. If you happen to get an email or any sort of message from my dad mentioning me, it is very likely that he was using my name liberally and without my permission. Don't hold comments like these against me. It's all him.(ex. boat numbers)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Starlight vs. Bow #23

Another week and we had another arbitration hearing this time between Joe and Joseph in the 2nd race of Spring Series 2 Night 2. The arbitrator was Norm Smit.

Facts found:
1. Wind was 5-8 knots from the south.
2. On the first down wind leg of race 2 on May 24th, Starlight was on starboard tack approaching Bow #23 on a converging course.
3. At between 4 and 5 lengths from the leeward mark, which was to be rounded to starboard, Bow #15 had to alter course to avoid contact with Bow #23 amidships
4. Bow #23 did not alter course to keep clear of Starlight.

Rules that apply:
Rule 10, On Opposite Tacks; Rule 18, Mark Room.

Rule 18 did not apply per rule 18.1 because the incident took place before at least one of them reached the zone.  Bow #23 did not keep clear as required by rule 10.

By SI 11.4c Bow #23 is assessed a 30% penalty in race 2 on May 24th

This is a case where it must be determined if the boats were at the zone.  Clearly Starlight is entitled as right of way boat to sail her course as she pleases if they are both outside the zone.  If they are on opposite tacks outside the zone, there is no limitation requiring starboard to sail directly to the mark and give mark-room until one of them reaches the zone. Because of rule10, port must keep clear even if it means she is forced to sail further from the mark than she would like. Bow #23 would have been better served to gybe and keep clear.  She could have worked to maintain her inside overlap at the zone when they gybed back toward the mark.  This would have been a better play even if she felt they were at the zone. I suggest when you are burdened boat, when there is a doubt keep clear, don’t force the right of way boat to alter course.

By the way I think everyone should give their boat a name and send them to me.  I like writing these summaries with boat names rather than bow numbers. I don’t have names for Bow numbers 2, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, 32 and 34.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

High School Team Racing

If you want to see some high school team racing.  The Backer Trophy high school national championship was contested at Sand Point in Seattle this last weekend and this was probably one of the best races of the regatta.

Sailing Videos on Sailgroove

Alcor vs. Corvus

We had our first arbitration hearing at Tugboats after the racing on Monday May 17th. The arbitration panel was Norm Smit and Bill Sheldon. If you look at the sailing instructions for this year Section 11 on Protests has been modified. Go to the SSSS Star Web page to see the full text regarding arbitration.

There were two protests Corvus protested Alcor and Alcor protested Corvus for two separate incidences on the course. The Corvus protest was heard first. When asked if Corvus hailed protest to Alcor at the first reasonable opportunity the answer from Corvus was no. Therefore, the Protestee was not informed in accordance with 61.1(a), so the protest was not deemed valid and was not heard. Next was the Alcor protest. It was found that Alcor did indeed hail protest and informed the RC of her intent to protest as required in the sailing instructions, so her protest was deemed valid and was heard. This is an important requirement of the rules that the word PROTEST is hailed. I recommend that this is the only thing you say when you believe someone has fouled you. This way if it goes to a hearing it will be a valid protest provided you inform the RC after that race as required in our sailing instructions.

For the protest of Alcor vs. Corvus the following facts were found.

1. The wind was from the west at about 15 knots
2. Alcor was approaching the windward mark on port tack and Corvus was approaching on starboard tack just above the starboard lay line (position 1).
3. Alcor tacked inside the zone in front of Corvus. After her tack was complete Corvus luffed to avoid Alcor’s stern, but not above close hauled (position 2).
4. Courvus remained overlapped to windward as they approached the mark (position 3).
5. Alcor rounded the mark wide leaving about a half boat length between her and the mark. Corvus ducked Alcor’s stern and established a late overlap between Alcor and the mark (position 4).
6. Alcor could not sail her proper course by the mark and had to haul in her main to avoid contact between her boom and the shroud of Corvus. Alcor hailed protest (position 5) for not giving mark-room.

The rules that apply:

When the boats are on opposite tacks at the windward mark rule 10, Opposite Tacks, applies and rule 18, Mark Room, does not apply by rule 18.1(a). Therefore, Alcor is required to keep clear and is not entitled to mark-room. As Alcor passes head to wind she must keep clear of Corvus until she is on a close hauled course by rule 13, While Tacking, and once her tack is complete she must provide room for Corvus to keep clear by rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way.

After Alcor completes her tack Corvus must keep clear by rule 12, On the Same Tack not overlapped, and after she becomes overlapped to windward she must keep clear by rule 11, On the Same Tack Overlapped. Because Corvus obtained her overlap to leeward at position 4 from clear astern, she must not sail above her proper course by rule 17, On the Same Tack; Proper Course, while they remain on the same tack and overlapped .

Because Alcor was subject to rule 13 in the zone, and Corvus was “fetching” the mark rule 18.3 applies and 18.2 does not apply. Rule 18.3 requires the boat that tacks in the zone to not cause the other boat to sail above close hauled, and she must give mark-room to the other boat if she becomes overlapped inside her.

Conclusions based on the facts found:

Alcor completed her tack inside the zone in compliance with rules 13 and 15 and Corvus complied with rules 12 and 11 after the tack was completed by keeping clear. When Corvus became overlapped inside at the mark Alcor provided mark-room by sheeting in her main and avoiding contact as required in rule 18.3. Corvus did not sail above her proper course and complied with rule 17. Therefore, the protest was disallowed.

As you can see this one incident at the windward mark encompassed just about every rule in the book and the entire event probably took at most 10 to 15 seconds. An important side note, which was a point of discussion during the arbitration hearing; if the fact had been found that Alcor tacked outside the zone, then Corvus would have been penalized for not giving mark-room as required by rule 18.2, Giving Mark-Room. So it is important to have a clear understanding of where you are tacking when approaching the windward mark.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Starboat Sail

This was sent to me by Sherwood. Mac Hancock went for a ride with Eric Egge on Stella and wrote the following note

My Star boat sail was just wonderful. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon. The day was bright and sunny. Air was maybe 65 or so. When we pushed off there was practically no air movement in the marina (West Bay), but we put up the sails and kind of sailed/sculled out of the marina and into lower Budd Inlet. The masthead fly indicated air movement out of the south so we set up on a kind of east bound reach. There was no indication of air movement at all on the water surface, but as I glanced at the water, by noticing stuff floating just below the surface I could see that we were moving right along, maybe two knots or so. It was amazing. In short order an afternoon breeze came up and we just moved out at a wonderful clip. At times the breeze may have been 8 to 10 kts in little gusts and the boat almost instantly shot forward. I had on my Polaroid sunglasses and as I looked at the masthead the sail with it's red star was a brilliant white and the blue sky was so polarized that it literally looked black when juxtaposed with the whiteness of the sail. That's the upside of the event. A star is a very powerful and brilliant performer.

Then there're the "other" aspects which I lump into two categories:

1. The mast is controlled by several mechanisms. It can be physically ratcheted fore and aft on a track using a lever mechanism. It can be bent using the vang. It can be bent by using the primary running backstay. It can be bent by using the secondary running backstay. It can be bent using the cunningham. The effect on sail draft is instantly visible from the cockpit and the range of draft is considerable; more than I've ever experienced in any other sailboat. The effect of sail draft is also instantly felt in the tiller and the ability to keep the boat on it's best angle of heel. This doesn't take into account the adjustments available for "tuning" all manner of other mechanisms like the vang, the cunningham, the location of the jib fairleads, the hiking straps and much more. Adjustment lines are all over the place.

2. The boat is the most uncomfortable, anti-ergonomic device that was ever invented to float. The boom sweeps across at about 8" above the deck/cockpit. There is a rigid post in the center of the cockpit atop which is the main-sheet blocks/cleat. This post divides the cockpit neatly in half. The helmsman occupies the aft half and the crewman the forward. In order to tack it's necessary to crouch down into the cockpit so low that visibility of the water around the boat is completely lost for a moment. Getting my old frame into such a crouch is possible but I don't do it as rapidly as racing conditions would call for. As helmsman one is obliged to call out the tack, begin to turn, wait in an upright position long enough to be confident that the windward backstay(s) are unloaded, release them (at which point they're pulled forward by bungees under the deck), duck into the cockpit crouch, continue steering (blind) for a bit whilst the boom passes overhead, arise as quickly as the boom allows in order draw the erstwhile leeward running backstay(s) into taught position before the wind loads the mast on the new tack and finally to continue the turn onto the new tack, stopping it without going unnecessarily far beyond closehauled.

It is a magnificent thing to sail, but the insistent, continuous physicality is way beyond what I'm interested in doing. I suppose that speaking personally there's a parallel between Star sailing and flying. I just love to fly low and slow in a small plane. However piloting an airplane demands constant attention to the operation of the plane; especially when flying low. The level of attention, even after becoming a skilled pilot, detracts markedly from what I find so enchanting about flying ... the ability to look out and observe the earth from that vantage point.

Anyhow, after Eric and I got the boat buttoned up, we went upstairs to Tugboat Annie's and had an excellent beer and burger which was a delightful way to end a great afternoon sailing.

That was my Starboat sail.