Forum: Match and Team Racing Rules

What is the Support for the Steel Balls call?

P
Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
  • National Judge

After experiencing a different match race steel balls situation than I've ever seen before I'm wondering what is the support for the way we call it? I believe I've routinely applied the commonly accepted practice of penalizing Yellow if she alters during this maneuver and causes contact or unseamanlike response by Blue, but am wondering how this interpreted in light of how we normally apply 16. And I'm afraid we have to throw D6 into the discussion so would appreciate the history and current best practice on how to umpire steel balls.
Created: 18-Apr-16 16:54

Comments

Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
-1
It looks like a port tack boat Blue kept clear of a starboard tack boat Yellow in spite of constant course changes by YS that all allowed initial room for BP to keep clear.
Created: 18-Apr-16 21:17
Phil Mostyn
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
Hi Paul,

Rule 16.1 is unchanged by Appendix C as you know, so the responsibility to give room is always on a right-of-way boat when she changes course. And changing course can apply when boats begin going (a) astern as in backing a sail or simply drifting, (b) sideways as in crabbing or drifting or (c) simply moving ahead.

So looking at the 4 stages of the scenario you have posted and enlarging on what Paul Hanly has said above, Yellow is changing course throughout and in doing so, she is required to give the give-way Blue room to keep clear as Yellow attempts to 'close the gate' - which both Yellow & Blue do in this instance - Green & White flag..

It might be said that Blue only kept clear because Yellow was able to move ahead between positions 3 & 4, but Yellow was required to give that room, because of the effect of her changing course between positions 2 & 3, and if she hadn't made that room available to Blue. Yellow would have been penalised.


Created: 18-Apr-17 04:27
P
Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
  • National Judge
0
Just to be clear, I'm not asking for an interpretation of the above diagram. I'm asking for a general statement of how we call this play when Yellow alters after Blue starts her tack. And I ask because of my understanding of how we otherwise call 16, and how we apply the interpretation in D6. Specifically, it is my understanding that we usually call 16 only when there is contact. Otherwise we conclude that the ROW boat gave room. But D6 makes it clear we should call 16 where the ROW boat fails to give the keep clear boat room necessary to maneuver in a seamanlike way, even though we've arbitrarily decided that is a course no more than 90 degrees to the wind. And in steel balls, we likewise call 16 where we consider the the ROW boat failed to give room necessary to maneuver in a seamanlike manner. Is this consistent and how do we support this under the language in the rule?

BTW, the diagram has nothing to do with the actual incident I experienced as we don't second guess jury or umpire decisions here.
Created: 18-Apr-17 04:49
Phil Mostyn
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
Paul,

Mmmm, I don't know any country in which accredited officials second guess jury decisions. As to umpire decisions, it has been the practice for yonks for umpires and competitors to discuss "calls" at event debriefings. Anyway:

For those who aren't familiar with match racing jargon, "balls of steel" is a common match racing pre-start manoeuvre usually following a "dial-up". Paul's illustration depicts just such an incident following opposite tack boats coming head to wind abreast of one another. As in the illustration, Blue is on port and Yellow is on starboard and if Blue believes she can keep clear while bearing away towards Yellow and escape to the right by passing astern of Yellow, she is said to have "balls of steel". Perhaps not a politically correct expression for these times, but there you are. It's certainly a gutsy manoeuvre.

Reminding myself of MR Call D6, I see it refers to a incident commonly referred to as a "dial--down', which typically occurs on an up-wind leg in which a close hauled right-of-way starboard tack boat, sailing a converging course with a port tack opponent, bears away towards the port tacker in an attempt to either (a) force his opponent to tack away to the left or (b) force the opponent to loose ground by bearing away to pass astern. Option (b) is classically used close to mark W where, following her ducking starboards stern, the port tacker may no longer be able to fetch the mark and so loose considerable ground. It also used to be applied inside the zone but this is no longer possible under the revised MR rules.

Paul, I apologise for being so long winded with the above, but I felt such a description might be helpful.

Anyway, I'm inclined to the view that there is such lot of difference between the when, where & how the respective manoeuvres are employed, that the scenarios are not comparable. In particular, D6 refers specifically to boats on a windward leg of the course and the close-hauled starboard tack boat bearing away to a downwind course that is below her proper course. The "balls of steel" occurs during the prestart, not on a windward leg, Yellow does not bear away to a down-wind course and neither boat has a proper course before starting.

I therefore respectively can't see D6 applying to the prestart manoeuvre.

Created: 18-Apr-17 06:32
P
Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
  • National Judge
0
Thanks for the description Phil. It is more thorough to outline the general description of the calls. And I agree that it is significant where the incident occurs. But what I am more concerned with is how we support the call in reference to the rules. The reason D6 is relevant is that it refers to room to maneuver in a seamanlike manner in supporting the conclusion that the ROW did not give room. How do we square that with calling a port-starboard crossing in the prestart where there is no contact. Or a windward-leeward where there is no contact. Or the steel balls call. Again, I'm just talking about how 16 applies here, not the obligation by the give way boat.

And I do appreciate your comment about the significance of umpire debriefing and how we discuss umpire calls on this forum. The element missing here is the perspective of the competitors. But perhaps in the interest of improving how we umpire, that may not be enough of a reason to exclude actual incidents...
Created: 18-Apr-17 13:33
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