Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Scoring TLE

Michael Better
Nationality: United States of America
The Sailing Instructions for most, if not all, regattas that are held in the Chicago-area include a line similar (or identical) to the following:

The time limit for each race will be 120 minutes. Boats failing to finish within 15 minutes after the first boat in their
class sails the course and finishes will be scored Time Limit Expired (TLE) and scored points for the finishing place one
more than the number of boats that did finish the race without a hearing. This changes RRS 35, RRS A4, RRS A5,
and RRS A11.

I would like to know what other people think about this instruction.
Created: 18-Apr-16 21:42

Comments

Don Becker
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
Scoring should be number of finishers plus two places.
Created: 18-Apr-17 01:19
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0

SI Based on rule L15.2. Good to see.

The TLE formulation used, ‘finishing place one more than the number of boats that did finish the race without a hearing’ seems to have a couple of problems:

  • The SI contemplates that there are numerous classes racing, so it will not be possible, for some classes for the race committee to shut down the finishing line when the 15 minute time limit for a class expires, so it is possible for boats in that class to finish, according to the rules, after the 15 minute time limit for their class expires.
  • The SI refers to ‘finish the race without a hearing’. Referring back to the rule L15.2 model, it becomes clear that ‘without a hearing’ refers to the act of scoring by the race committee, but, standing alone, this looks like a reference to boats that finish without any protest or request for redress hearing involving them.

I would suggest that the formulation could be amended to fix these two problems as follows

… finishing place one more than the number of boats that did finish the race within this time limit without a hearing.

The insertion of the extra phrase, now separates the ‘without a hearing’ term from the ‘finish the race’ phrase, and I think removes the ambiguity.

Created: 18-Apr-17 01:50
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
Are you looking for comments on validity, philosophy, alternatives?
For twilights we use time limits after the race start which are based on having the official finishing before total darkness for most of the season. The drop dead time limit is about 2hr 15min for a 60 - 80 minute target time race, although in really light air once or twice a season some boats don't make the cutoff time. Because we are a mixed fleet boats spread over 5 divisions and focussed on back calculated yardstick handicap results, we like everyone to get an official finishing time if possble, but once or twice a season it doesn't work. Often the very regular sailors will get to drop their DNF score in the series results.
Created: 18-Apr-17 01:53
Michael Better
Nationality: United States of America
0
Paul,

I considered adding more information but didn't really want to be "here's what I think about this, tell me I'm right."

My concern with this rule is more philosophical - why the finishers + x scoring for TLE when DNF or RET are scored entrants + y?
Created: 18-Apr-17 02:09
Leo Reise
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • International Judge
2

The Race Officers that I have worked with, when I have been Chief Judge, know my view very well:

  • Two boats in the race – one breaks a spar and retires – one simply does not sail well enough to finish: Scores: RET = entries +1 – poor sailor = finishers +1
  • A boat score in a series with 100 entries 70, 44, 76, 88. 81, and in the sixth race requests redress. The score 44 was an TLE. Part of the averages? Omit it from the average? change it to a DNF?
  • Actual event – 104 entries – 62 finish the race within the time limit. For most of the 42 boats this would be their best finish in the week-long event – and they did not finish the race!!!!
  • Second question for this fleet, a boat originally scored as TLE takes a scoring penalty, what score do they get (44.3(c))– and relate that to a boat that is DSQd in the same race.
  • Actual event In one race 26 or the 64 bots failed to finish within the time. The Race Officer was considering abandoning the race as less than ½ the boats finished. The international jury ruled that they could not abandon under 32.1 because when the TLE instruction was included in the SIs, RC had already considered the consequences of such an occurrence.
  • How does RC distinguish between a boat that is racing and one that has decided they will not make the time limit and simply stop sailing to have lunch but not left the course waiting for the next race?

As a judge, RC can write what they like but it is the jury that must straighten out the shortfalls.

Created: 18-Apr-17 02:18
Don Becker
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
Michael,

I don't like time limits, but sometimes you need them to keep the flow. Let's say you have 50 Lasers entered and 45 of them actually show up to race. The RC uses your 120 min. time limit with a 15 minute window. In one of the races, say race three, one boat is able to finish within the time limit of 120 minutes and ten more boats are able to finish within the 15 minute window. If you do not have TLE in the SI's then the other 34 boats will be scored DNF = 51 points. This would be their discard, and if there are no discards this would be a real killer. With the TLE they would be scored 13 (assuming number of finishers plus 2) and still have a chance to be competitive.

The best practice would be for the RC to stop the race at a rounding mark or abandon (before the first boat finishes) when it becomes clear that a large percentage of the fleet will not be able to finish within the time limit window.
Created: 18-Apr-17 02:27
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Michael Better
said

I considered adding more information but didn't really want to be "here's what I think about this, tell me I'm right."

My concern with this rule is more philosophical - why the finishers + x scoring for TLE when DNF or RET are scored entrants + y?

First, 15 minutes after first finisher is a time limit usually good for back to back races on the same day. In that format of racing, TLE scoring is maybe less useful.

Generally, consider a fairly long race in light conditions with a fleet of let's say 12 boats. Say half the fleet miss a big shift, or tide gate or whatever, so the fleet separates into two with a gap between.

At the tail end of the first sub-fleet, are two boats, going hammer and tongs all the way, just seconds apart.

The first of these boats finishes two seconds before the cut-off time, and scores 5. Five seconds later the other boat crosses the finishing line, after the cut-off time, and if she was scored DNF she would score 13, the same as the last boat in the sub-fleet behind her, or some boat in that sub-fleet that gave up and retired early.

Bearing in mind that the selection of the cut-off time and the implementation of the DNF/TLE score is a somewhat arbitrary choice of the race committee in writing the SI, that boat has every right to be quite aggrieved, claiming that her score of 13 did not fairly represent her performance, compared to the boat just in front of her and boats at the tail of the trailing sub-fleet.

TLE scoring, based on number of finishers within time limit, fixes this problem.

It creates two other problems:
  1. the converse of that described above: it advantages the rank tail ender, by bringing her score up to that of the mid-fleet boat that just didn't make the cut-off by a whisker. This is a less serious problem in terms of the series pointscore, because the tail ender is likely to remain a tail ender, and score high points in other races, so that an 'anomalous' good TLE score won't have much effect on her pointscore placing.
  2. if only one or two boats finish within the cut-off time, this brings everybodies score up to 3 for the race: this can have a significant effect on top places in a pointscore. This is really a race officer's problem: the race should have been shortened so that most of the fleet got a finish. If it wasn't, then that's the rub of the green.
Note that the 'fairness' of a fixed time cut-off and TLE depends on a one-design fleet, or at least a handicap fleet with a close range. It is possible to come up with various formulas for a cut-off time based on boats TCFs, that deals a bit better with handicap fleets with big ranges.
Created: 18-Apr-17 02:39
Geoff Moehl
Nationality: United States of America
0
RE: TLE solution = Target time.
We had this situation recently. A multi fleet, multi start regatta. The wind died on the last leg after the lead boats rounded. There were no marks to shorten the course to. Two boats of only one fleet finished within seconds of the first boat in fleet time limit. Few finished within the '20 minute after first' time limit. Other fleets did not finish within their 'first boat' time limit. So finishes continued to be recorded for all boats as the first fleet had 20 more minutes to finish while the second fleet only had 5 more minutes to make the one hour limit. Then conditions set this as the only race in the regatta. Then what to do with pre-engraved trophies. They were handed out.

The time limit takes discretion away from the PRO. That will always come back to bite you.
Our fix is to give the PRO discretion. We now do not have a time limit. Instead we have a Target Time for the race and a time limit to finish after first in fleet.
RC will adjust the course as necessary and possible to achieve the approximate target times. If the wind dies or picks up and the target is missed, chaos does not ensue.
Boats missing the 'time limit to finish after first in fleet' are scored finishers plus one.

Then there is the complication with portsmouth rating fleets and the instruction that time limit will not apply. To avoid the rest of the fleets waiting between races, Portsmouth fleet starts first, with perhaps a shorter course if needed to avoid delays.
Created: 18-Apr-17 08:27
Kirsteen Donaldson
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Some Solent clubs use a similar approach to the initial question but with two differences:
  • TLE scores are only available to boats that are still racing at the expiry of the time limit and call the RC to notify them that they are still racing. Boats that have already given up and gone home are scored DNF in the usual way.
  • The TLE score is the average of the scores available to the boats that were still racing. So, for example, in a fleet of 30 starters, 11 boats finish within the time limit; 9 are still racing; and 10 have gone home. The TLE score is the average of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 = 16 points
To my mind, if there is a time-limit, the principal of scoring TLEs is a reasonable approach to recognising that the boats affected could have finished but for the imposition of an arbitrary time limit. However, more important topics, perhaps for other threads, are:
  • Why have a time limit at all? I accept the need for one if it is intended to run a second race or if safety boat cover is provided. However, for many races certainly for self-sufficient boats, neither applies. There are many reasons for wanting to finish a race other than winning it, eg gaining series points; using the qualifying miles for another event; sense of achievement for a long race or a first attempt at a higher race level. If a boat wants to stay out till a week next Tues, why shouldn't they! The RC doesn't have to stay out to wait (self-timed finishes, verifiable to some extent by AIS, are widely used, certainly further down the pecking order), and if the boat chooses to finish the race in place of getting to the prize giving, that's her choice.
  • Is it a fair time limit? For handicap fleets, it needs to be long enough to cover the handicap spread plus a bit. One proposal that I've not seen done is to trigger the start of the time limit based on perhaps the 3rd boat to finish plus x minutes (in place of 1st boat plus x minutes), so if a single boat gets a flier eg makes a tidal gate that others miss, or gets over the line just before the wind dies and the rest of the fleet wait for it to fill in (we've all seen it) the race isn't lost for the rest of the fleet. I accept the third boat is still an arbitrary choice, just seems more robust to me, and at least then all the podium places are filled (though not necessarily fairly in a handicap fleet).
  • Do the competitors know what it is? Unless the time limit is a fixed time eg 2 hours, 1400, or local sunset, there must be a way of calculating it on the water and notifying competitors - VHF is usual here. However, one local club defines the time limit as "x minutes (corrected) after the first boat in her class finishes". Even after you work out what that is intended to mean, it requires that the RC calculates on the water the corrected time difference between the lowest rated boat and the first boat to finish - in principle this is possible but in practice even the RC doesn't know what the time limit is, let alone the competitors.
Created: 18-Apr-17 11:39
Michael Better
Nationality: United States of America
0

Two boats in the race – one breaks a spar and retires – one simply does not sail well enough to finish: Scores: RET = entries +1 – poor sailor = finishers +1


Leo,

A similar situation is actually what got me started down this path. An equipment malfunction caused a boat I was sailing on to get stuck with the spinnaker up, sailing past the leeward mark for some time in heavy wind. By the time the situation was resolved, the race was all but over, leading to debate on the boat whether to retire and let the race committee get another race started or to pointlessly continue to sail the course for 30 minutes until we would be scored TLE.
Created: 18-Apr-17 17:10
Leo Reise
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • International Judge
0

I understand why race officers want to use this instruction – it saves them the problem of “blowing off” as race when the wind dies suddenly, or they need to run races back to back. The problem with the latter is boats without motors have no choice but to continue to sail to the “new” starting area, in which case to RC must wait for them to get there anyway.

In another event, to get the TLE score, the competitor had to sail through the finish line, which I voiced at the time seemed to defeat the purpose.

One race officer I know had an alternate solution, he wrote and instruction that had an “On Course Finish” (OCF). When the Time Limit expired, his method was to send a boat up the course and assign finishing positions. Boats are normally spread out and claims it was easy to do.

This seemed like a much better method and solved several of the problems previously mentioned and it does give each competitor a finish other than a DNF.

Created: 18-Apr-17 19:25
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Michael,

When I was involved in writing the SI's for our Wed Night series (only PHRF fleets), we took A LOT of time considering the TLE language. This encompassed examining the max course lengths that we experience, average wind speeds and times-to-complete (looking at past results) as well as analysis of the corrected-time variances within each PHRF fleet.

So, to answer your question would require understanding the type of fleet, the breadth of handicap ratings (if handi) and the length of the course.

If it's an OD fleet, the regatta is multiple races per day, and each race is expected to be completed in 1hr or less, then a narrow TLE is reasonable to keep things moving and not normally "unfair" unless the conditions are an outlier.

On the other hand, if there is only 1 race that day (such as in a Wed-night series or a distance race) and you are talking handicaps .. then a far larger latitude needs to be applied so that the slower handicap boats have a chance to correct forward into those who finished within the time-limit. You don't want to find yourself as the PRO/RC TLE'ing a high-PHRF boat when, if scored, would have corrected into the middle of the fleet.

On evening series, you have daylight to consider (and thus safety). In a regatta with multiple races, you have the imperative to get other races in. If those aren't the issues (if it's not just getting the RC to the bar sooner), then I think they time-limits should be very large and accommodating .. if present at all.

Ang
Created: 18-Apr-18 00:06
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
John Allen's syntax issue (which I share) might better be resolved thus:
"... and finishes will be scored Time Limit Expired (TLE) without a hearing and scored points for the finishing place one
more than the number of boats that did finish..."
As to the meat of the matter, 15 minutes seems strict, and only 1 more than finished seems overly generous.
Boats 1, 2, and 3 finish on time but the next twenty boats all score fourth?
Created: 18-Apr-18 00:22
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
If there are large differences in actual times in the fleet then consider extra though smaller division(s) with different courses. Start the faster boats first and give them an extra lap of an island, or add an extra mark or two to extend their course. Remember to try to not overcrowd the finishing line, or to have video to assist if the finishers get overwhelmed by multiple finishers at one time.

One club I sail at has about 60 courses and within them they can have different divisions come from different marks to the finish. The marks your division has to round have your division colour alongside eg R = Red, W = White, G = Green. Marks 1,2 and 3 might be (RWG) mark 4 might be (RW) and mark 5 might only be (R) They also have an Alternate course in each of the 60 or so courses to shorten them for all boats - they just have an A next to the relevant mark where if the Course is eg 27A you go to the finish after the mark with an A after it and don't do the later marks other than the finish line. To me the number of courses is overkill but there really is one for every occasion. We are lucky that in Sydney the forecasting is pretty good and there are live reports from up and down the coast and inland in many directions which are easily accessible so it is very rare that there is actual weather that wasn't taken into account by the time the course boards were displayed at the club or on the start boat.

We probably only have two nights a year when there are DNF's due to expiry of the time limit (we sail 6 months of twilights and 8 months of regular Saturday races. The other 4 months there are Sunday races run by the 3 local clubs yacht clubs which means you get a reasonable winter fleet out of the 3 summer fleets.
Created: 18-Apr-18 00:24
Michael Better
Nationality: United States of America
0
Angelo,

Similar language to my original post is present in the sailing instructions for all of our weekend racing. I understand that beer can / twilight series racing may have priorities that differ from weekend racing, and am mostly concerned with the latter.

Almost all of the races I am talking about are run with windward-leeward courses consisting of four 1 mile to 1.75 mile legs. I, frankly, don't really see the point of time limits in our circumstances. If the wind suddenly dies, the RO is almost always able to shorten the course to get a complete, fair race in. In fact, I see zero instances of a boat being scored TLE in the last two years.
Created: 18-Apr-18 00:27
John Thorne
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0

This instruction seems to state that a boat finishing 15+ minutes after the first boat will be scored TLE even though it is within the 120 minute time limit. Was this intended or is it meant to apply only when the first boat finishes between 105 and 120 minutes?

I think that another problem with this instruction is that of determining who is actually racing at the end of the 15 minute limit. I like Don Becker's proposal for a point penalty based upon the number of finishers plus two.

Created: 18-Apr-21 23:32
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