Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Starting Mark

Doug Ryan
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
What part of the starting mark is the official end of the starting line?

We have a round ball as a starting “pin”.  Looking down the line from the pre start side of the RC flag staff, a boat had its bow directly in line with the center of the “pin” ball.  Is she OCS because she was over the line to the pre-start side of the ball?  Starting clear because half the ball was still visible when the start horn/flag was sounded/dropped?  Does the RC need to sight to the middle of the ball which is the hardest position to actually determine?

Curious as I have not faced this situation before.  We can find nothing in RRS on this and there are no appeals we can find as OCS is not something you can protest.

Interests in your thoughts.  


Created: 22-Aug-11 17:32

Comments

Greg Dargavel
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • National Judge
2
It is your SIs job to define this for you. Usually it is defined as the course side of the object serving as pin. 
Created: 22-Aug-11 17:54
P
John Porter
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Club Race Officer
3
Best practice is to write your sailing instructions using appendix LG. That says:

 12.3 J2.1(5)* [The starting line is between staffs displaying orange flags on the starting marks.][The starting line is between a staff displaying an orange flag on the [starting mark][signal vessel] at the starboard end and the course side of the port-end starting mark.][The starting line is .] See RRS Race Signals Orange flag 

As such, it sounds like your text would be: The starting line is between a staff displaying an orange flag on the signal vessel at the starboard end and the course side of the port-end starting mark. 

That would make your line the upwind side of the mark. 
Created: 22-Aug-11 17:56
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Defining the starting line with the course side of the pin is a relatively new trend.
However, it makes no sense for tetrahedron buoys in choppy seas where the course side (the windward corner of the base of the tetrahedron) is not visible.
Nor does it make sense for any buoy distant from the line caller. In these cases, the midpoint (= the top) is a better target.
Define the line in your sailing instructions as you see fit!
Created: 22-Aug-11 18:40
Roger Strube
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • National Classifier
2
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not." - Albert Einstein 
On the course side is the operative wording. "The course side," in practice, is the part of the mark usually to windward the RO can see (or estimate at the start of an offshore race with 6' seas running), instantaneously at the starting gun/whistle. This is an eyeball, judgement call, sometimes made on a very unstable platform, in less than two seconds. If the RO, with her/his eyeball on the signal boat line flag staff, sees any portion of the mark at the gun, the boat is not on the course side. If the mark is covered by the bow, the boat is on the course side, "over the line." Don't blink.
Created: 22-Aug-11 19:56
David Hubbard
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0
Also, which side of the pin flag staff on the committee boat used to sight the pin matters a lot. I was taught to just be as consistent as possible when sighting the line and use the course side.  And I agree with the others that the boat would have to pass the mark to be OCS.  Not the middle of it.  And since motion could vary from boat to boat, I was also told to try and be fair when sighting the line. So since nothing is exact to a few inches on the water, the RC should use some discretion. Although you cannot 'protest', you could argue for 'redress' I believe. But I suspect your time limit for that one has expired.
Created: 22-Aug-11 20:28
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
"Course side"  of the mark is not a relatively new trend - it's been around for at least 10 years.  It was first included in the 2013-2016 RRS Appendix L.

It's why tetrahedrons - with a constantly changing course side / non-vertical aspect as they rotate - are less than ideal as starting marks.  Cylinders or spheres ("tomatoes") are much better.  An anchored boat with a flag/staff is the best - plus you have another set of eyes on the line. 
Created: 22-Aug-11 21:06
Michael Moradzadeh
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0
I tend to think of this as the "be generous" rule. For starting, they are not in trouble till they are past the most courseward edge of the pin. If the boats are passing from your left to your right, it would therefore be the RIGHT edge.  Conversely for finishing, they finish as soon as they cross the LEFT edge, if passing from left to right.
Created: 22-Aug-11 21:31
Michael Moradzadeh
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0

As to whether tetrahedrons, cylinders, or flagstaffs are better, A tetrahedron, like a sphere, is very unlikely to pitch such that it moves its line. A cylinder or staff can readily lean out over its own footprint, which might be confusing. Especially if you run your races outside. In the wind.
Created: 22-Aug-11 21:33
P
Paul Miller
Nationality: Sint Maarten (Dutch part)
2
Read the world sailing guidance for principal events and you will find the answer is not to be pedantic on this point and to use the ‘wide line’ concept.
Created: 22-Aug-11 23:17
Jerry Thompson
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Paul, I am having trouble finding the World Sailing guidance on principal events that you refer to.  Would you please share a link to the document?
Thank you.
Jerry
Created: 22-Aug-12 12:51
[You must be signed in to add a comment]
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more