Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Is "Impulse Pumping" illegal?

Al Sargent
Nationality: United States of America

Sailing World published an article by James Lyne that advocates a technique called "impulse pumping" that appears to violate Rule 42.3(c). What do the rest of you think?

The article link: https://www.sailingworld.com/efficient-pumping

The text describing Impulse Pumping is:

Now you’re surfing down the wave, but sooner or later, you start decelerating. It’s like the wave is accelerating compared to your speed, but in reality, you’re just slowing down. This is the time to give a short, snappy pump — one that gives just enough impulse to flick the mainsail and asymmetric spinnaker leech, imparting enough energy to reaccelerate and continue riding down the wave. Returning to my bird analogy, once it’s flying, it just needs small, tip-of-the-wing ­movements to keep it going. When we’re using the impulse pump, we already have a lot of kinetic energy going because we’re planing; all we’re trying to do is match that speed.

Unless you're in a class that has relaxed rules around pumping, such as a Finn or Melges 20, this would seem to violate Rule 42.3(c)... 

Except on a beat to windward, when surfing (rapidly accelerating down the front of a wave) or planing is possible, the boat’s crew may pull in any sail in order to initiate surfing or planing, but each sail may be pulled in only once for each wave or gust of wind.

... because the boat is already surfing or planing, and the Impulse Pump is a small flick to keep the boat surfing a bit longer.

Not to belabor the point, but the Impulse Pump also seems to be prohibited action PUMP 12 (Pumping the sail when already surfing or planing) in the Laser Umpire Rule 42 Guidelines: http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/Rule42Laser201320032014-%5B16804%5D.pdf

Please let me know if you agree with this assessment. Given the influence of Sailing World, at least in the US, it doesn't seem like we're doing ourselves any favors as a sport by advocating techniques that are against the rules in most events.

Created: 19-Jan-24 17:47

Comments

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0

In prep for doing my first on-the-water Rule 42 monitoring, I downloaded a 2014 WS Rule 42 Quiz.  Here is Q12 and Q13 with answers.

12: To initiate surfing or planing a boat’s crew can pull any sail.

TRUE: RRS 42.3(c) You can pull any sail once but only to initiate surfing or planing 

13: A boat’s crew is permitted to pump to initiate surfing when she is already planing. 

FALSE: PUMP 12

I think you are correct to point-out this specific text (emphasis added).. 

" .. When we’re using the impulse pump, we already have a lot of kinetic energy going because we’re planing; all we’re trying to do is match that speed."

PS ... 

I posted the question to the author in the articles comment section.  Let's see what the author's POV is.

Created: 19-Jan-24 18:43
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0

Absolutely agree on both points and was on the verge of penning a reply to SW.

Consider also the author's "reverse pump" (easing sheets and quickly stopping them) which creates the same leech flick as an impulse pump. While it does not seem to meet the definition of a pump, it creates the same tell-tale flick of the sail that judges look for. This may become a standard defense argument.

Created: 19-Jan-24 19:03
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0

Philip .. 

Consider also the author's "reverse pump" (easing sheets and quickly stopping them) which creates the same leech flick as an impulse pump. While it does not seem to meet the definition of a pump, it creates the same tell-tale flick of the sail that judges look for ..

Pump 4 A flick of a sail resulting from the sudden stopping of an eased sheet is permitted.

WS Interpretations of Rule 42, Propulsion

Created: 19-Jan-24 19:45
Nigel Vick
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Umpire
0

I agree that what is described is illegal - however, I would say that it is because it is a pump af the sail which is intended to maintain planing, and this is not in the exceptions.

I have great difficulty with the guidelines, as I cannot see why a pump to initiate surfing is illegal even when you are planing. Since a surf is described as "rapidly accelerating down the front of a wave". This can happen even when a boat, particularly a light boat such as a laser, is planing. The rule says a pump is legal to initiate surfing or planing. I fail to see why the fact that you are planing makes it impossible to surf.

However, I have never liked rule 42, as too often it is a matter of opinion and it is very difficult to get a decent view of exactly what the sailors are up to. 

Created: 19-Jan-25 11:31
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0

Nigel, when I read the description of 'Impulse Pump' carefully in the article, what I saw him describing is a boat already surfing in a wave.  He describes using the 'Impulse Pump' to give the boat a kick to keep surfing as the boat oscillates within the wave (fighting the tendency for the boat to accelerate past the wave and loose it's energy).

In the context of the entire article, this is after a pump which he describes as a 'Rowing Stroke' to catch the wave in the first place .. so how I read the article, it was either/both  a 2nd pump on the same wave and/or a pump while already surfing.

I couldn't open the article to site it specifically while I write this comment as I can't open Sailingworld's website for some reason.

The first sentence under 'Impulse Pump' (following the Rowing Stroke to catch the wave and initate surfing) is .. 

"Now you’re surfing down the wave, but sooner or later, you start decelerating.It’s like the wave is accelerating compared to your speed, but in reality, you’re just slowing down. "

I did post a comment on the article asking the author to explain how what he as suggesting was in accorance with the rules.  I'll be interested in seeing that response.

Ang

Created: 19-Jan-25 15:29
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0

Nigel .. you said ..

"However, I have never liked rule 42, as too often it is a matter of opinion and it is very difficult to get a decent view of exactly what the sailors are up to. "

Are you suggesting that it should be gone all together?  If not, what would you put in it's place or how would you see altering it?

Ang

Created: 19-Jan-28 16:45
Nigel Vick
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Umpire
0

Angelo,

Personally, I would do away with it alltogether. It would do wonders for the bar profits with light boats.The local culture would take care of things.

I am sure that some classes might decide to keep it or set minimum windspeeds for racing. There might be more use of the "O" Flag - although I suspect most local sailing would not use it but I suspect that they are not very het up about rule 42 anyway.

Meanwhile, I will continue to try and enforce the rule to the best of my ability.

Created: 19-Jan-28 18:15
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0

Nigel, when I think what Windsurf racing looks like and what Finn racing looks like when 42 is turned-off .. it's almost a different sport (.. and my shoulders are hurting just thinking about it.) :-)

Ang

Created: 19-Jan-28 19:02
Clark Chapin
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Club Race Officer
1

As I believe Paul Henderson said, "Watching the start of a windsurfing race is like seeing a firecracker set off in a flock of butterflies."

Created: 19-Jan-31 01:29
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