Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

General Recall or "X"

Juan Carlos Soneyra
Nationality: Argentina
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
  • National Umpire
  • National Judge
At the starting moment of a race of seven boats Soto 33 class, five of them are OCS and clearly identified.
Should I display a General Recall or just an individual recall?
Created: 17-Sep-26 13:24

Comments

Oddvar Larsen
Nationality: Norway
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I meen individual recall! But I know that many use general recall. But I like when race comitee do it.
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:00
David Wilber
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
2
If the starting line was fair and it was the fault of the 5 boats to be OCS, then I have acted using the X flag.  If the starting infractions were caused by a mistake of the RC, then I have used the General Recall method of restarting the fleet.  My feeling about using the X flag is that if two boats started correctly, why should they be penalized by recalling them with the OCS boats using the General Recall.
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:02
John Culter
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
1
Sounds like club racing to me. In which case a general recall is a better option. If it's a major championship and you are absolutely satisfied with your line and your timing, then OCS. Perhaps a better option would be AP just before the start, then restart.
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:29
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
John is right - the flag you use depends on the level of the event.  If it's just club racing, get them all back and try again.  You need to use common sense.
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:45
Stephen Ouellette
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I agree with David-why penalize the boats starting correctly?  But it really depends on whether the start was fair-if the line was not set squarely or some otrher RC issue affected the start, for example causing all boats at one end in a clump, I might signal a general recall.  If the fleet is just being agressive, i would signal individual recall for all boats OCS, and then consdier starting using an I flag in the next race.  
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:47
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
2
Rule 29.2 is very clear. It only allows two circumstances under which a general recall can take place, if there are unidentified starters or if there has been an error in the starting procedure. If neither of these conditions are present (as in this case) then there simply is no rule that permits a general recall to be signalled and to do so would be an improper action.

There seems to be an attitude in some circles that the RO has discretion in  these matters and if s/he thinks that they would get a better race by ignoring the rules then they can. Rule 84 states quite clearly that all race officials are governed by the rules as defined. If the rules say you can't signal a general recall then you can't.
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:51
John Fox
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
2
If the line is bad or the RC makes an error, I AP before the start.  When it is an agressive fleet,  I prefer to use  the X-flag and hail numbers regardless of how many boats are over. Once the fleet learns that you are not going to general, they get a lot better about starting correctly.
Created: 17-Sep-26 14:59
Doug Bailey
Nationality: United States of America
0
Perhaps one other thing to consider would be the consequences of the OCS boats on the fleet behind. Those guys have to slow down and stay out of the way - which is not easy in a crowded start area. Inexperienced drivers can foul other boats causing even more chaos and unfairness. I would tend to agree with Bill that the rule is clear and the letter of the rule should be followed for regattas that matter, but I like Matt's "discretion" for club racing; I'd probably call everyone back and have another go at it.

 
Created: 17-Sep-26 15:05
Stephen Ouellette
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Well, true, the rule 22 does limit the use of the General Recall to a few items, but I am not sure how different it is to hoist the abandonement flag versus the general recall at the start.  If, as the race starts a condition occurs which makes the race fundamentally unfair-a large vessel wandeers into the starting area affecting a small number of competitors, a significant wind shift, or a mid-line mark boat goes adrfit-I don't really see how flying the General Recall is any different than flying an abandonement-one notifies the reracers the race is abandoned. the other notifies them to return to re-start the race.  I don't see how any competitor can claim redress by the flying of one versus the other..
Created: 17-Sep-26 15:07
David Henshall
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
0
Bill Handley is spot on - there is a clear ruling on this. If you can identify the boats starting correctly, then the rest are OCS. 
That said - was there a reason, other than buck fever, why the 5 boats were all OCS. Although the RO has to make a call in a very quick timescale, this situation would have been developing in the last 30 seconds or so, giving you the option of a very late drop back to AP. But if the line and the start sequence were all good, then X it has to be!
Created: 17-Sep-26 15:29
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
Stephen - To my mind the key difference is the reason that you are taking the action. If you abandon under rule 32.1 there are three specific circumstances (a-c) and then the general catch all in d of "for any other reason directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition". When abandoning for the type of reasons you give the RO is acting under this rule (d) which gives a fairly large amount of discretion.
Rule 29.2 is very specific and either the conditions that allow for a general recall exist or they don't. If a RO signals a general recall when the conditions aren't met it's an improper action. I don't think you could get round the situation by abandoning a race in the circumstances described as in the absence of a starting procedure error (and I am assuming that) then the race continuing with flag X having been used neither affects the the safety nor the fairness of the competition, it is allowing a perfectly fair race to continue. Abandoning for that reason alone would to my mind also be an improper action and the boats that started correctly would have a good case for redress under rule 62
Created: 17-Sep-26 15:31
Warren Collier
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Technically X-flag was the right call for this situation. To echo another comment-why penalize fair starters if RC didn't do anything wrong. AP or abandon only if RC has messed something up or a 90 degree wind shift has occurred making the leg out of whack. Then go to I flag for next start. As to next level of starters they need to stay out of the way until their warning signal. As to club racing vs. championship racing - rules are the same so....they need to follow them. 
Created: 17-Sep-26 22:25
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
I think everyone is in violent agreement that an individual recall is the technically correct call. However, I would argue that when 5 of 7 boats are OCS and a significant number of them do not return to start correctly, then the fairness of the race has been compromised.  Nobody wants to race against (or be interfered with) competitors who, no matter how they finish, will receive a score of OCS.  (Cases 31 and 34 notwithstanding.)

And while the rules are the same in club and championship racing, the competitors are not.
Created: 17-Sep-26 23:42
Ted Jones
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
1
I'm curious about the difference between a championship and "local" racing. To the local racers, their race is just as important. Maybe more so to them. Keep in mind that local racing is the backbone of sail racing. That said, if all else has been completed fairly and correctly by RC, "X" flag and call the individual boats per the RRS. Or a varient of one of the best RC calls I have heard. "All boats are OCS except sail 000." They were able to identify the one boat not OCS and told everyone else to go back. Why penalise the boat that did it the right way?
Created: 17-Oct-01 15:07
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Agree with Ted regarding local sailors. Why reward the over-aggressive sailors week after week and spoil the sport for the remaining sailors.
But also at Majors: A huge fleet at important regattas will often see U or Black Flag resulting in instant death. So why not impose the instant near-death of OCS by being prepared to reverse-identify OCS boats by collecting (subtracting) sail numbers of valid starters? Especially if RC does not have to hail OCS numbers.
I have assisted calling lines of over 100 Optis and been able to clearly identify all eight to twelve valid starters. (Sadly it was not my call to make.)
Created: 18-Jan-03 02:21
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