Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Trash Talk - new Rule 47 & sail stops

Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
New rule 47 is just a renumbering of the old rule 55 which prohibits intentionally putting trash in the water. I believe this has been interpreted as including sail stops, bands or gaskets used to keep a spinnaker from filling while hoisting. I've seen several instances where sailing instructions have changed rule 55 specifically to exempt "biodegradable materials used to band spinnakers" and I expect that some sailors on some classes of boats would characterize use of such stops in some conditions as a safety matter with no appreciable environmental impact.

But rule 86.1(a) has been changed to disallow changes to rule 47 by prescription and, extending into (b) and (c), by NOR, SI or class rules. So the SI exemption for biodegradable stops is no longer available.

However, rule 47 also states that "the penalty for a breach of this rule may be less than disqualification." Would it be kosher for NOR or SI to state that for a particular event (or class within an event) the penalty for use of biodegradable sail stops would be nothing? Essentially allowing use without changing the rule?

Thoughts? 
Created: 21-Jan-27 19:18

Comments

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
 "biodegradable materials used to band spinnakers"  ... damn ..  and I just cooked a batch of al dente spaghetti for the upcoming season! ;-)
Created: 21-Jan-27 19:28
Charles Darley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Umpire
0
I wonder if an arrangement of bands could be devised which ran up the spinnaker to the head when the sheets were pulled.
Created: 21-Jan-27 19:43
John Christman
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
I don't see any reason that you could not do this, although it is clearly an attempt to get around the intent of the rule.  Perhaps a penalty of a warning might be more palatable.

I've wondered what is defined as 'trash' in this context.  Googling gives a definition of trash as 'discarded matter, refuse'.  Refuse is defined as 'matter thrown away or rejected as worthless, trash'.  Does tossing the last bits of a sandwich into the water break the rule?  Would a piece of string made entirely of coconut fiber be ok?  With your solution you might wind up in a situation where you are forced to try define 'biodegradable'.  There are "biodegradable plastics" that simply break up into very tiny pieces which we are now learning are very bad for the environment but don't really degrade into a material that appears in naturally in the water (although I am not sure Wonder Bread does either :-)).  

I have heard that there are sailmakers who are adding velcro patches on the leeches of sails as an option but I don't know how well this works.
Created: 21-Jan-27 19:50
Rob Overton
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • International Umpire
1
Tim, what a bad idea.  Personally, I think an SI such as you suggest might be viewed, especially on appeal, as changing the rule; but even if not, the reason the rule is unchangeable is that World Sailing regards the principle of not throwing things in the water to be important.  Also, some sailors (I hesitate to say, most) actually try to obey the rules, not because they fear the penalty but because they agree with the principle of Sportsmanship and the Rules.  Such sailors would be disadvantaged by the SI you propose, as they will continue to obey the rule and others won't.  So, let's not do that.

I thought this issue was behind us. Haven't sailmakers figured out ways to comply with this rule?  E.g., stops that are attached to the sail so they don't fly off when  the sail is released, or tethering the stops together so they can be retrieved after they break?  If not, somebody should show some ingenuity and initiative, and solve this problem.
Created: 21-Jan-27 19:54
Paul Miller
Nationality: Sint Maarten (Dutch part)
0
“Lightweight non-synthetic material, yarn, or thread used to band a spinnaker is not ‘trash’ for the purposes of rule 47.”
This does not change the rule.

Created: 21-Jan-27 20:18
Brent Draney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
0
There are good solutions that require no disposable material.  The best one I've used is a breakaway zipper like a lighter weight version of what is on a sailbag sewn into the sail.  They work brilliantly and once you practice with them they are faster to stop than tying string.  There is also no chance of the sail ulcerating between the stops and having a premature open.  Much safer for tacks on a sprit as well.

I support the rule and its time to move on to sails that don't generate trash.
My personal opinion.
Created: 21-Jan-27 20:23
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
I believe there were some ISAF Q&As back in the 2013 timeframe that indicated that ISAF felt that disposable sail stops, even if biodegradable, were considered "trash" for the purposes of (then) rule 55. 

But they also made a point in the Q&A of saying that (back then) an OA or RC could change rule 55 to allow disposable stops - but that in order to comply with the Basic Principle of Environmental Responsibility only biodegradable materials should be exempted.
Created: 21-Jan-27 20:54
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
0
US Appeal 110 - Broken sail stops made of yarn or rubber bands that fall into the water are trash, even if they are biodegradable. Putting sail stops in the water breaks rule 55. The penalty for breaking rule 55 can be less than disqualification.
Created: 21-Jan-27 20:58
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
It is possible to tie the yarn into simple "pad-eyes" of durable thread spaced along one tape and then around the body of the sail.
The yarn remnants can be cleared away occasionally - before the sail starts looking too shaggy.
Similarly thin, weak Velcro straps can be stitched to one tape.
Created: 21-Jan-28 00:54
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Just saw a North Sails webinar and they're saying that zippers are the answer. Can be ordered on new sails or retrofitted. So I guess there's really no good excuse.
Created: 21-Jan-29 02:46
Denis Thompson
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
0
The rules says intentionally puts trash in the water. Surely anyone protesting this would have to prove that it was intentional, If the protested party said the intention was that all the sail stops were to land on the foredeck, that would be sufficient.  Proving intentional would be almost impossible.  This not what the rule was written for and be DFQed for this would be highly unlikely.  Give them a warning and for the second offence, give them a warning and for the third offence, give them a warning etc. etc. 
Created: 21-Feb-01 06:59
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Dennis re: “ If the protested party said the intention was that all the sail stops were to land on the foredeck, that would be sufficient.  Proving intentional would be almost impossible.”

Hmmmm .... that seems to me a bit thin. Sort’a like ....

 “Well, you see, we expected the coal-soot to fall into those buckets we aligned at the base of the smoke stack.”, said Henry Fumée, spokesperson for the power plant. 


Created: 21-Feb-01 13:35
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Proving intentional would be almost impossible

Depends on the standard you're trying to prove to. "Balance of probabilities" likely wouldn't be too difficult to make with most judges, who know that the common expectation is that they will fall in the water or if they do happen to land on deck will probably quickly blow overboard.

Given that WS has previously specified that sail stops, even biodegradable ones, are trash and has now disallowed OAs from changing rule 47 to exempt them, I think this is at least in part what the rule was written for. The issue of sail stops was specifically included in the submission (147-17) that led to the change to 86.1(a).
Created: 21-Feb-01 17:11
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
0
World Sailing Discretionary Penalty Guidelines list breaches of rule 47 as Band 4 breach, which has a starting penalty of DSQ. The starting penalty can be increased or decreased by the Jury depending on the circumstances. Not looking good for the users of sail stops, bands or gaskets for spinnakers! 
Created: 21-Feb-02 00:26
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Gone beyond the role of rules of sailing.
Why not flogging?
Created: 21-Feb-02 01:41
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