We Have Got to Tidy Up Our Act…..

We have got to tidy up our act.

I’ve been in the class only for the last few years and having just returned from another F15 event, the Scottish at Loch Lomond, I am continually astounded and disappointed at the blatant disregard for the sailing rules amongst some of the competitors in our class. I have sailed many boats over the years and in my opinion the F15 class is currently the worst for infringements that I have experience of.

From speaking to others it transpires we are “known for it” which is a pretty poor reflection, equally within the class those that push it and continue to infringe are known, and it is just ….. “he always does that”. This cannot be allowed to continue. The rule observation at the Scottish was appalling, I saw many collisions and rule infringements but very few completing turns. Those infringing seem to adopt the approach of if I don’t look at the guy and ignore him it will be okay. Mark rounding’s are a shambles and simple port and starboard incidents are common place.

Amongst some there seems little give and take round the race course, expecting space when in the wrong and giving none when in the right. Do unto others springs to mind…. The few events I have participated in this year have all been similar, except the Europeans when the on the water jury and their whistle perhaps helped improve behaviour, or maybe some of the offenders weren’t there? The simple reply I am sure will be – just protest – and that is often the right thing to do and perhaps we should all do more of it, but is that what we really want in the class, sitting in the jury room?

We all make mistakes on the race course, I know I’ve made plenty all season, acknowledging this by doing turns should be a given but also a simple “thanks” if space is given or needed should be common place – just it isn’t regrettably currently. That way we might all have a better experience on the race course and improve our image to others at the same time. Just a thought…..

Hamish Mackay

4 thoughts on “We Have Got to Tidy Up Our Act…..

  1. Sadly this is far from being a new problem.

    “The standard of rule observance below the top third of the fleet is poor to appalling and, surprisingly, only one protest arose out of the meeting which was for a minor infringement compared to some of the mayhem that arose at the turning marks. This is a feature of the event which BIFFA needs to take on board for the good of the class. If ‘on the water umpiring’ had been used they would have been extremely busy, while of conventional protests had been properly applied the protest committee would still have been sitting on Tuesday!”

    That is the final paragraph of the report on the 1992 Inlands.

    Until class members start to protest, or we start to use on the water umpires (with an interest beyond rule 42), this won’t change. The use of umpires will almost certainly drive up the cost of the events, which may reduce the turnout. Protesting also relies on the the host club being able to find a protest committee that properly understand the rules, which has also been a problem in the past, otherwise the outcome can be a lottery.


    • This is a serious problem and from comments made to me this year there does seem to have been a deterioration in rule knowledge, observance over the last couple of years. For the 2015 Waples Wines northern travellers series we are proposing a coaching element on the Saturday morning of each of the 5 opens and this will include easily managed sections on the rules and their application. This type of education is a good way to “up” the focus on the rules and could be considered by clubs or for other series.

      I would also like to suggest that for our 5 key events ( Northerns, Southerns, Inlands, Scottish, Nationals), we look at on the water umpiring/judging. This is used successfully at team racing events and there is a pool of skilled umpires that at reasonable cost could attend these events. I would suggest that BIFFA (or whatever we are called these days) funds the first year as an experiment.

      • Good idea aobut training,during the Waples Series. However, we need to go back to basics – I would have thought that training on rules should be starting at club level – and this is down to the fleet captains as well as the club.

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