ACO MUSTO Skiff World Championships
2012 - Weymouth GBR.
Some thoughts about the 2012
Worlds in Weymouth by the Jury Chairman.
I think I can speak for the whole jury
to say that we really enjoyed the worlds and the friendliness
of the class.
Following some personal comments about
what I observed.
First I really liked the fairness of the
competition with everybody who brakes a rule doing his
Given the size of the fleet I expected a lot more problems
- and screaming - at the first windward mark, but obviously
the class consists of experienced sailors who know the
benefits of fast sailing versus boat to boat incidents.
There are not many classes were a fleet of 100+ boats
in one start will not result in major problems at the
start and the first windward mark.
About Rule 42:
On the first days when the wind was very light and trapezing
wasn't possible, we observed some clear breaches in
Sailors were hooked on and went inward until the boat
heeled with the leeward rack nearly in the water and
then righted it up again. Some repeated that for most
of the beat.
These actions clearly gave the sailors who did it an
As Appendix P did not apply, the only
thing we could have done, would have been to protest,
which then would have ended in a disqualification.
As the general policy of the jury is to not interfere
or protest as long as other competitors are aware of
the infringement and can protest, we decided to not
protest sailors rocking upwind, as it also would have
very likely changed the mood of the event if competitors
get protested and probably disqualified for rocking
in the evening of the first day.
Also despite the clear advantage some competitors gained
by rocking, we did not hear any other competitor complain.
We did not observe any other infringements,
but I can imagine that in just trapezing conditions
- maybe about 8 knots - some sailors would body pump
out of the start to gain some extra speed and height,
similar to what is common in the 470 but also can be
seen in the 29er and 49er in some conditions.
As soon as there is any decent wind, I
don't think the class got any problem with Rule 42.
Apart from hoping to not sail in these
light conditions, I would suggest that Appendix P should
apply at future events, so that the jury can give a
yellow flag if they see infringements like that.
Generally the yellow flag system has a very positive
effect in light wind, as a given penalty takes the advantage
gained away and therefore reduces the incentive to break
Rule 42 on purpose.
Additionally I would suggest to add a
class rule allowing the race committee to use Flag O
and R to switch most parts of Rule 42 on and off.
The easiest class rule would probably be the one of
"When the average wind speed is clearly
over 8 knots across the course the race committee may
signal in accordance with RRS Appendix P5 that pumping,
rocking and ooching are permitted. This changes rules
RRS 42.2(a), RRS 42.2(b), RRS 42.2(c)."
Where the MUSTO Skiff probably
even can stick with the 8 knots. In this version, most
limitations (apart from sculling, paddling etc.) are
lifted from the preparatory signal. So pumping, ooching
and rocking would not be limited. As there is hardly
any advantage of any of these techniques in the Musto Skiff
in some wind, there is no real reason to keep the standard
limitations in place.
Many other classes only let the change take effect after
the start, but I can not see a real reason why it should
not apply before the start.
With Appendix P applying and the class
rule change, the class would reduce the number of people
taking advantage in light wind, while the competitors
don't have to worry about the jury in decent conditions.
The jury was approached after the sailors
forum one night about the problem of sailors on the
run with the gennaker up not being able to see and therefore
avoid boats on the upwind leg.
Obviously a major rule change to do anything
about it would be needed, it probably would need an
Appendix to the Racing Rules for a permanent change.
But in limited circumstances you might be authorized
by World Sailing to change the Rules for an event (see Rule 86.2).
The main hurdle might be to figure out what the class
really want to change, e.g. is it just windward/leeward
or generally add a rule with upwind/downwind right of
The goal would be to find a solution with minimal change
to any other rules, as you also sometimes race with
other classes where the change would not apply and new
sailors in the class obviously don't want to learn a
totally different rule set.
I know that other classes have similar problems, if
not with seeing a boat approaching under the gennaker
then with the windward boat to be unable to luff to
avoid without capsizing.
I guess some starting points for a rule
Is it only about the boat with gennaker not seeing the
boat approaching upwind?
If that is the case, is it on both tacks, e.g. is a
port tack reaching boat unable to see a starboard tack
boat upwind? - I suspect the reaching boat can see the
other on another tack, as they are nearly on a head-on
If it is only about windward/leeward, is it only about
reaching versus upwind, or also if both boats are reaching
and the leeward one is sailing higher?
I personally would think that it is mainly
about rule 11 - windward/leeward while overlapped.
If both boats are upwind, you probably want to stick
with the 'normal' rule that windward has to keep clear,
as otherwise you would change the game at the start
and upwind considerably.
Apart from the gennaker, what is the angle to the true
wind where it is safer to bear off than head up? That
would probably be the course were you want to switch
So changing Rule 11 to something like:
When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, before
the start or if both boats are sailing less than ninety
degrees from the true wind, a windward boat shall keep
clear of a leeward boat.
If one of them after the start sails more than ninety
degrees from the true wind, the leeward boat shall keep
clear of the windward one.
Or you could try to limit it to legs of
When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, before
the start or if both boats are sailing on the same leg
of the course were flying a gennaker is not possible
a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.
If one or both of them are on a leg were flying the
gennaker is possible, the leeward boat shall keep clear
of the windward one.
In both cases you would have to go through
a lot of scenarios to see if there are any incidents
are possible which you don't want to happen, so a lengthy
debate would be needed.
It might also help if you get in contact
with other classes, the Tornado and int. 14 might have
similar problems and maybe have already thought about
a similar rule changes.
After finding a good wording which the
class thinks works well, you would have to go through
World Sailing to get the authorization under Rule 86.2 to try
the changed rule and see if it makes any real difference.
As I already mentioned one morning at
the sailors briefing in Weymouth, it is important to
remember that having right of way does not mean you
don't have to keep a lookout, so if after a rule change
a -then right of way- boat with gennaker hits a boat
upwind and did nothing to avoid, it is possible to still
get penalized under rule 14.
The excuse 'I have not seen her and didn't look because
I had right of way' does never work. On the other hand,
even a call can be an action to avoid collision, so
under the current rules, a right of way boat upwind
should also try to get the attention of a boat coming
down with gennaker, shouting out an identification (name,
color sailnumber) and 'up' or 'down' might help a lot.
I hope these comments are helpful.
your comments on the forum discussion
Note: Paul Manning is following
up with members of the IJ with the view of perhaps running
a test (or demonstration event) where rules would be
modified to address some of these issues
For further information contact;
Rick Perkins: MUSTO Skiff Class Association
t: +44 (0) 7763 133399