SAP 505 World Championship

Before we got going today, Howie and I had to deal with something from yesterday. It was a complicated issue that has to do with Gate Starts. I will try to explain. If you are out of patience for today better close this email now.

To try to make it simple, we were first disqualified by the Race Committee for a rule that prohibits boats from “interfering” with the “Rabbit” or the “Guard Boat”. In a “Gate Start” one of the racing boats starts at the single starting buoy, at the designated start time, on port tack sailing upwind. A “Guard Boat” follows about 2 boat lengths behind. All racing boats have to pass behind the Guard boat in order to start.

Once we came ashore, the race committee notified us we would be disqualified from the race because we made contact with the Guard Boat and therefore “interfered”. The contact was apparently a piece of clothing brushing the tube of the guard boat. We did not think we had made contact but in any case, we did not believe we interfered with any part of this operation as we did not cause either of them to alter course or speed. So we requested redress and were reinstated in 6th place which was our finishing position. Then a German team protested us saying that we hit the guard boat 2 feet from the stern. This surely did not happen as we would have stopped dead in the water. But that protest was dismissed before the hearing as the Germans, who started right just to windward of us, never informed us that they were protesting us which is a requirement for a protest to be valid.

The thing that was odd to me was that through it all, no one ever asked if we performed a 360 penalty turn for hitting a mark. Of course we would not have because we did not know we had made contact. So I started to think that the Guard boat was not a mark. I mean the last “Gate Start” I was in was in 1979. Can’t really remember and Howie is not a great one for rules. He just likes to go fast… a skiff sailor at heart. He never protests and never goes to the room.

So we were back in and left the club for the night. When I got home, something wasn’t sitting right in my stomach. I reread the S.I.’s, Notice of Race, 505 Class Guidelines etc. trying to figure it out. I came to the conclusion that the Guard boat IS a mark and we should have performed a 360 penalty turn.

This issue never got vetted as the Germans protest was dismissed. Still, Howie and I agreed this morning that we had fouled. So we withdrew from Race number 3 when we got down to the club.

With that behind us, we headed out to the double header (two races). In the first one was good, finishing 7th or so. We were deep again at the top mark, probably 25th, and we ground our way back. In the second one, we got to the top mark in our usual 25th and started to grind people. Somewhere after the first lap, the gasket that seals the center board case from the water at the bottom of the hull, got inverted and we had a mini Fountain of Youth going into our boat for the remainder of the race. The fountain was beautiful but it is slow as there is a lot of drag associated. We then broke our port pole launcher so that hurt as well. Anyway we finished about 12th.

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson got two bullets and not by just a little. 2 minutes over second place was about the average lead they had. These guys are in another league in 20+ knot of wind.

Lay day tomorrow. That is good as I need to go to Longs and get another pallet of Advil and four massages.

It is a blast out there. The boats just rip and I so glad I am revisiting this great class!

Teeing it up again on Thursday through Saturday.