July 2015 - Watching The Medal Race - By Lynne Beal, International Judge

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July 2015 - Watching The Medal Race - By Lynne Beal, International Judge

- by Lynne Beal, International Judge

This month we have the Pan-American Games in Toronto, with the sailing run from the RCYC. Sailing is currently scheduled to run from July 12th to July 19th with July 20th as a reserve day. The final races, called medal races, are scheduled for July 19th and 20th. I thought that describing what happens during the umpiring of a medal race would expand members’ understanding and appreciation of events, and Lynne Beal, a member of the club, graciously agreed to provide that explanation. Lynne is an ISAF International Judge who has participated as a judge at many major international events including the 2012 Olympics. She will be a judge at the Pan-American Games this year. Lynne is also chair of the Sail Canada Appeals Committee. – Andrew Alberti.
Some of the most exciting sailing is in the medal races at high-stakes games. We will see this ten times off Sugar Beach in Toronto Harbor for the Pan-American Games in July. Each race will begin with a parade of boats to introduce the competitors.
The racing format for the games, like the Olympics, begins with a fleet-racing series. Following the fleet racing, the top 50 per cent of boats compete in the medal race. Boats carry their points from the fleet racing forward; points from the medal race are then doubled. The excitement mounts when more than three boats are in contention for the gold, silver and bronze medals entering this final race.
Direct judging on the water involves three jury boats that follow the fleet closely. Judges watch the start and then move up the course with the fleet. One goes up the left side, one goes up the right side, and one goes up the middle of the windward leg. They watch for any protests involving the right-of-way rules, and for illegal propulsion. By the time the first boats reach the windward mark, there will be a jury boat stationed at the mark and one on the starboard layline to watch the roundings. The third jury boat will hang back to take the leaders down the course to the leeward mark. If two boats are contesting gold and silver medals, they will be followed by a jury boat from the preparatory signal. If a match race breaks out between two boats, a jury boat will then follow that pair closely while they are in proximity to each other. Judges use their knowledge of the most likely breaches that occur on each leg of the course to guide the positioning of their jury boats.
If a boat signals a protest for a right-of-way rule, the protested boat may take a one-turn penalty. If she does not, judges will signal with a green and white flag if no boat broke a rule, or with a red flag and hail to penalize the boat or boats that broke a rule. The penalized boat must then take a one-turn penalty. If a boat gains an advantage in the race despite taking a penalty, the judges may signal a second penalty with a red flag. The judges may also initiate penalties for illegal propulsion or for hitting the mark. If a boat fails to take a penalty as signaled, the judges may give another penalty. If a boat still fails to take a penalty when the judges have signaled it the second time, they will disqualify the boat by signaling with a black flag.
After the finish, the race committee will post the finishing positions on the signal boat. The display of the red bravo flag starts two minutes for protests to be filed. The rule allowing for redress is deleted, except in the case of giving help to another person or vessel in danger. If any protests are filed, the jury will typically hear them immediately, afloat. No appeals are permitted. Then, with protest time closed, the results of the regatta are final, and the celebration begins.
The medal presentations will follow immediately after the medal race at Sugar Beach. This is a unique opportunity for spectators to see the medal ceremonies. The medal races and metal presentations will give sailing a prominent place in the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games.
Copies of these rules articles along with animated diagrams can be found at www.rcyc.ca > sailing > Know Your Rules.
Posted: 7/1/2015 12:24:38 PM by Andrew Alberti

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This page provides links to a set of articles original published in Kwasind magazine. The versions here include animated diagrams. The original articles can be found within the original magazines which are available online back to January 2007. 

Articles before December 2020 are based on the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-12 or 2013-2016 or 2017-2020 and have not been updated to reflect the changes that apply as of January 2021 with the publication of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-24. A copy of the new rules can be found on sailing.org.
Andrew Alberti has been writing these monthly articles in the Kwasind since early 1997.  They explain the Racing Rules of Sailing. Andrew is an International Judge and National Umpire. He is a member of the Sail Canada Rules and Appeals Committees. The interpretation of the rules contained in the articles is Andrew's and not that of the RCYC or any of the committees he sits on. 

Send your questions to Andrew at [email protected].


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