Feedback on the 2008 European Championship Regatta

Discuss class championship regulations, sailing instructions, umpiring, observing, scoring software, fleet racing systems, forthcoming international events, etc

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Bruce Andersen
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Feedback on the 2008 European Championship Regatta

Post by Bruce Andersen » 28 Oct 2008, 06:51

To all to attended and/or competed in the 2008 European Championship Regatta;

Now that the event is over, please take some time and send my your impressions on what went well and what (if anything) you would suggest for changes in any aspect of the regatta.

These will be compiled and filed for the use of organizers of future large regattas.

Either post your thoughts on this forum or send me a PM.


Robert Grubisa
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Post by Robert Grubisa » 29 Oct 2008, 11:16

Equipment Inspection on IOM European Championship, Dubrovnik, CRO 28/10/2008


Team of four (Robert Grubisa, Lenko Jakelic, Kristina Jakelic and Iva Grubisa) was performing Equipment Inspection on IOM European Championship, Dubrovnik, CRO 2008 for two days before the first racing day. All 70 boats had been inspected.

Certificates, hull identification numbers

Skippers had been asked to present their valid original Certificates. Members of Italian team presented their own version of certificate which is not the same as the template made by the IOM ICA. Some of ITA boats have hull number as well as sail number presented on hulls. Class Rules requires only hull number to be displayed on the hull.

Sailors from Czech Republic (CZE) arrived without the valid IOM certificate because CZE is not IOM ICA member. Some sort of certificate for those skippers from guest countries would help organizers of future International Championship.

Sails, masts, booms, etc

Event limitation marks had been placed on all sails (as well as on foils and hulls). Some sails on boats from CRO, GBR and ITA had not been stamped/signed by the measurer during fundamental measuring. Measurers from mentioned countries, who where present during the Championship have been asked to measure the sails. One of the reasons for such situation was usage of brand new set of sails made by sailmaker who brought them to the event! This practice must be avoided in the future.

Mast Limit marks on dozen rigs was not placed according to the rules. Skippers had been asked to rectify such nonconformities.

Check of the equipment weights

Precise, calibrated scale and calibrated and certified 2kg weight had been used for weight measurement. Special cradle had been made providing fast and accurate weight measurement of fin, rudder and boat with all rigs.

Many boats failed to comply with Class Rule requiring weight of min 4000 g for boat in “ready to sail conditionâ€
Robert Grubisa

Andy Stevenson
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Post by Andy Stevenson » 29 Oct 2008, 17:29

Hi Robert

Thank you for some very interesting feedback. Clear evidence that event measurement is a very important aspect of running a regatta!

It’s also clear that the workload imposed on those responsible for equipment checks at large regattas would be significantly eased if the boats presented for measurement were considerably closer to being within the Class Rules.

I’d be interested in the opinions of anyone interested on how that might be achieved?

Andy Stevenson
"A little pain never hurt anyone!" Sam, aged 11

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Olivier Cohen
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Post by Olivier Cohen » 29 Oct 2008, 18:12

The impressing float tank used by Robert during measurement was far more precise than those used today in France for ex.

My keel was 2mm too deep, and it was tested during french championship without significant modification of the boat.

An idea would be to publish drawings of his tank so any NCA may build the same.

Anyway this would never correct this 25 mm mistake in depth!

Davor CRO 42
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Post by Davor CRO 42 » 02 Nov 2008, 22:26

It was great pleasure in sailing with all of competitors at the 6th Euro championship. A real demonstration of "fair play" from first to last heat.
I am not so shure that all of 8 umpires was able to judge a fast situations that looks much faster then they use to see in full size sailing. Some of them had his first modelyacht championship, and it was realy trouble to adopt at our style of racing. Only chief Umpire: Zoran Grubisa shows his modelsport expirience from begining. But, You could feel their expirience at the "green table room", and much of situation was solved on right way. In second part of the event, they act much, much better. So seams that the best umpires are not so good to modelyacht sailing if they don have expirience in it.
The best sailors shows their skils, and best of them has earn their position at the end.
There was light air.and lot of stream, so some skipers coudn`t find proper trim for those conditions(myself too :oops: ) Probably there could be diferent score in diferent conditions, but the best sailors are always at the top( my opinion).
Davor Duzevic
CRO 42
Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Post by jeffbyerley » 26 Nov 2008, 06:53

Saw Davor's post and had to post this.

My overall impression of the event in Dubrovnik was of a job done well, under the circumstances.
Firstly, if all organizing committees had someone of Davors quality, it would make the job a lot easier.
He was obliging, helpful, and a pure gentleman!.

Social events;
The opening ceremony was very well done, with a host of dignitaries present.
The layday tour of the city and boat trip was well recieved.
The closing/prizegiving function was a great success
Nika, who was the very pleasant and efficient organizer, did a great job.

On to the racing side of it.
Off water facilities were very good. A large tent catered for the skippers and boats.This was very close to the launching area.There was also a bar and eating facilities close to the racing area.

Launching area;
Perhaps on the small side, allowing only about 5 skippers to launch at one time.

Assembly area;
There was not an area where the next fleet on the water could be assembled and launch as soon as posible. There was a wait while the previous fleet were taken out of the water.This was a cause of delay in starting the next race.

Racing area/wind and sea conditions;
The courses were set in an area where only one control position was possible.
The wind which I think was typical for that time of year, was not one that provided ideal racing conditions. Typically there was a breeze in the early morning which allowed 2 or 3 races to be completed,(quite often accompanied with a dose of weed to contend with),and then it would drop out and after some time come in from the opposite direction,
causing a relocation of the buoys,and a wait of perhaps 1 to 1.5 hours.
Together with this wind condition, there was a fair degree of tide drift, either wind or water caused.
From memory only 2 races were completed in winds of more than 5 knots.
With the conditions outlined above we managed to complete only a small number of races over the 6 days.

Race Management;
The PRO did a good job, and with perhaps more assistance in the fleet organizing there could have been more races completed.

Once again this area was the one that caused most comment among the competitors.
I think the factor that was most telling was the fact that the majority of the umpires had no R/C experience.
With the complex situations and number of boats involved, together with the distance/eyesight factor, it appeared that the officials could not make a call.
Some stated to me that they found the eyesight/ judgement needed to make a call was almost too difficult.
Part of this is familiarity with the boats involved which makes it easier to call. This does not happen for some time, and the umpiring does improve towards the end of the event.
Another factor was that it appeared that there was no system initiated for the umpires to follow, eg each umpire having a bunch of boats to follow, say the first five, or second five and so on.
Also the buddy system which was used in Fleetwood for the Marbleheads and in Marseille for the IOM's was not used. This is where skippers not sailing are used as helpers for the umpires, and take down boat numbers of boats involved in incidents, and also confirm penalty turns completed.This allows umpires to observe other boats after making a call.

Since onwater judging was instituted in Croatia in 2001, there have been problems with the system.
I believe that most of these problems are due to the lack of experience in R/C sailing, of the umpires involved.
Part of the solution would be to try and build up a core of umpires with R/C experience. Perhaps even encouraging R/C sailors to take up umpiring.
Also an umpiring guide could be compiled to help event organizers of future championships.

A good event, helped greatly by the goodwill of the hosts and other locals.
Perhaps the racing will not be remembered for being of the highest quality, but still an event worth attending.

Future events;
As someone who has attended just about all the major IOM and Marblehead events worldwide since 1996, I think that I can make a judgement call on these, and my assessment is that of these, 6 events
could be classed as successful in terms of racing/wind conditions.
My opinion would be that future events, especially where there is an option, should be chosen based on priority given to the race/wind conditions. Other factors are important, but should rate lower.

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Post by Alfonso » 26 Nov 2008, 12:08

I agree with Jeff that in future events we have to take care of race/wind conditions. But having said that, what does a good race/wind condition mean?

For me good race/wind conditions means:

1º The wind comes clear from the prevailing wind directions.

2º The venue has a high percentage of days with wind during the period in which the championship will be held.

In my opinion I prefer a venue where you can expect different wind conditions rather than 15 knots easterly wind everyday. Specially because in the last situation we will have to buy boats and sails specially designed for those conditions if we want to be competitive.

3º No weeds in the water.

4º A high control area to have a nice perspective of the boats.

This is very important to avoid contacts between boats and therefore avoid protest, making the job easier for umpires but also for competitors, because I am sure that nobody likes to crash into others and spoil his own and others race.

Even though this point is very important, does anyone remember when our last mayor event with a high control area was? Wasn’t in Vancouver in 2003?

5º Large launching area and close to the racing and assembly areas.

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Post by jeffbyerley » 26 Nov 2008, 13:12

You make good points, and my interpretation of good racing/wind conditions includes all the points you make.

On you point #3, I would suggest that for many skippers outside the Mediteranean area, that having a major championship where there were reliable and reasonably consistent winds, that it would give a different slant to an event, and perhaps they would not have to change their equipment to suit a oneoff event. :lol:

One of the benefits of having a good sailing breeze is the larger number of races that can be held during the 6 or 7 days of competition,enabling those skippers new to that level of sailing, to gain more experience.

Whatever venues are selected for future events lets hope that we can make the experience enjoyable for as large a number of skippers as possible.

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Post by CHATIN Achille » 02 Dec 2008, 12:03

That Dubrovnik EC was my first experience in an ISAF RC international champ.
I enjoyed it very much, in many points :
- very good organisation, special thanks to Davor!
- huge tent for boats
- 7 computers with internet connection one the race place : just like a Press Center, which had very big impact on national forums (at least italian, french an spanish ones), a huge number of rc sailors could follow the event in that way.
- impressive measurement check :!:
- bar & food facilities on the spot were absolutely a plus
- as I speak different languages and like to meet with people, I could talk and exchange ideas with many skippers : the feedback is enormeous for a newcomer to int. regatta.
- the regatta itself :
* wind : mostly very light, in fact it was a summer thermic breeze, it was not supposed to blow in october! As far as I could understand from Davor, that thermic wind simply didn't blow last summer in Dubrovnik.
Furthermore, as far as I heard from sailors, weather year 08 in Med between Tunisia, Sicilia, Ionian and Peloponese have been completely disturbed : strong and too often gales in spring, cold windy summer on western med and hot extremely calm summer except ponctual gales on estearn med, and rainy end of season in Ionian. All of that may explain why we experienced a comeback of the summer in october, in place of rainy S-E little gale or N sector gusty winds.
* the stream was a real problem to deal with, especially with the lack of wind we experienced. With stronger winds it could be different.
* umpiring : obviously they should have RC experience. And they should be assisted by assessors choosen among the skippers. Also dispatch of the fleet between the umpires must be a fact. Furthermore, I am nut sure that so many umpires of international level are needed : it increases the cost for each competitor, quite expensive, and may reduce in the near future the number of applications for International Events (as well as from skippers than organisers)
* skippers controlling area : we were approx. 3.5 meters high (at head level) from water, quite good. but it is exact that the higher we are the better it is.
* 13 races : it is very little :? Could be better by exploiting more quickly the starts when wind was present or coming back ; yes I know, easy to say but hard to do. Anyhow, I would say that for a good race we should have a mini of 8 knots of wind

For working and family reasons, such an event should be organised within a week, or max 8 days. Ideally, races starting monday morning ending by gala dinner on saturday evening. It would make also flight ticket easier, cheaper hotel etc.

That event was a great experience for me, and I'd like to go ahead in these. sorry if I've written some similar things as Alfonso and Jeff, but it means that we share many points of view!


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Post by Zoran » 02 Dec 2008, 14:52

Being a chief umpire on the IOM Europeans and having experience from the major championships in last 11 years as organizer, judge/umpire or competitors, I feel comfortable to give my opinion about umpiring that saw some criticism so far.

I am always for any constructive critics and I don't think that anyone is perfect. There is always place for improvement and we have to learn from each event about racing, judging or measurement and it is good to have reports and exchange of opinions like this. However, let's take a look on some facts about umpiring in Dubrovnik:

- There was an average of 10 -1 5 umpire’s calls in each heat (13 races of 5 heats = 65 heats is around 800 call for whole event
- There were only 16 written protests of which 2 were invalid protests, 6 request for redress and 10 protests boat vs boat
- There was no any RRS 69 case
- There were no calls of two umpires about the same incidents with different decision
- We started with country representative meetings on first days, but there was no interest for such a meeting on day 3 and later from what we concluded that there are no major objections on the umpires’ or RC work. However, I was available all the time for any question or suggestion
- 2 Umpires had radio sailing umpiring experience before, and I can not say that any of remaining 6 umpires had any problem in understanding RC boats behaviour or RRS that is in Part (except 4 boat lengths zone) the same as for other types of boats

I can not see umpiring as such a big failure with only 16 boats written (I remember championships with 60+ protests without umpiring and still 25-30 protest with umpiring). The level of umpiring was higher as event was closer to the end, but also the number of protest or incidents was higher what is normally for any regatta when results are closer towards the end. Furthermore, umpires were giving explanation for any of their calls when asked after the heat.

We discussed and tried different approaches of umpiring during the event. One option is that each umpire follows part of the fleet or other option is that each umpire follows part of the course area. After trying both options we found main particularity of the radio sailing as main limiting factor – everything is happening so fast and it all depends on the course configuration and wind and current direction. On the end it was the most effective way simply for each umpire to scan as much as possible course and fleet that on the end resulted with about 800 calls in total as mentioned above.

But yes, there is still place for improvement. First thing is the most important for the radio sailing – visibility. You can not race, if you can not see your boat. There were incidents were competitors simply could not see their boat covered by other boats and broke a rule without even knowing. Mark touching or overlaps can be seen differently from different places in the control area. Many non racing competitors staying on the stands behind the control area saw some incidents for which neither umpires nor competitors made any call, but I am sure you that if they were in the control area they would differently be not able to see it on that way.

We need a platform that is at least 2 metres above the water level and course to be set to be as less as possible to direct sun light. For those who was there probably will remember the control are in Mar Menor – Murcia for 2000 Marblehead Worlds. We just had an event with Rig 3 sailed all day with 30+ knots of wind where control area was upper deck of the moored boat. Something just as they have on Barbados. This worked very well and I am not sure what would be if we were staying at the water level.

Other main problem is racing system. We may say that under HMS there is possibility to come back in upper heat after one bad result, but still there is too much pressure to stay in heat or not to drop in lower heat and I am sure that number of protest would be even smaller if there is no any promotion and relegation. Is this possible? Yes, and it is working well in some classes.

The system of qualification and final golden, silver, bronze … fleets have neither promotion nor relegation and have following advantages:

- each boat can win each heat she race
- you have to sail to win (not to be 7th by last)
- 80 boats can be divided in 5 heats of 16 boats (what is maximum for good umpiring)
- one or two bad scores can be easily recovered in other races or by discards
- easy way to give redress because of same scoring in each race
- no waiting for protest decisions between heats

The event consists of qualifications and finals. Qualifications can be raced over three days where heats are composed of boats of mixed ability depending on the results of the previous race something like A1, B2, C3, D4, E5, A6, B7 … (letter is heat and number is place). At the end of qualification boats are divided based on the overall results in the final heats in which they are staying by the end of event. Boats in final heat A (golden) are competing for places 1-16, in final heat B (silver) for places 17-32 in final heat C for places 33-48 in final heat D for places 49-64 and in final heat E for places 65-80. Low point scoring system applies for each heat of each race and final score is sum of all scores in qualifications and finals after discards.
Zoran Grubisa
CRO 69

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Olivier Cohen
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Post by Olivier Cohen » 02 Dec 2008, 16:56

The idea of qualification/final races is interesting!

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Post by Alfonso » 06 Dec 2008, 16:04

Zoran, I agree with you that the feedback of competitors, umpires, race officers and organizers is is very important if we want to learn of our mistakes and try to make the next championship better than the previous one.

I also agree with you that umpires make a great job. They all have a very high level and they were always available to listen to you, explain their point of view and try to learn of the specialities of a radiosailing class; and we can not expect that they are able to see all the incident when even the own competitors don't know exactly what has happened.

Therefore I think that the first conclusion where we all agree is that the control area should be as high as possible. My friend Achille has said in this post that we were "3.5 meters high (at head level)". Well I think that neither Torvald was so high :D , and that is the reason why many time spectators could see better than competitors, because they were two meters higher.

You wonder which system is better following part of the fleet or part of the course area. Well I think that the best system is, of course, a mix of them. After the start some of the umpires should control the boats that take the right option and others the boats that go to the left, but after the first mark umpires should follow the fleet. The reason is that we have found very interesting that umpires comment the situation loudly so competitors know what his umpire is watching. For example if CRO 69 and ESP 50 is approaching to the leeward mark, but we are not sure if we were overlapped when we enter into the 4 boatlength it could be very interesting for both of us to know what the umpire saw, because if he says: 69 and 50 are overlapped, then the outside boat know exactly in which moment he is entitled to give mark room to the inside boat and the decision that will be taken in case he push the rules to the limit.

So my proposal for the next event is to ask to umpires to comment the race loudly, they don’t need to shout because competitors will follow their umpire.

Another proposal is to create the figure of the skippers representative, this person should be decided for IOMICA before the start of the event and it can be a member of the Exec, in case he/she take part in the event, subsidiary a member of the WC or the competitor with more experience. The opinion of this skippers representative should be heard in many occasions, but it is specially interesting when setting the course.

The last point is racing system, in your opinion the pressure of promoting or demoting makes competitors to be more aggressive. May be it is true and may be we could try the golden fleet system, but I guess that during the qualification races the pressure will be even higher than with HMS. Particularly I like HMS and I don’t think that this system makes competitors to be more aggressive. What I think we have to change is the “punishment systemâ€

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Post by Lester » 15 Dec 2008, 16:56

We were having a discussion at the pond about the rules and umpiring. Though a couple of sailors said that the racing rules were not really appropriate for radio sailing, we came to some agreement that the rules would never be perfect. Instead, discussion turned to the idea that any set of rules is fairly arbitrary, and that what is more important is whether their usage gives us a game we want to play, rather than to cavil about their exact suitability. In particular, we were concerned with the increasing trend in sport to forget about sportsmanship and fair play and instead to play the game only by the umpire's whistle. That is, to regard the rules as something that need only concern umpires...

We reflected on what a number of (full-size and radio-control) umpires and judges had been saying for the last few years, and it seemed that mostly their suggestions concerned increasing the numbers of umpires or strengthening the umpiring team which watches a heat, as 'the only way' to improve rules adherence. Taking the suggestion to its logical extreme, we wondered what would happen if there were 16 umpires allocated to watch a 16-boat heat. A number of consequences seemed both pretty clear and ironically amusing. First was that this would probably guarantee that sailors would play by their umpire's call and would have or need only the simplest level of rules knowledge. Second, it raised the vision of umpires arguing amongst themselves about incidents and penalties in much the same way that sailors currently do. Hey, these probable outcomes would mean that sailors would be sure to regard the rules as something that need only concern umpires (smile)...

I came away from the pond realising that the current 'best advice' for radio sailing umpiring would make the problem worse, not better.

Instead, let's minimise the umpires. Making that work, I think, requires simply that a penalty called by an umpire is a two-turn penalty. This encourages sailors to take responsibility themselves for rule violations; strongly discourages 'racing to the umpire's whistle'; and encourages sailors to regard the rules as something that actually does concern them... Job done.

(We don't want to return to non-umpired international events, though. I think the quality of racing, and of the events, has been greatly improved by having umpires at world and continental championships.)
Lester Gilbert

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