Umpires Obligation?

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nick lin
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Umpires Obligation?

Post by nick lin » 15 Apr 2005, 07:40

If an inexperienced sailor doesn't call an encroaching windward boat to luff out of the way as both are approaching the finish line, does an umpire have any obligation to make the call if he/she is witnessing it?

What about ongoing events as in a windward boat leaning on a slightly behind leeward boat all the way to the finish line? Has the judge an obligation to call it if he/she actually is witnessing it?

I know that the competitors SHOULD call, but what my question is solely about an umpires obligation in these circumstances.

Nick
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awallin
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Post by awallin » 15 Apr 2005, 08:35

see the discussion paper on umpired fleetracing at
http://www.iomclass.org/events/IOMICA_u ... 4Nov28.pdf

and, the proposed rule text at
http://www.iomclass.org/events/Appendix ... 005Feb.pdf


in an incident, if neither boat protests and neither boat takes a penalty then I believe Q4 applies.
Q4 "penalties initiated by umpires" lists the possibilities where an umpire may hail a penalty without the boats protesting:
Q4.2 When a boat
(a) breaks rule 31.1 or 42 and does not take a penalty,
(b) gains an advantage despite taking a penalty,
(c) breaks a rule deliberately,
(d) breaks rule 2,
(e) where the Sailing Instructions so provide, has contact with another
boat and one or both of them does not immediately take a penalty or
acknowledge that she intends to do so, or
(f) fails to take a penalty when required by an umpire,

an umpire may penalize her without a protest by another boat by hailing the
decision Q3.1(c) and describing the penalty, or may report the incident to the
protest committee for action and notify this intention to the competitor
your incident would I guess fall under (e), so it depends what the SIs say.
----------------
Anders Wallin

cfwahl
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Post by cfwahl » 17 Apr 2005, 02:09

I will freely admit that I'm no rules expert, but think about this: if a windward boat is taking advantage, and the leeward skipper does not luff up the offender or hail to keep clear (that is, take action to assert her/his rights), then how is the umpire to determine that advantage has, indeed, been taken? The leeward skipper's intention may have been to sail lower, not maintain course or sail higher. Why should the umpire be expected to assume otherwise?

Now if contact is made, that's another kettle of fish. But the windward boat is only required to stay clear of a leeward boat sailing within her rights, as I understand things.

If we stretch "fair sailing" far enough, then more intelligent sailing, such as choosing a better line, or the faster tack, soon becomes "taking unfair advantage." Where proactive umpiring results in calls being decided more in "real time," thus preventing delays due to protesting and the inevitable haranguing about facts that have already largely faded into oblivion, then that's a good thing. But umpires shouldn't be expected to be babysitters, elementary teachers, or protectors; what they have to do is hard enough as it is. Part of learning to be a better skipper is knowing one's rights, when one has them, when one doesn't, and what to do to assert them. A skipper who is cowed by aggressive sailing isn't going to do very well, and there isn't (and shouldn't be, imho) much remedy for that.
Charles Wahl

nick lin
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Post by nick lin » 17 Apr 2005, 04:42

cfwahl said"But umpires shouldn't be expected to be babysitters.." etc

True, but hear no evil, see no evil? Umpires don't have to be baby sitters in any sport. Just spot infringments and act in the interests of fairness. Unless sailing is different to, say, cricket.

NL

Dan Crowley
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Post by Dan Crowley » 18 Apr 2005, 01:02

nick lin wrote:cfwahl said"But umpires shouldn't be expected to be babysitters.." etc

True, but hear no evil, see no evil? Umpires don't have to be baby sitters in any sport. Just spot infringments and act in the interests of fairness. Unless sailing is different to, say, cricket.

NL
Sailing IS different from cricket.

There is a Corinthian aspect of sailing that puts the onus of knowing and following the rules on us, the sailors.

I have no problem with umps making on the spot decisions when protests are lodged by competitors, but I do have a problem with umpires calling fouls for me. Call me old fashioned.

Roy Thompson
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Post by Roy Thompson » 01 Jul 2005, 12:30

Something else I have noticed is that umpires are very reluctant to react to a call for room or even a proper 'protest' say from a leeward boat who feels that the windward boat isn't giving him enough room -(define room - depends on the wind and water conditions etc..---). In this case the umpire needs to decide 'on the spot' if the windward boat is leaning on (without touching) or crowding the leewad boat - and I have never seen a call go in favor of the leeward boat. 'Umpires aren't there to protect the 'weaker' sailor' - not sure I agree with that but can see the problem of aggresive, wiser or more experienced sailors taking advantage of the loops in the application of the rules.
If there is contact, as you say, it's more obvious, but that's a different story.
Roy Thompson
"WE DON'T SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE, WE SEE THINGS AS WE ARE" A.N.

Steve Landeau
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Post by Steve Landeau » 02 Jul 2005, 03:47

I think we have learned that proactive umpiring is not the way to go. In Fleetwood '02, there were umpires on the opposite side of the course. While this in itself is a separate issue, the principle remains the same: an umpire may not be aware that 2 skippers are communicating with one another. For example: 2 boats sailing away from their skippers, approaching a leeward mark. One boat calls clear ahead, and the other acknowledges. Both boats round and head back up without incident. An umpire sees the issue differently and beleives that the boat behind was actually overlapped inside, and penalizes the lead boat for not giving room, assuming the boat behind slowed to avoid a collision.
This actually happened on more than one occasion and it was not very well accepted. Re-active is the way to go, and a double penalty if an umpire needs to make the call is my preference.
Mr. Wahl is correct. When you reach the level that you are sailing a regatta that has umpires, you better know the rules and be prepared to protect yourself! Really, they are not that hard to understand. They just take a bit of time and desire to know them.
Steve Landeau
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nick lin
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Post by nick lin » 03 Jul 2005, 11:42

Steve said "..Fleetwood '02, there were umpires on the opposite side of the course. " not aware of communication between skipper.

True and obviously not a good idea as confusion is a killer.

But 90% of the time the umps and the sailors are within earshot of each other, so I don't think your example proves that the exception justifies the "rule".

As for sailors knowing the rules (and the nuances and exceptions) well, maybe but it does seem that even the "better" sailors have on course disagreements - with each other. So why should John Doe, new, and maybe at a disadvantage, NOT be protected by an umpires resonsibility to the laws and fair play. If John Doe can't expect the umpire's support, whose support can he expect?

The original example, the ump saw a windward boat lean on a leeward boat all the way to the finish line and said nothing, is clear enough.

The windward boat won. It's on the internet, so it must be true.

Nick
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Steve Landeau
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Post by Steve Landeau » 03 Jul 2005, 17:50

Hi, Nick.
I mentioned the skippers on the other side at Fleetwood as an extreme example, and I'm pretty sure that will not happen again. However, even having judges within the control area is showing inconsistencies. In Spain, there were so many "incident not observed calls" it led many of us wondering. The problem there was that if no decision was made by an umpire, both skippers sailed on, and there was no paper protest later either. Sailing is and hopefully will always be a self policing sport. You MUST learn how to protect yourself, and understand that the protest is a valid part of our game. To take it one step further, if a windward boat is leaning on you, you owe it to everyone else, not just yourself to protest. Because we are all on the same scoresheet in a fleet race, allowing a skipper to foul and sail on is cheating everyone, not just the one boat to leeward. I think many skippers fail to remember that.
One option that I think needs a second look is the possibility of allowing skippers not on the water to be allowed as witnesses. All too often you will have numerous witnesses that saw an incident perfectly clear, but cannot get involved because they are not "on the water". They are, however racing in the same race, and the outcome of said protest does matter. We are all in the same fleet whether we are on the water or not.
Honesty should not be the reason "dry" witnesses are disallowed because if one were dishonest, they would still be just that when they were sailing.
Sorry if I got a bit off topic, but it is somewhat related.
Steve Landeau
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Roy Thompson
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Post by Roy Thompson » 03 Jul 2005, 18:16

One option that I think needs a second look is the possibility of allowing skippers not on the water to be allowed as witnesses. All too often you will have numerous witnesses that saw an incident perfectly clear, but cannot get involved because they are not "on the water". They are, however racing in the same race, and the outcome of said protest does matter. We are all in the same fleet whether we are on the water or not.
Excellent point Steve, I would agrre with you here that anyone in the same event sailing under HMS would be affected and so should have the right to protect his position in the fleet even if not on the water at that moment.
Roy Thompson
"WE DON'T SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE, WE SEE THINGS AS WE ARE" A.N.

nick lin
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Post by nick lin » 04 Jul 2005, 11:32

The original post asked if there was ANY obligation for an umpire to correct an infringment (the example was a windwd boat leaning on a leeward boat all the way to the finish line. The umpire said nothing. The windward boat is listed as the winner).

It seems that the answer is no, none whatsoever.

Steve said "Sailing is and hopefully will always be a self policing sport. "

Well a lot of shouting goes on so something is wrong.

Why have umpires at all? If they serve a purpose, then they should do what umpires in every sport are supposed to do and not hide behind a Corinthian wall of sails. The definition (and purpose) of umpire shouldn't change just because we are sailing.

NL

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Post by Chairman » 04 Jul 2005, 16:43

nick lin wrote:Why have umpires at all? If they serve a purpose, then they should do what umpires in every sport are supposed to do
Hi Nick

I think a very significant part of the problem you see is that, while sailing umpires are called "umpires", they are not the kinds of umpires that other sports call "umpires". Specifically, I can think of no other sport where it is the duty of a competitor to voluntarily take a penalty when they have infringed a rule. In all other sports, you take a penalty when it is imposed upon you by an umpire, and if the umpire doesn't call you, well, you've got away with it and that is all part of the game. Not in sailing.

Might be worth a glance at the IOMICA document on "Umpiring for IOM fleet racing, discussion paper", dated 2004 Nov 28, downloadable from the IOMICA Web site at http://iomclass.org/events.htm
Chairman
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Jeff Kay
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Post by Jeff Kay » 04 Jul 2005, 20:14

A few observations from the Euros in Arcos re umpiring. I was there on hols as an interested onlooker.
  • A number of sailors consistently missed the far weather mark and were not called for it.

    The Umpires did not encourage discussions of overlaps among competitors at the wing/leward marks which often resulted in significant pile ups.

    Some seemed to adopt the approach that if an incident wasnt noticed by an umpire it didn't happen.
Jeff

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Post by nick lin » 05 Jul 2005, 03:11

The Chairman said "..and if the umpire doesn't call you, well, you've got away with it and that is all part of the game. Not in sailing"

And if you are on the losing end of the incident, well the onus is on you to put up with if for not knowing the rules at that point. So the umpire or "umpire" (I'm not sure which) witnessing it before his/her very eyes is under no obligation at all? Doesn't seem kosher to me.

As I have said, my interest was purely about the "umpire's" obligation, nothing else.

Problem is that such an attitude does not protect the less experienced (or simply timid) sailor. Too bad for him/her I guess.

Nick

[Edit to quote by Chairman]

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Post by Chairman » 05 Jul 2005, 05:49

nick lin wrote:So the umpire or "umpire" ... is under no obligation at all?
Hi Nick

Appendix Q, modified for radio sailing (download from IOMICA Web site), provides that
"When a boat protests [and] if no boat takes a penalty, an umpire shall hail a decision"
so an umpire is obliged to react. On the other hand,
"If a boat breaks rule 31.1 or 42 and does not take a penalty, gains an advantage despite taking a penalty, breaks a rule deliberately, breaks rule 2, has contact with another boat [...], or fails to take a penalty when required by an umpire, an umpire may penalize her"
and here the umpire's reaction is not mandatory. Appendix Q sees racing as self-policed, and the umpire's role as supporting (not controlling) the taking of penalties. At it's heart, the RRS requires a sailor to be aggrieved by the rule infraction of another. If a sailor is not aggrieved -- ie does not protest -- well, that is the end of it... Some other umpiring systems for sailing could take a different approach and have the umpires controlling the taking of penalties, but this isn't an approach currently supported by IOMICA.
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Ray Flanigan
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To umpire or not to umpire?

Post by Ray Flanigan » 24 Jul 2005, 20:53

A lot of valid points are being raised in this topic. IMHO an umpire should be there call any infringement which occurs as well as to acknowledge any penalties being done. As soon as the "infringer" is about to do his penalty he should inform an umpire of his intention to do a penalty which the umpire must acknowledge as being done upon completion, this should then lessen the amount of protests being lodged as the umpire has witnessed the penalty.

Also if a call e.g. has been made for a windward boat to sail a proper course/ keep up/keep clear the umpire should be given the powers to call the windward boat as well and if he does not respond to the call by the Umpire he the Umpire should then be able to penalise the infringer i.e. to impose a 360 or whatever the penalty of the day/ event is.
The reason I say the above is that there are times when a less experienced skipper is in a good position to win a race but is then cowed by the more experienced/ more aggressive skipper.
Non sailing skippers should be allowed to be called as a witness as at times they are in a better position to relate to an instance, unless there are enough umpires to shadow each skipper participating in that race which is a physical impossibility, if you have say 15 skippers plus an umpire each plus non sailing skippers plus spectators........hhmmmm no.

All umpires must stay within the area demarcated for the skippers otherwise anarchy will reign supreme, if I am called by an umpire who is
say 10 meters outside the area we are allowed to walk and I am unable to see what I have done wrong inclusive of the person I may have tangled with I will ignore and dispute the fact afterwards.

All above is my opinion, I have officiated at a worlds event, been sailing R/C yachts for a number of years as well as having sailed and raced keel boats, dinghies and catamarans.
I do not want to tread on anyone's toes but some of the rules as regarding umpiring the full size animal cannot be carried over to our particular division and hence need updating.

IanHB
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Post by IanHB » 28 Jul 2005, 09:29

:D In my opinion an umpire has no obligation to call a possible infringment until the skippers involved call each other to avoid contact.
It does not stop that umpire from being ready to voice their decision as soon as it is requested, but I firmly believe that the umpire is simply an observer until responding to a call.
Unless that is, a boat hits or misses a mark, then it is their obligation to call that infringment loud and clear. :shock:
DO IT NOW BEFORE IT`S TOO LATE!

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Post by Roy Thompson » 28 Jul 2005, 10:15

Ian said
Unless that is, a boat hits or misses a mark
I disagree Ian - an umpire should never call a missed mark - that would be outside help and is unfortunately too freequent (both umpires and other competitirs are often heard telling competitors they are going the wrong way round a mark or they have missed it). It is the skippers and only the skippers obligation and responibility to follow the correct course. The umpire should note missed marks (in silience) and report it at the end of the race to the race committee and the boat would be a DNF/DSQ or whatever.
A hit mark - yes should be called and the boat should quickly move away and do his penalty - and I am not in favor of boats doing their penalties by going again around the mark, since it is where the whole fleet has to pass and always causes problems when other boats are approaching.
Roy Thompson
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Post by Roy Thompson » 28 Jul 2005, 10:23

Ray said:
Non sailing skippers should be allowed to be called as a witness as at times
All umpires must stay within the area demarcated for the skippers
This isn't coherent, or maybe I have missed something. Non sailing skippers are not allowed in the control zone (unless acting as observers) but you say umpires must be in the control zone - which do you want, one or the other? A non sailing skipper called as a witness is as 'invalid' if he was 10 metres outside the control zone as an umpire outside the control zone, no?
Roy Thompson
"WE DON'T SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE, WE SEE THINGS AS WE ARE" A.N.

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