Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laser ACC Radials; Culture Clash?

The companion event to the Laser ACC Full Rig event, the Laser Radial Atlantic Coast Championship, was held by SSA this past weekend. Another light air event with about half the sailors comprised of juniors. The juniors walked away with the top five placings. In talking to a couple of oldsters competing (oldster here being over 30) I got universal negatives about the number of coach boats employed by the juniors. Comments ranged from "annoying" on the RIB's buzzing about the race course to the snide "I would have done better but I didn't bring my coach with me". Certainly if we conservatively estimate that a coach for the weekend probably cost around $880 to $1000 for their services, I don't think this Opti mentality was appreciated by the weekday working stiff/ Laser weekend warrior.

And then in today's Annapolis evening rag, The Capital , we have this comment by Mike Schmidt, top Master at the Laser Radial ACC,

Schmidt said he has noticed one drawback of competing against younger sailors and that involves a complete disregard for the rules. The Pasadena resident said he has come to accept the fact that fouls will occur constantly and that no one is going to perform penalty circles.

Whew! that is one damning quote, particularly since even regular Laser racing can be like the Wild West.


Jacob D said...

I was also disturbed by the last minute instructions to those with coach support. That just isn't right! Isn't there a FAIR SAILING rule (RRS #2)? The SIs should be written in such a way that this isn't possible.

johnz said...

One kid nearly T-boned me upwind when I was on starboard. I crash tacked as did he a second later. I was awestruck when he kept on sailing happily away.

Later, I nicked a girl's stern when I was on port. I immediately did a 720 but I'm not sure if she knew what I was doing or why.

On the bright side, the mix of age groups provided an opportunity for the kids to show the old farts how to sail fast and for the old farts to show the kids how to earn respect on the racecourse.

Vintage Mothist said...

WE are trying to teach our young sailers here in E City NC to follow the rules. We don't have the big regattas for kids here or YC/school sailing so we don't have the coach problem. Sounds like you need to use the rules on them, i.e. protest them and use it as a teaching event. If they learn that they will lose if they don't follow the rules, maybe the parents will instruct the coaches to teach rules.

Anonymous said...

I am an old fart laser sailor and in those big races with the kids it is clear they do not sail fairly. I have sailed in both Master Midwinters East and Open Midwinters east and the difference is amazing with regard to fair sailing. Kids know the rules, but I would guess that the coaches are teaching how to get away with a foul rather than to accept and pay for it. Kinetics is a good example. The kids allow each other to get away little infractions such as contact at mark roundings. It is a quid pro quo.

While doing race committee in a Opti state championship a few years back, there was one boy who knowingly had a sail that was not class legal (the Dumbo which had a noticeable roach) and sailed the regatta with it anyway. He placed in the top 3 or maybe won it, but no one would protest him. It was the discussion for the entire event. As it turns out, the PRO convinced the boy (and his parents) that he should RAF for the infraction. It was a big deal that took hours to sort out. Most troubling was the parents attitude and argument that even though the boy sailed unfairly, the results should stand because no one protested and it was not the boys place to withdraw for that in todays junior sailing world, it seems that the corinthian standards have given way to "win no matter what"or any edge is a good edge. This seems to be accepted and taught by parents and coaches. I have also witnessed coaches/parents signaling secretly from the coach boat: ie when to tack, or a coming wind shift etc. It makes it much less fun for us old farts who were taught how to sail faily. Sailing, like golf, is a self governing sport and should be taugh as such and cheaters should be admonished. Once a cheat always a cheat in my book.

It seems to me if a sailor has a reputation for sailing fairly and honestly, he/she are much more well regarded by the others on the course.