Saturday, August 29, 2009

Revisiting the Black Flag Start

For the select few that have been following the blog for more than two months, I wrote of a vexatious stint as Vice Chair for the Laser Atlantic Coasts . Shortly after this, my good friend Eric Arens visited from the West Coast. I related our difficulties in controlling the Laser fleet and Eric was quick to tell me how it should have been done. Eric was the PRO for the 2005 Etchells 22 Worlds and it turns out he doesn't believe in using the Black Flag to control those who wish to test the Race Committee on the start line. His solution; a mid line boat with spotters and recorders (with tape recorder backup) looking both port and starboard to the RC boat and leeward end of the line, spotters and recorders on both the RC boat and leeward pin boat looking toward the mid line boat. First start, Eric caught about 15 Etchell's over the line and given the high profile sailors Eric had rounded up (including Dennis Connor) he was duly protested multiple times for redress. He showed up with the tape recorders and the lot of them were thrown out. Needless to say he had few problems for the rest of the regatta.... though Dennis Connor cornered him at a party and groused that he had ruined his regatta.

Ken Legler, PRO for the 2009 OPTI's, has the same philosophy and wrote a short article on it. A very well argued plea and a well thought out plan to capture all the starting line cheaters and throw them all out.

And, oh by the way, did I mention Eric was the PRO for the 1993 International Canoe Worlds and did I mention he scored me OCS on my best race of the series, (he said I was over by about 1-2 feet).

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