From Herb Motley
Published on October 4th, 2012
Another element of sailing silos (Scuttlebutt 3688) is the approach to the Racing Rules. And I’m not complaining about the various changes over the past 15 years, here, though the attempt to make rules uniform for fleet racing and match racing and team racing don’t reflect the different nature of those three events.
Much more important is the approach to the rules as an aggressive tactic which has now crept up from the college ranks to the “adults” we find on the course today. The RRS evolved from the Rules of the Road designed to avoid collisions and damage to boats and people. The old fashioned idea was to sail your boat fast on the best course to get there before your competitors. The rules were there to keep you out of trouble.
Too often today, the rules are used as a tactical weapon whereby you place your boat in position to cause your competitor to foul you and take a penalty, giving you an advantage. This frequently is combined with loud, sometimes abusive, verbal hails to establish the point of law.
Is this fun? Does this promote enjoyment of a day on the water sailing against other boats? Does this attitude have anything to do with fleets which had 30 boats on the line shrinking to 3?