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Tangles and Redress for Kite Course Racing

Published on January 23rd, 2014

Unlike sailboat starts, where positioning on the line has to do with boat placement, kiteracers look up for air space. There might be room on the water for their board, but is there room in the sky for their kite?

The issue of tangles exists throughout the race course for kiteracers, which leads to how redress gets handled when one’s finishing position was made significantly worse through no fault of their own.

The Q&A section for course race rules regarding tangles and redress has been updated (Jan. 23, 2014). Additionally, Sailing Instructions can include penalizing offending sailors, with a DSQ (disqualification) for the first tangle caused and a DNE (disqualification, non-discardable) for any subsequent tangle caused.

What is a tangle?

Three different categories of tangles are recognized.

Light Tangle: When the lines of one kite are wrapped around the lines of another kite without one kite going through the lines of the other kite. This type of tangle is usually easily separated when both sailors remain calm and sail their kites in the appropriate direction to unwind the tangle. Usually this can be done in a few seconds if each rider has a good idea on which way to unwind the kites.

Medium Tangle: This can be when one kite goes through the lines of the other kite. This situation is more serious and time consuming. Usually this type of tangle is very hard to correct in just a few seconds as it is very hard to actually sail one kite back out of the lines of the other unless it is done within the first second or two. After that, it is a drawn out swim through the other kiter’s lines which can be very tricky if both riders do not remain calm. Usually this incident takes at least one minute to correct.

Serious tangle: Serious tangles generally happen when kites have been flown together with strong force and high speeds or when one or more of the kites is looping. Rips in kites, broken lines or cuts or other types of injury may occur. These tangles happen seldom and may need immediate attention of the safety crew.

While in many cases only two kites will be involved in a tangle scenario it is also possible for more than two kites to tangle. These multiple kite tangles usually end up being more complicated to solve by the sailors themselves.

What is NOT a tangle?

Any kind of contact between kites that which does not qualify under the definition of tangle above. This includes “bumping” of kites, catching the lines of another kite with the kite tip etc. Even if both kites capsize (kites in the water) as a result of the contact, this is not a tangle.

Note: if both kites remain in the air and are quickly separated, this is not considered a tangle even if there is a slight wrap-around.

When may redress be given?

Redress may only be given if first the competitor could not reasonably have avoided the incident that caused the tangle, and second the competitor’s score has been made significantly worse through no fault of his own.

Redress may then be granted to any kind of tangle outlined above, but not for contact without damage as outlined in the section “What is NOT a tangle”.

If, prior to the incident, there is clear risk of an incident that could cause a tangle that a prudent competitor would anticipate but the competitor fails to do so, or if a competitor through his own actions created a situation that carries the clear risk of an incident that could cause a tangle, then he will be ineligible for redress.

Examples of where redress would not be given include:

– Remaining very close to another kiteboard when there has been the opportunity to increase the separation;

– Looping or otherwise moving the kite when sailing offwind close to another kiteboard.

– Sailing into a gap between two kiteboards that are keeping clear of each other, when the windward kiteboard will then have to move his kite or alter course to continue to keep clear.

In all redress requests, it is the competitor’s responsibility to show that his score has been, through no fault of his own, made significantly worse.

Note: Competitors who may be looking for “trouble”, e.g. to get tangled because they have a bad start or a bad race, and hope to get a better place through an average score, may be subject to a rule 2 or rule 69 hearing (fair sailing or gross misconduct).

What is protest committee policy regarding calculating a redress score?

Protest committee should give redress based on the position of the affected competitor in the race at the moment of the incident, taking into account how long before the finish the incident happened, and resolving any doubt on position against him.

1. If the incident happens late in the race, redress is likely to be based on points as close as possible to the competitor’s position in the race at that moment.
2. If the incident happens early in the race, redress is likely to be based on points equal to the average of the competitor’s points in all races on that day except the race in question.
3. If the incident happens with no other, or only few races sailed on that day, redress is likely to be based on points equal to the average of the competitor’s points in all races in the series, except the race in question. E.g. for a redress in the qualifying series, the races of the qualifying series; for a redress in a single series, average points of all races of the single series. Any carried forward positions, points or scores shall be disregarded.

Any average points calculation will include discarded scores.

Version 13 – January 23, 2014

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