Monday, November 29, 2021
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Advantage....what does it mean?

RRSImageIn the main body of the RRS (Rule 44.1), a boat infringing a rule and gaining an advantage is required to retire from the race – no alternative penalty is available at all.

Many radio sailors thought that was harsh. Some years ago, the ISAF-RSD Rules Committee attempted to build an alternative penalty for this situation into Appendix E. The resultant rule is Appendix E 4.3(b). This has been in place for a few rules revisions (about 3 or 4 I think) and continues to give problems as the rule is poorly understood.

I have copied Rule E4.3(b) here:

E4.3 Taking a Penalty

Rule 44.1 is changed to:

A boat may take a One-Turn Penalty when she may have broken one or more rules of Part 2, or rule 31, in an incident while racing.


(a) when she may have broken a rule of Part 2 and rule 31 in the same incident she need not take the penalty for breaking rule 31;

(b) if the boat gained an advantage in the heat or race by her breach despite taking a penalty, her penalty shall be additional One-Turn Penalties until her advantage is lost;

There are two main changes to the rule in the new version (2021-2024) of Appendix E compared to the 2017-2020 version as follows:

The old rule said “significant advantage” - the new rule simply states “advantage” thereby removing the inconsistency that the word significant implied.
The old rule was unclear about how many turns were required – the new rule makes it clear that turns must be done until the advantage no longer exists (therefore clear that multiple turns may be required).
Despite these two changes, the fundamental intent of the rule has not altered from the previous versions.

I am on the World Sailing Appendix E working party and we have been working on writing a Call for this rule for the new version of the Radio Sailing Call book. The Call Book is designed to provide explanations and examples of the application of the rules. Rule E4.3(b) has caused quite a few interesting conversations! The Radio Sailing Call Book has been essentially completed at the WS Appendix E working party and is about to be presented to the Rules Committee of World Sailing for official adoption.

Now – the part of the rule that most people do not understand or get right:

The rule does not talk about disadvantage at all.
Disadvantage is not implied in the rule at all.
The rule only talks about gaining an advantage in the heat or race.

The rule states clearly that it applies when a boat has received an advantage in the heat or race. The reference point for this advantage therefore is “in the heat or race”. So to establish whether there is an advantage in the race, you need to look at the position of the infringing boat in the heat or race – not the relative position between the boats involved in the infringement. There is no reference in Appendix E to the “disadvantaged” boat at all.

The problem we have been grappling with is how to define “advantage”. There are a number of slightly different meanings of the word depending on which dictionary you read, and these different meanings place a different complexion on the rule. Some indicate that an advantage is a better position, and others indicate a greater chance of success.

In terms of the application of the rule, “advantage” is measured by establishing what position in the race the infringing boat would have been, if that boat did not infringe a rule, and comparing that to the position the boat actually is after the infringement and penalty  The following text is copied from the draft version of the Radio Sailing Call Book which is about to be submitted to World Sailing for approval:

If despite taking a penalty a boat is, as a result of her breach, in a better position in the heat or the race than she was before the incident, or in a better place than she would have been had she not broken a rule, then she is required to take additional One-Turn penalties until her advantage is lost. The relative position in the heat or the race of the boat that broke a rule and the boat that was infringed is not  taken into account when evaluating whether an advantage has been gained. 

So for example, in a port/starboard infringement, if a port boat ducked the starboard boat, it might have lost one place in the race. If the port boat hit the starboard boat, did it’s turn and lost two or more places as a result, then the infringing boat has not gained an advantage in the race – or in other words – a better place in the race, or a better chance of success. The rule pays no regard to the outcome for the infringed boat.

Many skippers apply the concept from motor racing, where a car might have to allow another car that it infringed to get in front before continuing to race. Sailing Rules are different – there is no allowance or consideration of the boat that was infringed in E4.3(b). The ability for the infringed boat to seek redress or compensation is contained in other parts of the Racing Rules of Sailing – not in this particular rule. They can apply for redress under certain conditions.

The primary example of what the rule is intended to deal with, is the boat which barges in on port at a windward mark – a port tack boat enters the zone, crash tacks onto starboard, hitting both the mark and a starboard boat, completes a penalty and sails on losing maybe one or two places in the race. If that boat had not infringed, they might have had to take 6 or 8 transoms before tacking on to starboard, and therefore lost 6 or 8 places in the race. In this incident, the boat has clearly gained an advantage in the race, and should continue to sail penalty circles until those gains have been negated.

The second point is that the advantage has to be caused “by her breach despite taking a penalty”. Therefore, if an infringed boat is poorly handled after the incident, or gets into some other difficulty, the advantage cannot be assessed as a result of these other things. The advantage can only be measured as a result of the breach despite taking the penalty, and is assessed against the position in the heat or race.

I wonder whether this explanation casts any different light on your understanding of the rule? The reason I ask, is that this is a test of what the World Sailing Appendix E Committee have come up with by way of explanation. Many skippers still think of the rule in terms of disadvantage, but there is no mention of that in the rule. You can only apply what is written – not what you think should be, or could be written. Some might event think that the rule is wrong – but that doesn’t change it, and if you participate in radio sailing under Appendix E – that is what you have to work with.

In terms of policing – there would need to be a protest by the skipper of the boat/s infringed in the incident if the skipper believes that the infringing boat gained an advantage in the race despite her breach and penalty. At that protest, the onus would be on the infringing skipper to establish that he/she did not improve his/her position in the race compared to the position they would have been in if they had abided by the Racing Rules.

I think the first thing to do in understanding this rule is to ignore any thoughts of “disadvantage” to the infringed boat and that hopefully recalibrates your perception of how the rule operates.

Glenn Dawson, member of the World Sailing Appendix E Radio Sailing Racing Rules working party.



Record 10 Rater Fleet on the Gold Coast

10R Pic2 Sm31st of January 2021

After what seemed like a very long wait, these formula 1 boats were finally let loose on the water.  Twenty (20) boats registered nineteen attended  and I am pretty sure there were still 18 boats on the water at the end of the day.  This result showed the importance of this event with everyone putting plenty of effort into preparing the boats. 

The Emerald lakes club did an awesome job of the event with plenty of shade and volunteers to keep everyone in check.   The event was expertly PRO'd by Bill Clancy.  After much discussion leading up to the day, a 2 fleet system was used to prevent possible damage to boats and chaos on the start line.  At the end of the day this decision by Bill proved to be the correct one.

Racing proved to be very competitive with nearly every boat at some time during the day visiting B fleet.

Greg Torpy was convincing in his win as always and was only challenged from time to time.  Geoff Morris only having sailed in this fleet for a very short time did well with a 4th with only a count-back keeping him from taking third place from Frank Russell with John Musgrave in second.  With only 1 point between second and third a tie for third place only 3 points between 6th and 7th a tie for 7th place and then only a few points between places after that

A surprising number of spectators watched the event and saw the very professional way the competitors, volunteers and others conducted themselves on and off the water.

10RlongThis is a record breaking event.  No one can remember the last time a regional 10R event attracted this many entries, if ever.  The need to go to two fleets for 10R's is unprecedented  in Queensland for anything but a National Championship.

Five different Queensland clubs shared the top 5 places demonstrating that the 10R's are breeding in the State.  A number of new boats are coming onto the water and the level of competition improving.  We will look at putting on some more events to cater for the growth in this class in the near future.

Results HERE

So you couldn't be there?  Watch the racing here.  Visit the channel and subscribe or use the icon top right to select from the playlist.


Trevor Fisher

Queensland Classes Coordinator



The Coomera Cup is GO!

RegattaLakeStartIOMs at Regatta Lake16 January 2021

Seemingly out of nowhere a brand new Ranking Event has appeared for IOM skippers hosted by the Wynnum Manly Club.  It's very exciting.

At a meeting late last year the QRYA was finalising the 2021 Events calendar when they noticed a big hole in it, called February.  Historically that month has been the Australian National Championships where four classes held sequential regattas over nearly two weeks.  The 2019 event in Queensland looks like being the last of its kind as the ARYA altered their regulations to allow for classes to hold separate championships, different places, different times if they want.  So that left February in Queensland blank.

So the committee scanned about for something to fill the void before IOM sailors became jittery. This was a real challenge as the calendar was about as full for most clubs as they wanted later on in the year, reluctant to ask them to take on more.  Last year there had been some speculation that the flash new Wynnum Manly (WM) trailer could be used as a "just add water" instant regatta machine.  It has everything needed to run an event except water and a fleet.  So the WM committee was approached to see if they were interested in hosting and equipping an event.  The WM Club is a very active one but as neither of the their two pieces of home water are suitable for a multifleet IOM event, they have not been hosting events on the State calendar.  After some discussion the club happily accepted the challenge to host the event at Regatta Lake, Coomera.

The City of Gold Coast has confirmed that the weekend 27th and 28th February is clear and the Southport Yacht Club has agreed to provide the necessary letter of support for us to be there with them.   All this fell into place with one day to go before the 6 week limit the ARYA has for the approval of Ranking Events.  Whew.  The youtube clip is of IOM Racing at that venue.

To add to the interest, the host club requested that the event use the Simple Heat Scoring System rather than the Heat Management System normally used, wanting to give it a trial.  Reality is that for a single fleet event, neither matters but for multi-fleet events it is different.  Each system has strengths and weaknesses and it will be interesting to give this a go in Queensland.

LakeClipMapFor the majority of us who only look at the Notice of Race to check the dates, entry fee and how to pay, it's worth pointing out that the event will not be catered for.  In a joint Association/Club agreement, no eskys with drinks will be used as part of a COVID-19 Safe Plan.  If you forget, the Yacht Club does have a cafe open Saturday morning but maybe not Sunday.

If you are reading this and are not an IOM sailor, please consider volunteering some of your time to make this event successful.  Contact details are on the Notice of Race.  The club will be calling for help so you pick up the phone, send an email, offer your services and get a front row seat to some exciting RC yachting.  Or, you could sharpen the mower blades, reindex your CD collection in year order or tidy your sock draw?

For IOM Sailors, it's the first Ranking event of the year, the first round of the Queensland IOM GP Series and the first event for 2021.  In this new world where we have to check the news each morning to find out if we can leave home that day, go racing while you can.  Support the WM Club in their appearance on the state calendar and rolling out their awesome trailer to make it happen!

Entries are open HERE.

So whether you are sailing or helping out, see you on the 27th February!

The Editor


Volunteers & Radio Yachting

1ObserversVolunteers at the Nationals 2019, between races.12 January 2021

We could have more radio yachting events each year, except for the shortage of one thing ... volunteers.

Traditionally a host club organises their own members to fill the positions needed to run an event.  For smaller clubs this can indeed be a challenge, so much so that they just cannot put their hands up.  Asking around, all clubs have this problem to some degree, even the largest one in Queensland.  Either there are not enough people available or those who are become overloaded and jaded by it all.  So what can be done?

Well for the 2019 National Championships the Organising Committee put out a call across Australia and New Zealand, the result was a rich pool of people wiling to give from a half day to several days as an observer, boat crew or assisting the scorers, just for that event.  The main reason for this approach was the size of the event and that the host was the QRYA, they don't have any equipment just a few people who mostly already had jobs organising and keeping the regatta running.  So, why not look at that model for other events I hear you ask?1ScorersSome of the Scoring Team 2019

I heard a rumour that the QRYA has been looking at how it can better communicate with members when an event needs some help.  I'm sure that if some of us knew that a regatta not too far from them needed a hand they could well be interested.  Maybe give a morning to it.  It's interesting to spend some time watching a class you don't sail go about their business and it's way better than mowing the lawn or waiting for your partner to tell you what you haven't done right this time.  And volunteering is certainly better than sitting at home watching Ian Lobley's race videos when you could see the real thing.  Watch them later!

So anyway, watch this space for any developments, in the meantime, have a think about giving something back to the sport if you do not already.  I suspect that there are plenty of people interested if they knew they were needed. 

But back at your own club, if they sail more than one class, go to your club management and tell them you could be available to help events you don't sail in.  If the grandkids happen to be over the weekend you are needed then just do it another time, but make the offer anyway.  The most valuable thing we can give others, is our time.

So to paraphrase another well known American sailor; "Ask not what your sport can do for you ... ask what you can do for radio yachting."  

The Editor


Sailing cancelled Greater Brisbane Region

Breaking NewsFrom 6:00pm January 2021 people living in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands will be required to stay home until 6:00pm MondayQueensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young also asked people to not go to any non-essential businesses like hairdressers, nail salons, cinemas and gyms.

Weekend sport has also been cancelled.

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