Latest News: Forums Racing Rules Clinic 1 Changing Crews

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  • #3847

    Mike McKechnie and I are currently working on Notices of Race and Sailling Instructions (well, it’s too cold to go sailing, in my opinion).

    Grafham Water SC are proposing the following rule in the sailing instructions:

    7 CREWS

    Unless otherwise specified in class rules, for the series of races comprising an event only the helm named on the entry form will be eligible.

    For two person classes:

    – the registered helm may swap with the registered crew.

    – the registered helm may use different crews.

    – the registered crew may sail in the registered boat with a crew other than the registered helm but must seek approval of the Race Committee. This will be deemed a separate entry, no additional entry fee will be charged and their results cannot be combined with the registered helms results.
    What do you think of this proposal? Is it in the spirit of fair competition?


    The racing rules make no mention of “helms”. According to rule 75.1 a boat must be entered by a member of an organisation affiliated to an ISAF member national authority, a club or organisation affiliated to anaffiliated to an ISAF member national authority, or a member of an ISAF member national authority.

    Rule 46 requires that the person or organisation should designate a perosn in charge of the boat. No rule states that the person in charge should be the person who twiddles the tiller at the back of the boat!

    SI 19 of Appendix L ‘Sailing Instruction Guide’ states “Substitution of competitors will not be allowed without prior written approval (…)”

    I cannot see why the person who handles the jib sheets, spinny sheets and (on a well run boat) takes the tactical decisions should not be the person in charge.

    I would suggest that as long as the designated person in charge is on board, whatever role they are occupying, then there has been no change to the entry. If the person in charge is not on board then the boat’s results should not count towards the boats series score.

    On the other hand, I believe that the person in charge should be required to inform the Race Committee of any changes in the personnel on board. A Race Committee should know who is on the water – imagine if a boat sinks with all hands on board. The Race Committee needs to be able to identify any widow(er) that may need consoling

    Gordon DAVIES
    PS During many years in the front of various boats I noted:

    – that a helmsman rarely crosses the finishing line before his crew
    – that on a succesful boat the helmsmans fundamental obligation is total obedience to the instructions of the person who is in command of the boat!

    Colin Parkstone


    Your vote asks if a helm should have unrestricted right to change crews at an open meeting to which I vote no!

    But a helm should have the option to ask the race committee for permission to change in writing as we do now!

    I think that knowing who is on a boat at any one time is a good safety condition for the race committee to have.

    C P 🙂

    Dave Bevan

    How might this affect a series?
    If I sailed with one crew for one event, but sailed with someone else for another event, would both entries count towards a series competition?

    Colin Parkstone


    I see it that you can sail at different events with different crews as we/ I

    do myself.

    Only at the event must you have written permission to change your crew.

    C P 🙂


    In the same way if the person in charge of the boat happens to sail at the sharp end of said vessel, the rules allow them to change the tiller waggling crew as long as they obtain prior written approval of race committee.

    In a multi-event series the boat can sail any event with anybody on board – as they are competing primarily in the event. If the designated person in charge was not on board, it It would then be up to the organising authority of the series (proabably UKWA in this case) to decide if the boats score for that event shouldbe considered as counting for the series. It would be best to write any provision into the NOR of the series

    I would suggest that any NOR for a multi-series event should stipulate that the designated person in charge should compete in an event for the event to count towards the series. Any change to the designated person in charge should be approved by the SERIES organising authority.



    @Dave Bevan wrote:

    How might this affect a series?
    If I sailed with one crew for one event, but sailed with someone else for another event, would both entries count towards a series competition?

    There is no problem with sailing with a different crew in different events. You just register your crew at the beginning of the event.

    Technically you could change the helm for each event and carry the boat’s score forward for the series. At my sailing club, the club Solo scored a very respectable fourth place in the summer series, with a number of different helms in charge! We didn’t award it a prize, though.



    “We didn’t award it a prize, though. “

    Why not?



    @Gordon Davies wrote:

    “We didn’t award it a prize, though. “

    Why not?


    The boat was in the dinghy park and could not attend the prize giving!

    What the club needs to do, in my opinion, is to change the SIs to allow helms to switch boats during a long series, if, for example, their boat is at the repairers.



    Careful with the “allowing people to swap boats”.
    We have a growing number (I think its now grown to 2!) of people at our club with 2 boats. They sail one in light winds and the other in strong winds. Allowing both these scores to count in a series totally beats the handicapping averages.

    HOWEVER, we DO allow someone who has CHANGED their boat to count both the old boat and the new boat scores together.

    Its all a case of wording the insructions to encourage the behaviour you want: fair racing, when people are encouraged to race more often, and encouraged to improve their boats.


    I thought this was supposed to be a family racing week: that’s certainly the way I am approaching it.
    I am not interested in racing in the Olympics: I don’t care what happens amongst the top 5 places becos I don’t plan to be amongst them (unless there are only 5 entrants of course).

    C’mon guys … lighten up! Its supposed to be fun.


    Well done tanj2,

    It is about having fun. Racing is presented as such a big and complicated affair, that I’m positive it puts off potential new recruits, so only the old boys participate at the cost of the future of racing. Yet get the old boys to teach new recruits and it’s easier to find the Holy Grail! Consequently, the only competition the old racers have left is amongst themselves, so they complicate the thing even more…just look at what’s happening in F1.

    Time for a tack guys?

    Colin Parkstone

    Gentlemen above,

    Could I “RESPECTFULLY” ask you both what you find so much of a hassle and potently off putting about what has been said in this thread.

    I would like to think that even though i am an “Old Boy Racer” and having been part of the group of members who asked for the Class Championships to come to Poole Week,
    that well known Family Fun ” RACE ” Week I can recognize the fun element wanted by all people who sail and race the Wayfarer including myself and my crews.

    Lets face it, they need a sence of humour and a stiff drink to sail with me!!!!

    All that is being asked is that the crews are being used in a fair and honest way and that by stating to the race officer in advance who they are, ” Health and Safety ” and all that is being looked after!!

    Gents do let me know your problems as we all want a great weeks sailing but as your both coming to the event,maybe they are not as great as is being perceived. I do hope so????

    C P 🙂



    I thoroughly agree with you. There seems to be a peculiar attitude present in sailing that Fun = not bothering about the rules. The collary of this is that the rules are only really there for the serious racer.

    The rules have been framed so that collisions and damage to boats should not be a regular part of our sport. Racing in sailing boats is a non-contact sport. What is fun about bumping into boats, and spending large sums of money repairing them?

    The rules also provide a framework that ensures fair racing (for instance that everyone should sail the same course!), that all competitors are treated equally and that there is a simple proceure for settling disputes (those grumpy old men on the protest committee).

    The rules are the same at all levels of our sport. As soon as a race is organised then the rules apply. If the rules do not apply then the sailing has no more status than a fotballer’s kickabout in the park.

    Strangely, I have often found that the greatest unpleasantness concerning the rules/collisions/protests etc occurs at events that – because they are “fun” – have not bothered to set the event up properly. The best way to have fun at any event – get a decent set of SIs written, have a competent Race Committee that applies the rules, make sure that there is a qualified judge present throughout the event, and, gently but firmly, do things properly!


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