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Posts Tagged ‘rules’

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Clean Report

For around thirty years now, ISAF (now known as World Sailing) has had a peculiar rule. It’s a rule that almost every other sporting organization long ago learned wasn’t enforceable, but somehow, World Sailing didn’t get the memo.  And as The Ed reported yesterday, World Sailing is using this rule as a bludgeon to try to kill off a potential rival for control of kiteboarding – and the megamillions ready to flow the sport’s way when the Olympic money faucet turns in a few short years (or way sooner).

We are not opining on whether World Sailing is the proper governing body for kiteboarding.  It may be the best possible option, and the kiters could be lucky to have them in command.  But we sure don’t remember a robust public debate about it, or a vote among the millions of kiting enthusiasts to submit to ISAF control over their competition rather than some other body.  And we do remember the manner in which ISAF quietly snatched control of all things kiting in 2009 and immediately threatened independent kiting organizations. It was nasty, and wrong.  And in some countries, we believe it is illegal at worst, and unenforceable at best.

We believe the IKFO can be the organization that finally invalidates ISAF World Sailing’s absolute control over the word “World”, and shines a light on the legally questionable and chaotic patchwork of regulations the sport’s governing body uses to prevent a problem that doesn’t exist.  Easy for us to say – we’re not volunteering to fund a legal challenge to World Sailing’s threat to the IKFO.  But it’s definitely worth a few hours of investigation by a good lawyer if the IKFO is a real organization and not some kind of stunt.

Word War 19

At issue is World Sailing Regulation 19.14, which says a sailor’s eligibility for all sailing events “may be suspended or revoked…for competing in a Prohibited Event’ without ISAF approval, that ‘uses the word “world” either in the title of the event or otherwise…’

In other words, if you go race in the ‘Stand-Up-Paddleboard-With-Big-Sail World Cup’, and World Sailing finds out, they claim they can prevent you from sailing in any event that uses the ISAF Racing Rules for two full years. 

Now maybe they can in some countries.  Hell, maybe they can in most countries.  But as many other sports have found out, there’s a chunk of the world where the government doesn’t allow sporting bodies – especially those with government-granted monopolies like US Sailing or ISAF – to exclude competitors because they don’t like their extracurricular activities.  If you’re talking about livelihoods, it gets even worse for World Sailing – try to explain to a US Court that you’re preventing a sponsored kiteboarder from earning a living because he sailed a weekend event in some unrelated organization’s ‘World Cup.’  If you can do that with a straight face, you need to talk to an American lawyer.  Or ring Jim Capron, the President of US Sailing back when the organization got smacked around by Farrah Hall’s legal team, blowing hundreds of thousands in legal fees and costs in their support of ISAF-written rules on eligibility.  It’s a slam dunk.

It’s not that complicated:

It’s not the World Cup, it’s the FIFA World Cup.

It’s not the Formula One World Championship, it’s the FIA Formula One World Championship.

It’s not the Skiing World Cup, it’s the FIS Skiing World Cup.

It’s not the Boxing World Championship, it’s the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBA, IBC, IBO World Championship.

Does anyone really think these sports’ governing bodies are less sophisticated than World Sailing?  Maybe they have dumber lawyers or less creative rule writers?  Major League Baseball can’t even prevent foreign baseball leagues from using the words “World Series”, but somehow World Sailing can control an even more general word?  Why is this even a question anymore?

Answer: Because no one has challenged it.  But a little pushback and the invalidation of the offending part of Regulation 19 would be a great thing for World Sailing in the long run.  They could stop defending archaic ideas and focus on building their reputation and their brand, whatever it’s called these days.

We say to IKFO: Get your wallets out, find yourself a hungry lawyer itching for a fight, and make some noise for kiteboarding just as the Olympics starts thinking about turning the money on for a new discipline in sailing, or board sports, or whoever ends up owning the kites.  We’re pretty confident that some court-ordered sunshine on World Sailing’s Regulations will illuminate a lot more than a little vocabularic overreach.

 Discuss here.

 

February 3rd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 4.16.10 AMAs much as we appreciate a little freedom, we’re on board with what some may say are draconian measures to regulate quadcopter activity in US airspace released last week and set to go in effect tomorrow to spoil Santa’s surprise.  The new FAA rules require mandatory federal registration and marking for every UAV over a half pound and flown anywhere in the US, including the several million forecast to be sold this Christmas season.  Leaving aside the implications of what is essentially still a free-for-all despite mid-size UAV’s being perhaps the cheapest and most efficient terrorist weapon ever, we’ve already seen a drone crash into a racing boat at a world championship while its owner stayed silent when the call went out to claim it.  Something’s gotta give.

Our unique sport is uniquely situated to benefit from these great little bits of tech, and while the slightly annoying new registration requirements will be almost impossible to enforce, we agree with FAA that they will at least provide something of a ‘culture of responsibility’ for the tens of millions of drone owners already buzzing around out there. Plus the online registration takes five minutes and at five bucks, it’s dirt-cheap – and free if you register the first month of the program.  Fail to do it and get busted, and the fines can be as much as a quarter of a million bucks and prison.  Commercial users and non-US citizens, you’re shit out of luck – it’s back to the crazy-ass long form paper registration system for you.

UPDATE: Wanna blow UAV’s out of the sky safely?  How about this little number?

 

December 20th, 2015 by admin

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In this battle of the latecomers from an angle we may be the first to have, the two final entries in the VOR fight it out mid-Atlantic, with Chris Nicholson luffing the Spanish a couple of weeks into Leg 1.  Did MAPFRE foul Vestas?  You make the call.

Meanwhile, MAPFRE’s DFL has already produced some major casualties, including the world’s most successful solo ocean RTW’er.  You heard that right, Michel Desjoyeaux gets the flick from MAPFRE along with French navigator Nico Lunven, and Spanish sailing journo Pedro Sardinia says there was plenty of drama between the French star and Spanish skipper, and q quite unbearable atmosphere on boad according to Sardina.  Thanks to Geronimoll for the translation of the original Spanish piece here.

You should already be on the Leg 2 thread here if you’re looking for the latest news.  Want to know something special about any of the teams or this edition of the VOR?  Post up and Mr. Clean will get the answer for you on the ground in Cape Town – he arrives on Wednesday.

 

November 11th, 2014 by admin

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ISAF’s Classification Code governs the Pro or Amateur status of every ISAF Class sailor in the world, and it’s been a huge mess for most of the new millennium.  The 2009 changes to the code eliminated the dubious “Cat 2″ category and took a small step to reducing the perceived widespread fraud and cheating rampant in classes like the Farr 40 and Melges 32, but the existing system still relies on an ‘on our honor’ database system along with a few classification czars who travel to  world and continental championships to interrogate sailors and hopefully catch the bad seeds.  Nearly everyone in grand prix sailing has seen how poorly the system works, and that fact, combined with the massive expenses involved (ISAF spends a small fortune to keep the database and application system running, and individual events have to eat the substantial costs of ISAF officials’ attendance) and the shrinking size of most every grand prix fleet needing Classification has finally gotten the ISAF Executive Committee to make a move to eliminate the Classification Code altogether.  The proposal offers to guide classes that wish to use such a system with proposed regulations, but recognizes that it’s really something that should be done by those who know the class rather than an organization that hasn’t got a clue.  

Lazy Class Administrators will hate this one, but we support it wholeheartedly because it’s the only way we’ll see a change.  And given our faith in crowdsourcing, we expect some classes to come up with innovative and creative solutions to classification that will make sense for the future of the sport.  Discuss the new proposal in the thread, and have a look at Peter Huston’s summary of ‘how we got here’ for some more background.

Go back to the mid-80′s when Dave Ullman wrote an article for Sailing World called something like “Get the pros out of sailing”.  What he said was that it was absurd that he could, as the owner of a growing sailmaker, take his loft employees with him on a MORC or PHRF race as his complete crew.  He knew it was a death march.  So, along the way SoCal PHRF created the Marine Industry Racer rule.  It worked pretty well.  Guys that worked for a loft were easily identifiable.

About the same time prize money was just starting in the US with the Ultimate and Pro Sail series.  At the time, the IOC did not allow “professionals” to compete in the Olympics.  So, USYRU set up the US Professional Sailing Association.  Essentially, it was a way to “cleanse” the prize money for people who competed in these two series.  The prize money was paid to USPSA, who then in turn gave it to that sailors campaign fund.

Then the IOC changed their pro rule, so the need to “cleanse” the prize money went away (at almost the same time both series collapsed anyway).  USYRU had in the meantime created the Group 1, 2, 3 thing.  At the time, it was by far mostly about sailmakers.  But there was no way to administer the list.

Case in point, I sailed in two events in Long Beach on successive weekends.  Same sailor in those two events was categorized as a 1 and a 3 on successive weekends.  I called Ullman the Saturday night of the second weekend when the guy was suddenly a 1.  I said “so Judge X says your guy is a Group 1 guy”.  Ullman just laughed and said “nope, he’s a 3, I sign his check every week”.  But nothing happened that weekend, and the Group 3 guy got away with it, blessed by the US Sailing Judges at that event.

It seemed we needed a database of who was a 1, 2, 3.  I went to the US Sailing AGM in Cape Cod in ’94, and started to promote this idea.  Got tons of resistance, not the least of which was from then SW publisher John Burnham, and Bob Johnstone.  We were at a post meeting party the Saturday night of the AGM at John Osmond’s house.  I sat with Burnham and Johnstone and explained what I was thinking.  Eventually, Burnham said “ok, write an article about this” and Johnstone, as he always does, listened and eventually saw the wisdom of it.  It was going to help is brand a lot, and it did – starting with the 105 class.

After the article was published, I called then US Sailing Pres Dave Irish and told him I’d raise my hand and run a new entity that was needed to get this all organized.  At the time, I was President of what was left of USPSA.  We had no real reason for being after the change of the IOC pro rules, and I was either going to find a way to create some sort of value, or close it down.  I wasn’t interested in trying to be a “sanctioning” body only, and charge events fees just because.

Irish said “dumb idea, we don’t need this list, too costly to maintain ect”.  We closed down USPSA, and I dropped the idea of a Group 2 and 3 list.

Then, as Irish is leaving office, he appoints himself as the eligibility czar, sets up the Group 2 and 3 structure and CHARGES Group 1 people $25 to have their virginity blessed.  I cringed, thankful I had nothing to do with that.  Eventually that nonsense stopped, and the list sort of worked, sort of.

But how does an event that is run in the US know anything about who was a really a sailmaker or whatever in Italy or whereever?  Impossible.

In the early “00′s, then ISAF Pres Henderson called me for all the background on how the US started the list.  I told him.  He asked me if I cared if ISAF took over the responsibility.  I had no dog in the hunt, and told him good luck.  Now we have guys in Dragon’s, Etchells, J70′s, various Melgi classes etc. paying people a couple of hundred bucks a day (or a lot more in a few cases) to pull ropes for them.

How exactly does ISAF propose to monitor who is paying who?   While the notion of this list is worthwhile, it is simply unenforceable.

Besides, it is often less expensive to pay people to sail than it is for an owner to have to appease the Group 1 guys.  As the longtime Farr 40 Class saying goes: “Best amateurs money can buy!”

ISAF and US Sailing (and probably a ton of other MNA’s) are becoming mostly just regulatory and taxing authorities.  They do not provide added value for sailors.  One of the biggest problems with the current system, and all of ISAF, is that pro sailors have almost zero voice within the organization.  The “athlete’s council” (or whatever it is called) is there only to serve Olympic sailors.

Everyone knows in which classes people get paid to sail.  The sport tends to be self-selecting.  If you want to sail in a class where people pay others to sail, everyone knows where that is.  If you don’t want that, you also know where to look.

The smart classes who want some sort of system to identify paid sailors will get together and figure it out on their own.  They are best served by keeping ISAF out of the equation.

 

September 24th, 2014 by admin

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Enfant Terrible won the Farr 40 Worlds in Newport last week, but no one seems to have told the Class that no one cares about them anymore. Apparently some of the protest/rules/measurement shit that went down at the NYYC-based regatta makes the AC45 rules wars look tame.  And we’re sure no one told Rolex that their ‘product’ has become  stale; they’re still throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year into a dated, obsolete boat with no exposure, no visibility, and no future beyond club racing and a single 8-15 boat Worlds once a year.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it sure would be nice to see one of the sport’s major sponsors spending all that money to accomplish something positive, rather than using it to prop up something that should have been left to its own devices years ago.   We’ll have more on both these subjects soon, but in the meantime, keep your eye on boat at the top right of your screen and enjoy one of sailing’s top stars (and the winning tactician from Worlds) falling right off the back of the boat. Thanks to Zerogradinord for the tip.

 

September 1st, 2013 by admin

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