Melbourne Yacht Club Rum Race Instructions
photo courtesy of Randy Pawlowski
Click here for details.
photo courtesy of Ross Herbert
1. GENERAL RACING RULES
MYC Mark "S" - located just SE of Melbourne Harbor
Channel Mark G1.
Channel Markers G9 and R8
· Channel Marker "R8" is a mark of the course, and
must be passed to the east, on all courses.
· The start/finish line is a line drawn through Mark "S", perpendicular to the course being sailed, within 2 boatlengths of Mark "S", on the appropriate side.
· The course will be chosen by the Rum Race Chairman (or his designee) at least one half hour before the designated start time. The selected course will be posted on the flagpole at MYC by one half hour before the start time).
3. START TIMES
4. SPINNAKERS AND DOUBLE HEADSAILS
5. USE OF ENGINE
6. PENALTIES AND PROTEST
1st Place – 10 points
If less than 10 boats race, the scoring is the same. Assignment of boats to classes is based on many factors, and is wholly at the discretion of the Rum Race Chairman. Skippers who disagree with their assignment can petition for a re-evaluation at any time.
9. WEATHER AND SAFETY
10. THE 4 O’CLOCK OR 8 O'CLOCK RULE
Hasty's Rum Race Reminders
Once upon a time, when I was a senior in high school, I was the regular crew for Jim Orr on his Snipe, and Jim was the man to beat in Snipes anywhere in Central Florida. One day, we were racing on Lake Conway in Orlando. We were about to round the leeward mark in first place, and I had taken down the whisker pole. I passed it back to Jim, who jerked it back quickly to grab it about in the middle, to stow the 7-foot whisker pole under the bow deck. But he missed his grab, and the pole landed in the water behind the boat. We were just about to tack around to pick up the whisker pole (you have to finish with all of the equipment that you started with) when the guy in second place reached down and picked it up. He said “Here, Jim,” and tossed us the whisker pole, effectively keeping us in first place. Jim thanked him and continued the race. I was thrilled at this display of fine sportsmanship, as we would have lost many places picking that pole up out of the middle of the fleet. But Jim, when we returned to shore, disqualified himself for receiving help during a race. I was impressed at this display of sportsmanship, even though the result was not as happy. Until the race committee refused to accept Jim’s voluntary disqualification, and they were backed up by the rest of the fleet! We were given first place.
I expect no less sportsmanship from everyone who participates in a Rum Race.
The first rule of sportsmanship is: Don’t interfere with people that you are not competing with. Racers: pass to leeward of Cruisers if you can. Don’t deliberately block their wind. Cruisers: Don’t luff up a Racer trying to pass. The second rule of sportsmanship is: We have a very mixed fleet out there. Some folks are just getting started in racing and are just trying to get the boat around the course without hitting anyone, and some folks have been racing for years and know the Rules forwards and backwards. You folks who don’t know the rules, try and learn them. You folks who do know the rules, have fun playing rules games with one another. When you come across someone that you think is not fully up to speed on the rules, try not to interfere with them. The appropriate thing then is to approach them at the bar later and say “You remember when you crossed me in the second windward leg….” And try to educate them on the Rules.
There are two situations where sportsmanship is routinely brought into play: at mark roundings and when passing.
At mark roundings, the Rules are complex, the tactical situation changes from second to second and is frequently unclear (“I had an overlap!” “No you didn’t!”) and the potential for damage is very high, especially around Marker 9, which is HARD. If someone is rounding ahead of you and you even suspect that there might be a problem, GO AROUND THE OUTSIDE! These boats are not Sunfish or Lasers, and they don’t bounce off of one another. KEEP CLEAR! If you find that you have fouled someone, DO YOUR TURNS! It is part of the game of racing.
No one likes to be passed, and everyone thinks “If he tries to pass me, I am going to luff him to Melbourne Beach!” But ask yourself “Is he in my class?” “Will slowing him down improve my position, or will he get by me eventually, and all I have accomplished will be to slow him (and possibly myself) down?” If you finish seventh, and you have knocked the probable winner from first to second, does that make you feel good? WHY?
Rule 17.2 is frequently violated on the long reaching legs of our rum Races. It states “Except on a beat to windward, while a boat is less than two of her hull lengths from a leeward boat clear astern steering a course to leeward of her, she shall not sail below her proper course unless she gybes.” The bone of contention here is proper course.
Proper Course “A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal.”
Rule 17.2 basically means that you can’t sail down on top of a passing boat to block their wind to prevent them from passing. While a careful reading of the rule discloses some limitations, that is the gist of it.
A couple of people have requested that since this is a “Pursuit Race” and there is a lot of passing, perhaps we need some special rules to make passing easier. We might, for example, require the passee to genuflect to the passer. I don’t think so. After all, any race where you are not the lead boat is a Pursuit Race, and it is much easier to pass a slow boat than one of your own class, as with Sunfish, Lasers and L-28s. So choosing passing lanes and strategies in Rum Races is good practice for passing other boats in fleet racing. But by the same token, keeping others from passing by unsportsmanlike (and sometimes illegal) tactics spoils the fun for everyone.
Play nice! Have fun!
Last modified on 08/05/2014