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NATIONAL JUDGES NEWS, 24th Issue
NATIONAL JUDGES NEWS
24th Issue –
Distributed by the National Judges’ Sub-Committee of Yachting Australia’s Race Officials’ Committee
INTERNATIONAL REGS or IRPCS (the ‘COLREGS’)
The mention in the previous NJ News of the use of ColRegs has sparked some good discussion, so in this issue we will follow it up. Richard Slater in particular has made some valuable in-depth study of the subject and has prepared an excellent paper. Conclusions seem to be “Don’t bother introducing the ColRegs into a sailing race at any time. There are no real advantages, lots of disadvantages, and there are better ways of doing things.” Even the Volvo Race is not using them.
The obvious disadvantages are that few judges know the ColRegs, fewer sailors know them, and who is really going to go to the trouble of learning them? Let’s face it – few sailors even know the RRS, so why confuse people further by telling them that at some time of their race they are going to have to sail under a different rulebook?
Other disadvantages are that too few writers of sailing instructions know which of the RRS rules are replaced by which of the ColRegs. It can be complex. You cannot simply replace all of the RRS or even all of Part 2. You certainly cannot simply replace all of the RRS with all of the ColRegs as some SIs attempt to do. Good grief – that would mean all the safety regs have gone, you don’t have to sail the course, and there could be protests for the weirdest things like not carrying the correct size bell made of corrosion resistant material and sounding the correct level of decibels.
Another disadvantage is that there are some rules in RRS Part 2 which are essential even when racing at night, but which don’t appear in the ColRegs.
What is the difference between the RRS and the Colgegs? Almost nothing. Some years back the ColRegs pertaining to sailing vessels were actually amended to bring them more into line with the RRS. Then in recent years the RRS have been amended in ways which bring them even closer to the ColRegs. Remember when the RRS permitted aggressive manoeuvres like luffing as you please? In those days replacing some of the RRS with certain ColRegs made sense, but that is no longer necessary.
It seems there is just one provision in the ColRegs which should operate when racing after dark, and Richard Slater recommends there be no mention of ColRegs in the SIs, but the provision be introduced by adding this new sailing instruction:
“Racing at Night
Between sunset and sunrise, when a boat cannot determine with certainty what tack another boat is on, she shall keep clear of that boat.
Note: Competitors are reminded that part of the definition of ‘room’ includes taking into account the existing conditions (including visibility).”
If we are served a very adequate dish of lamb at a restaurant but we believe it would be improved by adding a little mint dressing, there is no need to toss the whole dish away and replace it with something different. It is more logical to retain the dish and add the bit of dressing. Likewise, because the RRS could be improved for night racing by adding a little extra, there should be no need to toss the whole lot away and replace them with something different. Shouldn’t we be encouraging organisers/race committees to just add the little dressing?
NATIONAL JUDGE SEMINAR
Don’t forget to pass it on that another National Judge seminar is planned for