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World Match Racing Tour – Racing rules amended

by World Match Racing Tour on 14 May 2012
Umpires will be enforcing the new 2012 rules at the first event of the season, Match Race Germany on 23 - 28 May - World Match Racing Tour 2012 WMRT © http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com
Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2012 kicks off with the first event of the season, Match Race Germany, in Langenargen on May 23 to 28 when several confirmed rule changes will come into effect.

The Racing Rules have been amended in order to continue the positioning of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) as the most compelling, competitive and pioneering action on the water. Craig Mitchell, Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Tour Director, expects the alterations to have a positive effect on the Tour, as well as match racing in general: 'Match racing has evolved to the point where we currently have a great set of rules, producing some fantastic sporting action, as we saw quite clearly in the 2011 series.

'Nothing major has changed in the past few years and we are enthusiastic in our responsibility to keep developing the rules to challenge our world class athletes and create the best possible spectacle we can.'

Following the decision by the America’s Cup to move away from monohull sailing and subsequent revision of their rules, organisers at the Alpari World Match Racing Tour began a re-think of the rules, inviting comment from sailors and event organisers to establish what, if anything, they would like to see changed for the 2012 season. The resulting discussion paper identified a number of areas which were generally agreed to be open for experimentation and ultimately permission was given by the International Sailing Federation to implement the final decisions under RRS86.

Several changes have been included in order to tidy up existing wording and define certain aspects more clearly but amongst the slightly more controversial additions are a revision of the penalty process, limiting boat requests for redress and an amendment of proper course restrictions which it is hoped will allow the trailing boat increased chances to overtake - expected to get a mixed reaction amongst sailors and sailing aficionados alike.

The removal of proper course restrictions which will allow a trailing boat to gain an overlap from astern and luff their opposition away from the mark should increase opportunities for a trailing boat and may well see a change in how the leading boat will choose to defend their advantage. The added opportunity afforded to challenge the match leader is designed to encourage a tighter margin between teams. Mitchell, said:'We are the most competitive sailing series in the world and we hope that these changes, amongst others, continue to create the closest, most intense battles out on the water.'

The major change in the penalty process for 2012 is the removal of double penalties for serious rule infringements. It was felt the old process tended to ‘kill-off’ a match and officials will now award a red flag instead of a double penalty, for which the infringing team will need to take an immediate penalty turn. Should that same team still be in control of the match after the turn, umpires can award another penalty.

Limiting boat-requested redress is aimed at cutting time wasted on the water and lessening breaks in play mid-match. The increased empowerment of officials is expected to reduce gamesmanship from competing boats, whilst giving umpires the opportunity to step in when things go wrong. Craig Mitchell, said: 'The Tour is a dynamic proposition and we are always looking to improve the spectator experience at our events and for our TV viewers. Like all big sports, being in control of match timeframes is vital in maintaining our appeal commercially.'

With Match Race Germany just under two weeks away, the changes will come under scrutiny as the season develops and their true effect becomes clear. Mitchell, said: 'We are committed to trying out new things on the Tour and if it doesn’t work as we’d hope, we’re not opposed to returning to previous rules.'

Full list of changes for 2012 are as follows:
NOR Appendix 1 – Major alterations to the RRS
The following changes to the rules of Part 2 and rule 42 of the RRS have been authorized by ISAF under RRS86.2
Change rule C2.1:
C2.1 The definition Finish is changed to
A boat finishes when any part of her hull crosses the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark after completing any penalties. However, when penalties are cancelled under rule C7.2(e) after one or both boats have finished each shall be recorded as finished when she crossed the line.
Add new rules C2.13 to C2.20:
C2.13 Add new rule 16.3: 'If two boats are inside the zone of a windward mark on opposite tacks and the proper course for the right-of-way boat is to tack at the mark, she shall be exonerated if she breaks rule 16.1 while luffing to tack at the mark.'
C2.14 Rule 17 is deleted.
C2.15 Rule 21.3 is deleted
C2.16 Rule 31 is changed to ‘While racing, neither the crew nor any part of a boat's hull shall touch a starting mark before starting, a mark that begins, bounds or ends the leg of the course on which she is sailing, or a finishing mark after finishing.
C2.17 Rule 42.3(b) is changed to 'A boat's crew may increase the speed of the boat through exaggerated crew movements to facilitate steering the boat through a tack or gybe and to adjust the trim of the boat while within 1 boatlength of the completion of the tack or gybe.'
C2.18 Except when flag Victor is displayed on the race committee starting vessel before or at the attention signal for a match, or when flag Victor has been displayed from an official boat during a match, rule 42.3(c) is changed to: 'A boat sailing a downwind course after the starting signal is permitted to pump the sheet and the guy controlling any sail.'
C2.19 Add new rule 41(e): ‘help to recover from the water and return on board a crew member, provided the return on board is at the approximate location of the recovery.’
C2.20 Add to the end of the last sentence of RRS 47.2: ‘unless that person was placed on board by the OA and they have been retrieved from the water by a support boat or official boat.’
Add new rule C6.2(e) and Change rules C6.3 and C6.5(b) to:
C6.2(e) rule 28.1.
C6.3 A boat may not request redress under RRS 62.1(a). The protest committee may decide to consider giving redress under that rule if it believes that an error has been made. The race committee or match umpires may request the protest committee to consider this. This changes RRS 60.1(b) and 62.1(a). A boat intending to request redress under 62.1(b) or (c) because of circumstances that arise before she finishes or retires shall clearly display a red flag as soon as possible after she becomes aware of those circumstances, but no later than two minutes after finishing or retiring.
C6.5(b) The red-flag penalty in rule C5.3 shall be used when a boat has gained a controlling position as a result of breaking a rule.
Changes to Rule C7.2 All Penalties
Add new C7.2(a) and change current C7.2(d) then renumber all points.
C7.2(a) After being signalled under rule C5.2 and within the limitations of rule C7.3, a penalized boat may elect to take a penalty immediately by crossing behind the stern of the other boat.
C7.2(e) A penalized boat shall not be recorded as having finished until she takes her penalty and sails completely to the course side of the line with her hull and then finishes, unless the penalty is cancelled before or after she crosses the finishing line.
Delete rules C8.3(a) and C8.3(b) and add new rules C8.3(a), (b) and (d)
C8.3(a) retained a controlling position after taking a penalty under C7.3(d).
C8.3(b) gained an advantage after barging at a starting mark when approaching the line to start.
C8.3(d) made excessive attempts to verbally coerce, coach or influence an umpire decision;
objected repetitively to an umpire decision (verbally or otherwise); or abused the umpires before or after an umpire decision
Add new rule C10.2(b):
C10.2(b) When one of the boats in a match fails to sail the course in accordance with rule 28.1, she shall be scored DNF without a World Match Racing Tour website
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