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How Early to Cancel?

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    Posted: 03 Oct 09 at 4:40pm
Today at the sailing club I was rather disappointed with the race officers
clear rush to cancel a race.
The race was scheduled to take place at 14.45 so I wouldn't have
expected people to turn up till 1300-1330.
It was breezy, and in the morning too breezy to race. So at 12:00 he
decided that at the time the wind was too strong and as no one had yet
turned up it was clear they had been put off by the wind and so wasn't
worth running the race. I was a little shocked as it was just shy of 3
hours before the start time.
I stayed at the club for a while and the wind didn't die down, so I don't
dispute his decision. However, making a decision 3 hours before a race
without considering postponement to see if the wind might mellow,
appears extremely premature to me. And of course around 13:30 people
started to turn up to race which put pay to his thought of the wind putting
people off.

Am I being too critical on the timing of his decision or do you think he
did indeed jump the gun?
How early or late would you leave it to make a decision on a race?

I always respect a decisive race officer but 3 hours early seems a little
TOO decisive.

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radixon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote radixon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Oct 09 at 5:21pm
How windy was too windy?

I agree that 3 hours is too early but why was he there. If the race had started at 11 he would be there at 8am.
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sargesail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Oct 09 at 8:52pm

I firmly believe that any Race officer who cancels when there is any chance of racing is in dereliction of their duty

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Juggs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 09 at 6:09pm
I presume that Sargesail has never considered the legal aspects of his point of view?
God forbid that something happens and it goes to court, not only is the race officer going to in the witness stand but all the club officers and trustees will be there also as being parties to liablility.
The race office has a duty of care - by law - to everyone on the water including the crews on the ribs.
I'd rather waste someone's time than a life.

Also different clubs have different priorities, a club on a resevoir will probably have all it's boats launching from their slip. A club on say the Solent will have boats coming from various locations, they may need more time to get there and back home in saftey so stopping it early is sometimes prudent. As per usual the race officer will always be wrong in someone's eyes though.

I'm glad that these decisions are usually understood by the majority!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote laser4000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 09 at 7:36pm
Originally posted by Juggs

I presume that Sargesail has never considered the legal aspects of his point of view?
God forbid that something happens and it goes to court, not only is the race officer going to in the witness stand but all the club officers and trustees will be there also as being parties to liablility.
The race office has a duty of care - by law - to everyone on the water including the crews on the ribs.


On what basis do you say that a duty of care exists when every open meeting form, club membership says something along the lines "it's my decision to put to sea and I am the one solely responsible for my safety..the provision of rescue boats etc does nothing to reduce my responsibilities etc etc. I as a willing adult sign that form and as far as I am concerned it means the buck stops with me.

Are you aware of any tragic situations during racing that have ended up in court? There was the sad case of the guys delivering the yacht to dartmouth? that got run down/rolled over by a big ship off the s.coast but I'm sure that was down to the negligence on behalf on the professional crew of the ship, and it wasn't during racing
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stuart O Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 09 at 8:25pm

No it does nothing to reduce your resposibilities at all, but the club does have a 'Duty of Care'.

The disclaimer you have signed as far as I am aware has never been tested legally. I was only talking about this the other day I can remember turning up to open meetings with insurance, measurement and bouyancy test certificates in hand....but as clubs (and I believe lead by the RYA) recommended that by checking these the clubs took on 'ownership' in case of accidents and gave a 3rd party to sue the club if there was a problem with any of the documents. Thus you sign so the club negates the checking of these docs.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Medway Maniac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 09 at 11:46am

We all know how quickly the wind can fade (forecast or not), so to cancel hours before the race is certainly premature.

He should wait at least till around the appointed 1st Warning time then if it's still too windy either cancel or postpone if it's starting to fade.

This smacks of someone using the wind as an excuse to minimise their day's duty. I can't think of any possible extenuating circumstances, though that doesn't mean there aren't any.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Captain Morgan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 09 at 12:56pm

Doug.H: The RO was way too early in making the decision not to race.

I'd say that if the CLUB said that there will be no racing on Day X due to the sea freezing over or whatever, and this was publicised, then fine. No RO should stand there three hours before the race, and choose to cancel there and then. Postponements are fine, early cancellations are not!

If the RO is standing there and sees the fear in competitors' faces when they turn up hoping that racing will be cancelled, then that's OK. It's up to the sailors to make a seamanlike decision to sail or not, and then it's up to the RO to decide whether he and his (safety) team can cope with the sailors racing in such conditions, before he should decide to cancel.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColPrice2002 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 09 at 1:44pm

I've cancelled a day's racing - arrived at the Club, looked at the current running (on the Thames).

Decided that there was no liklihood of the 7 knot current abating within 12 hours, so cancelled the racing for the morning and the afternoon.

Recently my sailing club hosted an open meeting (early October). It's reported that it was force 5-6 gusting upwards. That went ahead - the motor boats were busy - but no serious problems. Other clubs on the coast cancelled their racing.

Generally it's possible to predict local conditions several hours ahead - and I'd far rather a race was cancelled than turn inot a disaster.

You may need to have the OOD consult the Race Committee - for a considered approach.

Colin

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 09 at 9:00pm
Originally posted by Juggs


I'd rather waste someone's time than a life.

As per usual the race officer will always be wrong in someone's eyes
though.

I'm glad that these decisions are usually understood by the majority!


I don't believe you've read what I've written. I agree with the race officers
decision. I waited around the club for several hours afterwards, past the
supposed start time and the wind didn't dissipate. So the right decision
was made.
I myself went out on the commitee boat last weekend, set up the course
prepped the flags and then abandoned the race as we weren't happy with
the safety cover available in relation to how people would handle the
conditions.

I'm all too happy to cancel racing in the name of safe sailing.

HOWEVER, making a decision three hours before the race, was completely
premature and I was a bit hacked off at his rather unenthusiastic attitude
towards racing.

On a rather specific note on your comment of the race officer always
being wrong in someone's eyes.
Only once in over a decade of competitive sailing have I ever questioned
the decision of a race officer (not including this post). I can assure you
I'm always on the side of the officer as I'm happy and grateful of people
giving up time so that I can zoom around a few cans and get a beep at
the end.
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