A three day Rule 42 clinic was run by the Finn Class just before the Silver Cup in Valencia. Around 20 sailors competed at some point including the Juniors preparing for the week ahead as well as some seniors who were in Valencia for training.
Four on-the-water sessions were carried out along with de-briefings with videos from each day with detailed explanations from the judges. The clinic ended with two umpired medal races to give the sailors some experience of direct judging and the processes involved.
Corinne McKenzie (FRA), Executive Director of the Finn Class explained why the clinic was run and its importance to the sailors. “It was really interesting and the objective was to teach the Finn sailors how they can find the limit and sail fairly within the rules. For the judges it was very promising to see the three of them were judging Rule 42 the same way. Now we have a lot of work to edit lots of mini-clips on different Rule 42 actions and post them on the Finn Class website and perhaps for ISAF race officials for training videos for sailors and judges. These three days were very beneficial and the sailors came out of it with the feeling they learned so much. We are trying to do this at least once a year before a major event.”
The clinic was managed and run by John Doerr (GBR), who will also be Jury Chair for the upcoming Silver Cup, starting on Tuesday. He explained his objectives and what he hoped the sailors and the jury would get out of the three days. “The most important thing is to get the judges and the sailors on the same page. Judges don't like giving penalties for Rule 42, we don't like giving penalties at all, but obviously we have to look after the guys who sail within the rules and penalise the guys who break the rules. Rule 42 is quite difficult to know where the line is between what is OK and what is not OK. So the purpose of the clinic is to get a common understanding."
On working with the class. “The Finn class guys are great, especially in a clinic situation when there are no real penalties, so we can talk to them and get a much better relationship with them, and I think they understand when we have done a clinic we are all on the same side, we just want good sailing, good racing events and fair sailing for everybody. A clinic really helps that.”
“As always I learn and going back in my memory to when I was a Finn sailor, but refreshing is always good, and seeing the new techniques and exactly how they are sailing the boat is really good. There were a couple of surprises for the sailors, particularly sailing downwind in waves. Probably the biggest area of learning was that the amount you can rock and the amount you can pump has to be consistent with the size of the waves, and then understanding where the line is for the different sizes of waves, and that just takes practice.”
Two of the sailors who took part were Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) and Nenad Bugarin (CRO), both favourites for the week ahead. Kistanov said, “Probably for me the most interesting was some match racing between the boats and I tried to do a bit more gybing when I was in front.”
Bugarin said, “It was a great idea to run a clinic and I really improved in that area. We had great conditions on the water, and the jury was very good so it was very helpful. I learned about sculling at the start and rocking during the downwind, and I think these are the most important things.”
The major focus of the clinic was common start line infringements (sculling, rocking, crabbing), downwind (unconnected rocking and pumping) and upwind body movements (torquing, tacking and bouncing). All those who took part, both sailors and jury, agreed that they learned a lot through the constant repetition and practice of common infringement situations. Around four hours of video was taken and over the coming months this will be edited and post-produced to add to the existing Finn Class Rule 42 Library.
See a video of some clips here: http://youtu.be/NynKiO8w0Rs
The Finn Class would like to thank John Doerr (GBR), Peter Scheuerl (GER) and Michal Jodlowski (POL) for sharing their knowledge and experience in this very important area.