Laser SB3 fleet reprimanded for consistent enthusiasm on Skandia Cowes Week startline 30/7/06

They pushed their luck yesterday and got away with just one general recall but today the largest fleet at Skandia Cowes Week – the Laser SB3 – pushed the patience of the race officers just a bit too far and found themselves being sent home with no racing after two general recalls.

The all too eager 89-boat Laser SB3 were to be first away in the White Group. Starting off the Royal Yacht Squadron line, but against the tide on a heavily biased, relatively short line, they had two general recalls forcing the race committee to enforce White Group Amendment 1 which states: “After a general recall, the committee may abandon the day’s race for the recalled start?”

Reprimanded, a disappointed fleet headed back to the marina at Shephards Wharf to drown their sorrows and contemplate tomorrow’s racing, which they hope doesn’t result in a repeat performance.

So, the biggest, and arguably the most glamorous, fleet in the fleet missed a whole day’s racing in the best conditions of the week so far. While the class appears to understand the reasons of why they were ‘sent home’ they were naturally concerned and indeed a little surprised that they were not given another chance to get away.

First off the White Group start line and with 37 more classes to go the chances of the race committee holding up the proceedings further to give the Laser SB3 a third chance was fairly slim. Nick Glanvill, the chairman of the Laser SB3 class association said although they are disappointed in missing a Champagne day’s sailing they know why the decision was made but they have to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“We knew what could happen but our surprise was that it that they binned us after two starts? However, one has to respect the number of classes they are trying to get away. Concerned about the situation, we set up a meeting as soon as we arrived on shore with myself, Stuart Quarrie [Race Director] and Colin Simmonds [Chief measurer] and what I think we’ve done is hammer out a series of measures which will prevent the thing happening again? I’d like to stress that the meeting with the CCC was very constructive and they were very happy to listen to our suggestions and I hope that what we’ve ended up with is a recipe to prevent this happening again. We are very appreciative of the meaures the CCC have put in to resolve this matter”. These measures include starting the racing for this class 20 minutes earlier. The official start time is now 10:05. caught up with Quarrie this afternoon to find out the latest on what measures have been decided upon to prevent today’s scenario happening again. Quarrie said: “From now on it will be Black Flag disqualification straight from the first start and after an unspecified number of general recalls we’re going to add an amendment to allow the committee the possibility of then sending the fleet off to a committee boat start away from the Squadron line where they can practice starts all day if they wish without interfering with the rest of the fleets.”