Why are the top river guys sailing around with their rudders up? What is the thinking?
One thing I noticed was that it makes it hard work ducking them.
Chris B (3062)
Less drag is, I believe, the idea.
Personally not sure it's anything more than a placebo and agree re ducking!
Helps them paddle the boat round
Surely a lot more drag when you actually use it......
There are quite a few older boats with slightly raked rudders but I have seen some with modern lifting rudders almost 3/4 of the way up.
If it is used in any way to propel the boat (not saying this is the case) ie. an sharp movement as you come out of a tack this would controvene the illegal propulsion rule and could be subject to protest. Hard to prove though without video evidence.
Chris B (3062)
I agree re the extra drag when you actually use the rudder. Also, rudders with rake to them have the foil sections aligned correctly for the rudder position, raising a rudder that's designed to be vertical isn't the same.
Like I say, I've heard it explained as being a drag reduction method but don't actually see the benefit if that is the case.
As I said Martin Hunter did a post on this a while back but it was deleted never could understand why!
Relates to Mike Stephens and Alan Broadbent yesterday at Hampton, both with Winder-style rudders pointing pretty much dead aft. So much so that Alan's was out of the water on occasion with the boat heeled. No evidence I could see that it was useful for rule 42 evasion, presumably is a desperate attempt to reduce wetted area.
Only 2 boats completed the 1st race and 5 (including a Heaven Sent with vertical rudder) the 2nd in very light and variable winds against a fair bit of stream.
Is there still lots of weed at Hampton ?
The rudder is designed to be vertical as a high aspect airfoil. This means the airfoil length is proportionately very large compared to the chord length (distance from the leading edge to trailing edge). The reason they are designed like this is partially to allow for lighter steering but mainly becuase a high aspect ratio airfoil has less drag whether you are steering with it or not than one with a low aspect ratio and the same surface area.
When you sail with the rudder lifted, unless you are actually getting a significant amount of it out of the water, you have turned your high aspect ratio rudder into a super low aspect ratio rudder. The ratio's are essentially inverted because the water is flowing along the length of the rudder which means this becomes the chord length and the length of the airfoil actually become the depth of it into the water.
So in summary, unless you are getting a significant amount of the rudder surface area out of the water completely, all lifting the rudder does is increase the drag created by it through the water, make it harder for others to duck you, and makes it harder to steer, significantly increasing the drag when you do.
However when the rudder is being turned from an extreme towards the neutral position, the subsequent drag and low pressure induced in front of the board would propel the boat forwards.
In conclusion, the only advantage of lifting your rudder while sailing is to propell yourself forwards in a way that contravenes Rule 42 other than the obvious reasons of lifting momentarily to clear weed, going aground or coming into a shallow shore/beach.
Well it can't be for steering.....
Alex 3627 (just remember i changed boat)
Hope this clears the science side up, I am happy to answer any questions (knew that aerospace degree would come in handy at some point...)
Spot on Alex in last Sentances.
I heard it explained that lifting the rudder in the way described was to help propel the boat in the tack which tallies with your explanation of the dynamics Alex...
Looked just like a skulling oar from the shore.
Or even sculling!
Sailing is for the sea, rowing for the river!
Anyone can bang a corner in a fast boat on the sea....river sailing takes real skill...
with a big rudder :-)
“You haven’t won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors.” ergo - put your rudders down
In that case maybe you'll win your first race this weekend ? ;)
I sailed with my rudder down at Upper Thames, and split the end of it, thus requiring a significant repair job. Not wishing to damage it again, at Hampton I had it raised, as most of the time was spent creeping up the shore in almost zero wind. (And a lot of time spent drifting backwards!). It probably does increase drag, providing there is no weed about; but my experience is that avoiding the accumulation of weed more than compensates for this. Another alternative is to sail with the rudder down, but raise it at intervals. With a Winder rudder this involves kneeling in the back of the boat, which almost stops it in light winds.
I sailed at the Upper Thames open
I was astonished to see boats being sailed with rudders raised. I am a N12 sailor really and I was under the impression that you chaps are pretty sensitive about rudders. This was demonstrated to me a couple of years back as you thought it was a bad idea to stick wings on rudders and so banned them.
However we seem to have a different problem here.
In my view the practice of sailing along the river in light winds with the rudder blade raised can only be to gain some advantage. As Alex has noted, the only conceivable advantage can be propulsion. Any argument with respect to the risk of potential damage is a joke. The river is shallow at the bank, but the width of the river is largely 95% navigable. Avoid these shallow areas if you don't want to damage your foils. Stick a "pop out" cleat for your rudder down hall as an additional safeguard. In light winds do not cleat it.
I don't know how you legislate against this as a class rule, but it needs attention. Incidents do happen on the race course when boats meet, and this will be due to the different perspectives of those involved as the boats meet. However, the choice to sail with a raised rudder is premeditated and in my view with the entire and sole purpose of being of use when the boat is stopped / slowed.
Clearly the option to protest exists, but to win a protest requires the protestor to prove his case. This requires a witness and for the protestor to be able to satisfy the hearing that this person was in the right place to see the right incident at the right time. This is not easy to achieve. I would suggest that prizes be awarded for the first to sail with their rudder down. Definition of whether a rudder was down or not to be subject to a vote of other competitors. Raised hands should suffice!
In my youth I recall reading Paul Elvstrom's book explaining the rules. He gave the example that when crossing the finishing line all the boats equipment had to be in it's normal racing position. His example was more concerned with a boat projecting part of its hull or equipment to gain an advantage. I think the example he gave was a spinnaker being allowed to be set along way forward of its normal position. Is there not a direct parallel with raised rudders inasmuch that the blade is not in the proper position - in which case none of the boats sailing like this have actually finished a race?
Of course the rules on this may have changed - if so I apologise for wasting Forum space!
It doesn't need a rule change, it doesnt need MROA action, or action by clubs.
It needs people to actually go the right way about doing something and protest the people they think are breaking the rules. Posting on here does nothing, in fact it makes things worse.
I think there are some pretty black or white opinions on here but there are often legitimate reasons for sailing with the rudder up.
I can remember Martin Warren winning the last race at Salcolmbe and hence the week by creeping along the weedy shallows coming out from Yalton against the tide with rudder and plate lifted and leaving JT and PK far behind.
I normally sail with a fixed rudder so have no choice........
A couple of thoughts from a Naval Architect ... ;-)
1. If the rudder is raked aft in extremis the waterline length of the boat is increased. In non-planing conditions, the waterline length is the key limit to hull speed. Of course, wave making drag is an issue, but most modern Merlins make so little in light winds, this becomes a moot point.
2. My understanding was that if equipment is "normally used" in that position, then this is OK. So in the good old days of a single double-ended pole, you could sail up the last beat with the pole out against the forestay - this could be argued as the normal position for that leg. Hence if someone sails with the rudder up, then whilst this is not normal in the wider context it could be viewed as normal for that leg / day / moment. This is the only line that a protest could take if the rudder is not used for propulsion.
3. Be careful with Rule changes, our lovely new JT rudder & stock (which cost much fine gold) has a cam on the bottom to adjust the rake of the rudder, from a few degrees forward to a few aft although I would have a heated discussion with anyone that defines this as the rudder being "up". The cam alters the location of the centre of effort with mast rake and centreboard position, giving a fine tune on helm feel. Does this still classify this as "down"? What happens if someone gets a fixed rudder made for the blade in the "up" position .... rudder shape is not a restricted element in the Class Rules.
4. Waggling the rudder (with the rudder blade up or down) is still an illegal means of propulsion. If someone has their blade "up" but is keeping the rudder still and sailing in a seamanslike fashion, then no problem.
Is there not rules defining the maximum and minimum depth and width of a rudder blade? If so I would have though having a very shallow but very wide rudder as it would become by being up is illegal in itself.
However, Chris M is correct and if , as it appears to be, this is annoying enough people, finding a witness or 12 should not be an issue. As far as I see it it is only a couple of people who do this and the are also the main culprets of the 'rocking' thread too. Enough said.
It is not water line length, it is not weed, it is not depth, it is not drag - it IS propulsion. With a three foot oar out of the back of the boat even with the best will in the world you couldnt keep the rudder neutral. Every time you exit a tack and straighten the rudder, rock the boat etc etc you get a kick from the oar out the back - dont do it!
To be fair to him, I was sailing very close to Alan Broadbent last weekend (indeed at one point even passed him with rudder down) and he was not waggling the tiller and did not seem to be getting any propulsion out of the rudder, I didn't ground my rudder blade but I did the centreboard on several occasions, and Stuart Jenkins got out of the boat twice after getting into difficulties in the shallows with a fixed rudder. So his explanation may be correct, but here is another Rule 42 conundrum. It was said by the duty team that we would not have started a race in those conditions in a Silver Tiller competition, maybe we need to look at that side of the argument as with the stream, it was incredibly tempting to do anything to avoid being swept backwards when the wind dropped to nothing. I have a kedge, but of course it was still in a box in the back of the garage rather than anywhere more useful!
if a dolphin had a normal tail for propulsion it reaches normal dolphin maximum velocity. If the dolphin has its tail cut off then it will struggle to get anywhere. If you watch these guys who deliberately sail with a winder rudder in a virtually 90 degree up position then they are fully fledged dolphins.
Its not a question of drag and depth its about leverage and a narrow boat the rolls beautifully through a tack can obtain a massive scull/ whip/ kick coming out of the tack fron a rudder in such a position, similarly from the occasional double gybe downwind manouvre. You all remember when as kids you sailed a race in no wind and had to get back to the ramp in your mirror dingy, first thing to do was let the rudder pop up and scull like mad.
Quite apart from the fact that the boat becomes 17ft long on a p and s it is ungentlemanly to deliberately sail in this configuration.
it is clearly a rule 42 protest and hopefully someone will now have the gumption to lodge the protest.
There is a perfect opportunity at Tamesis on Sunday to test all theories, particularly the one about right to protest.
Jez - no rules on the rudder: shape, profile, method of fixing, material, etc. Although there is potential to define rudder fittings might include a gantry (GGGGG took a dim view when I suggested this to him last time!!).
So the rule 42 issue is about coming out of a tack or gybe significantly faster than going in, which is clearly covered in the existing rules, not really about rudder positioning and shape, which is not.
I have been following this post with interest and while the technical argument is an interesting one I agree with Chris M when he says that these posts ultimately serve little purpose in resolving the issue. If someone believes a rule has been broken then you should have the gumption to say something on the day and/or protest. If an individual has been criticised publicly on this forum and then chosen to give an explanation then frankly that should be the end of it. If one disagrees further then have the decency to take it up with them directly or preferably face to face. We all have each others phone numbers in the yearbook.This or indeed any internet forum, twitter and the like is not the place for it and i would like to think we are above this. I sail regularly against alan and i am sure he would be horrified to think his integrity was in question or he had sailed outside of the rules.
I don't beleive people should be subjected to criticism of their actions on the internet. In fact i'm pretty sure one will lead to a rule 2 or 69 protest in the near future.
This is why posts that name names disappear. It's also why the more random rants at rule observance also disappear. If you name names online you are publicly defaming someone's character and they do not necesserily have access to defend themselves. Not really fair or sporting is it?
If you want to ask questions on the rules feel free, but it's definatly not cricket (or sailing) to accuse named or vaugely indentified people of cheating from the comfort of your living room and from the shelter of your keyboard.
Also bear in mind that I now know who all of the anonymous authors in this thread are!
I think you will find that this is an issue that has been taken up 'face to face' on numerous occasions by a number of people. It is a shame that a messy protest is the only avenue left if those (unnamed by me) individuals persist.
Why should a protest be messy? Points are put by both parties, facts are found and the Protest Committee make their judgement in accordance with the Rules. Far better and cleaner than pursuing complaints on the Forum or other social media.
I asked (previously) a couple of people who rake the rudders and was told they were doing it for 'feel'.
come now Mike, most people dont protest because its fun, only because it is necessary - there are 100 other things id rather be doing.
I have been watching this theme with interest as my same point three or four weeks ago was deleted from this forum after seeing this at Tamesis, the race officials then , were long time merlin sailors and even they said it was OTT. In future, I will be carrying/wearing a camera in light airs and will have the required evidence that every time the rudder is moved on these boats, it gives the boat illegal forward propulsion when the rudder is up.
It is very sad that people are so intent on winning at all costs, even when they are on the Committee, who I thought they were supposed to be setting the standard of FAIR PLAY a Fundamental rule.
Once I prove this I hope these individuals will be disqualafied not only from the series but for a whole season, although I hope that we can put a stop to it now,and this practise can cease now. Otherwise I would not like to be the sailing club official that has to report this to the RYA.
This has not only happened at Hampton, but at several prominent thames river clubs throughout this year.
Please get it stopped now, or are you going to delete this message, just like last time, and get these individuals to see the errors of their ways. I do hope so but dont guarantee it
Martin, why didn't you protest at the time of the alleged rule infringements?
i did not have witness
Various rules broken here, but at about 2:00 there is some nice footage.
One point proven Andrew, first three boats should have been DSQ, but that wont happen at because Tammy have stopped spectators protesting under the sailing instructions good camera work
If it pays to sail with the rudder lifted, there's not enough wind to race! ;-)
Good point, then I propose that Merlin Rocket events be sailed in over 5 knots of breeze, however you will wipe out sailing at all the river clubs, therfore not a lot of sailing,
just stop rudders up
Good Lord!! That is disgracefull behavior. The boat trying to fly their spinnaker should be applauded and should have protested all three of them. And you wonder why some of us don't attend these open meetings!
This is a great thread....
All three of those Tammy boats are clearly sailing to local rules - under ISAF rules they are clearly infringing. It is a shame that this is turning into another thread highlighting that river sailing is an acquired taste that is not for everybody - and so might put people off some fun events. These issues are endemic at present:
The minimum wind speed rule does not really help as every race at some of these clubs will go through a quiet patch - as will almost any race at Salcombe.
It would be nice to think that the Merlin class will be able to get their house in order before I start racing my new boat next summer.
There will be on the water judging at Tammy on Sunday specifically targeting rule 42.
Nice picture, I hapen to know the gentleman with his rudder up had just gone.
Antony, I can assure you that behavior of that sort is not accepted at most river clubs, hence this thread. If that was done at Cookham it would be protested and/or discussed face to face after the race as has been done.
Seems that Tammy could do with a Judge all the time
About time this thread was removed........
It’s so unfair when you abide by the rules and compete in a Corinthian spirit of sportsmanship and fair play and the other guy starts cheating and rolling his way around the course with a win at all costs attitude……....fortunately amongst us are a few brilliant lights, paragons of virtue that can set us all back on the right track…
Paul Elvstrom once said 'A win is not a win, if you lose the respect of the other sailors.'
Jez, Don't worry - I am not allowed to sail the boat on the Thames anyway. I used to be a member of Tammy and have mostly happy memories.
Andy - We thought you might say that.. it does not look like you are going very fast anyway! That old yellow boat looks better trimmed....
WP - I cannot see any reason why this should be removed, certainly not at the request of a person only some of us can identify. It is a healthy debate that is broadly within what is acceptable and this is a forum to discus issues like this. The Merlins should be proud of having one of the most active web forums in the sport.
Rumours have there is widespread use of EPO amongst the river sailors too... surley explains the over-enthusiatic rocking and rolling.
Andy Hay - Business as Usual
Hopefully, I will be watching whether this activity takes place at Weymouth this weekend too .... 25 knots on Sunday might stop this particular practice though.
Like a healthy debate just not targeted at specific individuals or clubs.....
That said there will also be random on the water judging at Tammy over their very well attended winter series starting at the end of this month.
Why don't you come and sail on a proper peice of water nearly always a good breeze and its only an hour from London!!
Run over five weekends Shoreham SC's Cooler series is open to visitors and it would be great to see some more merlins for some spectacular sea sailing this autumn.
Entry is £30 for the series or £10 per day and you are welcome to leave their boats in the dinghy park throughout the series.
- 28 Oct Races 1/2 11:00 B/B
- 04 Nov Races 3/4 11:00 B/B
- 11 Nov Races 5/6 11:00 B/B
- 18 Nov Races 7/8 13:00 B/B (racing follows club's AGM)
- 25 Nov Races 9/10 11:00 B/B
See you there!
See also http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/community/calendar/view.asp?id=2686
Rather than criticising individuals and, worse still, entire clubs, why not just get out there and compete, then protest those you see breaking the rules.
It is unfair to blame clubs for this behaviour and punish them for it by not supporting their open meetings. No club condones rule breaking but the real responsibility for countering the problem lies with the competitors who see rules being broken. If you do, then protest the culprits.
Richard, you are missing the point, it seema acceptable, at some river clubs that certain individuals can rock and roll, tiller wag with rudders up, but nothing is done at club level, other competetors cant be bothered to protest, I know there will be a lot of comments on this point alone.Why should we have judges, our sport is self policing isnt it?
However, merlin rocket sailing is great, it is a fantastic boat, most of the time it is fab racing, fantastic social scene every where in the UK, the standard is brill, but now because it is very competitive some clubs and some individuals are taking a blind eye to the events on the water, do you want to have a Lance Armstrong, or do you want the individuals banned? Surely this is the best way forward to discuss on a open forum, and if these club members are ashamed, then do something about it at club level, lets take the film clip at Tamesis and this was club racing, the three leading boats all cheating, the fourth boat sailing with spinny up, sailed to the rules and as shown did not roll or gybe , no because they want to sail fairly, but their boat is going slower with more sail area, you know why. There are some great sailors from the past at Tamesis just watching and doing sweet FA, they have the largest fleet of merlins, let them show , the rest of the fleets around the country , that sailing is still fun, sailed fairly and that cheating is something of the past, just like cycling has appeared to have cleaned up their act lets see sailing merlins on the thames along with the rest of the UK clean up our sport, and lets have a great time
The comparison with Lance Armstrong is interesting. In the end he has had all his records stripped away.
When it comes to river sailing so often in light winds, it is easy to have a great record if you are prepared to sacrifice the respect of your peers in order to win.
In the end you have your name all over the cups, and you take them home each year, year after year, but in years to come when a kid looks at that trophy and asks ‘who was XYZ, was he a great sailor?’ the reply will come ‘yes, he was an ok sailor, but he was also a terrible cheat who when the wind went light would just roll his boat whilst the rest of the fleet waited for the wind to return and for that no one respected him and his record is worthless’……the next question is ‘who never cheated?’……to which the answer is always ‘me son, I never cheated, not once.’
No problem with people having a pop but at least have the courage to put your name to your post - PM ., anonymous
DV: I was not thinking/writing about you at all.
I've been following this post with interest. In the many years of sailing I have been a protestor, a protestee and on protest committees. Personally I don't enjoy going through protests at all and I am sure I am not alone here. Certainly I have had and witnessed some nasty protests and the bad feeling that sometimes is the outcome. My highly competitive days are in the past and I sail now for fun and relaxation, as a result I am usually loath to protest and especially a fellow club member. OK I know this is not right and it is "our duty" but I am sure many people feel the same as me so I will put up and shut up.
The other point I would make is that some protest committees are more able than others, I have experience of able and non-able! If a poor decision is made there is a danger that a president is set for future poor rule observance. What we need, as a class is consensus that we want to clean up rule observance as a whole and that everyone will sign up to this. Some sort of campaign perhaps led by the committee might be a good way forward? - name and e-mail provided.
I think David C has identified well the sort of problems that can arise with lodging protests at club level. Despite some comments in this thread though, they do happen.
Despite this though, if you feel strongly enough to post comments here about other people/clubs and, in your view, their bad attitude towards rule observance, then you should follow the protest route whatever you believe the outcome of it will be.
And in response to Martin Hunter's statement that I am missing the point, I am not missing it, it's just that I don't agree entirely with the one being made by him or the method in which he makes it.
Can I just point out that the VT is not the normal standard of sailing at Tammy and followed a heated exchange of views between boats about who was over gybing..... not an excuse but not the norm either.
From my very limited experience, half the problem is that the person/people that push the rules never thinks of themselves as a cheat, they just think that they are 'keeping the boat going' or 'responding to every shift' etc. The majority then get frustrated and drop hints and make comments but never confront the behaviour by protesting and therefore nothing ever improves. The possibly guilty party, will respect nothing but the decision of a protest committee.
FYI, this year I had some contact at an event with an experienced international judge and he spoke very straight forwardly about all the rules. On the subject of protesting he noted that we (Thames A Raters) seemed generally reluctant as a class to protest. His perspective (in brief) was that protesting was very much part and parcel of the sport of sailing and that we should all be prepared to do more of it i.e. it is not malicious or a big deal.
For the record, my understanding is that it can be hard to make a Rule 42 protest stick as you need a witness that is certain they are corroborating the same incident. Notwithstanding this, it is probably worth protesting anyway, even if it does become a week in and week out fruitless effort. At least that way you can say that you have done your bit and who knows, the other person might just get the message. To speed the process up you can photocopy your completed form and just leave the time of the incident and the name of your witness blank; the cereal offender may even be polite enough to commit the offence at the same time each week, making life even easier.
While I am fully in support of the need to adhere to Rule 42, it is worth noting a couple of points.
Gybing downwind is not illegal. If it was the skiffs, multihulls and A Raters etc would have to change the way they sail.
On gybing and/or tacking, the crucial point is that the speed of the boat immediately after the manoeuvre must be no faster than it was at the start of the manoeuvre. Exaggerated rolling is allowed to facilitate the turn, as outlined in this extract from the current RRS.
(a) A boat may be rolled to facilitate steering.
(b) A boat’s crew may move their bodies to exaggerate the rolling
that facilitates steering the boat through a tack or a gybe, provided
that, just after the tack or gybe is completed, the boat’s
speed is not greater than it would have been in the absence of
the tack or gybe.'
Competitors who break these rules should be protested, either by their fellow competitors or by club officials nominated to do so, but not everyone who gybes down wind or roll tacks/gybes is breaking the Rules.
As pointed out in earlier messages, Tamesis will using an on-the-water judge for the Merlin events this weekend, so hopefully the sailing will be competitive but fair. Come and check it out.
One year at the 12 champs I came ashore and lodged about 12 protest against various boats for wobbling. I had a queue of angry volunteers to help me with the tedious job of filling the forms out.
The protests were all quite correctly thrown out, as I'd not properly informed the protested boats at the time of the offence. So no one got lobbed, not even my brother in law, and everyone was mostly happy. One well known yachter had even put on a jacket and tie in preparation for his attempt to defend the indefensible.
In the next sh*t race that week everyone was much better behaved and I didn't have to waste any more drinking time filling out paperwork.
in an attempt to bring this thread back to order, gybing downwind on the shifts is not illegal and all good sailors will try to sail on the right gybe, however, three gybes within a minute certainly is illegal and doing that with your rudder up for extra leverage/ooching/sculling is downright cheating.
I didn't mean for this to happen. I just wanted clarity on sailing a race with a lifted rudder. Please everyone just stop!
I feel terrible at the amount of negativity that I have generated. I think this thread is dead.
You shouldn't apologise. You were asking a reasonable question. Obviously there is a problem here or there wouldn't be this number of people posting comments. I don't think it's negative necessarily. Surely open and frank discussion is positive?
Andy: I agree with David, you have nothing to apologise for at all. Yours was a good question that has prompted some frank and honest discussion.
Andy, you are right, the thread is dead, what needed to be said has been said.
Thread purged and closed at the request of the origional poster.
I only hope this is the last time that the forum is used as a kangaroo protest room. I think we may have to adopt a zero tolerance approach and the threads like this will have to disappear on sight. I'll be guided by the rest of committee on that one.
Anonymous posters. We know who you are! If you are posting something you dont want to be associated with DONT POST IT!!
In the mean time lets get back to positive vibes. Should be a good couple of opens thius weekend and maybe two new boats being launched :)