Food for thought when precise timing matters


Also 6 kts ~ 3 m/s. 1 sec ~ 3 m


There is a well known race for what is usually referred to as the Auld Mug.
Queen Victoria came to watch an early event. She enquired of Mr Lipton’s representative; “what happens to second place?”

“Your majesty, there is no second place”.


It was my best day evvvvahhh the day Australia II won the Auld Mug from 3 races down in a best of seven and there was “no second place”.

Not much work done on my patrol boat (my first command!) that day.

And I’ve sailed races all my life and never had to start on anything other than an initial signal at the start boat. The start boat’s time is the gospel, and it tells everyone what that time is by the usual flag and sound signals. Getting bogged down in the minutiae of UTC, GPS or other authority is just silly, but it is certainly preferable if the start boat’s time is correct to the official time of the locality.


Good for you.

For a guy in possession of such a warm and fuzzy nature that he enjoys shepherding blind girls into steering a square rigger through harbor entry and berthing, you’re coming off a bit high and mighty and missing the point.
There’s nothing silly about introducing people to racing one step at a time. The pursuit format is the antithesis of the high drama, screaming matches and scratched paint that often take place in the scramble to cross the start line first. It keeps newbie skippers out of trouble at the start and makes it clear who they need to chase since ratings are applied prior to the start and the first boat to cross the finish wins the race.
Once they have the basics and understand the rules, they participate in regional races which feature conventional starts.


Really? All I’m saying is that the time used to start (and finish) the race is usually set by the start boat rather than some external authority. It could be out by a minute perhaps but if everyone is sailing in the vicinity they set their watches by that signal. Nothing hard about that, is there? If there’s a dispute over which authority’s time to use then state it in the sailing instructions. I made no comment on the start method and encourage its use in the sort of race you mention and I certainly didn’t say it was silly. I have had occasion to record my own finishing times many years ago and phone them through but matters of seconds were not a concern.

Oh and I race regularly and we occasionally have a similar start but do so from the start boat by means of countdown signs (30 to 0 minutes) visible to starters with each boat allocated a start time. It provides all the benefits you mention.

I have to admit I was unaware of GPS time missing leap seconds so that was interesting in an esoteric sort of way, but my use of such accuracy hasn’t been prominent since we gave away astro nav.

And thank you for avidly reading my comments and noting my affable, caring nature. I’ll be careful not to be too high and mighty, but some toes here are so big I can’t seem to avoid treading on them.


b[quote=“Jughead, post:25, topic:48014”]
ll I’m saying is that the time used to start (and finish) the race is usually set by the start boat rather than some external authority.

In the real world, no argument.
We’re a small community on an island living on island time. I’m a one man band and I don’t have time for flag waving and horn blowing on a rocking 22 foot committee boat. When it takes two hands to hold on, I put out a couple of floats to mark the ends of the start line and duck back into the harbor until the finishers are getting back. If somebody loses their copy of the roster before the start, they ask, I tell. It’s all very low key. Many of us haven’t worn watches in years. I don’t think our Commodore even owns a pair of long pants.
Maybe half a dozen of the best in the harbor participate in a handful of regional regattas and we host one of them.

Esoteric knowledge brings me a certain kind of peace in a chaotic world.

No foul here.


Sounds like my kinda club. Keep up the good work.

I might add that we had a Committee boat about that size kept on a trailer but the then Commodore who shall remain nameless forgot to put the bung in when launching and it sank at the club jetty as he went to the bar.

Insurance came good and a local council donation helped and we have a much better one now … kept on a mooring without a bung. Remarkably the larger boat has attracted more volunteers and we can even get a hot sausage as we sail past.

And the culprit is still copping it years later.


No need for condescension.
I raced long distance with Aussies and Kiwis. Condescension was one of their peculiar qualities. They were also opinionated, stubborn, belligerent and thought nothing of banging on the hull of sleeping boats after a grueling race at 5 in the morning to demand where the last of the beer was hidden. For all that, they were top notch shipmates.