Thursday, April 14, 2005

Standing tall before the man

Sailing World posted an article on racing “ethics” today – along with a quiz on sportsmanship that will, I suppose, help you understand your chances of going up before the committee on a protest. Ethics are a good thing and as important to sailing culture as anything else – but this topic brings to mind many stories of the “captain who lost his/her shit and began screaming at someone at the line” variety. Racing often is a high octane endeavor with egos, emotions and usually submerged Napoleon-type character flaws on full display. I was crewing on a maxi during a near disastrous T-bone in St. Maarten and can testify the challenge of keeping ones “sportsmanlike” demeanor when a multi-ton yacht is bearing down on your broadside (and you have right of way). One rule of thumb I’ve always tried to follow is to let the Captain be the one to go postal. After all he (or she) is the person who'll have to stand tall before the man and explain. As anyone who has been exposed understands, nothing spoils a post-race buzz more than a protest hearing. But back to the article…some may deem a sailing "miss manners" a little ridiculous but this author, under the moniker of “sporty” raises interesting and topical issues. For example, how useful to have an answer to the question, “Is it OK for your friends to help by covering or tacking on a competitor on the last day of a regatta if you didn't ask for help?” (No) Here's a link to the IASF racing rules and regs for your viewing pleasure. Anyone with an outrageous sportsmanship tale throw me a comment and I’ll post.

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