Crashing? This year some of the national windsurfing association have started using the NO RULE system as in PWA for slalom racing. No right of way, no protests, no rules! Everthing is allowed and you can’t really complain about someone crashing into you. At the starts you can change your direction even 1m to the startline, in the jibes there is no right of way. But how is it possible that we see very little crashes during the racing? Even less then in national racing with Ifca rules?
Judges are still allowed to give you a warning for dangerous sailing if in 2 heats, you end up crashing twice into others. After the warning, you could get disqualified and even end up paying a fine.
When do crashes occur? These happen in different cases: When you would go for it in a jibe, in the sense that you would try to scrape through a small area to try to overtake others in a jibe around the mark. By accident: either becouse you would loose control on the straigh line, fall, and someone else would run over you after a catapult, a fall in a jibe, or just due to a failure in the equipment.
Is it worth to go for it in the jibe to overtake, knowing that there could be a chance of crashing? It depends. You need to be 100% sure that you don’t make a small mistake yourself, but do the perfect jibe, and that the opponents next to you are actually aware that you are going to sneek in and risk their positions as well, then you could try. Knowing and seeing you going for it, they could leave you the little extra place not to crash into them. If you are feeling safe it could be worth going for it, but if even before starting the jibe, you feel that it would not work, don’t do it! Going for it, often is not worth it. Not only you damage other people racing when crashing, but your own chance to go through a round yourself.
Once you take out the rules, everyone is just more aware of the fact that anything can happen. So there are actually less surprises on the course. If there are rules, you would expect sailors to follow them, therefore you would not expect any surprise and if these would happen you would be less ready to avoid the crash.
Sailor who are used to the no rule system in PWA are totally aware that trying something which could cause crashes, would firstly be damaging their own results. So there is a total respect on the course to try to avoid the crashes. The starts, the run to the first mark, the jibe are much more aggressive if you find yourself for the first time racing with these no rules. You have to get into the new thinking and the new system on how things work. The first race you would actually think that the riders are totally crazy and that everything is too dangerous and fast. Once you get into the flow, you will realize how much more fun it is to race with no rules and how much faster the racing is.
On the start line you can change your course at any time, so this allows you to actually exit the line at higher speed. At the jibe everyone is entering at the same time no matter if they are upwind downwind, nose infront of the other: nobody slows down everyone goes for it. (If someone would slowdown …then this would cause an accident!) On the straight line there are no rules so you can push the others from any direction and this makes it all much more fun.
After 3 weeks of full training with the Black Team there has been some crashing as we were having up to 30 heats a day. The main three were reporting gear damages mainly others just simple small hits at the jibe making few riders fall: Team Captain, Andrea Cucchi gave a good scratch to Maciek back in one of the jibes, by hitting Maciek with his sail. Same time one other rider while Andrea was falling in, sailed over his mast and with the fin cracked the mast.
Pascal Toselli doing a race jibe, span out, and dropped the sail in the water for Andrea to sail over it and cut it in 2 pieces.
Alberto Menegatti, broke a fin while cruising to the start line, catapulting, he placed his sail infront of another rider’s fin, and got his 8.6 cut also in 2 pieces.
Pascal Toselli was actually the only one reporting a phisical damage by breaking slightly one of his toes. He does not know when it happened, but looks like he did it by himself, by kicking something on the board during a jibe in a paniching moment of the traininge. Some tape and he was back on the water.