CHAPTER XV

YACHT RACING

The new Y.R.A. rule of measurement Sail area Time allowance Rules of racing Methods of starting.

OTHER things being equal, the speed of a vessel increases with her size; so it has always been the custom to handicap yachts competing in a race by giving time allowance to smaller craft.

In order to carry out this handicapping, it is of course necessary to have some general rule of measurement by which the size so far as racing is concerned of any yacht can be determined with exactitude. It has taxed the brains of yachting men from the earliest days of the sport to discover some standard of measurement which will be fair to all, and which will tend to encourage the building of a class of seaworthy pleasure vessels, and not of mere racing machines.

Until within the last two years the Yacht Racing Association rule for measuring a yacht's tonnage was as follows: "Add the yacht's greatest breadth to her length along the loadline; multiply the sum thus obtained by itself, and by the breadth; then divide the product by 1730; and the quotient shall be the tonnage in tons and hundredths of a ton."

Thus the length and beam were the only factors to be taken into consideration while calculating a yacht's tonnage. The displacement, draught, and sail area counted for nothing. The natural result followed. As beam was discouraged, it became apparent that the fastest boat for her tonnage, according to this artificial rule, was a long narrow craft with great draught, large sail area, and a lead mine on her keel; consequently uncomfortable in a sea way, and affording, for her size, very cramped accommodation to her passengers; in short, a cup-winning machine unfit for anything but racing.

But now, at last, all this has been changed. The old Y.R.A. rule has been done away with, and a system of measurement on entirely new principles has been introduced which does not tax a vessel's beam, and the sole factors in the calculation for which are length and sail area.

This revolution in yacht rating has taken place so recently that its results, as regards the type of vessels that will be constructed with a view to meeting the new conditions, have not yet had time to declare themselves; but it is claimed by many sanguine people that under these rules the old-fashioned wholesome beamy vessel will have its day again, that the "plank set up on edge" style of craft is doomed, and that the fastest yacht will also be the best boat.

The following are the new Y.R.A. rules of measurement. We will quote the more essential rules, and those parts only of these which apply to small yachts such as we are writing about.

RULE 3. The rating of every yacht entered to sail in a race shall be ascertained by multiplying the sail area in square feet (as found in the manner hereinafter enjoined) by the length in feet on the load water-line, and dividing the product by 6000; the quotient shall be the rating, and in rating above 10, a fraction of or exceeding 0.1 shall count as 1; but in rating from 1 to 10, a fraction smaller than 0.1 shall count as 1 (see Rule 4). The length shall be taken in a straight line from the fore-end to the after-end of the load water-line, provided always that if any part of the stem or stern-post or other part of the vessel below the load water-line project beyond the length taken as mentioned, such projection or projections shall, for the purpose of the rule, be added to the length taken as stated; and pieces of any form cut out of the stem, stern post, or fair-line of the ridge of the counter, with the intention of shortening the load water-line, shall not be allowed for in measurement of length, if at or immediately below the load-line, nor above if within six inches of the water-level.

MAINSAIL. A, measured from the top of the boom (over the pin for outhaul sheave) to the gaff under the pin of the topsail sheet sheave, provided the peak cringle of the mainsail does not extend beyond tbe pin: in the case of the yacht having no topsail, or of the peak cringle extending beyond the pin of the topsail sheet sheave, then the measurement to be taken to the peak lacing-hole.

B, perpendicular to A, measured to underside of gaff close into the mast.

C, measured from top of boom over the pin of the sheave for outhaul to underside of gaff close into the mast.

D, perpendicular to C, measured in to the mast, in a line with the top of the boom, or to tack cringle of mainsail, if below top of boom.

To find the area of the MAINSAIL, multiply A by B and C by D, and add the two products together and divide by two.

JIB-HEADED TOPSAIL. K, measured from top of gaff close in to mast to pin of halyard sheave in topmast.

L, perpendicular to K, measured to pin of topsail sheet sheave in gaff; or to lacing-hole in jackyard.

To find the area of the JIB-HEADER, multiply K by L and divide the product by two.

HEAD SAILS. I, measured from the main boom gooseneck to the shoulder of topmast, or in cases where no sails are attached to the topmast stay or pole stay, the measurement to be taken from the main boom gooseneck to the pin of the highest sheave in or on the topmast or pole, or to the pin of the sheave of any block secured to the topmast or pole, and used in either case for head sail or spinnaker.

J, measured from the foreside of the mast to top of cranse iron on bowsprit end where cut by line of topmast stay or pole stay; or, in cases where no sail or sails are attached to the stay, the measurement to be taken from the foreside of the mast to the pin of the sheave for jib outhaul.

In all cases, if the distance from the centre fore and aft line of the mast to the outer end of spinnaker boom (when shipped in its place and square to the keel) exceeds the distance from the fore side of the mast to the cranse iron on the bowsprit end (where cut by the line of topmast stay), or pin of sheave for jib outhaul as the case may be, the excess shall be added to the base of the triangle formed by the head sails; and the area of the head sail to be computed accordingly.

In the case of a yacht having, no head sail, but carrying a spinnaker, the area for head sail shall be computed from the length of spinnaker boom and the height from main boom gooseneck to shoulder of topmast, or highest pin in sheave of polemast, as provided for in this rule.

The length of head-stick or head-yard to spinnaker shall not exceed one-twentieth the length of spinnaker boom. Foot yards not allowed on spinnakers.

To find the area of HEAD SAILS, jib, topsail, or spinnaker, multiply by J and divide by two.

To find the area of HEAD SAIL, for POLE MAST, multiply I by J and divide by two.

LUG SAILS WITH HEAD SAILS. In the case of a lug sail, standing lug sail, or balance lug sail being carried, the actual area of the same shall be computed; and if head sail be also carried, the measurements for computing the area of the same shall be taken from foreside of mast, etc., in accordance with the method provided in the rule for head sails.

. YAWL SAILS. The area of a schooner's sail or a yawl's sail would be similarly found; in the case of a yawl having a lug mizzen, the lacing-holes in the yard would be taken as the upper boundaries.

TIME ALLOWANCE (Rule 4). Time shall be allowed on arrival for differences in rating, according to the annexed scales, increased or decreased in proportion to the length of different courses. In all time, where time has to be allowed for difference of rating in yachts of 10 rating and under, it shall be computed by the rating and fractions of the rating in accordance with the time scales.

The explanation of the calculations on which the time allowances are based will be found in the little volume of the Y.R.A. rules, annually published by Messrs. Harrison, of St. Martin's Lane, London, in which also will be found a scale of allowances for differences of rating worked out in fractions of tenths for vessels of from .1 to 571 rating.

It will suffice to say here, that if a vessel's rating is x, t, the allowance she makes per knot to a yacht whose rating is I, will be thus found: t = 360 – 360/5sqrtx. The result is the allowance in seconds. As the allowance is calculated for one knot, the allowance for another distance will be found by multiplying t by the length of the course in knots. To calculate the allowance that should be made by one yacht to another, find the t, as above, for both yachts. Subtract the lesser from the greater t. The result will be the time in seconds to be allowed per knot by the yacht rating highest.

ALLOWANCE TO SCHOONERS AND YAWLS. The Yacht Racing Association recommend for the consideration of sailing committees: (I) That as mixed races are no satisfactory test of the relative speed of yachts, the different rigs should, whenever practicable, be kept separate; but when mixed races are unavoidable, the following rule shall be observed:

The rating of schooners and yawls to be reckoned for time allowance as follows, viz. schooners at three-fifths, and yawls at four-fifths of their actual rating; provided that in case of a yawl, her mainsail does not exceed .37 of her total sail area, and that her mizzen is not less than .06 of her total sail area. In the case of a pole-masted yawl, her mainsail shall not exceed .46 of her total sail area, and her mizzen shall not be less than .75 of her total sail area. In schooners, the foreside of the mainmast shall, at the deck be not further forward than the middle of length of the load water-line.

Ketches and luggers shall be reckoned for time allowance at three-fifths their rating; provided that in a ketch the distance between the masts does not exceed half the length of the load water-line of the yacht, and that the smaller sail is carried aft. In the case of a lugger, to be entitled to the rig allowance, the yacht must have two or more masts, and the after, or the middle mast, at the deck must not be forward of the middle of length of the load water-line, and in the case of a two-masted lugger, if the area of the after lug be less than half the area of the main lug, she will be rated as a yawl.

In calculating the deduction for difference of rig, the rating by certificate to the exact fraction must be used. The time allowances to be calculated from each yacht ts reduced rating; but schooners and yawls shall not be allowed to qualify to enter by their reduced rating in a class race.

In racing for mixed rigs, the time allowances between yachts of the same rig must be calculated on each yacht's reduced rating.

Yachts fitted with centre-boards have up till now been prohibited by the Y.R.A rule from competing in races sailed under those rules. But this has now been changed, and in place of the old Rule 8, we have the following regulation: Rule 8. "In the case of a yacht fitted with a centre-board or plate, or other form of shifting keel, manual power only shall be employed in working in it."

In Rule 17, the rules of the road for yachts racing are given. As these are the same as the Board of Trade rules for avoiding collision, which we have already quoted, we need not recapitulate them here. But the following additional rules of the road have been framed especially for yachts competing in a race.

RULE 18. When rounding any buoy or vessel used to mark out the course, if two yachts are not clear of each other at the time the leading yacht is close to, and actually rounding the mark, the outside yacht must give the other room to pass clear of it, whether it be the lee or weather yacht which is in danger of fouling the mark. No yacht shall be considered clear of another yacht, unless so much ahead as to give a free choice to the other on which side she will pass. An overtaking yacht shall not, however, be justified in attempting to establish an overlap, and thus force a passage between the leading yacht and the mark, after the latter yacht has altered her helm for the purpose of rounding.

RULE 19. When passing a pier, shoal, lock vessel, or other obstruction to sea room, should yachts not be clear of each other, the outside yacht or yachts must give room to the yacht in danger of fouling such obstruction, whether she be the weather or the leeward yacht; provided always that an overlap has been established before an obstruction is actually reached.

RULE 20 A yacht overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the overtaken yacht; and a yacht may luff as she pleases to prevent another yacht passing to windward, but must never bear away out of her course to hinder the other passing to leeward the lee side to be considered that on which the leading yacht of the two carries her main boom. The overtaking vessel, if to leeward, must not luff until she has drawn clear ahead of the yacht she has overtaken.

RULE 21. If two yachts are standing towards a shore or shoal, or towards any buoy, boat, or vessel, and the yacht to leeward is likely to run aground or foul of such buoy, boat, or vessel (a mark vessel excepted), and is not able to tack without coming into collision with the yacht to windward, the latter shall at once tack, on being hailed to do so by the owner of the leeward yacht, or the person acting as his representative, who shall be bound to see that his own vessel tacks at the same time.

RULE 22. Any yacht running on shore, or foul of a buoy, vessel, or other obstruction, may use her own anchors, boats, warps, etc., to get off, but may not receive any assistance except from the crew of the vessel fouled. Any anchor, boat, or warp used, must be taken on board again before she continues the race.

RULE 23. Each yacht must go fairly round the course; and must not touch any buoy, boat. or vessel, used to mark it out, but shall not be disqualified if wrongfully compelled to do so by another yacht. Any yacht causing a mark vessel to in any way shift her position to avoid being fouled by such yacht, shall be disqualified. If a yacht, in consequence of her neglect of any of these rules, shall foul another yacht, or compel other yachts to foul, she shall forfeit all claim to the prize, and shall pay all damages.

RULE 24. No towing, sweeping, poling, or pushing, or any mode of propulsion, except sails, shall be allowed, except for the purpose set forth in Rule 22.

RULE 25. A yacht may anchor during a race, but must weigh her anchor again and not slip. No yacht shall, during a race, make fast to any buoy, pier, or other object, or send an anchor out in a boat, except for the purpose of Rule 22.

RULE 26. No other means of sounding than the lead and line allowed.

The following rules refer to various matters:

RULE 6. Each yacht entered for a race, must be the bona fide property of the person or persons in whose name or names she is entered, who must be a member or members of a recognized yacht club.

A yacht, whilst let on hire, shall not be allowed to compete under these rules.

RULE 7. No owner shall be allowed to enter more than one yacht in a race, except in cases in which a prize is given for each rig, when one yacht of each rig may be entered; nor shall he be entitled to enter the same yacht under different rigs for any race.

RULE 9. Every yacht sailing in a race shall have on board a member of a recognized yacht club, who, before the prize is awarded, shall sign a declaration that the yacht under his charge has strictly conformed to all the sailing regulations.

RULE 12. There shall be no restrictions as to sails, or the manner of setting and working them: but manual power only may be used for hoisting and working them.

RULE 13. There shall be no limit as to the number of paid hands, and no restriction as to the number of friends, or to their worling. No paid hand shall join or leave a yacht after tbe signal to start, except in case of accident or injury to any person on board. [This rule is not intended to apply to Corinthian matches.]

RULE 14. All yachts exceeding a rating of 10 shall be fitted below deck with the ordinary fittings of a yacht, including two transverse bulkheads of wood. The following shall apply to all yachts: their platforms shall be kept down, and bulkheads standing.

No water shall be started from or taken into the tanks after the signal to start has been made. No more than the usual anchors and chains shall be carried during a race, which must not be used as shifting ballast, or for altering the trim of the yacht. No bags of shot shall be on board, and all ballast shall be properly stowed under the platform or in lockers, and shall not be shifted or trimmed in any way during a race. No ballast or other dead weight shall be shifted, shipped, or unshipped, so as to alter the length of the load water-line, after a yacht has been entered for a race, nor without giving notice thereof to the secretary of the Yacht Racing Association, as enjoined in Rule 3.

The races organized by the recognized yacht clubs of the British Isles are all sailed under the Y.R.A. rules, but those clubs that have been established to encourage the construction and racing of small boats, such as are many of our Corinthian and river sailing clubs, adopt different methods of measurement from those of the Y.R.A., which last are not adapted for the classification of small craft. As a rule, small boats are classed by length; in some cases their rating is ascertained by adding length, breadth, and depth together, the sum being the measurement in feet and inches.

The Y.R.A. rules for ascertaining the area of sails for rating purposes seriously handicap small yachts rigged in what may be termed river fashion. For instance, the area of the head sails of a lug-sail boat is computed in accordance with the method provided in the rule for a cutter's headsails; that is, the after limit of the area is taken along the mast; whereas a lugsail, projecting before the mast, prevents the boat from carrying head sails that will reach so far aft as the mast.

Again, in the case of a Una or balance lug boat carrying a spinnaker, but no head sails, the whole area of the spinnaker is reckoned in the rating; whereas in the case of a boat carrying head-sails as well as spinnaker, the area of the spinnaker is not taken into account at all unless it be larger than that of the head sail, in which case the difference between them is added to the sail area. The result is that the first boat only carries the sail area for which she is rated when running before the wind.

There are various methods of arranging the start in a yacht race. One plan is to have the competing yachts anchored or moored in a line with all sails down, or after sails up and head sails down, or all sail up, as the sailing committee may direct. Lots are drawn for the different stations. Five minutes before the start a Blue Peter is hoisted and a gun is fired. At the expiration of the five minutes the Blue Peter is hauled down, and a second gun is fired as a signal to start. The yachts then slip from their moorings. If a yacht let go her moorings or drag her anchor before the second gun is fired, she is liable to be disqualified, unless the parting or dragging be explained to the satisfaction of the committee, or unless she has returned, after the signal to start, within the line of starting buoys, so as not to obtain any advantage from the accident.

Another method of starting is what is known as a flying start. The yachts are all under way, and have to keep inside an imaginary line between two marks until the starting gun is fired. Then they cross the line. If a yacht crosses the line before the signal, she must return and recross it.

Should the owner of any yacht or his representative consider that he has a fair ground of complaint against another for foul sailing, or any violation of the rules, he must, if it arise during the race, signify the same on first passing the committee vessel, by showing an ensign conspicuously in the main rigging.

We refer the reader to the little book published by Harrison and Sons, before mentioned, for the other racing regulations of the Yacht Racing Association, and to the special rules of the sailing clubs in whose regattas he wishes to compete.