Most racing sailors agree that on-the-water judging is the best thing to happen to the sport since fiberglass, since it eliminates the tiresome process of protest hearings late into the night to settle petty disputes.
Perhaps no competitor has a better grasp of the complex rules than Dave Perry, the 1983 and ’84 winner of the Congressional Cup. He has written books on the subject.
But it was probably inevitable that someday Dave Perry would have a head-on collision with the system, and it happened Thursday in the fifth round of the 25th Congressional match-racing series at Long Beach.
While Rod Davis was winning two more races to lead the 10-man fleet with a 5-0 record, Perry, 3-2, was running afoul of the judges and Eddie Owen, 2-3.
In moderate winds, Owen had overtaken Perry on the first downwind leg of the second round. Perry was fighting to hold the inside overlap position that by the rules obligate Owen to give Perry room to round the leeward mark first.
Perry, the bill of his cap turned up, as is his style, called, “Overlap!”
Owen ignored him, turning his boat left around the orange inflatable buoy and forcing Perry to turn hard right to avoid a collision. In this situation, the onus is on Perry to prove he had an overlap.
“He was shouting, ‘Overlap!” said Owen, the ’87 Congressional winner. “I said there no overlap. As we came into the mark we luffed up a little bit and were slowly breaking the overlap. I’m looking to see how far we are from the mark and looking behind me trying to see when we broke the overlap. The jury must have agreed with me.”
Under the system introduced in the Congressional last year, the judges shadowing the race in a small powerboat were John Ripard of Malta, Graeme Hayward of Canada and Ed Feo of Long Beach.
Before the boats were around the mark, both had protest flags flying, and the judges held up Perry’s code letter, E, as a signal to perform a 270-degree turn as a penalty.
Perry shouted at the judges over the water for several seconds in protest.
“We were quite satisfied there was no overlap,” Ripard said. “All three judges on our boat agreed.”
They said that Owen had broken the overlap about three lengths from the mark, giving Owen the right of way.
“There was no question,” Ripard said. “This is why we have on-the-water judging.”
But the issue didn’t end there. Perry failed to perform his penalty turn, as Owen went on to win by 55 seconds.
Perry later requested a hearing for redress from the jury but declined to talk about it.
“It’s just a courtesy,” Ripard said. “We could have black-flagged him (for not doing the penalty turn).”
After the meeting, Hayward said that Perry told the judges he thought he’d seen a green flag, indicating no penalty.
CONGRESSIONAL CUP--The series continues with two rounds today and two more Saturday. Rod Davis, the ’81 and ’85 winner, defeated defending champion Peter Gilmour, 3-2, of Australia and Steve Steiner, 1-4, of Long Beach to run his record to 5-0. San Diego’s Peter Isler slipped to 4-1 in losing to Anaheim’s John Bertrand, 3-2, representing the St. Francis Yacht Club.
COLLEGE--Coach Craig Wilson’s UC Irvine team won the Trux-Ulmstead intercollegiate dinghy regatta at the Naval Academy last weekend, qualifying to defend its national title as top seed at Chicago in June. Lead skipper Jon Pinckney of Newport Beach was second in A Division with crew Mike Sturman and Geoff Becker, while James Malm won B Division with crew Scott Munch and Nick Scandone, all sailing 420s. Sailing single-handed Lasers, Nick Adamson was fifth in C Division and Randy Lake third in D. Irvine scored 280 points, followed by Old Dominion, 289; Tulane, 303; Navy, 326, and Charleston, 342.
PRO--Olympic gold medalist Allison Jolly of Long Beach, with crewman Larry Tuttle, will compete in the new One-Design 14 dinghy division of the four-event Ziploc Ultimate Yacht Race series starting March 22-26 at San Francisco. Jolly won the Olympic women’s 470 class with crew member Lynne Jewell and they shared the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award. Ten boats will compete for $10,000 at San Francisco. Jolly is the only woman in the fleet. John Kolius will defend his title in the Ultimate 30 class. He won $113,000 last year.