Rule 42 infringements

2008 Olympics effectively over for Greek Finn sailor Emilios Papathanasiou as he picks up three yellow flags

Monday August 11th 2008, Author: thedailysail in Qingdao, Location: United Kingdom
Day 3 and only three classes having started their competition in Qingdao. Already there have been 12 Rule 42 penalties applied, 11 in the Finn class. Catastrophically for Emilios Papathanasiou three of them are his.

“It’s a shame Emilios has picked up three Yellow flags now,” commented defending Olympic champion Ben Ainslie. “He’s one of the favourites. He’s a very good sailor and a very fast sailor. For sure you’ve got to police it but it’s a bit harsh when people’s regattas are effectively over on Day 2.”

The Greek has failed to finish outside of 2nd or 3rd place in the Finn Gold Cup only once since 2000 and is a formidable light airs sailor. He was considered a genuine medal prospect in China, provided he kept it all together…

The Racing Rules no longer have the three Yellows and you are disqualified from the regatta stipulation. Instead, every penalty from the second onwards requires retirement from the race. This means that after four races the Greek has two DNFs in his score, his discards already used , assuming a full series of races in complete.

Another to fall foul of the illegal propulsion rule is Brazil’s Eduardo Couto with two. Bizarrely one of Ainslie’s old Laser class rivals, Norway’s Peer Moberg, managed to turn his one and only Yellow flag into a Race 2 DSC by failing to complete a full 720 degree turn.

Whilst Rule 42 covers the whole gamut of illegal propulsion it is pumping that is particularly under the judges’ beady eye in Qingdao.

The Briton has had the judges coming into to scrutinize his sailing from time to time. He admits “this makes you think about the way you are sailing for a minute or two.”

The number of Yellow flags is not especially high for a Finn regatta in light winds and the judges are familiar faces at Finn events. They know their sailors and they should have a good understanding of how the boat reacts in a given condition.

“It’s very hard because the water’s so choppy,” explains Ainslie. “It’s really hard to do the right amount of trimming with it standing out from the effect of the chop because the leech is constantly fanning.”


Ainslie thinks retirement is too tough a sanction for the second and subsequent offences, though is firm that it should be controlled. His solution? To do one more 720 turn for every additional Yellow Flag after the first.

For Papathanasiou this would mean a next offence would be eight turns…

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