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Thread: Sealed transmissions?

  1. #11
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianb View Post
    I read through the Volvo rules and also the Bermuda 1/2. The former rules are substantial ! I guess when that much money is involved you need to really tighten things up. They even seal mobile phones. Bermuda 1/2, not so much, they don't seem to seal engines or cell phones. The same with PSSA races, like Guadalupe race. Kind of a mixed bag.

    Volvo calls out procedures for seal removal and then recording, via a gps position photo, where seals were removed and where they were reapplied. Competitors are given multiple seals with special numbered tags. I suppose this is to allow a means of estimating the amount redress in case a seal is removed. Pretty detailed.
    PSSA follows the corinthian spirit. Most of our races include skippers taking their own finish times (due to our finish locations), so to seal shafts runs counter to our culture. Skippers will just be cheating themselves by using the engine. We also have rules against sponsorship.

    That said, cheating has happened, even in a race around the world. Richard Konkolski in the 82-83 BOC was suspected of motoring in the doldrums, then again in the '86 BOC. He was protested on the basis of his outsized daily runs in the doldrums and a protest meeting was held in Cape Town - hang in here, there is a point to all this. From Hal Roth's notes of the Protest Hearing:

    "Jean Luc and I were both convinced that Konkolski used his engine in the doldrums, and we counted on the race committee's engine seals to convict him. We were both furious when we found that the committee had simply put a wire with a seal on the engine gearshift lever. To defeat the seal, you merely had to disconnect the gearshift lever from the engine, and shift gears with a pair of pliers."

    The protest was thrown out. Most felt Konkolski should have been thrown out, but they decided there was not enough proof.

    I have no answers. Shafts or levers were not sealed in 2012, and skippers using them for propulsion never crossed my mind. I am surprised that a crewed race would require shaft seals, but maybe it's sponsorship money that applies such pressure to win & keep crew members quiet? The duty of the RC is to run a fair race, so unless it's onerous, they should err on the side of fairness. It turns my stomach, though. Ironic that the race starts at the Corinthian YC. I would kill the seals if skippers were expected to take their own finish times.

  2. #12
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    May 2009
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    Yeah, the whole thing is rather distasteful isn't it? I feel dirty for bringing it up, but it is worth talking about in the interest of having a fair race.
    I agree that if someone cheats, its on them and they have to live with their conscience or lack thereof.
    Last edited by WBChristie; 12-29-2013 at 06:01 PM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBChristie View Post
    Yeah, the whole thing is rather distasteful isn't it? I feel dirty for bringing it up, but it is worth talking about in the interest of having a fair race.
    I agree that if someone cheats, its on them and they have to live with their conscience or lack thereof.
    Absolutely fitting to have this discussion and it would have been brought up shortly by me. Thanks for starting the thread.

    And thanks to Ragnar for the historical data and the description of the means of defeating the seals. My Hurst transmission would make this easy, as the lever comes right off.

  4. #14
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    May 2009
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    If it came to a vote, I would vote against wiring the transmissions or whatever. It doesn't take a ton of imagination to envisage a situation where the people we're sailing against would suddenly be asked/required to give up the race and try to save our life. Therefore I would like to think we could trust them. "The tragedy of being honest is that you think everyone else is honest. The tragedy of being dishonest is that you think everyone else is dishonest"

  5. #15
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    Sealed transmissions have multiple consequences. CYC has done a magnificent job in the past. But it remains onerous for them to individually tow out the majority of the SHTP fleet to the starting area.

    The breeze is often light before the starting sequences at CYC. Out-of towners and early tow outs may under estimate the strength of tidal current in Raccoon Straits. More than one SHTP starter has found himself flushed down current towards Ayala Cove and late for the start, from which they never recover in the building current.

    The 2014 SHTP start is scheduled for near max flood. Competitors could expect 2 knots or more of flooding (adverse) tide in portions of Raccoon Strait and south and west of the start area.

    If transmissions were unsealed, this would allow starters to motor or sail from CYC and remain in the vicinity of the start line without danger of being flushed to East Jesus. If that were the case, a reminder to all that the racing rules allow motoring in gear until your division's preparatory signal, 4 minutes before your division's start. At which time all engines must be out of gear for the duration of the race.

    My 2 cents: Leave gear shifts and shafts unsealed for those with engines. Safety and logistically wise, pre and post race, I believe it is a no brainer. At Hanalei, with its short downwind runway and inspectors not always able to readily board, having an (unwired) engine may someday assist those unable to sail off a lee shore or into the anchorage.

    Maybe this topic is moot. Current published NOR and RRC do not require sealing shafts and gear shifts.

    sleddog, 1978 and 2008 SHTP (and towboat skipper.)
    Last edited by sleddog; 01-02-2014 at 03:32 PM.

  6. #16
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    Nov 2013
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    I'm new to this forum and I stumbled across this thread thinking it was a technical one, not how to confirm whether competitors motored during the SHTP. I had no idea. Call me naive. My only experience with racing is up here on Humboldt Bay and all our races work on the honor system, even the single handed ones.
    I know I'm in the company of sailors who are much more experienced than me on this forum but I'll give my two cents anyway.
    I agree with WBChristie. The dream of competing in the SHTP for me is the reward of self realization, the challenge of digging down deep inside and finding the fortitude to overcome "inner demons" in the face of the broken equipment, lack of sleep, Mother Nature, and all while competing with like minded sailors trying to finish first with honor.
    Please tell me this isn't true that single handed sailors cheat. Tell me they're self reliant, confident and honorable.
    -Steve Ludwig

  7. #17
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    Jan 2010
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    In spite of what Bob Johnson posted, props were not "always sealed prior to 2012". First "sealings" were done sometime in
    the 1990"s. Supposedly in an (unsuccessful) attempt to entice French participation. They supposedly turned up their collective
    noses when they learned that our shafts had never been sealed. I suspect they have a lot of cheating?? So they turned to this.

  8. #18
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    Nov 2013
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    I suppose you could get around this whole issue by only allowing sailboats without motors to compete. Start the race at slack tide right before an ebb. It would limit the size of boats used and it may attract a whole new breed of , or should I say "old" breed of sailor. I'm totally game for something like that.
    Something to think about for future races and another thread. I apologize for getting off subject.

  9. #19
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    Ken, it's getting to where you are the only SHTP vet who posts here and who knows the history going farther back - I posted what I knew.

    I became aware of the SHTP in about 2001 and started attending the seminars in 2003 (leading up to the 2004 race). When I was finally able to cross the starting line in 2006 it was a huge deal for me and a great experience - a high point of my life. I have savored all the traditions which appeared to be part of the race. This included for me the novelty of having the shafts sealed and being towed out of the harbor, with friends and family watching. (It had little to do with the risk of cheating.) SHTP tradition for me also included being able to participate in SSB roll calls with a group of skippers I barely knew, many of whom would be friends by the time I reached Kauai. I count you as one of them. I realize there were no check-ins prior to 2002 but they were a big part of the experience in the races I did, and they will go away as trackers take over position reporting and make SSB's unnecessary.

    In planning the 2010 race I tried to retain as many of the traditions as possible. I was disappointed to see some of them lost in 2012. It appears more will be lost in 2014 - it's the age we live in I guess.

    I have a row of brass SHTP participant plates going down RAG's main bulkhead - two as a racer and two from being on R/C - not nearly as long a row as yours. Remember how getting the plastic one in 2004 bugged you? There will be a lot of "plastic" ones from now on - but not on my boat.
    Last edited by BobJ; 01-02-2014 at 10:20 AM.

  10. #20
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    Plastic participants plates???!!! That's just wrong. Surely we can do better than that! All that money spent on shirts that no one collects? Those expensive dinners at Chez Panisse? (Oh, alright I made that up). That brass participant plate would probably increase the value of the boat upon resale, enabling the seller to recoup part of the money spent on the yellow bricks.

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