The Race Organization in the Old Days

[caption id="attachment_8942" align="alignnone" width=""]Miami, platform for the Race Committee with racing signals[/caption]

By Giorgio Brezich

The Racing Rules of Sailing have remained more or less the same. Today things are specified in a more precise and detailed way, but the main principles are basically the same. Quite different is the management of a regatta. In the past there were not many motor boats available, and there were no rubber boats, so the setting of the race course was done once and then the marks almost always remained on site throughout the season. A mark was placed to the prevailing wind direction or its opposite.

In Trieste, the prevailing wind direction is East-West … so that’s where the marks were laid. Sometimes the first leg was upwind, sometimes downwind. The sequence could be reversed as a result of the wind at that time. The whole thing was accepted because there were no alternatives.

Miami, platform for the Race Committee with racing signals

By Giorgio Brezich

The Racing Rules of Sailing have remained more or less the same. Today things are specified in a more precise and detailed way, but the main principles are basically the same. Quite different is the management of a regatta. In the past there were not many motor boats available, and there were no rubber boats, so the setting of the race course was done once and then the marks almost always remained on site throughout the season. A mark was placed to the prevailing wind direction or its opposite.

In Trieste, the prevailing wind direction is East-West … so that’s where the marks were laid. Sometimes the first leg was upwind, sometimes downwind. The sequence could be reversed as a result of the wind at that time. The whole thing was accepted because there were no alternatives.

The start was given by the Race Committee from the land. I will try to explain the system with a help of the following pictures:

Percorso

Boa di bolina = windward mark
Boe di partenza e percorso = starting marks and course marks

LineadiPartenza

Diga o molo = sea wall or dock
Palco comitato con segnali = platform for the Race Committee with racing signals
Boa di allineamento all’infinito = mark (starting mark) for alignment to the infinite
Rotte e posizioni sulla linea scelte dallo skipper = routes and positions on the starting line chosen by the skipper
Boa di percorso: course mark

An interesting curiosity was the system for measuring the time. The majority of the competitors did not have a waterproof watch so it was necessary to give fair help to all. The signals were given, as nowadays, with flags, but the last five minutes were marked with colored discs that were turned one by one with the running of time. And in the last minute seconds were also reported, with a wooden hand on a big clock face. The hand was moved manually, with painstaking precision, by the official timekeeper of the moment (in Trieste this was professor Quarantotto). At the start, a nice cannon shot. The finish was crossed by passing the same line and the first boat was welcomed again with a cannon shot.

Leregatediuntempo

Sergio Riccobon reminds me that an evolution of this system was when they started to turn half of the discs to indicate that it was run half a minute.

All of our clubs were equipped with one or more guns, firing blanks, using cartridges filled with black powder, and with cardboard disks.

It was a scene that really remains in my hearts and memory.

 

 

 

Le regole di regata sono rimaste nel tempo più o meno le stesse. Oggi le cose sono specificate in modo più preciso e dettagliato però, ripeto, i concetti sono praticamente gli stessi. Ben diversa è invece la gestione della regata. Un tempo non c’erano a disposizione molti mezzi a motore, non esistevano i gommoni, per cui la posa del campo avveniva una volta e poi le boe quasi sempre rimanevano in loco per tutta la stagione. Una boa veniva posizionata nella direzione del vento prevalente o del suo opposto. A Trieste Ponente-Levante e si partiva. A volte il primo lato era di bolina altre di poppa. Poi però seguiva l’andatura opposta, come avviene oggi, però la sequenza poteva essere rovesciata a seguito del vento del momento. Il tutto era accettatori buon grado perché non c’erano alternative.

La partenza veniva data da terra e cerco di illustrare il sistema aiutandomi con le immagini che seguono.

Una simpatica curiosità era il sistema di misurazione del tempo. La maggioranza dei concorrenti non possedeva l’orologio impermeabile per cui era necessario dare un equo aiuto. I segnali venivano dati, come oggi, con le bandiere però venivano segnalati gli ultimi cinque minuti con dei dischi colorati che venivano girati uno ad uno al passare del tempo. E dulcis in fundo nell’ultimo minuto venivano segnalati anche i secondi su un grande quadrante con lancetta in legno spostata a mano, con precisione certosina, dal cronometrista ufficiale di turno, a Trieste il professore Quarantotto, ed al via un bel colpo di cannone. L’arrivo avveniva passando le stesse tre boe della partenza ed al primo arrivato ancora un colpo di cannone.

Sergio Riccobon mi ricorda che un’evoluzione fu girare a metà i dischi per indicare che era trascorso mezzo minuto.

Tutte le nostre società erano dotate di uno o più cannoncini che sparavano a salve utilizzando cartucce riempite di polvere nera e dischi di cartone.

Una scenografia da rimanere veramente nel cuore e nella memoria

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