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Chris Bentley

Rule Changes - Mobile Phones

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Please read the instrumentation one above too, because, on my phone, I can do even more, so this isn't just a discussion about the abuse of phones for 'outside assistance'.

There has been a fair bit of press coverage about mobiles used to advise competitors of conditions up the race course which, in top-level racing circuits, has resulted in stringent rules being imposed. However, I can't imagine one of my fellow competitors ringing me whilst racing to advise me of a 20º wind shift on the next tack, neither one of my shore team, (if I had such a thing), even if I could unearth the thing from it's waterproof pocket in time. As far as Sonatas are concerned, we could easily cover this with the "fair" rule (see main thread on Rules). So banning the carrying, or even use (see below) of mobiles whilst racing is, for us, I think, OTT. Obviously, an element of trust is involved, but, as previously stated, we are good at that. Plus, practically, it is impossible for the likes of us to monitor it.

On the plus side, carrying a mobile has a potential safety advantage. It's another link to the shore/rescue services. They don't like it used thus, but they do, and have, saved lives from a mobile call. And it is also a camera and a movie camera. Thanks, Jo Cross for some nice pics of BFG you posted on Facebook. Pretty impossible for me to have had those any other way.

So, on that basis, I suggest we consider mobiles as 'Personal Equipment' under the rules as proposed in the main thread and allow them. Or rather, do nothing to restrict them.

However, I admit to having used my mobile on deck for calling a layline, weather, navigation and avoiding shipping. (not whilst Sonata racing, I hasten to add). I can do all of the above because I have a compass app, Navionics chart plotting, built in weather, as well as online when in range, and an AIS based tracker which tells me all I need to know about shipping near me, or the other side of the world, for that matter. It pretty much doubles up a fairly sophisticated electronic nav system. You need dry fingers and good close up vision to work it, but work it does. Again, I don't think it necessary on any of the above to ban them. If anything, they add another layer of safety information. But if we are discussing the possibility of allowing linked instruments, we shouldn't forget that mobiles with the right apps actually already provide some of this, and no doubt will provide more soon, and for a stupidly small cost. Buy an i-Pad and you have the same on a bigger screen than a £1000 chart plotter. AIS 'A' and the equivalent marine kit to run it costs a minimum of £1700.00. As Sonatas, all I think we need to do is be aware of the technology and, if it developed in some way that might be considered possible to enhance performance, as with instruments, take a view.

Currently, I don't see anything out there yet which I think significantly does for us. But you may know better! Please share if you do!

Chris

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I agree we should allow mobile phones with no restrictions to their usage except with the usual caveat that any information used must be freely available to other competitors (that takes care of the situation where your "shore" team is giving you info on the wind across the course, that's info not freely available to all competitors).

Richard

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Oliver Love    0

I think this is a bit of a non arguement, as we all carry mobiles and its not in all other class rules saying that people can or cannot, (except the XODs i know)

we use ours in the solent all the time for the wind and weather/tides, so totally infavour if we have to have it in the rules,

but to be honest im in chris's favour for the "ethos" of the class

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Like Oliver I think this is a non arguement.

Mobile phones are begining to feature in race management. At the Medway regatta this year the primary method of distributing courses was via text message. Worked great. I am sure Medway is not alone in this. Texts are also used for declaring at the RTI. In both cases there are other ways but they are a pain.

Bob

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Hi All,

Chris - I like this format: one thread per issue.

So: mobile phones... I agree this SHOULD be a non-issue, but because Sonata is a one-design rule (subject to "if it does not say you can, you cannot") I'm pretty sure that mobile phones are currently prohibited.

The Racing Rules of Sailing already prohibit outside assistance, and it's quite clear that using phone to obtain information or advice (other than publicly available to all competitors) would be in contravention of this. We had the same conversation when VHF radios first became affordable; and the conclusion is the same - we should be allowed to carry them for safety reasons, because they are beginning to get used (very sensibly) for race management, and for personal (non racing) convenience.

In some classes enforcement might be a real issue - but even then it's an enforcement issue, not an question of what the rules say. But in any case I'm with Chris on this one - the chances of anybody using a mobile phone to obtain outside assistance in the Sonata fleet is pretty remote.

Edward Harrison's simple but effective changes to C.3 and C.5:

http://www.sonata.org.uk/board/index.php?showtopic=774

allows mobile phones (among other things), and I really can't see that it also allows anything that we would object to. As the RRS already deal with inappropriate use of the phones I think that's all we need.

Peter

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