A New Sport with a New Set of Rules
A New Sport with a New Set of Rules
Kiteboard racing is different, and so are its rules. "Rules" from our November/December 2009 issue.
Kinetics: Rule 42 is changed to read, “A kiteboard shall be propelled only by the action of the wind on the kite, by the action of the water on the hull and by the unassisted actions of the competitor.” This is the same rule as the rule in Appendix B for windsurfers. It allows any unassisted action of the competitor, including unlimited looping. However, because a kiteboard that is looping her kite takes up a great deal more space than one that is holding her kite steady, and because the pattern of the loops is often unpredictable, there is an added rule that states, “When sailing downwind, a kiteboard that is looping her kite shall keep clear of one that is not.”
Port-starboard crossings: Suppose Paul, on port, is about to duck Stan, on starboard. Stan could sail with his kite low and close to the water (a practice aptly called “clothes-lining”) and thereby force Paul to bear off to avoid tangling lines with Stan. A special rule prohibits this practice. It states, “On a beat to windward, when it becomes clear to a starboard-tack kiteboard that a port-tack kiteboard is keeping clear by sailing to pass astern of her and there is risk of contact, the starboard-tack kiteboard shall, if reasonably possible, keep her kite high enough to allow the port-tack kiteboard to pass close astern of her hull.”
Special starting rule: The risk of control-line tangles is highest just before and just after the starting signal. Competitors almost always make a “Vanderbilt start,” culminating in a timed approach to the line, closehauled at full speed. When they all do this, their control lines and kites are at relatively predictable angles and the risk of tangles is low. However, if one competitor is early and raises his kite in an effort to slow or stop, he can quickly cause the mother of all tangles. For this reason, this rule has been added: “During the last minute before her starting signal, a kiteboard that stops, or significantly slows down and is no longer making material forward progress, shall keep clear of one that has not.”
Judging the start and finish: Just as in a sailboat, a competitor can judge where his hull is with respect to the starting line. When several kiteboards are about to cross a line, it is difficult for the race officer to determine and keep track of which kite is attached to which hull. For those reasons, the moment of crossing of the start and the finish line is based on the position of the competitor and his hull. The position of control lines and kite
Penalties: Because kiteboards are so difficult to turn and take so much time to do so, kiteboard rules specify a Scoring Penalty in place of the Two-Turns Penalty. Also, there is no penalty for touching a mark.
Identification: The kites used by competitors are multicolored with elaborate patterns. Also, as noted, it is sometimes difficult to determine quickly which kite is attached to which hull. For these reasons, sail numbers are impracticable. Instead, the race committee issues a shirt bearing a unique number, which is used for identification.
Redress: In a sailboat race, redress can be given to a boat that was physically damaged by another boat that broke a rule of Part 2. In kiteboard racing, redress can be given if, as a result of another kiteboard breaking a rule of Part 2, a kiteboard’s lines are tangled, her kite is in the water, or the competitor becomes disconnected from his hull. Redress was given for these reasons several times during the Worlds in San Francisco.