Measurement and scrutineering usually comes in three flavours:
- Full inspection of all boats, usually the day before the start of a championship.
- Random or proportion inspection: your boat is picked out for a full inspection. This can be at any time during a regatta, but may be used before a big championship when there is not time to examine every boat.
- Spotting: a Measurer or Scrutineer has a walk-round the dinghy-park. If someone looks at your boat intently as you go down the slipway, or coming up after sailing, chances are it'll be a Measurer.
The first two methods are generally used before Championships. Spotting is more usual at Open meetings such as Qualifier events, where there is no time for a formal measurement process.
You may be given the opportunity to remedy defects pointed out by a Measurer at pre-event scrutineering; there have been no races from which you can be disqualified.
Inspection during a regatta
The situation changes once a regatta has started. If a measurer spots something that doesn't measure, he is obliged to bring it to the Race Committee's attention in writing (Rule 78.3). And the Race Committee has to bring a Protest (Rule 62). So you're not out of the woods even if a Measurer has passed your boat at scrutineering, even if you haven't changed anything.But after the event starts a Measurer is more constrained by the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing: Rules 78.3 and 43.1(c) oblige the Measurer to report any non-compliance to the Race Committee in writing, and Rule 60.2 obliges a Race Committee to protest.
The message is:
Tell the Measurer any doubts about your Laser rigging at scrutineering. He will usually be helpful; he is usually a Laser sailor himself. Don't wait for him to find out on Day 3.
Full inspection of all boats
What you need to do:
- You will usually be told to report to a set place at a particular time with your Laser. Be there, and be there on time!
- The NOR or SIs will say whether your Laser should be rigged, partially-rigged (with the mast rigged but down), or completely unrigged.
- If the inspection is for a rigged boat, you may be asked to de-rig the sail from the mast so the mast can be checked for straightness, or to measure the numbers on your sail.
- If the inspection is for an unrigged boat, you may be asked to rig one or more parts of ther boat so we can see how you intend using them on the water.
- Don't forget to include all the items you will take on the water, including your compass and any storage elastics or bags and bottle-holders. If you do not present your compass at scrutineering, you may be penalized for using it during the regatta.
Random or Proportional inspection: your boat has been picked for scrutiny before the event.........
The Measurer will have a look over your Laser, check your equipment is correct and that you've rigged it correctly, and we may show you what you need to do if you're otherwise legal equipment has not met the Class Rules. (For example, if your rudder angle rake is too great we'll tell you to apply tape to the stock, or if you are using a block where a block shouldn't be we'll tell you to get it off.) Our aim is to help you to stay within the Laser Class Rules. A sailor deliberately attempting to use illegal equipment, or using otherwise legal equipment that has been deliberately altered to flout the Rules, would be a matter for bringing to the Race Committee's attention.
One method is to pick on one or more digits in a sail number. Selecting all boat numbers ending with a '3' would, on average, give us a 1-in-10 sample. Selecting all boat numbers ending with a '5' or an '8" would give us a 1-in-5 sample. In 200 Lasers we would therefore examine twenty or ten. But of course we can pick any number, so don't think you're safe!
The Measurer will wander round the boat-park before sailing, looking at Lasers. Experience shows that if I can see one thing wrong, there's probably something else wrong. Incorrect, badly-placed or insufficient numbers are a giveway. Except for sail-numbers, you will probably be given the opportunity to put right whatever you've got wrong, but only if you haven't been sailing that day. The message is: get your sail-numbers correct before you turn up.