Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Look To Windward Readers Q&A | 1

Because I'm receiving more and more E-mails in which readers of this blog ask me questions, I've decided to answer those in a regular posting series. I'll try to give answers to the best of my ability, but will no doubt come across questions where I need help from other readers. Please don't hesitate to comment. Together we might get it right.

The first one is from Gert Lerno. He's the chairman of the Nosepasa, the North Sea Patin Sailing Association. Find out more about this oldest sailing catamaran, on this site:
He's presenting a situation from their last Race Officer and Jury course, in which a heated discussion ensued. Gert made a TSS-diagram and gave the following evidence and questions:

You can download the TSS-diagram here, and a static picture here (updated)

Yellow protests Blue ( for RRS 13 and 15) at position 4, Blue argues that there was no need for a change of course of Yellow, while Blue was tacking.
CONFLICT 2 : At the mark; Blue protests Yellow at position 6 ( for RRS 18.2 (c) and 18.2 (e)). Yellow's boom touches the mark just after position 6 and protests Blue (RRS 18.3(b))

Questions :
About CONFLICT 1; Does the fact that Yellow changes course means that Blue is not giving her room to keep clear? Is Blue infringing Rule 15?
About CONFLICT 2; Blue enters the two-length-zone on completion of his tack. Is Blue infringing 18.3(b) when Yellow establishes an overlap inside and Blue doesn't give her room at the mark. Which rule is applicable in this situation: 18.2 (a) or 18.3 (b) ? It all depends on the meaning "completes a tack in the two-length-zone" ! Does this mean Blue has to be in the zone before starting his tack, or passes the zone during, or ends in the zone?

In my opinion the problem divides in two separate parts:
Part 1 (involving Conflict 1) and Part 2 (involving Conflict 2).

In this first part rule 18 is not applicable; boats are on a different tack.
If Yellow had to change course before Blue came to a close hauled course, Blue is DSQ for not keeping clear while tacking, RRS 13. If Blue did come to a close hauled course, before Yellow had to respond, she becomes r-o-w boat (RRS 12). If she gave room to Yellow to keep clear, in other words, if Yellow could keep clear in a seaman like manor by bearing away to avoid hitting Blue, Blue has fulfilled her obligations under rule 15. There's nothing in the rulebook stating that "giving room" includes the keep clear boat not to have to change course.
In the diagram I would say Blue has not broken RRS 13 and has not infringed RRS 15.

Part 2 hinges around one fact. Yellow is fetching the mark, that's not an issue. But did Blue complete her tack inside the 2 BL-zone or not?There's no definition of tacking, but we can deduce completion of a tack from rule 13: If that rule switches off, the tack is complete; in other words, when Blue is on a close hailed course, she is no longer keep clear boat under rule 13 and her tack is therefore completed.
The only criteria for the tacking boat in rule 18.3 is completion of the tack. She doesn't have to luff inside the 2 BL-zone, she doesn't have to pass head to wind, inside the zone, only if she is inside the 2 BL-zone before she comes to a close hauled course, rule 18.3 is applicable.

In this diagram Blue reaches the zone before she is close hauled on Starboard. Rule 18.3 is on and therefore rule 18.2 is not. After that Yellow has the protection of rule 18.3 (b). Blue must give her room to round the mark as inside boat. Yellow becomes r-o-w boat in pos 5 but doesn't have to give room because rule 15 is switched off.
Yellow is exonerated for hitting the mark (RRS 3.1) under RRS 64.1(b), because Blue didn't give enough room. DSQ Blue.

What if Blue completed her tack outside the 2 BL zone?
Then rule 18.3 is not applicable, but rule18.2 (c) is! Blue becomes clear ahead boat, reaching the zone first and Yellow clear astern without an overlap. Yellow stays keep clear boat until both boats have passed the mark. She has not entitled to room inside, and because she also hits the mark she will be DSQ'd for breaking rule 18.2(c) and rule 31.1.

If the PC can find enough evidence to determine the crucial fact - completion of the tack by Blue inside or outside the 2 BL-zone - everything else is deduction.

I hope this series of Q&A continues. I only will ask, if you have a question, please state your dilemma, not just ask for the solution.



  1. Hi Jos,

    I can't reach the static picture or the TSS-diagram because it's protected by a password...

  2. Thanks Frank. I've corrected the link.


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