Thursday, 10 April 2008

Not a definition but should be?

Hailing: A Hail is a meaningful word or string of words capable of being heard in the prevailing conditions by the occupants of the boat to which it is addressed.

This sentence is from a book by Bryan Willis; 2005-2008 The Rules in Practice. Hailing is not a defined term in the rulebook, but this is a useful definition supported by appeal cases. There are only two rules in the book which require you to hail, when you want to use them. Can you name the rules without looking them up?

On the Yachting South Australia website I found an article about it from 2003. As we had a new rule cycle in 2005 maybe some of the finer points are no longer valid, but the general principle has not changed. You can read it here: HAILING - How, When & Why

This article was part of a series of newsletters with News & Information produced by the Racing Rules Committee of Yachting SA. It seems to be discontinued shortly after # 7, which is a pity.
From what I could find, these news items and rules interpretations seem certainly worthwhile to pick up again.

How about it, Bruces?


  1. I don't agree with Bryan Willis "definition" or that a definition is needed at all.

    The rules of the game say words not defined in the RRS are used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use. (RRS Introduction - Terminology). To find this we may consult a dictionary.

    The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines Hail as "to call to a ship ... from a distance in order to attract attention". RRS 19 and 61.1(a) go somewhat further in requireing that the hail convey "room to tack" or be "Protest", but they do not go so far as to impose a test of "capable of being heard".

    I don't agree that Bryan Willis definition is supported by Cases.

    Case 54 contains no suggetion taht a hail which is not heard is somehow not a hail. It refers to "a second ... hail".

    RRS C2.7 requires arm signals always to supplement a RRS 19 hail, as if it was not expectd that the hail would be heard at all.

    Can you point to any Appeals Case or case in your experience where whether what one party claimed was a hail was said by the other party not to be a hail?

    We shouldn't go looking to invent definitions that aren't going to solve any known problem.


  2. I've had many protest where one party claims to have heard nothing.
    And in response I've asked many time the volume of the hail....

    The arm signals in Match - and Team Racing are there as much for the benefit of the umpires as for the other boat.
    Luckily the hail for protest is - at least for boats over 6 m - accompanied by the protest flag.

  3. Jos said

    "And in response I've asked many time the volume of the hail...."

    And how many times was the protestor silly enough to reply "really soft"?

    I don't think that a definition is going to help this. Maybe a Case, but I think that Case 54 is sufficient.

    I think I have worked through the variants of RRS 19, where the hail is audible and not audible. I'll find it and post it.



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