Thursday, 24 April 2008

Seaweed & Roses

New rules-article in Sailing World by Dick Rose
Checkmate in the Kelp Beds

I'm not sure I agree that the backing boat did enough to keep clear:

"I repeatedly hailed Interloper asking them to avoid us," said Kelpie's helmsman. "But she kept coming at us, and at the last minute, I put my tiller hard to port in an effort to avoid contact. I was unsuccessful. We hit Interloper topsides."

What did he do before he put his tiller down to port?

But I agree with the principle. The other boat created the situation and must give room to keep clear under rule 16.1


  1. I agree with Jos. I think Dick Rose was very generous in his opinion for Kelpie.

    This is only a 10m boat, travelling at 2 to 3 kts max. It's not a tiller steered Farr 40 or some powered up monster. There are no fairies that smash the tiller from side to side: the tiller takes charge because the helm is inattentive or not using appropriate technique.

    As any match racer knows, when sailing backwards you don't steer with the tiller in any case, you must use the headsail.

    Going by the diagram, I gained right of way when she completed her tack at about position 2.75, about 5 BL away from K, and to windward. that's 20 seconds. That's a lot of time to back the headsail, bear away onto starboard beam reach, which would have checked the sternway, and begin sailing ahead, under good control probably to windward of I.

    The evidence published indicates that K did nothing to keep clear, as she was bound to do, except shouting at I until 'the last minute' (K's words). Maybe there was more evidence that Dick Rose hasn't published.

    Note that K can't be blamed for not sailing in a seamanlike way. Room depends on what a hypothetical boat, the same as K, needs to keep clear of I i the exitsing conditons while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way. What K can be blamed for is plain not keeping clear.

    Note also that the sob-story about K's skipper breaking his ribs is NOT a rule 14 or 44 injury: it was caused by his own poor boat handling, not by the contact. That's not to say there wasn't rule 14 damage, although apparently not rule 44 serious damage.

    Unless I saw some more evidence that K had done all she could to keep clear, including backing headsail, unbacking main, and early, controlled helm, which would indicate that a boat manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way could not have kept clear of I, then I wouldn't think that I broke rule 16.1, therefor DSQ K (rule 20.3).

    Next, it looks like I made no attempt to avoid contact. In that case, also DSQ I, (rule 14) there was damage (rule 14.2).

    I disagree with Dick Rose's analysis about anticipation. Cases 87 says a right of way boat need not anticipate, and Case 27 says a boat entitled to room need not anticipate a breach of rule 15 _immediately_, where there was nothing else to do. A keep clear boat is not obliged to 'anticipate' she is obliged to keep clear. The test is whether she is compelled by the other boat's breaking a rule, herself to not keep clear, not whether she anticipated or not.


  2. Thanks Brass, I agree with your analysis of the situation.


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