Saturday, 12 April 2008


In the pre start Yellow and Blue end up in a dial up. Both head to wind, about half a boat length apart. They slip back and end up both close hailed on starboard tack. For some reason the windward boat (Yellow) looses a crew member overboard. The others are helping him back on board. At that moment Blue from leeward comes up, but has to bear down because Yellow is not responding. Blue however closes to Yellow at a very short distance (half a meter) and then puts up his Yankee-flag.

What is your decision?

Umpire Calls Directory


  1. As long as there was no contact, B has not failed to allow Y room to keep clear. Penalise Y (RRS 11).

    Why is half a metre a concern? B can make contact without being penalised, as long as she does no damge (RRS 14(b).

    I'm not clear exactly what is being described, are the actions in strict sequence as follows:

    1. Blue from leeward comes up

    2. B bears down because Yellow is not responding.

    3. Blue however [again] closes to Yellow at a very short distance (half a meter)

    4. Blue then puts up his Yankee-flag.

    If so, if B had thrown Yankee at 2-3, I would have penalised Y (RRS 11) then, if B had again thrown Yankee at 4, I would have given a second Yellow penalty, and then, if Y did not start taking the second penalty as soon as possible (RRS C7.3(c), I think I would give a further (third) penalty (RRS C8.2), then immediately black flag under RRS C7.2(f). Given that I don't have three Yellow flags/shapes, and that once the third penalty is given, Y must be DSQ, I suppose I would black flag as soon as I saw no attempt to take the penalty as soon as possible.

    Does this seem right?

    Is this the right way to deal with a boat given a second penalty that doesn't take it as soon as possible?



  2. What about the MOB?
    Surely Yellow had other things to do than comply with keeping clear from Blue?

  3. Uncle Al (W3854)14 April 2008 at 22:21

    I would penalize Blue under Rule 21.
    Best regards,
    Uncle Al (W3854)

  4. How about this:
    Yellow is protected by 21 for giving help to a person in danger.

    Give a green.

    If B would have made contact penalize B for infringing 21.

  5. I am amazed that some sailors would be so focused upon tactical maneuvers that they do not realise that safety and fair sailing should always take priority over tactical considerations.

    For Blue to continue aggressive maneuvers and try to force rights over a boat in a distress situation, violates my conception of fair sailing.

    In addition to considering Blue as violating RRS 21, other rules I would consider for applicability are the following:

    47.2 -- with crew overboard, Yellow might be considered to not be racing (until crew is recovered and the distress situation is over); therefore perhaps Blue is in danger of violating 22.1 as well as 21.

    2 -- Fair Sailing. If Blue's actions endanger Yellow's ability to rescue crew overboard; if the actions were flagrant and deliberate and contributed to endangerment, then this could violate RRS 2 and be a non-excludable DSQ.

    Further, if Yellow is forced by Blue's aggressive actions into evasive maneuvers and must interrupt rescue efforts, that is evidence that Blue is violating RRS 2.

    Interesting thought: If a boat actually interferes with rescue operations, could she be said to violate RRS 1.1?

    I suppose that I would make a good "hanging judge".

  6. It is hard to imagine Blue was not aware of a crew member being helped back on board.
    At the very least she breaking rule 21: Blue Penalty

    If the umpires are convinced Blue was aware, I agree with Pat: This is a violation of Rule 2: Umpires might decide to red flag Blue or even Black flag her.

    If she's engages and hinders the rescue she also breaks rule 1.1. Umpires can initiate a protest according to C8.4

    Like Pat said: Safety first!

  7. I'm not inclined to jump on this 'safety first' bandwagon yet.

    In my repsonse I didn't properly take into account RRS 21, BUT

    I think we need to agree on some more facts:

    What I envisaged was one of our serious match racers, probably just back from a 2km cross training swim, falling out of an Elliot 6m sports boat, in Sydney Harbour with water temp 22 degrees C.

    In that situation, I do not think the crew in the water is "in danger", any more than I would regard any dinghy crew that capsized on our harbour as "in danger".

    In the circumstances I describe, Y is just paying the penalty for bad boathandling.

    I understand that in European conditions, low sea temperature, maybe bigger boats with higher freeboard, and so on, the view might change.


  8. If Yellow had a man overboard to enable her to gain an advantage over blue then penalize yellow. RRS 2
    If Yellow had a man overboard otherwise than by accident then penalize yellow RRS 47.2

    If blue maneuvered as as to hinder the help Yellow was giving to its crew penalize Blue RRS 1 and 2

    As Blue avoided Yellow a Green would be the result of a consideration under RRS 21.


    Penalize yellow

    She is in breach of RRS 11 and can only be exonerated under RRS 64.1(b this refers to another boat compelling her to break a rule. No other boat compelled her to break a rule and thus she cannot be exonerated and the penalty must stand.

    Mike B


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