Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Look To Windward READERS Q & A | 7

Dear Jos,

Would you care to run the following as a reader's Q&A? (or otherwise give me your opinion by e-mail):

There is contact causing serious damage to P on port, in contact with S on starboard, who suffers no damage. P retires.  Protest Committee concludes that P did not keep clear of S.

P did not "cause" injury or serious damage, therefore she is not required to retire under rule 44.1. Rule 44.4(b) only protects a boat that retires, when rule 44.1 required her to do so. Is there any reason why P should not be DSQ? (rule 64.1(a))


Dear Brass,

This hinges around the question if any reason to retire, protects a boat from DSQ. I know there are different opinions about this. The Case book only offers us an inkling in case 99. Summary:
"The fact that a boat required to keep clear is out of control does not entitle her to exoneration for breaking a rule of Part 2. When a right-of-way boat becomes obliged by rule 14 to ‘avoid contact . . . if reasonably possible’ and the only way to do so is to crash-gybe, she does not break the rule if she does not crash-gybe. When a boat retires as required by rule 44.1, whether out of choice or necessity, she cannot then be penalized further"

In my personal opinion the reason for retirement is irrelevant, whether by she acknowledges her fault by taking this penalty or because she cannot continue for another reason. In both cases rule 44.4(b) protects her.

You cannot reverse the argument in rule 44.4(b).
Any boat that takes a penalty shall not be penalized further.
P did retire, so no DSQ.

If P had not retired she would have been DSQ for breaking rule 10, by not keeping clear of a Starboard boat, not for breaking 44.1. She was not the one in your example causing the serious damage. She chose to take a penalty, - in this case not a two turns penalty, which would have also been enough - the penalty to retire. And that retiring is a penalty, we can find in the Basic Principle.

Hope this helps,

PS: If there are other opinions please don't hesitate to comment.


  1. I agree with your response.

    I would take issue with the comment P did not "cause" the damage. To me if you fail to keep clear when you a give way boat, you are a party to "causing the damage".

    In addition under RRS14 the give way boat was required to avoid contact if reasonably possible if she did not she was in breach of this rule and may have "caused" damage by this breach.

    Obligations are positive and negative.

  2. Case 107 makes it even clearer:

    "When a boat that has broken a rule of Part 2 retires she has taken a penalty and may not be penalized further for the same incident. "

  3. Jos, mike b,


    The approach I was taking was that the only 'penalty' that a boat could take was a penalty as described in rule 44 (turns, scoring, RET after causing serious damage or gaining significant advantage), and that RET other than as described in rule 44.1 was not a penalty.

    What you are saying is that, consistent Basic Principle, RET is a penalty in every case, so rule 44.4 provides protection whenever a boat RET, except when under rule 44.1.


  4. Thanks Paul Miller, Case 107 exactly matches the situation I had in mind.

    Poor tradesman blames his tools, but everyone note (as I failed to do) that, as stated in the Notice to online users of the Case Book, Case Book Section 1 Abstracts of Cases by Rule Numbers has NOT been updated to reflect Cases 105 to 110.



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