Tuesday, 21 October 2008

LTW Readers Q&A | 10

A readers Q&A from Joep Straus, who's currently hard at work preparing for the Seminar in Ghent. He's posing a question about an off-shore race.

Place: on the sea , two miles from the harbor. Windward finish, current 1,5 knots in the same direction as the wind.
At the finish line following incident took place: Boat F crossed the finish line laying over port tack, close hauled. Then she tacked to starboard, drifted with the current 25 meters below the finish line. She tacked again and crossed the finish line for a second time. While doing this, she made contact with her hull and rig on the finishing yacht which was situated as the starboard end of the line and had her anchor ball hoisted. There was damage, her boom made scratches on the hull and deck of the finishing vessel. The R.C. members on the finishing vessel had to seek shelter behind the cockpit.

The RC protested boat F. The protest was accepted as valid. The protester and the protestee agreed both about the description of the incident.
Facts found:
Boat F crossed the line and drifted back on the course side.
She then crossed the line again, but fouled the committee boat.
She then sailed off.

Conclusion:Boat F had ceased to race when she fouled the committee boat.
Decision: Protest dismissed.
Rules applicable: Not filled in.

Joep adds as his comment and questions:
The facts and conclusion mentioned above are very understandable. But also RRS 31, which is original mentioned to protect the Yachts which were voluntary marks for a yachts race. We do not like to have damage on the water. See also RRS 14. Also the preamble of part 2 RRS states: When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not , (like a finish vessel with anchor ball) she shall comply with the IRPCAS or government Right of Way rules. Only the race - or protest committee is allowed to protest against a breach of the IRPCAS. In this case the RC protested because an anchored yacht with anchor ball should be respected and a sailing vessel should stay clear. Boat F infringed this rule. RRS 64.1.C : If a boat has broken a rule( preamble) when not racing, her penalty shall apply to the race sailed nearest in time to that of the incident.

When reading these rules, was the decision "protest dismissed" correct ? What is your opinion

Looking at the facts found I agree with the conclusion that during the contact boat F was no longer racing according the definition. She crossed the line and finished, then cleared the line. Subsequent collisions or rule infringements that might happen, are when she is no longer racing.

If we look at the preamble of part 2 we can read that the rules in part 2 also apply between boats that have been racing. But only the the rules in Part 2!
The question then becomes: Which rules is boat F breaking?

Boat F made contact with the anchored RC-finish vessel and broke rule 31. Rule 31 is in part 3, not in part 2 and is therefore not covered by the preamble.
Joep also talks about rule 14. In my opinion rule 14 is not applicable. That rule is between a right of way boat and a boat that has to keep clear. Avoiding a RC Boat is not a right of way rule.
Perhaps we have to look at rule 21? "If possible, a boat shall avoid a boat that is anchored". Again - in my opinion - not applicable between a RC-boat and a boat that has to keep clear.

So only rule 31. Rule 31 is not something that can be protested when a boat is no longer racing. It would be like protesting a spectator boat that hits a committee vessel.

The only remedy that I see, is to claim damages under the applicable government right-of-way rules. But it has no bearing on the outcome of the race and no influence on the scoring.
I agree with the PC that this protest should be dismissed.

This all depends on the conclusion that boat F was no longer racing. If the PC would have found as fact that the boat crossed the line for a second time, after correcting an error made at the finish line, she would have been racing and that would change everything.

I've gone trough the case-book trying to find a case that would be applicable, but have not found one. All cases involve a boat that is racing and one that is not. But I am open to other interpretations.

What is your opinion?



  1. I agree, there is no authority to hear this protest.

    I IRPCAS rule has been broken, and this can be perused through the courts.

    This is not a Rule as defined in the RRS so no "Rule" has been broken so 64.1.c does not apply.

    If however the IRPCAS rules were incorporated, as documents governing the event, then the contributor may get the protection he seeks.

    Mike B

  2. Thanks for discussing this situation.

    That I mentioned rrs 31 and rrs 14 is to underline that
    we do not like collisions and damages with Yachts. Not that these rules were applicable in this situation.

    One of your answers is :

    "The only remedy that I see, is to claim damages under the applicable government right-of-way rules. But it has no bearing on the outcome of the race and no influence on the scoring.
    I agree with the PC that this protest should be dismissed."

    What I do not understand: the preamble states that the RC may protest. The preamble says also that a yacht has to respect the IRPCA. And the preamble is a Rule (Definition).
    Now there is a protest by the RC , as permitted by the preamble, but no authority to handle this as you said in the blog?
    If that is true, why is the sentence: "except by the race committee or protest committee" in the preamble?

    I appreciate if you can get me on the rail. I tried to find a case, but nothing to find.

    Regards, Joep

  3. I agree entirely with Jos’s opinion.

    Additional opinion:
    1.about While Racing:
    In the fact, there is not a description how large the boat is. I guess the boats are considerable large because of off-shore race.

    a) The preamble to Part 2 provides that the rules of Part 2 apply between boats that are sailing in or near the racing area and intend to race, are racing or have been racing.
    b) The definition of Racing: A boat is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes and clears the finishing line and marks or retires, or until the race committee signals a general recall, postponement or abandonment.
    c) Rule 31.1: While racing, a boat shall not touch a starting mark before starting, a mark that begins, bounds or ends the leg of the course on which she is sailing, or a finishing mark after finishing.
    A part sentence of the fact, “Boat F crossed the finish line laying over port tack, close hauled. Then she tacked to starboard, drifted with the current 25 meters below the finish line. She tacked again and crossed the finish line for a second time.” shows that Boat F crossed the finish line once and was clear of 25 meters below the finish line, but then crossed the finish line again.
    If the boat is large such as over 50 feet (over 16meters), the part of 25m is only 1.5 boat length. In this case, Boat F is not clear the finishing line and is therefore still sailing in the racing area. Under the definition of racing, Boat F is therefore still racing.
    If Boat F is still racing, she broke rule 31.

    2.Part 2 preamble IRPCAS
    It is beyond me, but there is a case about Part 2 preamble IRPCAS in the RYA APPEAL CASES BOOK. I would be happy RYA 2005/1 serves as a reference.

  4. @Joep
    The Preamble only covers the rules in part 2. If a boat - not racing - breaks one of those rules, the PC can Protest.
    She has to abide by the racing rules when he meets another boat under the same rules or she has to abide by the IRPCAS or other government right-of-way rules when meeting a boat that is not under the RRS.
    But in ALL cases the encounter is only about right-of-way rules.

    Rule 31 - hitting a finishing vessel - is not a right of way rule, but a rule in PART 3. Therefore not protestable by anyone when a boat is no longer racing.

    You could argue that hitting an anchored vessel is not permitted under the government right-of-way rules. But that would stretch the jurisdiction of the PC pretty far.

    I'll ask around and perhaps send in a question to the Q&A Panel.
    Please don't hesitate to ask Pat and Josje at the seminar and let me know what they answered.

  5. The key to this decision is in the Preamble to Part 2.

    The boat was subject to the rules in Part 2: she was sailing near the racing area and had been racing.

    My initial inclination would be to regard the sentence in the Preamble: "... she shall comply with the IRPCAS." as a rule of Part 2, subject to the "protest only by the RC/PC" condition.

    BUT Premable, second sentance says "A boat not racing shall not be penalised for braking one of these rules except rule 22.1"

    Thus, the RC could protest the boat, but the PC is forbidden to penalise her.

    Therefore, I think the better view is that the "comply with IRPCAS" provision in the Preamble is not a rule of Part 2.

    HOWEVER, I'm of the view that smashing into a committee vessel then sailing off without a word of apology is a gross breach of good manners, to say the least: I would be thinking very seriously about a rule 69 hearing.


  6. Guys, why didn't we look at the Case Book?

    Case 67 is directly in point, although I think it fails to reflect the 'shall not be penalised' provision now in the Preamble.

    Boat should be DSQ under rule 69.


  7. Case 67 is about a boat that IS racing meeting a vessel that is not. In this situation the infringing boat is no longer racing....


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