Wednesday, 10 December 2008

RRS 2009-2012; Luffing inside the zone?

In the new RRS 2009 - 2012 a new definition is introduced:

Mark-Room Room for a boat to sail to the mark, and then room to sail her proper course while at the mark. However, mark-room does not include room to tack unless the boat is overlapped to windward and on the inside of the boat required to give mark-room.

The diagram has a Blue boat until position 4 and
then splits off in a Blue 5 and a light Blue 5.
The same for Yellow

In the diagram above Blue and Yellow enter the zone (three lengths) overlapped, with Yellow as inside boat. Blue must keep clear under rule 11 and must give mark-room under rule 18.2(b)
Yellow has an additional restriction according to rule 18.4. She shall not sail farther from the mark than needed to sail her proper course until she gybes.

After the gybe, Blue must still give mark-room but becomes r-o-w boat under rule 11. Yellow must keep clear and is entitled to mark-room.

My question is: When has Blue the right to luff?
Inside, before Yellow has left the zone OR must Blue wait until Yellow has left the zone?

Rule 18.2(c) states that rule 18.2(b) (the rule that gave mark room to Yellow) ceases to apply when Yellow leaves the zone. But does this give Yellow any protection?
She is no longer sailing to the mark, and she is no longer at the mark rounding it. Yellow has left the mark astern and it is no longer an issue..... She doesn't need mark-room anymore...

So is Blue entitled to luff in the zone or not?
I have formed a tentative answer, but would like to hear your opinion.



  1. I'm not sure what you mean by 'luff'. The word hasn't been in the rules since about 1995 and I find people use it in different ways. Best we stick with the language in the rules. I assume that you mean 'change course towards the wind'.

    I'll also assume that the course to the next mark is back up the page.

    There's no game-change here. Cases 21 and 70 are relevant and will remain relevant. It's what the Americans describe as a 'seamanlike' versus a 'tactical' rounding.

    @4, B has given Y room to sail _to_ the mark. Her obligation now is to give Y the space she needs in the existing conditions to sail the course that she would sail to finish as soon as possible while at the mark, while manoeuvering promptly in a seamanlike way.

    @4 Y is sailing away from the mark and the course to the next mark, so is sailing below her proper course, and is taking more mark-room than she is entitled to, and may not be exonerated for failing to keep clear of B under rule 18.3. B may change course towards the wind (and towards Y), subject to rule 16.1 and Y must keep clear, until Y reaches her proper course and is able to be exonerated for failing to keep clear of B under rule 18.3.

    @ Light Coloured 5, rule 18.2(b) goes off becaue Y has left the zone (rule 18.2(c)). If B does not leave the zone, then only rule 18.2(a) will thereafter apply (supposing they ever get back anywhere close to the mark). If B does leave the zone, then the whole of rule 18.2 will apply all over again.

    So, in answer to the questions:

    B may change course towards the wind as long as she gives Y room to keep clear and mark-room.


  2. Yellow no longer requires Mark Room once she is no longer AT the mark - once her transom passes the mark and she is leaving it! Blue may therefore luff subject to the requirements of rule 16, and Yellow must keep clear as required by rule 11.

  3. I suppose the only requirement for Yellow is not to be more at the mark.
    Blue can luff in the zone even just after Yellow has the mark at her transom

  4. I have looked at Team race Call E8 there it says "When a boat must alter course in order to round a mark, she is at the mark".

    Looking at your situation, when yellow ceases to alter course to round the mark, she ceases to be entitled to mark room, and can be luffed. This clearly can be in the zone which only has relevance for the purpose of 18.2.b on the approach.

  5. I wanted to respond to the question on your site about luffing at the leeward mark but being computer illiterate, I couldn't figure out how to post it directly on the blog so I am answering by email.
    When the leeward inner boat (LI) enters the Zone, the windward outer boat (WO) has to keep clear of LI because she is a windward boat and give Mark-Room in accordance with 18.2 (a) and (b). Once they gybe (which happens at the mark), LI becomes WI. She is now the "keep clear" boat but is entitled to room to sail her proper course while she she is "at the mark". WO becomes LO and is now the ROW boat. She has to continue to give Mark-Room while WI is at the mark but only to the extent that WI has room to sail her proper course.
    In your diagram, I think WI sails a course well below her proper course and LO can luff her up to her proper course even while they are at the mark. The limitation being that LO cannot luff WI into the mark.
    Once WI is past the mark e.g. her stern clears the mark, I think LO can luff her as far as she wants within the constraints of 16.1.
    How does this fit with your answer?

  6. I assumed that light blue 5 is on course for the next mark. I took the term 'luff' to mean a leeward boat sailing above her proper course.

    18.1 says rule 18 applies when one of the boats is in the zone. Therfore, its only at light blue 6 that rule 18 does not apply. Light blue 6 is legal.

    Mark Room is room to sail to the mark and room to sail a proper course while at the mark. I think yellow 4 is no longer at the mark so dark blue 5 is legal.


  7. To answer the question you need to look at the definition of Mark Room, “Room for a boat to sail to the mark and room to sail her proper course at the mark”. Once you have passed the mark you are no longer at the mark and rule 18 no longer applies even if you are within the zone. So yes you can luff a boat that has passed the mark even if they are still in the zone.

  8. Jos, Don't forget to give us your opinion on this one.


  9. I think, there is a loophole between definitions 'mark-room' and 'zone' with which the rule 18.2 (b), (c) operates.

    We look forward to hearing, Jos.

    It would be more interesting to me, if such luffing (in zone) has been forbidden.

    m-1, Mikle


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