Monday, 19 January 2009

LTW Readers Q&A | 17

This is the second time someone is asking me about rule 19.2, so I think it's time I wrote about it. I received the following mail from Sen about it:
Dear Mr. Jos M Spijkerman;
I always appreciate your great work in LOOK TO WINDWARD and take pleasure to watch the website and emails this year too. I am very sorry to have troubled you so often, but I have to send such a stupid question again.
I would be very happy to receive your reply. But please don't regard this as an obligation because I know well you are very busy.
Thanks in advance.
Sen Yamaoka
Question about the rule for Passing a Continuing Obstruction.
Old rule: 18.5 Passing a Continuing Obstruction While boats are passing a continuing obstruction, rules 18.2(b) and 18.2(c) do not apply. A boat clear astern that obtains an inside overlap is entitled to room to pass between the other boat and the obstruction only if at the moment the overlap begins there is room to do so. If there is not, she is not entitled to room and shall keep clear.
New rule: 19.2 Giving Room at an Obstruction
19.2(c) While boats are passing a continuing obstruction, if a boat that was clear astern and required to keep clear becomes overlapped between the other boat and the obstruction and, at the moment the overlap begins, there is not room for her to pass between them, she is not entitled to room under rule 19.2(b). While the boats remain overlapped, she shall keep clear and rules 10 and 11 do not apply.
Is this any difference between the old rule 18.5 and the new rule 19.2(c)?
I think there are no change in principle and only change into new wording.
If so, I can understand easily the new rule.
But there is a not clear sentence for me in the last part of rule 19.2(c) as follows; While the boats remain overlapped, she shall keep clear and rules 10 and 11 do not apply. I can't understand this.
1. Who is she? Is she the boat which became overlapped from clear astern?
2. Where is the situation? Did they overlap before passing a continuing obstruction or when they overlapped?
Please let me know your explanation.
Dear Sen,
Thank you very much for your continuing interest in my little corner of the world wide web in reading 'Look to Windward'. It is not a burden at all to answer such a gracious and courteous Email. Your question is far from stupid and deserves some explanation. I will try to give you my opinion and invite others to 'chip-in' with their insights.

In my opinion there is a difference between the old 18.2 rule and the new 19.2(c) rule, other then in wording and numbering.
In 18.2 a boat on the run on starboard tack, catching up a boat clear ahead on port tack, both beside a continuing obstruction, had right of way. The port ahead boat had to keep clear. (Or gybe, so she would become row boat)
When these boats were on the same tack, the clear ahead boat had only to give room when, at the moment the clear astern boat established an inside overlap, there was room to pass between the outside and the continuing obstruction.
The new rule 19.2(c) adds something to this. Basically it is still as before, but now the boat from clear astern (the keep clear boat under rule 12) has an added restriction. Quote: "While the boats remain overlapped, she shall keep clear and rules 10 and 11 do not apply." The 'she' in this sentence is the boat from clear astern. Like in the old rule she has to keep clear but now she also cannot claim any right of way, under rules 10 or 11.
Under the old 18.2 rule she could (for instance when on a run) gybe and claim right of way as starboard tack boat, because there was no longer an overlap. That loophole has been closed by the new rule.
She now first has to become right of way boat astern of the other boat. Then the ahead boat must keep clear and give room if an inside overlap was established. The latter was also possible under the old rule.

This change - with the added closing of that small loophole - was the consequence of the change in the definition. Boats can now also be overlapped when sailing more then ninety degrees from the wind on different tacks.
Since the preamble of Section C in the old rules - stating that in case of a conflict between rules in Section A and C, Section C took precedence - is gone, the conflicting rule(s) (RRS 10 and 11) have been named, and switched off, in the rule themselves.
In practice I think the rule will play out the same as before.
If you are of a different opinion, please don't hesitate to comment.


  1. Forgive me for being argumentative but I think you are wrong about the old rule 18. An inside port tack boat not entitled to room from an outside port tack boat did not gain rights by gybing onto starboard. The old definition of overlap said the term did not apply to boats on opposite tacks unless rule 18 applied.

    To address Sen's question, 'She' is the boat coming from astern. If the overlap was established before the leading boat reached the continuing obstruction it is likely that there would have been room to pass between them. I guess most times when the inside boat has no right to room, the outside boat will already be passing the obstruction.

    What all this means is that if you come up from clear astern and establish an inside overlap when you have no right to room (cannot pass between etc.) then you are in trouble.


  2. Thank Jos and Wag for your quick and kind answers.
    1.I understand ‘She’ is the overlapped boat coming astern. English in RRS is difficult to understand here and there.
    2.The diagram was very helpful.

    In the diagram, I’d like to add the following to the Blue’s P2 blowing. Is it right?

    P2: Blue boat hail to Yellow boat
    “You have no room to pass between me and the obstruction.
    I know well you established an inside overlapped and become the R-O-W boat, but it is impossible to pass between me and the obstruction. Even if you gybe into starboard tack and become the R-O-W boat, it is also impossible to pass.
    Because the last sentence of rule 19.2(c) says when there is not room for you, you shall keep clear of me and rule 10 and 11 do not apply.
    Very sorry to have spoken such a complicated rule on the busy water, would please don’t break into me and the obstruction. If you do so, I will have to hail protest to you.”

    sen yamaoka


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