Andraz send me a question he and his fellow umpires have been discussing. It's about how to use the new definition of mark-room regarding room to tack. Here are his questions:
I had a debate with some fellow umpires and it seems that we cannot completely agree on whether a boat has right of room to tack or not, in different situations. Since I've also traced some interpretations which are opposing our most accepted approach, maybe some of your readers would comment on it?
According to the definition, mark room includes room to tack if a boat is on the inside, overlapped and windward of the boat required to give mark room.
Now, the main question is: When must these conditions been fulfilled? When entering the zone or when starting to tack?
In most of the opinions it was said, that since the room to tack is "included" in mark room, the conditions should be met, when entering the zone of course, because obligations for giving mark room starts there.
So, when a boat gains the right of mark room, it depends on whether this room includes room to tack, on having an overlap at the zone....
In some of the diagrams I've seen, explaining the situations, the boats were drawn at the mark, hence one would assume to start looking for the overlap when the boats are near the mark.
Let's take a look at some of the possible situations.
Boats overlapped at the zone, Blue inside has the right to mark room an Yellow right of way boat. The overlap is broken in position 4, Blue starts tacking somewhere between 6 and 7, Yellow has to take avoiding action in position 7. Blue says that the tack was part of the mark rounding.
The overlap was broken, but regarding the 18.2(c) nothing really changed, Yellow is still required to give mark room.
Does the second part of the mark room definition kick in?
When Blue starts tacking, she is overlapped, but outside and leeward.
Similar case, Blue inside overlapped, windward when entering the zone, but Yellow follows the Blue boat on the outside. In position 6 and 7 Blue is windward, still inside & overlapped, so she should be entitled to room to tack.
Blue boat clear ahead at the zone but slower, overlap established inside the zone, Yellow must give mark room. When Blue starts tacking, she is most probably inside, overlapped & windward, but Yellow might be forced to take avoiding action. Is Blue entitled to room to tack, since she was not overlapped when entering the zone, even though she has right to mark room?
Here depicted are only leeward mark situations, but you can similarly apply the same rules at the windward mark.
It is hard to determine the exact moment of the transition from rule 11 to 13 and checking for the overlap at the same time, to see if the boat should be exonerated for a possible breach of a section A rule.
The question is - from the tactical point of view - would it be better for a barely leading boat to wait for the trailing one, to get an the overlap before entering the zone? So that mark room includes room to tack?
Or should the leading boat only make sure that he has an overlap before he passes head to wind? And does not matter if that happens at the mark or when entering the zone?
If one is not sure if to make it round the mark clear ahead, just be sure to be on the inside and overlapped, so that you're protected, no matter about the overlap when entering the zone?
Best regards, Andraz
Room to tack is written into the definition of mark-room. It is only "part" of mark-room if a specific set of conditions are met. Those conditions being: If you have an inside overlap to windward of the boat required to give mark-room.
Once a boat has mark-room, every time it meets those conditions, that mark-room includes also room to tack. If that boat fails one of the conditions stated, it still has mark-room, but room to tack is no longer included.
It does not matter when the conditions are established. It doesn't have to be at the zone. At the zone it gains or has to give mark-room. Mark-room according to the definition with everything that entails.
To go back to your diagrams:
In diagram 1 Blue may have mark-room and may claim the tack was part of her rounding, but because she is on the outside of the boat required to give mark-room, that mark-room is not including room to tack. Blue breaks rule 13, penalty on Blue.
In diagram 2 Blue meets all the conditions, so she her mark-room does include room to tack. Green Flag
In diagram 3 Blue no longer has an overlap in position 5, that means that her mark-room has no longer "room to tack" included. Yellow must alter course before Blue has passed head to wind because she has to give mark-room and Blue is ROW boat under 12. If Yellow does not have to alter course, to avoid Blue after Blue passes head to wind, there is no rule infringement and no penalty. Blue keeps clear according to 13.
To go back to your original question: A boat with mark-room, has room to tack, when all the conditions have been met at the moment a boat starts to tack.
Well, that's my opinion anyway.
As always, comments are welcome.