From “the Room” by Brass.
The aim of this series is to practice judges' skills in writing Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and Decisions as required by rule 65.1. These are not intended to be 'difficult' rules problems: concentrate on the writing skills. You are not expected to 'discuss' the rules or the scenarios, or enter into 'what-if' considerations. I suggest you write against the clock, and include a note of your time taken when you post your answers on LTW, to compare with others.
Hearing and Evidence
You are the scribe for the protest committee of the LTW Yacht Club, which races in Port Liberty Roads. You have received a written protest, decided it is valid, and have heard both parties and witnesses as shown. Write Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable and the Decision for this protest. Please post your effort on LTW, for us all to share and learn. Don't be shy.
Description of Incident – Kingston Kitten v London Lion
The description of the incident from the protest form is as shown.
Kingston Kitten is a semi-sports boat with asymmetrical spinnaker, about 10m LOA.
London Lion is a 30 Square Meter yacht, about 12m LOA.
(A 30 Square Meter yacht is a Scandinavian 'skerry-cruiser', similar in style to 'Meter' boats, but rated on Sail Area)
Wind conditions were 10kts, gusting 18kts. Sea conditions smooth.
Kingston Kitten's Description of the Incident
We were approaching the leeward mark on starboard tack. London Lion was approaching on port tack therefore she had no overlap.
I called for London Lion to keep clear as I was right of way boat. London Lion ignored my call and continued on port tack.
London Lion gybed at the mark, and I luffed up towards my new proper course as I was entitled to do.
London Lion hit Kingston Kitten about two meters from our stern.
Protest Committee's Questions to Kingston Kitten
Q. As you approached the leeward mark was London Lion clear astern of you at any stage?
Q. Was there any damage?
London Lion's Description of the Incident
I was steering London Lion. Both boats were coming into the leeward mark to be rounded to starboard, Kingston Kitten on starboard, London Lion on port.
London Lion had an inside overlap on Kingston Kitten.
Kingston Kitten hailed 'starboard'. I hailed 'room'.
I thought that Kingston Kitten was going to give me enough room to get round the mark.
Just as we completed our gybe and were rounding of the mark , Kingston Kitten hit London Lion on the after quarter.
Protest Committee Questions to London Lion
Q. How far apart were the boats when you gybed?
A. Two or three meters.
Q. Was there any damage?+
Q. What action did you take to avoid contact?
A. When Kingston Kitten luffed towards me, there was no possible action I could take to avoid contact: 30 square meter yachts have long overhangs and if I had tried to luff clear of Kingston Kitten my stern would have swung into Kingston Kitten and made the situation worse.
Kingston Kitten Summing Up:
London Lion was on port and failed to keep clear of Kingston Kitten on starboard.
London Lion's Summing Up:
The definition of overlap says that boats can be overlapped when on opposite tacks downwind. Kingston Kitten and London Lion were overlapped approaching the leeward mark and when the first of us reached the zone, with London Lion inside Kingston Kitten. London Lion was entitled to mark-room. I sailed my proper course at the mark and Kingston Kitten changed course so as to deny me mark-room, and hit me.
Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence
Your fellow protest committee members note that the evidence of both parties seems generally consistent.