Tuesday, 21 April 2009

DAIL UP; USMRC Newsletter Vol2, Issue 1

In the latest USMRC Newsletter “DAIL UP” an umpire call is being discussed, which I thought might interest you. It is written by Kirk Brown, an IU from the USA:


With new rule come new wrinkles. Congressional Cup 2009 provided an incident that continues to be discussed.

In the diagram below, the boats are coming to the finish with Blue owing a penalty. Neither boat has a spinnaker or jib up and are slow. Blue arrives at the zone clear ahead turning on rule 18.2(b), second sentence. Yellow must give Blue mark-room, which is room to sail to the mark. At position 2 and 3, Blue is not sailing to the mark, but away from the mark. At position 4, Blue is sailing above the finish line flag on the RC boat. At position 5, Blue cannot get to Yellow and both boats ‘Y’ flag. What rules apply and what is the call?

usmrcV2I1 NRNW kirk brown

Rule 10 applies in this case, and Blue must keep clear (preamble to Section A). Rule 18.2(b) applies and Yellow must give Blue mark-room. As Blue always had room, neither boat broke a rule, Green and white flag. Look for a Rapid response Call to see if Blue can close the door.

My initial thought is that Blue must keep clear if Blue does not sail to the mark and gybes to port, since she is a port tack boat that has been given mark room but has opted not to take it. Stay tuned.


I’m interested to hear your thoughts about this call. A few of mine:

  • Is Blue sailing to the mark in position 4?
  • Has Blue finished?
  • In position 2 Blue is RoW boat and can sail as wide as she pleases….
  • Is Blue sailing her proper course – if you consider her AT the mark – in absence of Yellow , considering she still has to take a penalty?
  • If yes, what about C2.2?
  • Is 18.5(b) applicable considering this is a “passing” mark rather then a rounding mark?

To view the whole issue go to: http://usmrc.info/ml/dl.php?id=29
N.B.: there are no answers (yet)



  1. I cannot think we can say that blue boat in position 4 is sailing to the mark, since she has already crossed the finish line (and so she has already reached the mark).

    Rule C2.1 says that a boat finished when [...] after completing any penalties.
    Since blue has no taken her penalty, she has not finished.

    You are asking if blue is sailing her proper course. Rule 18.5 explicitly refers to mark-room and later it is written "if, by rounding the mark on her proper course". So I think that the exemptions of rule 18.5 only apply if the boat is sailing the proper course to round the mark. This mark need not to be rounded. Even if what blue is doing were her proper course to take the penalty, it would not be her proper course to round the mark. And in any case, as you have pointed out, rule C2.2 says that a boat manoeuvring to take a penalty is not sailing a proper course.

  2. But what would happen if Blue sails to towards the committee boat from between position 2 and 3. She has never been 'at' the mark so proper course does not come in to it, she has not finished, so she must surely still be sailing 'to' the mark and yellow must give room for her to do so.

  3. Am I missing something? As I see it:

    B has an outstanding penalty. B cannot _finish_ until she completes her penalty.

    Until B approaches it to _finish_ B is not required to pass on any required side of the finish mark.

    B does not meet the requirements of Rule 18.1.

    Rule 18 does not apply. Rule 19 applies.

  4. Me too was confused and wonder if rules 18 applies or not.

    One one hand blue boat need not to pass the mark on specified side (what she need to do is to take the penalty and only after that pass the mark)

    However I can not find anywhere in the rules that state explicitly that if blue has a penalty that she is not sailing to the mark.

    Rule C7.2(d) make me believe that is perfectly acceptable that blue sails to the mark and cross the finish line before having taken the penalty.

    The words in rule 19 are actually saying

    [...] except when it is also a mark the boats are required to leave on the same side.

    Here I have to say that more than one interpretation came to my mind. With "are required to leave" does mean that the exception only apply when the boat concerned are required to turn around that mark? Or the exception always apply and the exception descend from the fact that somewhere in the sailing instruction this
    mark where declared as a marking to be left on one side?

    To clarify my doubt let consider a different situation. The course go from start to mark 1, then to mark 2 and then to mark 3. Let suppose that the direction from mark 2 to mark 3 is similar to the one from start point and mark 1, so that in the m2-m3 leg the boats pass near mark 1. Is mark 1 an obstruction under rule 19 or not. Even if the boats are not required to pass at this moment only on one side, it is still also a mark the boats are required to leave on the same side. (the boat are not required in this moment, but the mark is a mark that designate a point where boat during the race is required at one moment to be left on one side.

    Also what rule will apply if a boat need to round the mark but another boat in the proximity need not to turn round the mark (but just sail strait passing that mark on any side)?

    Coming back to the original question and to the comment by "confused", I actually can not understand the reason why blue and yellow have risen Y flags. And the question would be actually more complex if blue has turned before the mark.

  5. @Brass, as a sailor I would be confused if the status of the committee boat (mark or obstruction) could change depending on penalty status. I would think 19 does not apply because the committee boat is a mark that both boats are required to pass on the same side, on the leg they are currently sailing.

    @Anyfile, if an object is significant as a mark for one boat but not the other, due to them being on different legs of the course as in your example, I think rule 18 does not apply. That seems to be the intent of the limitation 'when they are required to leave a mark on the same side'.

    Brass is extending that concept to boats on the _same_ leg, but with one not ready to finish due to owing a penalty turn. I admire that idea, but cannot resolve this paradox. If Blue had turned in a little earlier, and succeeded in drawing a cancelling penalty on Yellow (probably rule 18.2b), then I think Blue would be finished with no more need for a penalty turn. Retroactively, then, Blue was approaching the mark to finish, so both boats were required to pass the committee boat on the same side, so 18 was active.

    As drawn, I think Blue failed to use her rights to room. It would be consistent with the principle, that mark room is given until it is no longer needed, if a boat is considered done sailing 'to' a finish mark when she crosses the finish line, and proper course 'at' the mark is to clear the line.

  6. This was obviously a standard play under the old rules: the RC boat could be treated as an obstruction, without reference to 'required side' and B still got ROW on reaching the zone clear ahead, so could draw the foul from Y
    So under old rules, it was irrelevant that B was carrying a penalty.

    But it now becomes a key question whether it's rule 18 or rule 19

    My view is still that it's rule 19, and B must give Y room to pass the RC boat, which she does, hence Green Flag.

    If you want to play it saying rule 18 applies:

    • possibly, somewhere between @3.5 and @4.5, B could have got to Y while B was sailing to the mark so Y fails to give B room to sail to the mark, and if B breaks rule 10, she is exonerated under rule 18.5: Yellow Flag

    • Otherwise, B never could have got to Y, so Y breaks no rule, Green Flag.

    All depends on how the umpires see it on the water.

    In the diagrammed situation I don't think proper course comes into it: by the time B is at the mark, say after @4.5, Y is out of the way.

    But, let's say things were a little different, and there was contact when B was at the mark:

    • if someone says B's proper course is to go and do her turns, then rule C2.2 says that this is not B's proper course

    • Otherwise it might be said that B's proper course (to finish soonest) is to tag Y and draw the cancelling penalty, but this runs into trouble with the 'in the absence of the other boat' part of the definition of proper course.

    So, in this case B has no proper course at the mark, so there is no content to her entitlement to mark-room, and no exoneration for her under rule 18.5.

    I reckon this is a good reason to say rule 19 applies rather than rule 18.

  7. @OHara, my doubt on mark with boat at different course or when boats pass near a mark that is not the mark to be rounded in this moment (but at an earlier or later moment) is if rule 19 applies or not (and not about rule 18 - first sentence of rule 18.1 clearly says rule 18 does not apply in these case).

  8. This is a rule 18 matter. Both boats were heading accross the finishing line, to me they were in the act of finishing, and the committee boat was a mark.

    If either boat finished and there was a cancelling penalty they could have both finished see amended definition c2.1.

    Mike B

  9. @Anyfile, now I see your example was about rule 19. If your mark is big enough to meet the definition of an obstruction, then I would think 19 applies. The 'same side' exception you quoted from 19 does not seem to describe boats on different legs of the course in your example.

  10. There were some questions proposed by Jos.

    ?Is Blue sailing to the mark in position 4?
    No, she completed any sensible course to the finish mark at 3.
    ?Has Blue finished?
    No, because of the penalty.
    ?Is Blue sailing her proper course at the mark?
    No, the proper course 'at' a finish mark is to clear the line.
    ?Is 18.5(b) applicable...?
    Not here because Blue is not sailing a proper course
    ?... considering this is a “passing” mark?
    ...but I think there are situations where 18.5(b) should apply at a finish mark, for example to protect a boat with inside windward overlap.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...