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
The description of the incident from the protest form is as shown.
Paris Pussycat and Oslo Ocelot are keelboats, approximately 10m LOA.
Wind conditions were about 10kts. Sea conditions smooth.
Paris Pussycat's Description of the Incident
- I was steering Paris Pussycat. We were approaching the leeward mark, to be rounded to port, with the wind over my starboard quarter. Oslo Ocelot was sailing a similar course about a boat length to windward.
- We reached the zone overlapped about three quarters of a boat length ahead of Oslo Ocelot.
- I sailed a course about one and a half boat lengths clear of the mark to allow me to gybe and come away from the mark on a favorable upwind course.
- I heard Oslo Ocelot shout something confusing that I could not understand properly.
- I called for Oslo Ocelot to keep clear because I could see she was getting closer. Ocelot did not appear to respond.
- I gybed for the mark when I was level with it, about one boat length away.
- As I completed my gybe Oslo Ocelot bore away and closed the gap between the boats and Oslo Ocelot's boom hit the stern rail of Paris Pussycat.
- I hailed 'protest' and my crew immediately displayed a red flag.
- Oslo Ocelot then sheered off and fell behind me.
Oslo Ocelot's Questions to Paris Pussycat
Q. Why did you sail so wide of the mark when you know you are only entitled to mark-room to sail the direct course to the mark?
A. I was right of way boat and could sail as high as I liked.
Protest Committee's Questions to Paris Pussycat
Q. Did the contact result in any damage?
Q. When and how did the boats become overlapped?
A. Oslo Ocelot managed to blanket my wind and became overlapped to windward of Paris Pussycat some considerable way up the downwind leg, before coming near the mark.
Oslo Ocelot's Description of the Incident
- Both boats were on starboard tack coming into the leeward mark to be rounded to port, Paris Pussycat was inside Oslo Ocelot at the zone.
- Paris Pussycat was sailing well outside the mark, pushing me up to windward.
- I hailed to Paris Pussycat that she was taking too much room and to sail to the mark.
- Paris Pussycat did not respond to my hail.
- The gap between the boats closed up. I was trying to sail my proper course to the mark.
- Paris Pussycat gybed and our boom hit her stern rail.
Paris Pussycat's Questions to Oslo Ocelot
Q. Do you claim that I should have gybed any earlier than I did?
Protest Committee Questions to Oslo Ocelot
Q. Was there any damage?
Q. Did you take any penalty turns?
Paris Pussycat's witness evidence
- I was tactician on Paris Pussycat, standing beside the helm.
- About 10 lengths from the mark I noted that we were overlapped with Oslo Ocelot and would have inside rights to mark-room.
- I reminded the skipper to sail wide in and close out.
- We sailed a straight course for a point about one and a half lengths outside the mark.
- About two lengths from the mark I heard Oslo Ocelot hail something that I did not understand.
- Oslo Ocelot closed the gap between the boats.
- We gybed for the mark and Oslo Ocelot's boom hit our stern rail.
Oslo Ocelot's Questions to Paris Pussycat's Witness
Q: Didn't you understand that I was hailing you to sail your direct course to the mark?
A: No, but that would not have made sense to me even if I had heard it.
Oslo Ocelot's Witnesses
Oslo Ocelot had no witnesses.
Paris Pussycat Summing Up
- Paris Pussycat was inside right of way boat with rights to mark-room.
- While we were on starboard tack Oslo Ocelot was required to keep clear as well as give us mark-room.
- When we gybed, we were sailing our proper course at the mark and entitled to mark-room.
- Oslo Ocelot did not keep clear and did not give us mark-room.
Oslo Ocelot's Summing Up
- Paris Pussycat took more mark-room than she was entitled to. Paris Pussycat broke rule 18.2.
- When she had gybed, Paris Pussycat was on port tack and failed to keep clear of Oslo Ocelot on port tack. Paris Pussycat broke rule 10 and 14.
- I had no reason to do penalty turns because I was in the right throughout.
Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence
Your fellow protest committee members agree that there is no evidence that Paris Pussycat as a right of way boat changing course, did not give Oslo Ocelot room to keep clear and that Paris Pussycat did not sail further from the mark than was needed to sail her proper course before gybing.