Friday, 1 May 2009

Fact Finding Friday |009 Tokyo Topgun v Ulaanbaatar Underdog

By Brass from “The Room”


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.

You have listed Facts Found and the protest committee members have agreed to endorse the attached diagram.



A Tokyo Topgun


B Ulaanbaatar Underdog

Facts Found

  1. Tokyo Topgun and Ulaanbaatar Underdog were running on starboard tack close to the shore against a strong ebb tide in a Force 3 breeze.
  2. Tokyo Topgun was not more than half a hull length clear ahead of Ulaanbaatar Underdog.
  3. Ulaanbaatar Underdog blanketed Tokyo Topgun, causing Tokyo Topgun to gybe unintentionally.
  4. There was contact immediately after Tokyo Topgun gybed.
  5. There was no injury or damage.
  6. Ulaanbaatar Underdog protested Tokyo Topgun under rule 10, with timely flag and hail.

Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence

Your fellow protest committee members agree that Ulaanbaatar Underdog caused both Tokyo Topgun's gybe and the contact by not keeping clear when both boats were on the same tack


Write 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.



  1. 1. Initailly TT clear ahead on same tack as UU. TT is ROW boat. UU is required to keep clear.
    2. UU caused TT to gybe unintentionally. UU did not keep clear of TT. UU violated R 12.
    3. UU acquired ROW over TT through UU's action. UU did not give TT room to keep clear. UU violated R 15.

    TT - no penalty
    UU - dsq

    Review facts 10 min
    Review applicable rules 20 min
    Write decision 10 min

    Rocky River, Ohio USA
    Sailing venue - Lake Erie

  2. Rules Applicable: Before the gybe, UU must keep clear by 12. At the gybe, UU must initially give room under 15, because the PC found as fact that the gybe was not TT's action. Then TT must keep clear by rule 10. Rule 14 as always.

    Conclusion: Accept the PC conclusion that UU violated 12 just before the gybe. UU broke 15 by causing the gybe of TT without. TT broke 10 but is exonerated as the cause was UU violating 15. No penalties under 14, because TT was unable to avoid, and UU had right of way.

    Decision: DSQ UU
    5 minutes to read facts
    5 minutes to list rules
    10 minutes to write conclusion
    15 minutes pondering the strange conclusion that TT's gybe was not her own action

  3. Before the gybem UU keeps clear, rule 12.

    After the gybe, TT is keep clear boat (rule 10) and she fails to do so. Rule 15 applies. UU acquires right of way through TT's gybe and so does not have to give room to keep clear. That TTs gybe was unintentional does not matter.

    Say 10 mins, including a quick read of rule 19.


  4. Conclusions

    1. UU, when clear astern and on the same gybe as TT, failed to keep clear of TT: UU broke rule 12.
    2. UU then acquired right of way, by her own actions, but initially failed to give TT room to keep clear: UU thereby broke rule 15.
    3. TT, who was then on the port gybe, failed to keep clear of UU on starboard: TT broke rule 10.
    4. TT’s breach of rule 10 was compelled by UU’s breach of rules 12 and 15: TT is exonerated under rule 64.1(c).
    5. It was reasonably possible for UU to avoid contact with TT: she breached rule 14, but is not liable to be penalised for that because there was no injury or damage.
    6. It was not reasonably possible for TT to avoid contact.

    Rules applicable

    10, 12, 14, 15, 64.1(c)


    UU is scored dsq.
    The protest against TT is dismissed.

    Time taken: 16 minutes.

    I would have included the conclusion that UU caused TT to gybe as a finding of fact – although I have some difficulty understanding how that happened.

  5. Conclusions:

    1. UU broke Rule 12 by failing to keep clear.

    2. UU broke rule 14 by contacting TT when UU was give way boat.

    3. UU broke rule 15 by failing to give TT room to keep clear when UU acquired ROW under Rule 10 as a result of UU's actions (causing TT to gybe.)

    4. TT broke rule 10 by failing to keep clear.

    5. TT violation of rule 10 was compelled by UU's violation of rule 15.

    6. TT could not reasonably avoid contact with UU and did not break rule 14.

    Rules applicable, 10, 12, 14, 15, 64.

    Decision: UU is disqualified. TT is exonerated.

    Time: about 5 minutes to review the facts and 10 minutes to check the rules book, and the ISAF Case Book and to write the conclusions, etc.

  6. Additional comment that may not belong in the PC decision. Rule 19 does not apply since UU did not become overlapped between TT and the continuing obstruction at any time during the incident.

  7. Conclusions
    1. TT did not change course when TT gybed.
    2. UU clear astern did not keep clear of TT clear ahead. UU broke rule 12
    3. TT on port did not keep clear of UU on starboard. TT broke rule 10.
    4. It was not reasonably possible for TT to avoid contact with UU. TT did not break rule 14.
    5. It was reasonably possible for UU to avoid contact with TT.
    6. When, UU did not act to avoid contact with TT, UU was the right-of-way boat and the contact did not cause damage or injury. UU may not be penalized under rule 14.

    1. TT was compelled to break rule 10 as a consequence of UU breaking rule 12. TT is exonerated for breaking a rule under rule 64.1(c).
    2. UU is scored DSQ for breaking rule 12.

  8. I see that I am in a minority of one. I can understand that if, before the gybe, contact was unavoidable then UU was not keeping clear and should be disqualified.

    There seems to be a view, though, that because TT's gybe was unintentional and caused by UU being on her wind, UU was not keeping clear. The gybe was not part of an attempt to avoid contact under rule 14 (there was no change of course by TT). I dont understand why TT's gybe inicates that UU was not keeping clear.

    The diagram shows UU moved to TT's left between 1 and 2. It is likely that when TT gybed, she moved left as well. That might have cut off UU's escape route.


  9. But, are we not stuck with the agreement of the protest committee members that "UU was not keeping clear when UU and TT were on the same tack"? Would that agreement be their conclusion?

  10. TT V UU
    1. RRS 10. UU failed to keep clear of TT while she was on starboard.
    2. RRS 64.1.c. TT broke rule 11 but was compelled to do so when another boat broke a rule and is exonerated.
    3. RRS14. UU failed to avoid a collision when she could have done so but as there was no damage cannot be penalised as ROW boat.
    4. RRS14 TT was unable to avoid a collision when it was imminent.
    UU is disqualified.
    Mike B
    5 mins

  11. Feedback TT v UU

    Welcome to Bron. Thanks for your contribution.

    Key issue here is that UU broke rule 12 before TT gybed and UU gained right of way. The problem was taken directly from Case 30.

    Several solutions are still containing 'rules discussion' or 'intermediate conclusions' paragraphs, which are really superfluous,. For example if you conclude that 'UU did not keep clear. UU broke rule 12' is it superfluous to precede this by saying 'UU was required to keep clear'.

    I suggest that John G's answer was a pretty good one. I'll just repeat a couple of my 'pet peeves' about using the up-to-date language of the current rules:

    * Avoid saying 'Boat X failed to ...' This implies that you have already decided fault: Say 'Boat X did not ...' this is factual and non-judgmental.

    * Avoid saying 'Boat X breached rule RR' or 'Boat X infringed rule RR'. Say 'Boat X broke rule RR'.

    * When stating the rule 14(b) protection, stick with the words of the rules 'shall not be penalised' not 'is not' or 'may not be'.

    John G decided that 'The protest against TT is dismissed'. In this problem UU protested TT, but TT was in the right and UU was eventually disqualified. I think it's a good idea, where the original protestor loses out, to say explicitly that their protest was dismissed as John G has done.

    Any comments on this?


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