Thursday, 14 January 2010

Order in Rule 18.2 Giving Mark-Room

During the preparation for one of the winter presentations I've given, some thought went into rule 18.2 Giving Mark-Room. Specifically on the order it is used.

From the view-point of the sailor the way this rules is used is different then the order it is written in the rule book. Most sailors start with 18.2(b): What is my position when I or my opponent reach the zone.
Am I inside boat? Then I have mark-room.
Am I clear ahead? Again, then I have mark-room.
That are the first questions asked approaching a mark.

If there's doubt on that position most sailors (should) use 18.2(d) and determine their rights according to how that doubt is resolved. I.e. was the overlap long standing and only (doubtfully) broken at the very last minute or vice versa.

Then they use 18.2(c). It tells them what to do even when the overlap is broken or a new overlap begins.

Only if these first three are not applicable sailors go to rule 18.2(a). That's the basic principle stating that an outside overlapped boat shall give mark-room. For the rule-makers/writers it is the first (most important) rule, but not for the sailors.

And finally they have to use 18.2(e). If - from the moment the overlap began - they are unable to give mark-room, they are not required to give it.

From 18.2 (b) to 18.2 (d) and 18.2 (c)
Then 18.2 (a) and finally 18.2 (e)

Is this difference in use, something rule-makers should consider when revising rule 18.2 in the future?


  1. I suspect that this is how most protest committees approach the problem as well. However, I do find that the rule is drafted in a logical order. 18.2a establishes the basic principle then b,c and d establish limitations and on the application of the basic rule.

    When there is doubt about an overlap existing when first boat reaches the zone then 18.2d is the rule that permits the PC to resolve the situation. It is usually possible, often without witnesses, to work back to a last point of certainty - when it is established as a fact (often when both parties agree on the relative positions of their boats) that an overlap did or did not exist. On at least 2 ocassions this year this last point of certainty was some way away from the zone - on one occasion around 10 boat lengths from the mark!


  2. I agree with Gordon. The only differece (expecially in MR Umpiring) is to remember if 17 is on or not entering in the zone.

  3. I've always found it interesting that you almost never find a boat to have broken 18.2(a). Even though it is the basic prinicpal on which the rest of the rule is built.

  4. 18.2a gets used in match racing: when a leading boat, but with a penalty, takes that penalty round the finish mark. As they pass head to win any entitlement to mark room under 18.2b switches off. Leading boat is keep clear boat (21.2) until she reaches a downwind course as she is taking a penalty. If she is then inside boat she is entitled to mark room under 18.2a unless outside boat is unable to give room at the time the overlap began (18.2e - modified by C2.12



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