Thursday, 11 March 2010

LTW Readers Q but no A | 039; Finishing Seaweed?

The following case was send in by two LTW readers from 'Down Under'.
They asked me to post this as they wrote it, without me giving any answers. They want you - as experienced LTW readers - to do this. I'm happy to oblige. Tell us your answers in a comment.

Finishing Line Problem – Seaweed
Here is a problem at the finishing line.  Your comments are invited.

  1. The course to be sailed was windward-leeward with four legs. The leg length was 1 mile. The leeward mark was a gate comprising marks (3A) and (3B).
  2. The gate marks were set approximately 12 boat lengths (300 feet) apart.
  3. Sailing Instruction 7.7 said. "In the event, that the race committee decides a change of course is necessary for the first downwind leg, leg 2, one of the gate marks (3A) or (3B), will be removed and the remaining gate mark, set in it’s new location, shall be rounded to port.
  4. There was no change of course signal made.
  5. The race committee displayed the “S” flag with two sounds after several of the lead boats had rounded the windward mark at the end of leg 1.
  6. The race committee intended the course to be shortened by boats passing through the gate in accordance with rule 32.2(c).

  7. Because of difficulty in anchoring, the race committee boat was moored amidships alongside Gate mark 3B with the mark on her port side and gate mark 3A to port. Due to the light winds and strong current the race committee signal boat subsequently aligned itself with the current and the starboard side of the signal boat faced towards the course side of the course obscuring Mark 3B from boats approaching the gate.
  8. When sailing the downwind leg and approaching mark 3A Seaweed could not see mark 3B nor hear any sound signals and, was unable to distinguish the “S” flag displayed. Other boats sailing near Seaweed corroborated this.
  9. Seaweed said that she did not see a change of course signal made at the windward mark but when she saw only one gate mark, mark 3A, she considered the possibility that a change of course  signal could have been made at the windward mark and that she simply failed to notice it which, in the absence of a sound signal and the apparent absence of gate mark (3B), led her to believe mark 3A was to be rounded to port according to SI 7.7.
  10. The wind was very light, approximately 2 knots, and the “S” flag was not “flying” but rather “laying limp” (drooping down) on it’s staff.
  11. Seaweed rounded the gate mark 3A to port. Seaweed was approximately 8-10 boat lengths in front of the nearest boat behind her when she rounded the gate mark.
  12. When rounding mark 3A Seaweed saw the gate mark 3B on the leeward side of the signal boat and then made out the “S” flag displayed on the signal boat. Seaweed sailed back between the gate marks to the course side of the shortened course finish line then sailed back across the finish line between the gates in the direction from the previous mark as shown in the diagram.

A.    Did Seaweed make an error under rule 28.1 at the finishing line?
B.    Has Seaweed corrected any error made at the finishing line under rule 28.1?
C.    Has Seaweed finished in accordance with the definition of finish?
D.    What should the Race Committee do?


  1. A Yes she did make a mistake at the finish
    b.No she did not remedy the mistake
    c. Yes she did finish according to the Definition.
    d. It should protest under rrs 28
    Redress could be considered but probably rejected as in the absence of a change of course the mark should not have been rounded. As "S" was flying the finish would have been between the gates or in the absence on one gate between the mark and the Staff with "S" so the boat contributed to finishing incorrectly by reoundint the mark creating an impossible "Hook Finish".

    Mike B

  2. @ Everybody who wants to comment:
    I'm delaying publishing comments to this post until everybody has a change to make up his or her mind.
    Let's say, until Sunday afternoon?

  3. Case 90 refers.

    A) No error made.
    b) See above - no error
    c) Yes
    d) Finish "seaweed" at position 6

    Seaweed is not entitled to redress - there was no "improper action or omission of the race committee", in that the RC followed the SIs.

    However, the RC are guilty of not making things obvious for competitors. They should not have set up next to the gate mark, but on the extension of the line - i.e. further to the right.

    Memo to RC - don't do that one again!


  5. IMHO, whatever Seaweed thought the course was, it was actually a windward leeward through the gate. She did not sail this course and so is disq, although she may have a legitimate request for redress due to some tatty race management. We are not told what the SIs said about shortening the course and if it could be construed that the course was shortened to a position before the leeward gate, eg between the signal boat and a nearby mark laid for the purpose of establishing a finishing line then she may have finished correctly. All the stuff about repositionng the downwind leg is irrelevant as no course change was signalled. George Morris

  6. 1. Seaweeds course does not pass the string test. She has not sailed the course and has broken 28.1
    2.No, she has not corrected her error.
    3. No, because she has not corrected an error made on the finish line.
    4. The race committee should score Seaweed DNF. They should and consider whether their own actions, by inadequately signalling the shortened course and by their difficulty in anchoring the committee boat might have made Seaweed' score in the race significantly worse. If they decide that this is the case they should then do the gentlemanly thing, and request redress for Seaweed. Should the PC decide that redress be granted ( and I believe that a good case can be made) then I would propose that Seaweed be given points equivalent to first place.


  7. Since Seaweed didn't hear/see a course change, everything she assumed about the finish was her own fault.

    A. Yes, Seaweed made a error under 28.1.

    B. No she hasn't corrected her errors. She could have by going back outside the gate and finishing between them.

    C. No, seaweed hasn't finished yet. Since she made errors in 28.1, she won't 'finish' until she has fixed her errors and then 'crosses the finish line in the direction of the course from the last mark...after fixing her errors'.

    D. The RC did nothing 'improper' and i don't believe redress would be granted. However, The RC did make a legitimate shortening of course VERY confusing and should endeavor to not let this happen again. An apology might be in order.

    The RC could have just paid out some more anchor rode in order to not obscure the mark and all would have been fine. Also, I've seen RC boats that will hold the limp signal flags with a pole (or something) to let them be seen better.

  8. A - Yes but corrected it.
    B - Yes
    C - Yes
    D - Keep taking finishes.

  9. No he did not finish per the string rule.

  10. Questions:
    A. Did Seaweed make an error under rule 28.1 at the finishing line? Yes
    B. Has Seaweed corrected any error made at the finishing line under rule 28.1? No
    C. Has Seaweed finished in accordance with the definition of finish? No
    D. What should the Race Committee do?
    Request Redress for Seaweed

  11. A. Seaweed did make an error in that when drawn taut, her "string" would not lie on the correct side of the marks of the finish line.

    B. Seaweed did not correct her error. See A.

    C. Seaweed has not finished. See A and B.

    D. RC should request redress for Seaweed and if the Protest committee is satisfied that Seaweed could not have corrected her R. 28.1 error and finishd before the next boat astern finished, give her a corrected finish postion on the grounds that her action in mooring so as to obscure one of the gate marks was improper and made Seaweed's score significantly worse through no fault of her own RRS 62.1. If the PC finds that Seaweed could have corrected her error in time to finish properly before the next boat astern, then redress should be denied.

  12. Seaweed's track, when pulled tight, passes the wrong side of the finishing mark, so (A) she made an error, and (B) did not correct it, and (C) did finish, though she can still unwind and finish again. (D) The RC should score Seaweed as finished at the time she crossed the line. They have the option to (1) protest Seaweed for breaking 28.1 and (2) request redress for any eventual scoring impact due to the obscured mark.
    I think the RC should do both 1 and 2, with a nice hail "We have to protest you, unless you unwind your course error. Our mistake that this mark was hidden." Then the other sailors are less likely to grumble about the rule 28 violation, and the RC gets on record that they recognized their mistake in hiding the mark.

  13. (Received by Email):
    No, No, No and DNF.
    Race committee needs it's hand smacked and could be open to redress requests. It could have removed 3B and displayed M if the signal boat was to stay where it was.

  14. (Also by Email:)
    My opinion is:
    re: question A: Did Seaweed......... answer: Yes. If you would drawn taut the string it would not pass gate no: 3A
    B: Has Seaweed corrected...... answer: No. Same answer as above.
    C: Has Seaweed finished....... answer: No. See definition.."... after correcting an error made at the finishing line, under rule 28.1."
    D: Redress would be the easier way to save the race but it can not be given to Seaweed because she had her own mistake at the finish, even if the Race Committee made mistake, as well. When Seaweed realized that of the shortening she had enough time to make correct finish. Give DNF to Seaweed.

  15. I'm agreeing with OHara's answers.
    But I'll leave it to the originators to answers you individually

  16. This was a joint problem from myself and Dick.

    I'm relieved that Gordon, Peter, Anon, Wasabi, O'Hara, Zsolt and Jos agree with me that Seaweed made a rule 28 error at the finishing line, she did not correct it, therefore she has not finished in accordance with the definition of finish.

    @Mike B, If you agreed that Seaweed made a rule 28 error and did not correct it, how can you say that she finished in accordance with the definition of finish?

    @John, You say Seaweed did NOT make a rule 28.1 error, therefore did NOT correct a rule 28.1 error, but DNF: Why?

  17. Actually, I'm with Mike B -- Seaweed finished at position 6 by crossing "the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark, [either] for the first time [or...]". The "either/or" construction requires at least one condition to be fulfilled, and the first condition was.

    If intent of the definition was to make the finish not count until errors were corrected, it could simply say "crosses the finish line ... after correcting any error ... under rule 28."

    Before the 2005 changes, rule 28.1 forbade correcting errors after finishing (why?) but the definition of finish was the same as today. So in 2004 the only way to make sense of the rules, in a situation like Finishing Seaweed, was to interpret the "either/or" to mean that the real finish was either the first crossing of the line, or maybe some later crossing. I think this was just a mistake in the rules, and we should read the definition in a straightforward way today.

  18. One point -
    Seaweed made an error at the finishing line under 28.1. Is the Race Committee not entitled, in this case, to score Seaweed DNF without a hearing?


  19. @Gordon.
    The RC cannot score a boat DNF for breaking rule 28.1. See Case 80. Seaweed has finished according to the definition.
    If the RC wants to disqualify her, they must protest and a hearing must be held.

  20. Just read Q&A 2006-003 and realised my error. Better to get it wrong on LTW than at the IJ test in Moscow!


  21. @Gordon
    Good luck with the Seminar!
    I'd appreciate a short impression on the seminar for future candidates. Can you write a 'guest'-post and send it to me? Anything that is helpful for preparations and how the exam was perceived.
    I would also like to know if other participants - besides yourself - have used LTW to prepare..
    Thanks in advance! Jos

  22. O'Hara,

    I apologise for dragging your name into the slough of dissent, which I see Gordon has just climbed out of quoting Q&A 2006-003.

    You have convinced me. I had been reading the definition as if it said 'at the latest in time of either … .

    I now understand that the definition means that a boat that makes an error at the finishing line under rule 28.1 can finish more than once in the same race, namely when she crosses the finishing line for the first time AND when she crosses the finishing line after correcting an error made at the finishing line under rule 28.1.

    I think this is a lousy situation, and agree that it is probably a mistake in drafting the rules. It has caused endless confusion with Case 112, Q&A 2006-003, Q&A 2009-026, and Q&A 2009-035, but so be it.

    So Seaweed:
    • has made an error at the finishing line under rule 28.1;
    • has not corrected that error;
    • has finished in accordance with the definition of finish;
    • The Race Committee should record and score her finish as observed and protest her for breaking rule 28.1 in accordance with Q&A 2006-003.

    Presumably, if Seaweed had corrected her error at the finishing line under rule 28.1 and finished for a second time, then the RC should record and score her second finish and not protest her.

  23. She started, she left each mark on the required side, touched each rounding mark and then passed between the marks of a gate (which is now the finish line) from the direction on the previous mark. Just because she sailed extra distance she is still finising in the direction from the last mark. She is finishing when she is in position 6.

  24. Sigh. Yes, you are right and I am wrong. Seaweed has indeed "finished" event though she had not sailed the course. Resolve: never answer a rules question without reading the rules.

  25. Never mind Wasabi. I was glad to have you on my side until I changed sides.

  26. At the risk of joining a bandwagon:

    1. Seaweed has made an error under 28.1
    2. Seaweed has not exonherated herself
    3. She has however met the definition of finish
    4. RC should protest under 28.1

  27. And when the PC has issued a DSQ and moves on to the redress request, it should deny it because Seaweed could have corrected her error and did not. The magic words, in RRS 62.1, are 'through no fault of her own;.

  28. I have a question to the described situation. Assuming that this situation happens at an ordinary finish (not under flag S at a gate). Would the answer be the same?

    1. All other circumstances being the same?
      Yes I think so.


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