(This is an installment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)
Almost didn’t make it this week. Has been a little hectic of late. Anyway here is:
Rule 20.1(b), Room to Tack at an Obstruction: Hailing and Responding
When, in reply to her call for room to tack when close-hauled approaching an obstruction, a boat is hailed ‘You tack’, and when she does so and is then able to tack again to keep clear in a seamanlike way, the other boat has given the room required.
Summary of the Facts
A and B were International Dragons. A was approaching the shore close hauled on starboard tack, clear ahead and to leeward of B. A hailed for room to tack, and B replied ‘You tack.’ A tacked and B held her course. A was then on a collision course with B and tacked again. Both of A’s tacks were made in a normal, seamanlike way. After A’s second tack she was overlapped to leeward of B. Shortly afterwards B tacked and A did likewise. A protested B for not giving room as required by rule 20.1(b). The protest committee concluded that B failed to give A ‘room to tack and avoid her’, and disqualified B, stating that she had ‘failed to keep clear of A after her tack.’ B appealed.
B’s appeal is upheld, and she is to be reinstated. A’s actions show that she had room to tack and avoid B. B therefore met her obligation under rule 20.1(b).
It is important to distinguish a requirement to keep clear from a requirement to give room. When a boat with right of way is required to give another boat room for a maneuver, right of way does not transfer to the boat entitled to room. After A tacked onto port tack, B was not, as the protest committee evidently believed, required to keep clear of A; instead, it was A that was required by rule 10 to keep clear of B. B was only required by rule 20.1(b) to give A room to tack and avoid B, and B did so.
This Case is VERY important in it’s basic premise:
Giving room to keep clear is NOT the same as having to keep clear. Giving room is a limitation on the right of way boat. Keeping clear is an obligation on the keep-clear boat.
I understand that in effect - and what actually happens on the water – it sometimes feels like the same, but for sailors and PCs it should always be perfectly clear if a boat avoids another under a limitation or because of an obligation.