(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.)
Rule 10, On Opposite Tacks
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 44.1, Penalties at the Time of an Incident: Taking a Penalty
Rule 64.1(b), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration
The fact that a boat required to keep clear is out of control does not entitle her to exoneration for breaking a rule of Part 2. When a right-of-way boat becomes obliged by rule 14 to ‘avoid contact . . . if reasonably possible’ and the only way to do so is to crashgybe, she does not break the rule if she does not crash-gybe. When a boat’s penalty under rule 44.1(b) is to retire, and she
does so (whether because of choice or necessity), she cannot then be disqualified.
Summary of the Facts
Mumm 30s were racing in difficult conditions. Boat S was running at 10- 14 knots. Before Boat P reached position 1 she had broached and was out of control. P struck S amidships resulting in serious damage. Both boats retired. S protested P.
The protest committee found that S had made minor changes of course when the boats were well apart; that these were thwarted by the erratic motion of P, still out of control; and that when it became apparent that P was not going to keep clear the only action available to S was to crashgybe, which risked considerable damage to S.
The protest committee disqualified both boats, P for breaking rule 10 and S for breaking rule 14, stating that S should have been aware of the difficulties experienced by P and should have taken more significant action earlier. It referred its decision to the national authority for confirmation or correction.
The decisions of the protest committee are reversed. Both boats are to be
Clearly, P broke rule 10. No rule justifies exonerating her, even though she was out of control. In breaking rule 10, P caused serious damage. Rule 10 is a rule of Part 2, and rule 44.1 permits a boat that breaks such a rule to take a penalty. Because P caused serious damage, the applicable penalty for her was to retire (see rule 44.1(b)). P did retire (whether because of choice or necessity does not matter) and was, therefore, exempt from disqualification (see rule 64.1(b)). Her disqualification is reversed, and she is to be scored DNF.
Turning to S, rule 14 makes special provisions in the case of a right-of-way boat. First, for her to be penalized, there must be contact that caused damage or injury. This is not in doubt. Second, she was not required to act to avoid contact until it was clear that P was not keeping clear. It was only at that time that rule 14 required her to avoid contact if reasonably possible. The protest committee found that, when it became clear to S that P was not going to keep clear, the only action available to S was to crashgybe, which risked considerable damage to S. That finding was equivalent to a finding that it was not reasonably possible for S to avoid contact.
Therefore, S did not break rule 14. Her disqualification is reversed, and
she too is to be scored DNF.
Finally, the protest committee should note that, in light of the changed
decision, rule 60.3(b) entitles it to call a hearing to consider giving S
redress under rule 62.1(b).
As with Case 103 – no extra’s!