(If you are missing case 94; Don’t look for it, it has been deleted!)
CASE 93Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 16.1, Changing Course
Rule 18.3(b), Mark-Room: Tacking When Approaching a Mark
Rule 18.5, Mark-Room: Exoneration
Rule 64.1(c), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration
If a boat luffs immediately after she becomes overlapped to
leeward of another boat and there is no seamanlike action that
would enable the other boat to keep clear, the boat that luffed
breaks rules 15 and 16.1. The other boat breaks rule 11, but is
exonerated under rule 64.1(c).
As they approached a windward mark, and after W completed a tack within the zone and was on her new close-hauled course, L was directly astern of W. W’s course was far enough above the layline to allow L to pass between W and the mark. In position 2, L had borne off from a point close astern of W and was about to overlap W to leeward. When the overlap began L immediately luffed and struck W’s port side. The boats then continued around the mark without further incident. L protested W but L was disqualified for breaking rule 16.1. She appealed.
In position 1 the boats were approaching the mark on opposite tacks. When the first part of W’s hull to reach the zone did so, L was fetching the mark and W was subject to rule 13 because she had turned past head to wind but had not yet borne off to a close-hauled starboard-tack course. Therefore, rule 18.3 began to apply at that time. In her appeal L argued that W broke rule 18.3(b). That rule required W to give L markroom.
The facts indicate that W’s course was far enough above the layline to allow L to sail to the mark and then round it on her proper course. Therefore, W did not break rule 18.3(b).
In position 2 W had right of way over L under rule 12. A short time later, between positions 2 and 3, the boats became overlapped at which time L acquired right of way under rule 11, and, initially, rule 15 required L to give W room to keep clear. At all times after the boats became overlapped, rule 16.1 applied. L’s luff, which was made immediately after the overlap began, deprived W of room to keep clear. No seamanlike action was available to her to do so. L thus broke rules 15 and 16.1.
L is not exonerated under rule 18.5 because, at the time she broke rules 15 and 16.1, she was not taking the mark-room to which she was entitled and which W had given her. That fact made rule 18.5 inapplicable. Also, because she was sailing to the mark and not yet rounding it, exoneration for breaking rules 15 and 16.1 would not have been available even if she had been taking the mark-room to which she was entitled (see rule 18.5(b)).
When L luffed W unavoidably broke rule 11, but she is exonerated under rule 64.1(c) because of L’s breaches of rules 15 and 16.1. L became overlapped from clear astern within two of her hull lengths of W, and so rule 17 prohibited L from sailing above her proper course.
The protest committee did not find facts as to whether or not L sailed above her proper course after the overlap began. If she did, she broke rule 17. However, nothing is to be gained by seeking the facts needed to resolve this question because L would remain disqualified under rules 15 and 16.1.
The protest committee did not discuss rule 14. W did not break rule 14, as it was not reasonably possible for her to avoid contact. L, however, did break rule 14; the fact that she caused the contact showed that it was possible for her to avoid it. She would have been subject to penalty for this breach if there had been damage or injury to either boat. No facts were found about damage or injury, but this issue need not be addressed since L would remain disqualified under rules 15 and 16.1. For the above reasons L’s appeal is denied.
It is tricky to tack (and be subject to rule 13) in the zone in front of a starboard boat, but if you give the other boat markroom inside you, should be okay. The starboard boat must comply with 15, 16.1 and 17 when she becomes overlapped inside. And rule 14 is always in effect!