Wednesday, 16 June 2010

ISAF Q&A's Fast and Furious

The ISAF Q&A's have been coming fast and furious.
There's a new sheriff in town, so to speak. As I have understood the new chairman has instigated a policy that the Q&A-panel will no longer 'screen' questions for usefulness or worthiness? (is that a proper word?)
All questions will be answered!

The best way to keep track of them is to download the new booklet, where they all are now recoded with a letter and a sequence number.
Go to: QABookletJune92010-[8951].pdf

From the index: I've linked the latest so you can download them also individually:

A - Fair Sailing
A 1 Q&A 07-008 Slowing another boat’s progress in a race.
A 2 Q&A 09-023 A discussion about different aspects of a situation when a boat learns, in an invalid hearing, that she has broken a rule.

B - Boat vs Boat
B 1 Q&A 06-005 A collision between two catamarans on opposite tacks at a narrow gate.
B 2 Q&A 09-004 'Keeping Clear' in a windward /leeward situation.
B 3 Q&A 09-017 When Mark-Room includes room to tack.
B 4 Q&A 09-021 Rights and obligations at obstructions.
B 5 Q&A 09-022 How much room is mark-room?
B 6 Q&A 09-025 Questions about the windward mark and proper course.
B 7 Q&A 09-028 Obligations when a boat hails for room to tack.
B 8 Q&A 09-030 A clarification about rule 18.3.
B 9 Q&A 09-033 How early must a boat start taking action to avoid a collision?
B 10 Q&A 09-036 When does rule 18.3 stop applying?
B 11 Q&A 10-001 3 boats overlapped on port tack approaching an obstruction; a racing boat on starboard tack.
B 12 Q&A 10-009 Finishing mark and rules 18.2 and 18.5.
B 13 Q&A 10-011 Overlap changing from leeward to windward overlap.
B 14 Q&A 10-012 Rule 18.3 and ‘causing a boat to sail above close-hauled’.
B 15 Q&A 10-013 Rules 19 and 20 when multiple boats meet.
B 16 Q&A 10-017 Windward boat must always keep clear.
B 17 Q&A 10-020 Two boats tacking in the zone when another is fetching.

C - Starting
C 1 Q&A 07-004 A clarification about rule 30.1, I Flag Rule (Called Round-an-End Rule).
C 2 Q&A 09-027 When boats start in both directions – what should be done?

D - Sailing the Course
D 1 Q&A 09-008 'Side of a mark' for the purpose of rule 28.
D 2 Q&A 09-010 A boat forced to the wrong side of a mark still needs to sail correctly around that mark. She is not 'compelled' to break rule 28.
D 3 Q&A 09-014 A clarification of rule 28. A catamaran rounding a mark with one hull flying over the mark.
D 4 Q&A 09-034 When one Gate Mark is missing.
D 5 Q&A 10-004 About touching marks and the definitions Finish and Racing.

E - Finishing
E 1 Q&A 06-002 When has a boat 'cleared' the finishing line and marks?
E 2 Q&A 06-003 Race committee action when a boat passes the pin end of the finishing line on the wrong side or touches a finishing mark.
E 3 Q&A 07-003 A clarification of fetching at the finishing mark.
E 4 Q&A 08-002 ’Normal position’ - finishing as a capsized boat.
E 5 Q&A 09-005 Relating to ISAF Case 45 - a case about a sailing instruction that required boats to finish contrary to the definition 'Finish'.
E 6 Q&A 09-016 About shortening of course, finishing when the race committee is positioned at the 'wrong' end of the line.
E 7 Q&A 09-026 When does a boat finish – when is the line a finishing line.
E 8 Q&A 09-035 About Case 112 and Q&A 2009-26.

F – Scoring
F 1 Q&A 01-001 A question relating to the time limit of races.
F 2 Q&A 03-002 Scoring boats OCS after the race based on observations by or statements from competitors or other persons outside the race committee.
F 3 Q&A 03-004 Abandoning a race after some of the boats have finished.
F 4 Q&A 07-001 Awarding of average points in multiple races.
F 5 Q&A 08-001 A clarification about numbering of races.
F 6 Q&A 08-003 A discussion about whether a boat that has retired can un-retire.
F 7 Q&A 09-002 A clarification of ‘number of boats entered in a series’ for the purpose of scoring under Appendix A.
F 8 Q&A 09-006 A clarification of rule 90.3(a): A race cannot be scored when no boats have sailed the course in compliance with rule 28 and finished.
F 9 Q&A 09-013 Scoring series with multiple rankings.
F 10 Q&A 09-031 How may scoring mistakes be corrected after a regatta?
F 11 Q&A 10-023 Resolving ties in series score when redress is involved.

G – Race Management Practices and Policies
G 1 Q&A 09-009 Special sailing instruction to allow shortening races for safety reasons even after some boats have crossed the finishing line.
G 2 Q&A 09-012 When the race committee observes a boat touching a mark.
G 3 Q&A 10-010 Posting OCS lists at the windward mark.
G 4 Q&A 09-015 About abandonment in match racing. Where to draw the line for what would be an improper action by the race committee.
G 5 Q&A 10-015 Changing the meaning of the Race Signals in the sailing instructions.
G 6 Q&A 10-016 When sailing clubs mix responsibilities for club regattas.
G 7 Q&A 10-018 Race committee procedures for sighting the starting line.
G 8 Q&A 10-021 When using VHF to recall boats.

H – International Jury
H 1 Q&A 02-001 Rule N1.1 and International Jury members on signal- and finishing boats.
H 2 Q&A 03-001 A question relating to International Juries and when they are properly constituted.
H 3 Q&A 09-041 A clarification about submitting questions about Jury decisions.

J – Protests, Hearings, Appeals & Procedures
J 1 Q&A 04-008 Signalling a yellow flag penalty after a general recall.
J 2 Q&A 07-006 Notifying boats of a protest by informing the coach, rules advisor or other representative.
J 3 Q&A 09-011 The weighing and credibility of evidence in protest hearings.
J 4 Q&A 09-039 When a protest committee protests a boat under rule 60.3(a)(2).
J 5 Q&A 09-040 About denial of appeal and national prescriptions.
J 6 Q&A 10-003 Compelled to break a rule by an unidentified boat breaking a rule.
J 7 Q&A 10-005 Conditions for a protest committee to reinstate an abandoned race.
J 8 Q&A 10-006 Protest time limit when the race time limit runs out.
J 9 Q&A 10-008 Redress when boats get entangled with marks.

K – Match Race
K 1 Q&A 09-015 About abandonment in match racing. Where to draw the line for what would be an improper action by the race committee.

L – Technical
L 1 Q&A 03-007 A question about the legality of disconnecting the headstay while racing.
L 2 Q&A 08-004 A question about the use of the Yngling gybing line.
L 3 Q&A 09-001 A question about boat wax/polish and rule 53.
L 4 Q&A 09-007 A question about hiking devices and rule 49.1.
L 4 Q&A 09-029 A question about rule 53, textured surfaces and wet sanding.
L 6 Q&A 09-037 Questions about rule 42 when rules 49 to 54 do not apply.
L 7 Q&A 09-038 Using a lead trapeze harness strap buckle (that is a dive weight) and rule 43.1(a).
L 8 Q&A 10-002 Life line material and the Racing Rules of Sailing.

M – Terminology
M 1 Q&A 04-006 When is a boat on a beat to windward?
M 2 Q&A 09-003 Questions about the term ‘Starting Area’.
M 3 Q&A 09-018 Is a finishing line a ’gate’?
M 4 Q&A 09-019 Questions about the new definition Fetching.
M 5 Q&A 09-032 When is a boat ‘sailing on another leg’?
M 6 Q&A 10-019 Changing course and rule 16.
M 7 Q&A 10-022 When touching only the flag on a mark.

N – Prescriptions and other rules
N 1 Q&A 10-007 National prescriptions not complying with rule 86.1(a).
N 2 Q&A 10-014 Approval for appointment of protest committees.

Deleted Q&As

This means that some of the questions may seem a bit simple. But as a policy I agree with answering all questions - the more answers the more consistent we will be to the sailors.


  1. Hi Jos
    Many thanks for revealing this resource, which I had not noticed on the ISAF website. It is a great way to get a better understanding of the RRS - even better than reading the ISAF Casebook because of the diagrams accompanying many of the entries, and free to boot!

    E002 Q&A 2006-003 (boat passes the pin end of the finishing line on the wrong side and then dips the line) is an interesting situation. However, after reading RRS 28, I'm a little baffled as to why the Q&A Committee decided that the boat in question had breached that rule. I know it doesn't seem fair, but I cannot see anything in the 'black letter' of the RRS to indicate that the boat has not properly sailed the course and finished the race.

  2. The boat in the first diagram of Q&A 2006-003 is breaking 28.1, because when you pull the string of her wake, it will not touch the finishing mark on the required side.
    The string will go to the outside and not - as required by the rule - the inside.

  3. Since only ISAF Race Officials may submit questions to the Q&A panel, what does the obviousness and triviality of some of the new Q&A's say about the quality of these people?

  4. I would not go as far as Mr anonymous above, but the change in policy to publish everything might reveal some glitches in rules knowledge and common sense.

    For instance see
    G 7 Q&A 10-018: "Can the starting line really be that fuzzy?"
    M 7 Q&A 10-022: "While racing, a boat touches the flag only, not the staff or the buoy itself. Has the boat broken rule 31?"

  5. Re Jos' answer in post #2 (Q&A 2006-003)
    This may seem like splitting hairs, and my apologies for being a little pedantic, but SIs and courses generally don't specify that a finishing mark is to be left on a particlar side (because there are usually two of them, and you pass each on a different side!), but rather require boats to cross the finish line. As such, drawing the string only works up until the last rounding mark before the finish. RRS 28 doesn't mention the finishing line or finishing marks, and the RRS definition of Finish refers to the line rather than the marks at the end of the line. The only thing I can see that would make the string method applicable is if the finish line is considered to be a gate so that R28.1(c) becomes the operative rule that requires boats to pass between the two finishing marks from the last rounding mark.

  6. This is an amazing blog and has helped me understand every detail of the rules of sailing.


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