One of the sailors came to us with a question about rule 14. And I thought it useful enough to also inform you. He asked:
”Is there a difference between the way rule 14 is used at a ‘virtual’ obstruction and at a real physical obstruction?”Instinctively we started to say no, but then thought it trough. When contact could have been avoided, by sailing over the line of the exclusion zone, is a boat obliged to do that? Even if she’s right-of-way, just because she has to comply with rule 14?
Or, reversely, if there’s damage, can a boat be disqualified, if she does not sail over the exclusion line?
We decided that there’s indeed a difference. Virtual walls are not the same as actual walls – for the purpose of rule 14. It is reasonably to expect that boats would avoid contact (read damage) by sailing over any virtual line.
But perhaps you have a different opinion?
In answer to Sen’s question at my Wednesday post: I’ll scan the drawing of the exclusion zone and will post it asap.
I finally brought the drawing to work so I could scan it: