Saturday, 11 September 2010

Cleaning up my inbox (a little)

Since the event I'm going to this afternoon (PC) does not need me until five, I have some time to answer mails and start cleaning up my inbox. First of all I need to apologies for not getting to it sooner.
In order to really make some headway I'll try to do more then one....

The first question is from Thorsten from Germany:

I have a short rules question i did not find anything about. Imagine the following:
Two boats on port tack and overlapped are sailing on a downwind leg, approaching the left layline. Rule 17 applies. When almost at the layline, the windward boat hails "room to tack". The leeward boat replies "you tack", gybes and protests. The windward boat does not tack. No penalty turns are taken.

Did the windward boat infringe rrs 20.1 and/or 20.3?

Best regards from Germany,

My answer is: The windward boat breaks rule 20.3. There's no reason for her to hail since safety does not require her to make a course change to avoid an obstruction. I also would investigate under rule 2.  I'm thinking about the issue in Case 47, where a boat deliberately hails starboard when she knows she's on port. If you deliberately hail for room to tack when there is now reason for it, that might also be unfair sailing.

Another one on rule 20, this one is from Ratko from Croatia:

Hi Jos,
Can you take a look at the following animation:

Click on the picture to see the animation

In this situation Blue boat is hailing for room to tack, but Green boat is refusing that with voice and hand signals. Does the rule 20.2 gives right to be exonerated for breaking the rule 10 against Yellow boat? :)
My opinion is that Blue boat have to be penalized for breaking the rule 10 and can not be exonerated for that, because of late decision for changing the course.


Well Ratko, you are partly right. Rule 20.2 does not exonerate anything else then the room she is entitled to under rule 20.1(b). And that room has to come from the Green boat. So, no she cannot be exonerated under rule 20.2 for breaking rule 10.
But because Green is not responding according to rule rule 20.1(b) she is breaking that rule and thereby forcing Blue to break a rule of Part Two against Yellow. That is a straightforward exoneration according to rule 64.1(c)! Blue should not be penalized, Green should be DSQ-ed

Max from 'don't know where', has a different problem:

I was hoping that you might be able to help me out?
I race a Laser. Every weekend there is one guy who always tacks right in front of me and then, usually, luffs violently. He isn't lee-bowing me. He is tacking just in front a little below me. I always alter course because he seems too close and I feel that I need to avoid a collision. The luff is thrown in because he is out of control (probably). I tell him that he needs to give me time to keep clear after his maneuver and that, anyway, I had to alter course to avoid a collision so he is wrong. He believes otherwise.
What do you think? Also how close do I have to be before I can alter course to avoid a collision.
Thanks for your help!

Max, mixing Rules 13, 14, 15 and 16 is tricky. 
Tacking in front of another boat is perfectly "legal" and within the rules, PROVIDED you give the boat clear astern room to keep clear, once you completed your tack. Now, if you have to alter course before he's on a close hauled course, he's breaking rule 13. If you have to alter course in a split second after he is on a close hauled course, he's breaking 15... 
You don't have to anticipate he's tacking and - depending on the circumstances, you are entitled to a couple of seconds after he completed, to respond. But you have to respond! You are the keep clear boat from the moment he has completed his tack.

Luffing violently - be it because you are out of control or because you want to - is breaking rule 16.1, if you do not give the keep clear boat room to keep clear. 

Altering course to avoid a collision is rule 14. Before that comes into play, a right of way rule usually already  has been broken. The closeness when you need to alter course depends on what rights you have at that moment:
  • If you are the right of way boat you only have to alter course when it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear. In most circumstances that is pretty close.
  • If you are entitled to room under rule 15 the same applies save for the wording. You do not need to alter course before it is clear that the other boat is not giving room.
  • If you are keep clear boat you have no leeway, You must keep clear and avoid contact as soon as reasonably possible. A lot less close.
In all of this the definition of room plays a big part. Conditions dictate the closeness. In heavy wind and sea it will be a lot closer then in light conditions. You sail a Laser. Those can turn on a dime. So closer then when you do the same with 44 foot yachts, I would suggest.
Hope this helps a little,

I'll try to keep emptying my mailbox..


  1. Thorsten's Problem.

    I don't think rule 2 and case 47 apply in this situation. It seems to me that W is struggling for the right words to encourage L to sail her proper course (when her proper course is to gybe). Just choosing the wrong words, in the heat of the moment doesn't break rule 2.

    W will be quite harshly penalised, just for saying the wrong words by applying rule 20.3.

    ISAF Q&A 2009-028 deals with quite a few odd questions about rule 20.

  2. Ratko's Problem

    I agree that G broke rule 20.2 by not tacking or hailing 'you tack' when B gave her rule 20 hail.

    But it was always possible for B to bear away below Y. How can you say that B was compelled to break rule 10 by G breaking rule 20.2?

    How has


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