Since the Readers Q’s have been gathering dust in the attic, I’m trying to clear out the lot, so there’s room for new stuff. Most of them 'I’m answering directly by Email but some are of interest to the blogreaders. Like this one:
Earl has a question about the definition of finishing:
Hello. I again want to thank you for the effort you put in your blog and let you know how informative I find it. Even though my club races radio controlled models we still try and do things "by the book" and I encourage our members to study your blog.
We recently had an extended discussion about the following situation:
A boat is finishing to windward in very light air and before completely crossing the line it catches a header and is blown back to the course side. While on the course side, it bears off and then sails around the end of the finish line to the non-course side. Clearly, the boat has finished under the official definitions and is scored. The question is, at what point is she no longer racing?
I must confess I find the Q&A (quoted below for your convenience) more than a bit of a muddle, and I also find it strange that a determination as important as when the rules no longer are in effect is handled in a non-binding Q&A instead of a case.
I interpret the Q&A as saying that the point at which the rules shut off is the point at which the boat is sailing "away" from the line and marks, and the common-sense definition of "away" is that you can't touch the mark without reversing course. In the situation in the diagram, this would be when the boat crosses the extension of the finish line and is "truly" on the non-course side.
As an aside, I find the second sentence to be internally inconsistent, in that the first clause states that the boat has cleared the line and is therefore no longer racing. I can only assume that the author really meant "finishes close hauled" instead of "clears the finishing line close-hauled," in which case this is just one of many situations of "finished but still racing" and I fail to see why it deserves special mention.
It seems to me a much simpler clarification would be something like:
"A boat 'clears the finishing line and marks' when she reaches a point where a reversal of course would be required for her to touch either the line or the marks."
I would dearly love to write this in our sailing instructions but believe I am precluded from doing so by 86.1 (b), because it would involve changing a definition.
Comments welcome, by you or your readers.
E 001 Q&A 2006-002
Revised: 12 January 2009
With respect to the definition Racing, when has a boat 'cleared' the finishing line and marks?
A boat clears the finishing line and marks when no part of her hull, crew or equipment is on the line and when neither mark is influencing her course.
A boat that clears the finishing line close-hauled and continues to sail toward the finishing line pin end mark, where current sets her into the mark, is still racing and has broken 31. A boat that crosses the finishing line, sails away from the line and marks, and then later hits the finishing line mark, does not break rule 31 as she is no longer racing.
I’m not responding to this one until you as readers have had some time to comment. Feel free to “dive” in.