Mike Pallazo send me a question that he has been pondering for quite a while now, but just thought to ask:
Why'd ISAF get rid of 17.2? Was it because nobody ever paid it much mind?
I asked a friend - and member of the RRC - to find the submission back in 2007 that instigated this change.17.2 Except on a beat to windward, while a boat is less than two of her hull lengths from a leeward boat or a boat clear astern steering a course to leeward of her, she shall not sail below her proper course unless she gybes.
It was Submission 183-07. (Thanks LP!)
As the reason for deletion this rule from the Racing Rules of Sailing, it states:
Rule 17.2 is redundant. It is also a rule that sailors break when approaching a gybe mark clear ahead of a boat astern and to leeward. In such a situation, the clear ahead boat will bear away to ensure the other boat does not get an inside overlap at the mark. The reason for this bear away is the other boat – it follows that this is not a proper course and the boat breaks rule 17.2. A rule that makes traditional manoeuvring prohibited should be deleted from the rule book.
The purpose of the rule was to ensure that there was at least one passing lane for a boat coming from astern. With the introduction of rule 16 some years ago, passing a boat to windward at some distance became less of a hazard, because when altering course the leeward boat had to give the windward boat room to keep clear, and if attempting to pass to leeward, the other boat would become windward and required to keep clear.
The deletion of rule 17.2 would make the racing rules of sailing simpler.
Don't say rules never are simplified - not often, I grant that - but it does happen.