Friday, 9 September 2011

LTW Reader Q&A (54): Proper Course

Hi --

I am not sure that this is the proper forum for presenting this question, but we've looked in several places and have not found an answer. If this isn't a good place to ask this, I apologize; but, could you refer us to a link for us casual club racers?
No problem, you’re welcome to ask. LTW has been operating partly because I wanted every club & sailor to have a place to go to.

We're a small club in East Texas and don't have access to a rule expert, but we've argued this case over many a beer.
Never mind, that rules expert would demand all the beer anyway for his answers, so please don't get one. Stay with LTW!

Two boats are racing downwind towards a gate mark. Both are on starboard tack. L begins to pass to leeward from clear astern. The winds are light and the pass takes a long time and finally L, though still overlapped, is well past the old "mast abeam" position of the old rules. L wants to round the starboard gate mark; W is sailing for the middle of the gate and has been all during the pass. Both boats are still about 100 meters from the gate. No other boats are nearby. (It is a handicapped race.) The two boats are about 1-2 boat lengths apart.
In this situation the rules say that L has a rule 17 restriction from the moment the overlap was established, until she has sailed clear ahead. If she’s more than 2 boat lengths away, this does NOT apply.

The points in question are:
  1. May L assume the proper course to the starboard gate mark, in spite of the fact that she is "luffing up" slightly?
  2. If the answer to question 1, above, is NO, what is L's "proper course?
    L’s proper course is the course she would have sailed if W was not there. Then she would also have luffed up to go to the starboard mark…..
  3. If L breaks the overlap and completes the pass --"bow abeam (?)" -- may she head for the starboard gate mark?
    She may already go to the starboard gate before she becomes ‘clear ahead’.
Proper course is something the right-of-way boat determines, not the keep clear boat. (See Case 46) Even stronger: W must keep clear – even if L sails above her proper course. Otherwise W breaks rule 11.

Thanks again for your help on this.
Your welcome,

John M. Hobbie
P.S. I've followed this blog for a long time and have really learned a lot from it. Thanks for keeping it up.
Where's my beer?


  1. Here you go Jos, take your pick

    Maybe this old post is helpful.

  2. There are many brands of American beer in Texas, but in Japan only Bud and Miller.
    Heineken is very popular in Japan, we can drink everywhere in Japan. Cheers!

  3. Thanks Brass & Sen,
    When we meet, first one is on me!
    Cheers. J.


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