Monday, 10 October 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (4/11) - 54

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Casebook 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)
(pillow)Case picture

Case 54

Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 20.1, Room to Tack at an Obstruction: Hailing and Responding

When a boat approaching an obstruction has hailed for room to tack, the protest committee should normally accept her judgment as to when safety required the hail. When the hailing boat observes no response to her hail, she should hail again more loudly. If after hailing she waits only a short time before tacking, she deprives the other boat of a choice of actions and risks contact with her. If a boat fails to keep a lookout she may fail to act reasonably to avoid contact.
Summary of the Facts
A and B, close-hauled on starboard tack, were approaching the shore, with A a hull length ahead and one length-and-a-half to leeward. A hailed for room to tack but B did not hear the hail. After waiting for a short interval, during which time there was no response from B, A tacked onto port. Then, in spite of bearing away as rapidly as possible with her sheets free, A hit B’s leeward side. A protested B under rule 20.1(b) and B protested A under rule 10.

At the hearing, B acknowledged that she was aware of the position of A before A tacked, but B’s helmsman and crew had not observed A during the thirty seconds before the collision. The protest committee dismissed A’s protest and disqualified her on the grounds that she had hailed for room to tack when not in imminent danger of running aground and that her hail was inadequate, since B had not heard the hail or responded.
A appealed, claiming that the protest committee had improperly substituted its own judgment for A’s as to her safety. In addition, she argued that when two close-hauled boats are approaching an obstruction, the boat to windward is obligated to expect and be prepared for a hail.

The protest committee should accept a leeward boat’s judgment that safety required her to change course unless there is little or no doubt that the boat’s hail was earlier than necessary. Concerning the hail, when the hailed boat fails to respond in any way, as B did in this case, the hailing boat should hail again, more loudly. A did not do so. Also, A gave B little or no time to respond, thereby depriving her of the choice of actions provided in rule 20.1(b), and also risking contact with her. A broke rule 20.1(a), and also rule 14 because clearly she could have avoided contact with B by complying with rule 20.1(a). By failing to keep clear of B she also broke rule 10.

B also contributed to causing the collision. Rule 14 required her, as well as A, to avoid contact ‘if reasonably possible’. This requirement means a boat must do everything that can reasonably be expected of her in the circumstances to avoid contact. This includes keeping a lookout, especially when two boats approach an obstruction together. B’s failure to observe A for a 30-second period was in this case a clear breach of rule 14.

The appeal is dismissed. A was correctly disqualified, not only for breaking rule 20.1(a), but also rules 10 and 14. B is also disqualified, for her breach of rule 14.

USSA 1971/147


That pesky rule 14 again.

I’ve written several post on 14, so perhaps it’s time to use the search box?
I’ll give you this one to start with: Rule 14 Flowchart.


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