Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Hiking and rule 49.2

By mail I received a comment on yesterday's Case from Bill Heintz:
He has done some research on the subject across the Internet:

Rule 49.2 is not enforced on any level racing except under extreme conditions.  If everyone is doing it, it is fair across the board right?  Apparently the purpose of the lower lifeline for hiking purposes and has nothing to do with safety.

Rune 49.2 . . . On boats equipped with upper and lower lifelines of wire, a competitor sitting on the deck facing outboard with his waist inside the lower lifeline may have the upper part of his body outside the upper lifeline.

Maybe "sitting" needs needs to be defined in the RRS as in regards to Rule 49.2.  According to one dictionary "position in which one's weight is supported by one's buttocks rather than one's feet and one's back is upright"  this does not seem to include "hanging by a wire across your belly like a sack of potatoes."

Photo 1?  http://rrsstudy.blogspot.com/2010/01/sunday-rules-snap.html
There did not seem to be consensus on whether this was legal in 49.2 (or people reading the rule)

Photo 2?  http://www.sailnet.com/forums/racing/38306-racing-question-anyone.html
According to this Forum this is legal - Rule 49.2 is open to on the spot interpretation.

Photo 3? http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=110190&st=125
Remember the old line "it's there to save your ass, not support it"? A life line failure is going to cause crew who are hiking that way to end up in the water. If half of a 6 person crew are swimming, how well is recovery going to go?

Photo 4? http://www.vsail.info/2011/08/25/rob-weiland-tp52-class-manager-talks-to-vsail-info/
Rob Weiland implies that this is legal under 49.2 as long as you "try to enforce by regular inspections."
ISAF ORC Special Regulation Cat 3 for Monohulls 3.14.6 Table 8 Lifeline Minimum Diameter wire rope diameter 3/16" wire - working load limit 940 lbs (4,700 lb breaking load) , 12 crew hiking on typical TP52 = each crew member can weight up to 78 lbs (even the Morning Light crew weighs more than that)

Comment? http://www.j24class.org/news/j24-hiking-position-2011-rule-changes-and-looking-forward/
"We were only slightly ahead of our times since the ISAF has a proposal before it (130-06) to delete the section of RRS 49.2 that allows hiking between the lifelines."


  1. Photo 1, don't focus on the definition of "sitting" as three words later is enough to rule this out. "Facing outboard" is fairly clear that their back should be towards the centreline of the boat.

  2. I would argue that these competitors are using a device (the lower lifeline) to position their body outboard, which comes awfully close to being in contravention of rule 49.1. Problem is that that rule says a competitor is not allowed to use a device "designed" to position their body outboard, which no doubt these competitors would argue the lower lifeline isn't.

  3. The lower lifeline is there for a reason to stop you slipping inder the top line into the water.

    Mike B


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