Monday, 31 January 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (05) - 53

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


Rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
A boat clear ahead need not take any action to keep clear before being overlapped to leeward from clear astern.
Summary of the Facts

Thirty seconds before the starting signal, W was nearly wayless, her sails flapping. At least three hull lengths prior to becoming overlapped to leeward of W, L hailed ‘Leeward boat’. W took no evasive action. Immediately after she became overlapped, L had to bear away to avoid contact with W; meanwhile, W began to trim her sails and head up. L protested. The protest committee found that W, having been given adequate warning of the impending situation, failed to keep clear of a leeward boat, thereby breaking rule 11. W appealed asking: ‘Does W, under rules 11 and 15, have an obligation to anticipate becoming overlapped to the extent of having to gather sufficient way to be able to respond immediately after the boats become overlapped?’

Allowing adequate time for response, when rights and obligations change between two boats, is implied in rule 15 by its requirement to allow a newly obligated boat ‘room to keep clear’. This rule does not require a boat clear ahead to take any action to keep clear as a windward boat before the boat clear astern becomes overlapped to leeward.

If L had not borne away immediately, she would have broken rule 15. After L become overlapped to leeward of W, W immediately trimmed her sails, headed up, and thereafter kept clear. By taking these actions, W fulfilled her obligations under rule 11. W’s appeal is upheld; neither boat broke any rule. W is to be reinstated.

USSA 1969/126

When I try to explain this to a group at a clinic – I sometimes start rolling a cigarette in front of everybody. Nine times out of ten someone remarks that smoking is not allowed in that place – I agree, but keep rolling, and explain that although that may suggest I intend to break a rule – it in itself is not breaking the rule. Not before I light my butt!

Since I’ve been delinquent in posting the (pillow)cases – I’m doing a couple each Monday – Case 69 & 68 are now posted on LTW at weeks 44 and 45.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

LTW Reader Q&A (49); Finished but still Racing

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.

Cheers, Earl


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.


Friday, 28 January 2011

LTW Reader Q&A (48); Virtual Match Race call

A LTW readers Q&A about a situation in virtual racing. It’s from Alexander from Harrislee, Germany. He writes:
A friend and me do a lot of sailing in RAL and on Virtual as well. Here we have a virtual Match Race Situation, where we are not sure who is right.
I think that Aquabat infringes rule 16.1. He’s changing course and not giving me enough room to keep clear
He off course thinks completely different and thinks I did not do enough to keep clear ( my boat is Fix oder Nix) . So witch rule applies ?
"Agubat" vs "Fix oder Nix"

Alexander did not tell us which boat was Yellow and which was Blue. I’m assigning Blue therefore to Aquabat (the leeward boat) and Yellow to Fix oder Nix (the windward boat)
After the Yankee flag (one either boat) I would display a yellow penalty flag.
Perhaps you want to analyze the situation yourselves first, before you read my reasoning after the break?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Everything happens for a reason.

Dear fellow Judges, Umpires, Sailors, Officials & Blogreaders,

After a prolonged period of silence on this blog I’ve decided to pick up the pen again and will try to publish interesting post about the rules on a regular basis.

As loyal followers know, I lost my job in November last year and have been contemplating since then what to do next. My working life is still short of a dozen or so years, but to go for an eight to five job again – if at all available in these times – did not appeal to me, at all.

In the last years I already reduced my hours so that I could go to events, national and abroad. I did not want to loose that – preferably increase the events if possible. But earning a living by being a Judge and Umpire?

After some soul-searching and sleepless nights, I’ve now decided to at least try to go in that direction. By combining my skills as a judge and umpire with my professional skills.

I’ll try to get permission to start a consultancy business based on those two “legs”. Trying to earn money as a skilled civil engineer on a job to job basis, combined with lectures, advice and service about the Racing Rules of Sailing. And going to events as a judge, umpire or race officer.

Currently I’m writing a business-plan and looking into all the legal, financial and other issues. I’ve - at least on paper – to show if it is viable. It will also mean I have to look at my expenses – and try to find a reduction on that side.

I’ve landed my first job as a consultant and will try to go to most of the Extreme Sailing Series  - events. (They at least pay a small umpire fee.)


For all those who have mailed me and asked or commented about the lack of activity or asked rules-questions: My sincere thanks for your interest and apologies for not answering. I hope you will be visiting LTW again and will find “stuff” you like, so I can make it up to you.


Sometimes you need some help to convince yourselves your doing the ‘right’ thing. Last month I’ve been appointed in the Dutch Appeal Committee and did my first meeting on Monday January 17th as a member.

I’m going to Qingdao in China in April for Act two in the Extreme Sailing Series!


For me the ‘decider’ came this week; A letter from ISAF appointing me to the International Jury for the Olympic Test Event - 2011 in the first two weeks of August in Weymouth, Great Britain.

Everything happens for a reason……


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