Wednesday, 25 January 2012

ISAF Q&A 2011 - 027 M014: Eats, shoots and leaves

This Q&A reminded me of the Book of the Year 2004:
Eats, Shoots & Leaves -  The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
by Lynne Truss.

From the back cover:

Maybe the title of this Q&A should be: Mark to round; to pass or to leave?

ISAF Q&A 2011 - 027 M014

Question 4
What are the fundaments of the difference between rules 18.5 (a) and 18.5 (b) with regard to rules 15 and 16?

Answer 4
When a boat entitled to mark-room is sailing to the mark, she must comply with rules 15 and 16. However, sometimes complying with these rules means that the boat entitled to mark-room will not be able to actually round the mark. This is why rule 18.5(b), contrary to rule 18.5(a), provides for exoneration for a boat entitled to mark-room that breaks either of those rules while rounding the mark on her proper course.

I thought the best way to illustrate this was by a couple of examples:
Example 1: rule 16

Two boats, Red and Green approach a windward mark to left to port. Red is inside boat, entitled to mark-room, has trouble getting to the mark. She luffs hard when she is at the mark and there's contact between the boats. Red is right-of-way boat, Green is keeping clear, and if Red wouldn't have changed course so rapidly, there would not have been contact. Green left enough room for a 'normal' luff.
Red breaks rule 16.1 by not giving enough room to Green to keep clear. Nevertheless she is exonerated under rule 18.5(b) because she was AT the mark when doing so. Had she done the same, just after position 1, she would not have been exonerated.

Example 2: rule 15

There are big waves on the course. Two boats, Blue and Purple sail toward the leeward mark to be left to starboard. Entering the 3BL zone Blue is clear ahead and gets mark-room.
While sailing toward the mark Purple becomes right-of-way boat under rule 11. Blue is not changing course but gybes between positions 2 and three. Blue becomes right-of-way starboard tack boat. Normally she would be penalized for breaking rule 15, because she does not initially give room to Purple to keep clear. But because she's AT the mark, she gets exoneration under 18.5(b). Had she done the same between position 1 and 2 she would have not been exonerated.

Ooh, before I sign off, if you ever have to change to pick up a copy of Lynne's book, please do. It will change your world forever.
And the panda will be grateful.


  1. Hi,
    i realy like your blog, its the best for SailingRules !
    Greeetz from Hamburg

  2. I think the original, before Ms. Truss, was about an Australian animal which eats roots and leaves.


    1. Koala?
      Does a Kangaroo eat leaves? Pademelons do.
      A Dingo is a carnivore, as is the Tasmanian Devil and Wombats eat grass.
      What else?
      I know: Bettongs!*

      * Amazing what you can find on the net nowadays.:)

  3. An Australian will eat anything.

    In the second example, how would rule 15 apply anyway given that purple acquired right of way because of blue's action of gybing?

    John G

    1. OK, Bruce, who's on second base?
      Run it again.

      Who's right of way?

  4. I think the original joke was along the lines of 'an Australian lover called Wombat because he....'


    1. wombat – somebody who eats, roots (has sex), shoots (ejaculates) and leaves (departs). A term to describe a selfish male. This is a clever play on words as roots, shoots and leaves are the actual parts of a plant that wombats might eat.


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