Wednesday, 11 January 2012

LTW Readers Q&A (57) : Barging 2 ?

A question on my shelf from Rick. It is a continuation on the previous LTW Q&A (56), as it also involves two boats about to start;


30+ seconds before the start two boats overlapped with the windward boat being slightly forward are being pushed above the committee boat.

As time winds down to the start both boats are behind and to windward of the committee boat when the starting gun goes off. So the question is at this point does the leeward boat have to give room to the windward boat?

Both boats were overlapped and stayed overlapped before entering with-in three boat lengths of the committee boat. This question was presented to three international judges and there conclusion after three days of thinking about it was "good question".

I brought to there attention the 12 metre race start saying that after the gun the committee boat is just another mark of the course and overlap rules apply???

Thanks for thinking about this.


I’ve Emailed Rick to make sure about the situation: We agreed on this picture:

111216 Rick Burgess BP

According to Rick’s statement the gun goes off approximately in position 3.

In order to answer Rick’s question I had a look in the Case and Call books – always a good place to start – and found Call UMP 13.

In that Call three situations are pictured with the question:

Blue and Yellow are approaching the committee boat end of the starting line. How do the umpires decide if they are approaching a starting mark to start?




The answer that the call-book provides:

In each of Diagrams a, b, and c the boats may be approaching a starting mark to start. The umpires will use the speed and course of the boats in the prevailing conditions and the time remaining before the starting signal to decide if they are approaching a starting mark to start.

In light of this I would decide that in position 3 both boats are approaching a starting mark to start. In position 2 they are still sailing above the line, but in position 3 they are clearly pointing toward the pre-start side.

Does rule 18 apply?

Looking at the rulebook we find in the preamble of section C:

Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them. When rule 20 applies, rules 18 and 19 do not.

Whether rule 18 is on or off, does not depend on whether the starting gun has been given or not. Rule 18 (and 19&20) is off until they have passed the starting marks. That happens in position 6.

So, in my opinion, the Leeward Green boat does NOT have to give room to the Windward Blue boat. If Green protested I would DSQ Blue.

Blue is in fact “Barging”

Once she has sailed to position 4 Green cannot luff anymore. That would break 16.1 and probably rule 14. But Blue is not entitled to room – nor under rule 18 or rule 19.



  1. Strange... how can three international judges not know that there's no room at the start mark? Has it ever been otherwise?

  2. Two questions:

    1) Could either or both of the boats be considered OCS at 3? If yes does this complicate the matter (particularly if one is OCS and the other isn't)?

    2) Would green break a rule if she decided to go around the top of the committee boat, before returning to the start to start?

  3. I think the complication here is the boats were approaching from the course side of the line. I cannot find the reference but I think there is a call/case which says if you are approaching from the course side of the line, you are not approaching to start. Not having found it, I am uncertain of the detail.


  4. I should have looked harder. Its your own blog, 5th April 2008. When green elects to pass leeward of the cttee boat, she is approaching to start, so the preamble to section C kicks in, no barging.

    If green had passed the cttee boat to windward, she would not have been approaching to start and section C rules apply.


  5. Agree that Green does not have to give room to Blue, but in the diagram Green is pointing below the transom of the Committee Boat at position 4 when they could be pointing straight at it i.e. they appear to have given room voluntarily. If they did then it is perfectly legal for Blue to take that room, and as you say Jos, Green can't then shut the door on Blue by luffing as Green needs to give Blue room to keep clear if Green changes course (luffs).

    If Green wanted to keep Blue out then they should have maintained their course at 3 (not borne away) and probably hailed "No room" for good measure.

    (Unless Green is trying to claim that their bear away at 4 was to avoid a collision with Blue who was not keeping clear (windward boat), in which case they should have protested at 4, not 5).

  6. @Noodle
    IJ's are human, they might have considered different facts.

    @Anonymous (2)
    Answer 1: Under flag P or I they are OCS in position 3, if the gun went at that exact moment. The RC should look to hoist the X flag. With all eyes focused on the other side it could easily be overlooked. Since both already have there bow downwind in position 4, in all likelihood the X flag would never be hoisted.
    Starting under flag Z or the black flag, both boats are not OCS. Then only the triangle between the starting marks and the first windward mark is "forbidden area"
    As to the rules, it does not change anything in right of way or giving room.
    Answer 2: Green would break no rule doing that, provided she complies with rule 21.1

    Agreed. I should look in my own archive as well

    Well spotted. This is exactly the difference in finding the facts in a conversation during the hearing and a clean and crisp situation drawing.
    Besides a drawing you also need a list of facts. One can complement the other.


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