Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Finns at the Gate; LTW Readers Q&A (60)

Or should that be "Danes at the Gate"?

Hans from Denmark emailed me a rather complicated problem with 6 Finns rounding a gate. The problem was subject of discussion in a seminar in Denmark last year. The first problem we have is that the gate-marks are only about 5 Boat-lengths apart. With 6 boats all wanting to pass between the gate marks at the same time this creates an 'impossible' situation. Do the rules have a clear answer?

From Hans I got these questions and remarks
(I've changed some of his text for clarity)

The question is;
- which boat(s) break which rule(s)?
- which boats are penalized (NB: There is contact between Blue and Yellow - damage on Blue making her to retire - Yellow continues to finish and does no penalty turns)
- what redress (if any) should be given?

Most arguments were in favour of penalizing Yellow - RRS 10 - and no redress.
The situation turned out to be from a real situation in a regatta with an International jury and the decision was to penalize Yellow for breaking RRS 10, but we might not have all the facts available, so attached diagram should be the basis for our discussion.

I tend to argue that;
What about RRS 18?:
a) RRS 18.2(b) applies to Blue and Yellow at both marks.
b) Both boats will be exonerated for breaking a right of way rule under RRS 18.5(b)
- Blue for breaking RRS 16.1 by giving room to Green and Red
- Yellow for breaking RRS 10 by giving mark-room to Grey and Orange.
Neither boat to be penalized for breaking RRS 18.2(b).

What about RRS 19?:
c) Green and Red are not obstructions to Blue. Blue is the right of way boat - but must give mark-room.
d) Orange and Grey are obstructions to Yellow - RRS 10 (as per definition "obstruction").
e) Blue  having overlap as they approach the obstruction, chooses to pass the obstruction (Grey and Orange) to windward of them, and must give Yellow room to keep clear RRS 19.2(b).
- Was Blue able to give room when the overlap began? Yes, she was the right of way boat over Red and Green, but chooses not to use this right.
Penalize Blue for breaking RRS 19.2(b).

What about RRS 10?:
f) Yellow breaks RRS 10, but only because Blue breaks RRS 19.2(b). Yellow is exonerated by RRS 64.1(c). No boat is penalized for breaking RRS 10.

What about RRS 14?:
g) Yellow breaks RRS 14, but only because Blue breaks RRS 19.2(b). Yellow is exonerated by RRS 64.1(c) and could only avoid contact by making contact with Grey and thereby violating RRS 10.
h) Blue breaks RRS 14. There is (serious) damage (Blue retires). Blue could have avoided contact by claiming room for obstruction from Red and Green RRS 19.2 and room as right of way boat RRS 10.
As Blue changes course instead of claiming right as right of way boat she is not exonerated by RRS 64.1(c).
Penalize Blue for breaking RRS 14

What about redress;
i) As Blue is penalized for breaking RRS 14 the criteria of "by no fault of her own" is not met.
Redress is not given.

Where did I go wrong in the argumentation above - or did I?
(and why did Yellow not tack to starboard!)

Some problem Hans!

I agree on your application of rule 18. Yellow has mark-room from Blue and visa versa.
I do not agree on your application of rule 19; The Orange and Grey boats are not an obstruction for Blue, she is keep clear (windward) boat.

Yellow (on port) is keep clear boat of Blue (on starboard)  but is exonerated under rule 18.5
Blue, as right of way boat, is exonerated for any course change (16.1) because she has mark-room and is at the mark. But even if she wasn't AT the mark, her mark-room includes room to give mark-room to Red and Green.

Both Yellow and Blue have mark-room and can wait until it is clear the other will not give room before they have to act under rule 14. By that time it is no longer reasonable possible to avoid contact. In my opinion neither breaks rule 14.

Therefore - although there has been contact and damage - no penalty, and no redress.

Please, tell me I'm wrong......


  1. Of course the real message here is that the RC should never set gate marks so that their zones overlap. It's just asking for trouble.

    1. On that I wholeheartedly agree!

    2. I disagree; as RRS 18.4 does not apply at a gate mark whether the zones overlap or not is irrelevant. What is essential is that the RC lay the gate marks with sufficient distance for the expected fleet size and VMG angle.

  2. It is not a problem of overlapping zones, it is aproblem of a too small gate. It whould be the same problem, if the the distance of the marks is 7 hull length and 15 Finns are coming.
    Uli Finckh

    1. Sorry Uli, I disagree. With a 7 hull length zone neither of the two Finns in the middle would be in the zone and the situation would only be governed by the appropriate ROW-rule.

    2. Rule 18 applies between boats... if at least one boat is in the zone. Therefore it also applies between a boat in the zone and one outside the zone. Therefore a boat overlapped outside the zone has to give mark room to the boats inside of the zone. Therefore boats in the middle have to give mark room to both sides, independend of the distance to the mark.

    3. Yes, but if they are both still outside the zone, then only the ROW rules would apply.

  3. How about the following line of argument:

    When Blue enters the zone of the stbd-hand mark shortly before position 3 she is overlapped with Yellow. 18.2(b) therefore applies between them and the outside boat, Yellow, is thereafter required to give the inside boat, Blue, mark-room (inside and outside being defined by ref to the mark the zone of which Blue has just entered). 18.2(a) is then switched off between these two boats, and so despite the fact that the boats remain overlapped and Yellow becomes inside boat with respect to the other mark, she is not entitled to mark-room from Blue?

    1. But Yellow does not 'gain' mark-room based on 18.2(a), she gets it because she enters the other zone....

    2. Good point, sorry.

  4. My thoughts:
    Both Yellow and Blue break 18.2(b) by not giving mark-room to the other. Both DSQ.

    1. But they are also both exonerated by 18.5 - so how can we DSQ them?

    2. 18.5 doesn't give exoneration for breaking 18.2(b).

    3. But if Yellow breaks 18.2(b)and as a consequence Blue is compelled to break 18.2 (b) and vice versa 64.1 (c) applies to each of them. We still cannot DSQ them.

  5. Jos's opinion is almost close to mine.
    We have to take a broad view of the situation, but not to consider under individual rules.
    Sen yamaoka

  6. Well here is different view; what about Green? Blue is an obstruction to Red and needs more room that would have been provided if Green had bailed out. Remember that RRS 18 does not apply if we consider that Blue is a continuing obstruction to Red.

    1. The problem with that, is that the rule makers found it necessary to exclude a boat from becoming a continuing obstruction. They put that in the definition.

  7. I do not believe in the context of RRS 18 either boat can be considered inside or outside when they are approaching different marks. This means 18 (and it's exoneration) is not applicable.

    I do not believe 19 applies as the gate are marks as thed do have the same required side.

    This leaves us with the basic rules ans yellow breaks rrs 10.

    i do not believe 14 is broken as they would not realise the other would not keep clear in time.

    16 would not seen applicable to blue as when she changed course yellow was already in brach of 10 so should not be penalised or exonerated.

    Redress is to be conidered. The protest committee has power to do this under 60.3.b this is becaus the gate marks were laid too close together. No boat is at fault for this so is not disqualified from redress.

    Blue gets average points and yellow is exonerated.

    A good rules solution to a difficult problem.

    Mike Butterfieldl

  8. I received an Email with the suggestion to use Q&A B01 to this problem.

    With Yellow and Blue rounding different gate-marks rule 18 is not applicable - like Mike already suggested - and we are left with the basic ROW rules. Yellow breaks rule 10 by not keeping clear.

    Redress however is a little more complicated. Was either boat able to avoid the collision? Without the 'protection' of room under rule 18 Yellow is again at fault. She - as keep clear boat - should have bailed out much earlier. Blue - as ROW boat - could wait until it became clear that Yellow was not going to keep clear.

    And now we have ended up with the same decision as the Int.Jury which gives me some relief.


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