I’ve been thinking about the intricacies of rule 18.5 and exoneration for breaking rule 16 by the right-of-way boat AT the mark.
Picture this situation:
Red and Purple approach a leeward mark to be left to port. Purple enters the 3BL Zone first and Red must give markroom. Purple sails a course not directly to the mark but a boat length beside it, to be able to luff and come out ‘high’ next to the mark. She leaves a gab.
Red close astern sees that gab and uses it, to get inside, all the time keeping clear until position 5. Purple luffs very hard in position 5 (breaking rule 16.1) up to head to wind. There’s contact but no damage.
Both boats protest. (with hail and red flag). The PC declares both protest valid.
Red claims that Purple broke rule 16.1 by luffing very hard at the mark and should NOT be exonerated under 18.5(b) because she was not sailing her proper course. It was too soon to tack round the mark.
Purple claims she was prevented from sailing her proper course – already in position 5 – because Red came inside without having markroom and she wanted to “shut the door” .
Have a look at Case 63 (http://rrsstudy.blogspot.nl/2010/12/pillowcase-of-week-49-63.html)
Please give me your opinion.