Saturday, 7 July 2012

Answers in the Case of the Seven Samurai

Perhaps you remember our discussion in the case of Seven Samurai boats at the Leeward Mark, back in February?

If not have a look at and at it's sequel:

As agreed in the discussion, it would be sent in to ISAF as an official Q&A and now the answers are published in ISAF Racing Rules Q&A 2012-005 B023.

It seems the answer tells us that both camps in the discussion were partly right; As per usual - it depends.....

Here is the text:

ISAF Racing Rules Question and Answer Service; B 023 Q&A 2012-005; Published: 6 July 2012

Question 1
In the first sentence of rule 18.1, does the phrase 'applies between boats' refer solely to each possible pair of boats, or can it mean “amongst any number of boats”?

Answer 1
Rule 18.1 states: 'Rule 18 applies between boats when they are required to leave a mark on the same side and at least one of them is in the zone.' Note the unqualified use of boats in the plural. Therefore, at any point in time, rule 18 can apply to any number of boats as long as one of them is in the zone. In many instances, this number will be more than the number of boats affected by an obligation placed by rule 18.2 on an outside overlapped boat or a clear astern boat. The fact that rule 18 applies between boats may be a condition for another part of rule 18 to apply but, in itself, it does not mean that any of the boats has an obligation or entitlement under another part of rule 18.

Question 2
In the three-boat scenario on the right, Does B (Purple) break rule 18 by luffing A (Grey) after
position 2, but before reaching the zone?

Answer 2
Rule 18 applies to A, B and C from the time that C enters the zone at Position 2. See answer to question 1 above.

The relevant part of rule 18.2 states 'If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone, the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter give the inside boat mark-room.'

This creates an obligation on an outside boat, from a particular point in time, to give mark-room to each boat inside her. Thus, after C reaches the zone, she is required to give mark-room to both A and B. However, B does not have a similar obligation to A, the boat inside her, as neither A nor B have reached the zone. Therefore, B does not break any part of rule 18 when she luffs A.

Question 3
In the seven boats scenario, does rule 18 apply in Position 2 amongst the three boats E, F and G that are not in the zone?

Answer 3
Yes. A has reached the zone. All boats outside her have an obligation to give her mark-room. The same applies for B, C and then later D. See answer to Question 1.

Question 4
If there is contact in Position 2 between D, E, F and G, may E be exonerated for breaking rule 11 and rule 18.2(b)?

Answer 4
Yes. Because there is contact between D, E, F & G and D is in the zone, G has broken rule 18.2(b) by not giving mark-room. F and E have broken rule 11 but are exonerated under rule 64.1(c).

Question 5
Rule 18.2(b), first sentence, requires both E and F to give mark-room to the boats A, B, C & D that are overlapped inside them. While giving such room, E fails to keep clear of F and breaks rule 11. Is E entitled to exoneration?

Answer 5
The answer depends on the space between D and E. If this space is sufficient for E to luff and keep clear of F while giving mark-room, then the incident is simply that E breaks rule 11. However, if E cannot luff and still continue to give mark-room to D, then F breaks rule 18.2(b) by failing to give mark-room to D and E is exonerated under rule 64.1(c).

That's it then.
The solution in the Seven is given. They can all stay in service and don't have to become 'Ronin'.
I think all PCs and IJs can use this principle for multiple boat scenarios under rule 18.


  1. Great that this made it through as Q&A, it was an interesting case. And although "everyone was partly right" is nice and diplomatic, I can't let it go after all those posts. I WAS RIGHT! WOOOOOO!

  2. Found the sequel to the sequel:

  3. Always thank you for your new articles.
    Samurai is hero and also Ronin is hero.
    Japanese TVs play historical films every night. My favorite program is "Oni-Hei". “Hei” means a nickname of Mr. Heizo Hasegawa and “Oni” means hard-hearted man. He is a dauntless magistrate who arrests arsonists and robbers in the Edo era. He hated the sin, but did not the sinner.
    Sen/ Japan


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