(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2011. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)
Rule 16.1, Changing Course
Rule 16.2, Changing Course
A starboard-tack boat that tacks after a port-tack boat has borne away to go astern of her does not necessarily break a rule.
Summary of the Facts
Between positions 1 and 2 P bore away to pass astern of S. A moment later S chose to tack. After sailing free for about a hull length, P resumed her close-hauled course, having lost about a hull length to windward, and passed S a hull length to windward of her. After S tacked, P’s luff to closehauled was not caused by a need to keep clear of S. P protested S under rule 16.1. P claimed that, when S tacked after P had borne away to pass astern of S, S failed to give P room to keep clear. The protest committee disqualified S under rule 16.1. S appealed.
S’s appeal is upheld. She is to be reinstated. S was subject to rule 16 only while luffing from a close-hauled starboard-tack course to head to wind. During that time P had room to keep clear, and so S did not break rule 16.1. S did not break rule 16.2 because P was able to continue to sail her course ‘for about a hull length’ which demonstrated that S’s luff did not require P to change course immediately to continue keeping clear. After S turned past head to wind, P became the right-of-way boat under rule 13, and rules 16.1 and 16.2 no longer applied. S kept clear of P as required by rule 13. No rule was broken by S.
Did you notice the hand-drawn picture? The typing has to be something that was added later.
This case demonstrates that rules in Section B of Part Two do not have the same impact as the rules in Section A. They are ‘mere’ limitations on the right of way rules.
A ROW boat has to give the other boat room to keep clear. That is not the same as not doing what she wants. As long as she gives that room, she is free to sail wherever she wants.
The limitation rules do NOT cancel out the ROW-rules. They merely provide the keep clear boat the space and time she needs, to do what she must do, and that is to keep clear.