Saturday, 1 September 2012

LTW Readers Q&A (62): Backwards

From BerkCan in Greece:
Yesterday while training we had a situation during pre-start and we had doubts about it so I thought best thing to do is to ask you.
Here is the situation:

During pre-start two boats wait head to wind, one is slightly ahead and overlapped. Then the one which is slightly ahead (Yellow) starts to go backward by backing her sails and the other boat (Blue) bears away in order to pass ahead of the backing up boat.  
Our question is: What if Blue decides to bear away more and goes on to Yellow boat? What should Yellow do in that case? 
If she continues to back up her sails and go backward she could be interpreted as continuing her maneuver and doing nothing to avoid Blue. But on the other hand the best thing Yellow could do to avoid Blue is to continue going backward.

It is a bit like a port boat passing in front of a starboard boat. At a certain point the best thing the port boat can do is continue to sail straight on. Any other maneuver will result in contact....

In the situation you describe the Yellow boat is keep clear boat and Blue is right-of-way.
If Yellow keeps clear while Blue stays stationary, she fulfills her obligation.

If Blue changes course she is subject to 16.1 and must give Yellow room to keep clear. I agree with you, that would be to continue backwards as best as she can. Yellow might also have to change course a little to get her bow away from Blue by steering her stern to the left (looking backward).
If she does this and there’s contact, I would penalize Blue for not giving room to keep clear. If there’s no contact, a green flag would be appropriate.With contact Blue has not give enough room and should be penalized.
If Yellow stops pushing her sail, slows down sailing backwards and perhaps does not try to change course a little and there is contact, I would penalize her..

Thanks for reading LTW


  1. If Y continue going backward and B bear away more not giving room 4kc it's on B (16).
    Same situation but B bear away in the proper way and Y is not changing course (Y bow pointing to B bearing away) it's on Y.

  2. Yellow also needs to be careful not to break RRS 42.3(d) (Sculling).

    See ISAF Interpretation SCULL 3 which prohibits sculling to offset steering of the boat caused by backing a sail

    1. In Match Racing we use C2.11 which changes 42.2(d)!

  3. As long as Blue can sail her course with out needing to take avoiding action or change course in either direction, if she is the leeward boat without making immediate contact, Yellow is keeping clear.Which seems to be the case here. When Blue bears away towards yellow,16.1 comes into force. From that point on if yellow can keep clear by immediately acting in a seaman like way, (by either doing nothing or altering her course and speed)or if Blue stops altering to give her the required room no issues, green flag. If she cant and has to clearly do an un- seaman like action to keep clear, Blue did not give her room. Penalise Blue. With or without contact.

    Pat (India)

  4. Are you applying the last sentence of 13 to Blue and Yellow?
    There is no statement that either has passed head-to-wind.
    So whichever tack the two were on determines who initially has right of way.
    On the presumption that both were approaching the starting line to start on starboard tack and overlapped, Yellow initially has right of way. When and while Yellow backs her sail she loses right of way as 21.3 turns off Section A. Yellow then REGAINS ROW when she stops backing her sail - even while still moving astern - subject to RRS 15, Acquiring ROW.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...