At an event this summer I was involved in a protest where a boat claimed she was interfered with, by another boat which was taking a penalty.
These are the facts found:
In race 4 on Tuesday close to the finish line, three Centaurs were involved in an incident
Boat A (Blue) on starboard approached the line on a close hauled course. Boat B (Purple) was on a collision course, also close hauled, but sailing on port tack. Boat B thought she could pass boat A in front. Boat A bore off behind Boat B and hailed protest and put up a red flag. She continued saying "You have to do a turn". The incident was observed by boat C (Red) approaching the finish also.
Boat B bore off, gybed and tacked almost immediately, ending up sailing close hauled on port again. Boat C (Red), also sailing on port tack, established an overlap while boat B was finishing her tack.
Both boats sailed a boat length in overlap and then Boat B started luffing to fetch the finish mark. Boat C hailed protest and put up a flag. She luffed also and the distance between the boats remained the same throughout the incident, approximately 2 meters. Both boats luffed to head to wind and crossed the finish line. After passing the mark boat B bore off and sailed clear, shortly followed by boat C.
Boat C handed in a protest form claiming an infringement of rule 21.2
And the diagram the PC made based on these facts:
What should the PC decide?
The PC made the following observations;
First, not taking a penalty or only half a penalty is in itself not breaking a rule.
The question is; does a boat get its rights back after having done only half the penalty turns? The Blue boat could have continued its turns without interfering with the Red boat. Only because she luffed she interfered. But was she then any longer a boat taking a penalty?
Second; if rights are returned to Blue as leeward boat, she broke no rule against Red. And the protest was about rule 21.2……. The only rule Blue broke was against Purple, rule 10, not keeping clear as port tack boat. Blue only did not take a two turn penalty to exonerate herself.
In addition Blue claimed in the hearing that Purple only asked for one turn and she did that. And, she didn't break any rules against Red.
Please give me your opinion as to what the PC should decide.