Saturday, 20 October 2012

RRS 2013-2016; Rule 18.2

I've been brooding on rule 18.2 for a couple of days - (weeks even). Originally had planned to post much earlier. I have a hard time finding a meaningful difference between our current rulebook and the new one, regarding this rule.

The wording has changed:
18.2(c ): When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 18.2(b),
(1) she shall continue to do so even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins;
(2) if she becomes overlapped inside the boat entitled to mark-room, she shall also give that boat room to sail her proper course while they remain overlapped.
The (1) and (2) split is in line with the general change in the way rules are being written. It makes it clear that both apply all the time for a boat that does not have mark room.

Why the addition of (2)?
In the current rule book a boat that 'stuck its nose in' was not entitled to mark room and could be shut out by the other boat. As long as that boat was sailing its 'proper course' while rounding the mark, it was exonerated for any infringement of a rule of section A and for breaking RRS 15 or 16. It could luff as hard as it wanted - provided it did so, to sail its proper course. If she did more - sail above her proper course - she still cold shut out the inside boat, but she then had limitations under 15 and 16.

This is now directly written in rule 18.2(c)(2) in the RRS 2013-2016.

The definition of mark-room has no longer 'room to sail her proper course while AT the mark' part - so that needed to be addressed by the working party. They have chosen to write that part into the rule directly. Straight into 18.2(c). A proper choice, in my opinion.

The animation (and picture) show the Grey boat pointing its bow between Red and the mark, trying to 'sneak in'. Red doesn't want that, but leaves a wide enough gab between itself and the mark initially and then forcefully 'shuts the door' by luffing very hard.

In the current rules Red is entitled to mark-room and may sail her proper course AT the mark. She is however sailing well above that proper course. And therefor no longer 'protected' by the mark-room exoneration for breaking rule 16.
In the new rules this is still the case - only now it is written in 18.2(c) directly. Instead  finding this conclusion by way of the definition and exoneration, it's now in the rule.

Grey may try to go inside and she's entitled to a fair cop when caught. Not an entrapment by Red....

Ooh, the other change in rule 18.2 is one from long standing in Match - and Team Racing. To get out of another 'unfair' deal.
18.2(e) If a boat obtained an inside overlap from clear astern or by tacking to windward of the other boat and, from the time the overlap began, the outside boat has been unable to give markroom, she is not required to give it.
From the Team Race Call book: E10:
The current rules dictate that the White boat must give mark-room to the Grey boat...... Even if she's not able to do so, because the overlap was not established from clear astern, but in the tack.
That has now been addressed by the change in 18.2(e).
If White is not able, she doesn't have to give mark-room.

Please leave a comment if you have a different opinion about 18.2.

Next time 18.3. It is slow going, but we will get there, eventually


  1. I think the new 18.2(c)(2) has changed the game somewhat. Consider a boat entitled to mark-room bearing away onto a square run at a port rounding windward mark.

    If the trailing boat oweing mark-room bears away inside the line of the leading boat, then the leading boat gybes onto port (a proper course), the trailing boat on starboard will become overlapped inside the leading boat on port.

    18.2(c)(2) now says that in this situation, the boat entitled to mark-room also gets room to sail her proper course. Since the leading boat will be entitled to mark-room until she leaves the zone or tacks, the entitlement for room to sail a proper course exists as long as she is in the zone. Therefore the leading boat entitled to mark-room can gybe onto port at any time she is still within the zone and the trailing boat will have to give her room to do so.

    If the leading boat breaks rule 10 (or 13.2 in match racing), she will be exonerated under rule 21 because she was sailing within the room she was entitled to under a rule of Section C.

    Under the current rules, the boat entitled to mark-room was only entitled to room to sail her proper course while she was at the mark. Even under the 2005 rules, the boat entitled to mark-room was only entitled to room to sail her proper course until they had passed the mark.

    So it seems to me that the entitlement to room to sail a proper course if the other boat becomes overlapped inside has been extended significantly.


    1. Interesting. You might be right.
      I would have to see this played out to get a clear picture..
      Gordon (see comment below) seems to think that the right to mark-room ceases much earlier...

    2. Dick Rose disagrees. See January/February Sailing World p. 75.

      Where in the new rule 18 does the right to mark room persist until the boat(s) leave the zone?

      If you're right on your above scenario and the port jibe boat is entitled to room to sail her proper course, 18.2(c) says the starboard boat "shall also give that boat room to sail her proper course while they remain overlapped." That could be long after the boats have left the zone!


  2. In 18.2(e) "... or by tacking to windward of the other boat ..."

    Why is specified "to windward"?

    Dees it means that if after tacking the boat is the leeward boat, then the other boat is not protected by this rule?

    1. In principle, Yes.
      But can your give me a scenario where the leeward boat becomes the inside (entitled to mark-room) boat?

    2. The expression "to windward" is used to paint the picture. I think the rule could have said "tacks into an overlap", but then people would scratch their heads and wonder how a boat tacking into a leeward overlap could possibly be entitled to mark-room.

      There are two cases where a boat entitled to room did not tack to windward of the other boat: Either she is to leeward or there is no overlap, at the end of the tack. In the latter case, if she later gets an inside overlap from clear astern the other boat is protected by rule 18.2(e), but if she gets her inside overlap from clear ahead (i.e., the other boat gets an outside overlap from clear astern), then the outside boat is not protected.

  3. Problems arise withthelast sentence of 18.2c "However, if the boat entitled to mark-room passes head to wind or leaves the zone, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply."
    which has been widely misinterpreted as meaning that 18.2b applies until a boat leaves the zone, allowing team racers to dream of traps set between passing the mark and leaving the zone.

    As I understand it 18.2b usually ceases to apply when mark room is no longer required, after a boat has been given room to round the mark.


    1. Misinterpreted?
      That IS what the rulebook says.....


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