Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Is the definition finish done?

The 2013-2016 RRS has new wording for the definition: finish
A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side. However, she has not finished if after crossing the finishing line she
(a) takes a penalty under rule 44.2,
(b) corrects an error under rule 28.2 made at the line, or
(c) continues to sail the course.
And in the new RRS, the time you have to inform a boat that makes an error in sailing the course, is now specified:
61.1 Informing the Protestee
(a) A boat intending to protest shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity. When her protest will concern an incident in the racing area that she was involved in or saw, she shall hail ‘Protest’ and conspicuously display a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity for each. She shall display the flag until she is no longer racing. However,
(1) if the other boat is beyond hailing distance, the protesting boat need not hail but she shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity;
(2) if the hull length of the protesting boat is less than 6 metres, she need not display a red flag;
(3) if the incident was an error by the other boat in sailing the course, she need not hail or display a red flag but she shall inform the other boat before that boat finishes or at the first reasonable opportunity after she finishes;

Let's have a look if we 'combine' these two. First of all, the informing part is mandatory; it says:"...but she SHALL inform…..". You must make a genuine effort to inform the other boat - but when? 

Now imagine this scenario:
A boat (call her CLEAVER) sails through the finish line, you are 20 meters behind. As soon as you also have finished, you manage to get closer to the first boat and tell her that she has missed the last mark before the finish. You don't need to hail protest or show a red flag, but you do anyway, to make sure you are seen 'informing' the other. After that you continue to shore, go to the race-office and fill in the protest form.

CLEAVER is scored in fifth position (you became third).

In the subsequent hearing you explain to the panel what you saw and did.

The representative of CLEAVER however, contents that she hadn't finished the first time. Because after you informed her she went back to the racing area, rounded the last mark and crossed the line again. And according to the definition, she only finished the second time crossing the line because she continued to sail the course. Whatever distances or where she sailed in between the second to last mark and the last mark before the finish, didn't matter. She sailed the course and should be scored.

What should the panel decide?
Can a boat still go back in this new definition?



  1. The panel should exclude CLEAVER for violating 28.

    "Continuing to sail the course" is not interrupting what seems to be racing.
    As CLEAVER is first crossing the line from the course side and then turning around towards the last mark, she is not "continuing" to sail the course.
    E.g.:As boats may have to sail more than one time around the marks, it may occur that they cross the line (which might be in the middle of the beat leg) in the first lap. The SI state that 2 laps shall be sailed. And thats when they continue to sail the course, despite crossing the line.

    As CLEAVER is not "continuing", she finishes when she crosses the line and should be DSQ under 28.

  2. the first time she crossed the line, she did not finish since she broke 28.2. RRS 28 allows a boat to go back (She may correct any errors to comply with this rule, provided she has not finished.) and correctly sail the course, so the second time she crosses, she is scored as finishing.

    Continuing to sail the course is there to allow boats to sail through a finish area on one or more legs of the course that may go through the finish area would not apply here.

    I would think it is a bit peculiar that after round the last mark a second time, she ends up fifth, that tells me she may not have really done so, unless there was sufficient time between when she crossed the line the fist time and the second.

    1. Note that the definition "finish" does not require that the boat has complied with rule 28.2, so the first sentence in the comment by Anonymous is false.

      This is important to race committees, which occasionally make the mistake of thinking they're responsible for keeping track of what marks boats have rounded and giving DNFs to boats they think didn't sail the course. Rather than do that, race committees should score all boats that cross the line from the course side as "finished". They should then observe to see if the boats continue to sail the course or do any of the other things listed in the definition "finish" and if not, leave their finishing positions as they are. If the RC believes a boat has not sailed the course, they can protest her.

  3. I think CLEAVER does "continue to sail the course" by returning to the missed buoy. Seems that Heiko makes a case for that, as the rules don't say you have to sail the course in the fastest or shortest way possible. We all try to do that :-) but it is nor requirement.
    Only if the SI state that one can pass the finish line only to finish, CLEAVER should be scored DSQ.


    1. Hello Maarten,

      I had a look at the suggestion to the RR-committee that lead to this new sentence.(Submission 251-11 Prop. 4) and my post is similiar to what it says, and what makes sense to me.
      To me CLEAVER rather "corrects an error made under rule 28.2 MADE ON THE COURSE" than continues to sail the course.
      If "continuing to sail the course" really would allow you to correct any 28-errors, sentence (b) in the definition finish would be obsolete, since its limited to 28 errors made at the finishing line.

      A Q&A on what "continuing to sail the course" is would be great help...

    2. I agree with Heiko. I think 'corrects an error made under rule 28.2 made at the line' is for the case where a boat crosses the line in the wrong direction, then crosses back so as to go round an end. Without this, the action of crossing back would be to finish.


  4. I think the sentence "continues to sail the course" in the definition has another explanation as described by the submission of the Racing Rules Committee.
    RRS 28 allows the boat to correct any errors and CLEAVER does so an finishes the second time she crosses the finishing line
    As for the panel decision I think they have to think about acting under RRS 69.2(a)

  5. There has to be a course to finish for the "sailing the course" to apply so you must be part way through the race such as going through a gate part way up the beat on lap one or two of a three lap race. You have to have this provision as boats would otherwise finish on each lap.
    When you have sailed the full course and missed a mark you have exhausted the course so cannot continue to sail it.
    A protest has to be heard to confirm the rule breach. Mike B

  6. It really doesn't matter what the rules committee thought they were trying to do, it only matters what the rule says. I would say there is a problem with this rule as written. First, say a boat thinks there is a third lap when there was only 2 laps and she crosses the start finish line and continues to sail the course for a mistaken third lap. By this new definition she has not finished because she is "continuing to sail the course." Also, if she goes back to correct a rule 28 problem at the previous mark she is, "continuing to sail the course", so by this definition she has not finished yet. Those that cite the rule makers intent need to just read the rule and let it take you to the conclusion that it leads. If there is a problem the rule writers need to fix it.

  7. I do not think Cleaver has sailed the course. The error she made was NOT at the finishing line. Her thinking was that she had finished before she was advised so SHE was NOT continuing to sail the course before being advised of the error.
    She also breaks rule 41 as without the outside help she would have not have corrected the error.
    I do not think a Q and A is required. One simply has to read the words carefully.

  8. "I do not think a Q and A is required.
    One simply has to read the words carefully."
    What if someone did, and came to another conclusion?
    A few other interesting question after reading all the words carefully:

    Can a PRO having seen that a boat has not complied with 28 on the course score her DNF stating that he assumed she was later continuing to sail the course?
    How do I know if a boat is probably still racing even she has crossed the finishing line at the end of the course?
    How long can I "continue" to sail the course after crossing the line? Can I anchor the boat and take a nap before continuing?

    Looking forward to your reply...

    1. The people on the finish boat have no time to follow all the boats after they've crossed the line. Usually they just record the crossings. If a boat crosses twice the scorer assumes the second crossing is the 'correct' one. Between the first and the second crossing the boat must have taken a penalty or corrected an error or whatever. If that is wrong the boat should file a request for redress and come and explain why.....
      With the way the definition is written at the moment, the RC has no other way.

  9. If a boat misses the last mark before the finish in a race, they have not made an error in sailing the course (rule 28.2) until they cross the finish line. Up to the point of them crossing the finish line, they may be still be sailing the course to the mark. In a long distance race, there may be boats long finished and back at the dock before there is a reasonable opportunity to notify them of a protest.

  10. This is so bad. It encourages ppl to try to get away with a deliberate cheat and it gives them an opportunity to correct it. Bad text. Good post.


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