Saturday 28 February 2009

Changing RRS 18.2(c)?

In RRS 18.2(c) changed in US College Sailing!, an LTW post from 15 February, we discussed the change US Intercollegiate Sailing Association made in the RRS 2009-2012.

Although a slight majority of the readers who voted, wanted to go back to the "old rules" for switching off rule 18.2(b) by changing rule 18.2(c), I'm afraid that it does not look like they will be obliged any time soon.

I've written to the chairman of the Racing Rules Committee and to the chairman of the RRC Section C Working party and received this answer from Dick Rose:

Dear Mr. Spijkerman,

At the time that the U. S. Intercollegiate Sailing Association ("ICSA") took the action it did and posted the material you quoted on the web, US SAILING was considering making a submission to ISAF for consideration at its Spring Meeting in May, 2009 in Poland, and that submission would have been to change rule 18.2(c) immediately after the May 2009 meeting.

However, since the material you quote was posted on the web, the US SAILING Racing Rules Committee withdrew the submission from consideration by the US SAILING Board of Directors. As a result, US SAILING will NOT propose that an immediate change in rule 18.2(c) be made by ISAF in May in Poland.

Note that it is my understanding that the ICSA is now reconsidering its decision to change rule 18.2(c) for its racing during Spring 2009.

As things stand now within US SAILING, it is likely that US SAILING will make a submission proposing a change in rule 18.2(c). However, US SAILING now is planning to send this submission to ISAF in the normal way (before the 1 August 2009 submission deadline) for consideration by ISAF at the November 2009 meeting in Korea. If ISAF approved that change, then the change would probably take effect on 1 January 2013, when the next edition of the racing rules will take effect.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Dick Rose, Secretary, US SAILING Racing Rules Committee and Chairman, ISAF Racing Rules Committee Working Party

So, if you want to practice the "Move" and are able to get an inside overlap at a time the outside boat is still able to give room, go for it!
Like Kral Oyun wrote in his comment: "then we should stand back, admire their boat handling, say "congratulations" and let them sail away untroubled by the umpires...."

For now the trailing boat can switch of mark-room for the clear ahead boat!

Protest Conclusions and Decision Wording 2009

Some of you may already have this file downloaded in the past. But with the new RRS 2009-2012 it was in need of an update.
I'm talking about a file (xls) with Protest Conclusions and Decisions for each and every rule. The wording that can be used in protests as final conclusions, rules that apply and for the decision. The words have been taken from the actual RRS-rule and will reflect exactly what is needed. No more - No less.

Originally started for the 2004 Olympics as a tool for the jury, a group of judges has been updating and expanding the file in leaps and bounds.

The latest version will include beside the English wording, translations in Dutch, German, Italian, French and Spanish (if we can find a volunteer for the translation of the latter)

John Allan has been doing the bulk of the latest up date and I'm very happy to post a provisional version of the file on LTW:

Protest Decision Wordings V7 (2009) provisional.xls

Provisional, because the translations haven't been added yet and the wording is still being scrutinized by a couple of earlier contributors.


The wording has been organized in a Excel-file so that you can use a quick search "function" by choosing the appropriate rule number in the purple box.

Automatically the words that are to be used for that particular rule are displayed. There are three worksheets in the file: accessible by the colored tabs at the bottom. Eventually we will ad columns with the translations which can be hidden, save for original English and the language you want. (That is, if I can get that function operational.)

In light of the newly started series on "Fact Finding Friday", you can already use the provisional file to find the wording for the conclusions and for the decision. Translating will take another month or so and that would be a little late.....

As always, if you have improvements? Let me know.

Friday 27 February 2009

Fact Finding Friday | 001 - Amsterdam Avenger v Berlin Bandit

From "The ROOM" by Brass


The aim of this series is to practice judges' skills in writing Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and Decisions as required by rule 65.1.
These are not intended to be 'difficult' rules problems: concentrate on the writing skills. You are not expected to 'discuss' the rules or the scenarios, or enter into 'what-if' considerations. I suggest you write against the clock, and include a note of your time taken when you post your answers on LTW, to compare with others.


You are the scribe for the protest committee of the LTW Yacht Club, which races in Port Liberty Roads. You have received the written protest as shown, decided it is valid, and have heard both parties and witnesses as shown. Write Facts Found, Conclusions and Rules Applicable, and the Decision for this protest.

Please post your effort on LTW, for us all to share and learn. Don't be shy.

Written Protest -
1234 Amsterdam Avenger v 5678 Berlin Bandit


The parties' descriptions of the starting point of the incident agreed with the protest form diagram. The parties agreed that they were both doing about 6.5 knots.

Amsterdam Avenger's Description of the Incident

When we were about 2 lengths from Berlin Bandit I hailed 'starboard'. Seeing no response, I hailed 'starboard' again.

When we were half a boat length from Berlin Bandit we were pointing at their midships. I assessed that Berlin Bandit was not keeping clear and called 'ease main', and bore away to pass Berlin Bandit's stern.

We passed about 1m astern of Berlin Bandit, hailed 'protest' flew our red flag and resumed our close hauled course.

Berlin Bandit's Questions to Amsterdam Avenger

Q: Don't you think you passed 5m or more astern of us because you're not a confident helmsman and wanted to give us a wide berth.

A: No, we were only 1m away because I felt my boat Amsterdam Avenger react to your stern wave.

Berlin Bandit's Description of the Incident

When we were about 2 lengths from Amsterdam Avenger I heard them hail 'starboard'. I assessed that we would pass ahead of Amsterdam Avenger and held my course.

I then heard a further hail and continued to hold my course.

Amsterdam Avenger then did a massive unnecessary bear away and passed at least 5m astern of me.

Amsterdam Avenger is a well known 'nervous nellie' and could have safely passed astern of me if he had held his course.

Amsterdam Avenger's Questions to Berlin Bandit

Q: Is it possible you are exaggerating when you say Amsterdam Avenger did a 'massive' bear-away?

A: Maybe.

Q: How do you maintain good boat speed when sailing to windward?

A: By concentrating on the headsail luff, inclination, and mast-mounted knot-meter (speed indicator).

Q: What is your steering position on Berlin Bandit?

A: Standing up behind the wheel.

Q: If you were standing up behind the wheel, concentrating on your headsail and speed indicator in front of you, how could you see how far behind you Amsterdam Avenger passed?

A: I just sort of felt it.

Amsterdam Avenger's witness evidence

I was trimming the mainsheet on Amsterdam Avenger, sitting on the windward deck beside the wheel.

I heard the skipper say 'Berlin Bandit is coming on port and is close'. I then heard the skipper hail 'starboard'. I could not then see Berlin Bandit because of the headsail.

I heard the skipper say, 'if we duck, we'll duck close, one trimmer down for the duck', then he hailed 'starboard' again.

I then saw Berlin Bandit's bow around the headsail, about half a boat length away.

Then the skipper called 'ease main', I eased the mainsheet, and we did a controlled fast bear-away passing about 1m behind Berlin Bandit's stern.

Berlin Bandit's Questions to Amsterdam Avenger's Witness

Q: What made you think we were at risk of collision?

A: When I first saw Berlin Bandit's bow around our headsail, half a boat length away, I realized that in the time it would take us to travel half a boat length, Berlin Bandit could not travel any more than half a boat length, and thus could not pass clear ahead of us.

Q: Isn't it true that you set up and began to bear away about two boat lengths away when your skipper hailed starboard the first time?

A: No.

Berlin Bandit's Witnesses

Berlin Bandit had no witnesses.

Protest Committee's Assessment of the Evidence

Your fellow protest committee members agreed that Amsterdam Avenger's evidence, particularly where corroborated by Amsterdam Avenger's witness was preferable to Berlin Bandit's evidence.
They also agreed that Berlin Bandit's opinion, that Amsterdam Avenger's bear away was 'massive' and 'unnecessary' and that Amsterdam Avenger is an excessively conservative skipper, was not supported by the evidence and was of little worth.

Thursday 26 February 2009

Case Book - Interpretations of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009 - 2012

It's here: The ISAF has published a new Case Book for RRS 2009-2012.

I will try to compare the old and the new and write some posts about the changes in coming weeks. This is what ISAF wrote on their website:

The new edition of The Case Book is a revision of the previous edition which reflects changes in The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 (RRS), which came into force on 1 January 2009. In line with one of ISAF’s key stated objectives, to “establish, supervise, interpret and amend the rules regulating sailboat racing”, the RRS are revised and published every four years. In order to maximize the understanding of the rules, ISAF has been publishing interpretations of the RRS for over 40 years in The Case Book, which provides details on the application of the rules to around 100 scenarios.

The release of The Case Book for 2009-2012 follows a complete review of all the cases previously published, along with eight new cases adopted by the ISAF Council since the publication of the previous edition. The principal aims of the Cases are to clarify an important meaning in a rule or to increase the understanding of a complex rule. For sailors, from club level right up to Olympic medallists, it is an essential aid to gaining mastery of the rules, whilst for race officials it is a crucial tool in establishing and maintaining consistency in decision-making.
Dick ROSE, chairman of the Case Book Working Party, said: “We are delighted to publish The Case Book for 2009-2012 and make it available for all sailors to download from the ISAF website. Over many years the Case Book has been refined and improved to maximize its usefulness for both sailors and officials. Hundreds of hours of work have gone into preparing The Case Book for 2009-2012 and I would like to thank the other members of our Working Party that have made its publication possible.”

The Case Book for 2009-2012 was prepared by the Case Book Working Party which consists of Chairman Dick ROSE, Bill BENTSEN, Josje HOFLAND-DOMINICUS, Trevor LEWIS and Bo SAMUELSSON.
New cases may be added each year in November during the ISAF Annual Conference, and sometimes cases are revised or deleted. Case Book Supplements are issued at the start of each year and published on the ISAF website. In addition, each year the version of the Case Book that appears on the ISAF website will be revised to include new cases and to reflect any other changes made in that year’s annual supplement.

Case Book 2009-2012_Page_001

Bad Manners at the Royal Snooty Nose | 2

I received an answer to the RRS69- case against Brass Spiderman from Mike. He send me the following:

To prove:

  1. Was a competitor
  2. Was during the event
  3. Had committed an actionable breach. Rule, Good Manners or Sportsmanship, or sport into disrepute.
  4. Protest committee of 3
  5. Correct information to competitor
  6. Time given for preparation
  7. Notification given of time and place of hearing.


Dear Brass Spiderman,


I am writing to inform you that the Protest Committee of this event has received a report under rule 69.1 alleging that you have committed Gross Misconduct under the Racing Rules of Sailing.

The report alleges that you made improper sexual advances to the Commodores’s wife and daughter, followed by an assault on the Club’s doorman, and made remarks concerning international judges.

The Protest Committee has decided to conduct a hearing under rule 69.1 to determine if these allegations are true, and if so, to decide what action to take.

You are required to attend a hearing on [date] at [time] in [location].

You may bring someone to represent you at the hearing. You are also entitled to call our own witnesses, but it is your responsibility to ensure that the witnesses are present at the time of the hearing.

If you have any questions concerning the hearing or any other aspect of the rule 69 process, please ask the chairman.



For the actions stated, I would not have considered a hearing unless repeated. The actions in the bar are regrettable, and can be dealt with by the house committee.

The struggle was not vindictive, and the comments on the Jury were generic rather than directed to the event jury or individuals.

If there was to be a hearing then the interested party (relative) should be excluded, this still leaves 3 and the committee member who was a witness could remain.

If my view was in the minority (and it must have been if there was a hearing) then, a suitable result would be:

  • A voluntary apology (which would not need to be reported)
  • At worst a warning
  • I believe the finding could have been a gross breach of good manners, but not bringing the sport into disrepute.

This does not comply with what the House committee recommended but the protest committee should not be influenced by this. With respect to future events their club can adopt RRS 76 to exclude and they could be advised of this.

Mike B

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Rules in Pictures

For all those among you who want to have the feel of real boats on the water, while learning the new rules I suggest you have a look at:
Uncle Al's Rules in Pictures!

In his long sailing career in the Wayfarer Class, Uncle Al has collected untold number of pictures to illustrating every rule in the book. He has just finished updating "Racing Rules in Pictures" for the 2009-2012 RRS.

In the photo above on the left, 1305 (starboard) is an obstruction to 1131 who is on port tack. Therefore 1131 would have had the right to hail 171 for "room to tack", had he done so well before the moment captured here. Having not hailed, 1131 is now blissfully sailing into a situation where he is sure to foul the starboard boat (1305) since he's left it too late to bear away, or he will foul the boat to windward of him (171) by doing a crash tack (see photo on right) to avoid 1305.

This material is intended as a practical guide of the basic Rules necessities for his fellow Wayfarers, but just the same, he hopes that a few of LTW's readers might enjoy looking it over and sending him ( word of any errors they may find. He has done his best to proof-read but the extra eyes would be welcome.

I suggest you have a look, it is worth it!

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Tactical Rounding with Mark-Room? | 5

A definitive answer by a new Q&A:

ISAF Racing Rules Question and Answer Service
Q&A 2009-022
Published: 23 February 2009

Mark-Room Room for a boat to sail to the mark, and then room to sail her proper course while at the mark. However, mark-room does not include room to tack unless the boat is overlapped to windward and on the inside of the boat required to give mark-room.

Proper Course A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal.

Question 1
Is a boat entitled to mark-room allowed to make a tactical approach / tactical rounding (often called “wide in, tight out”) of the mark or is boat entitled to mark-room only allowed to a seamanlike approach/rounding?

Answer 1
Mark-room is split into two aspects:

(i) Room to sail to the mark. If the boat entitled to mark-room is the keep-clear boat, then room to sail to the mark is neither room to sail her proper course (if extra room is needed for a proper course approach), nor is it room to make a more tactical rounding. If the boat entitled to mark-room has right of way, she is free to sail any course within the limitations of the rules of Part 2, Section B, and, if it applies, rule 18.4.

(ii) Then, room to sail her proper course while at the mark. A boat may sail her proper course from the time she is at the mark and while she rounds or passes the mark and until she no longer needs the mark-room. This course would therefore be the one the boat would sail in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule. Only an inside right-of-way boat that is entitled to mark-room may make a tactical approach and a tactical rounding. However, if the inside right-of-way boat is subject to rule 18.4, then, until she gybes, she may not sail farther from the mark than needed to sail her proper course. Note that a tactical rounding may be wider than a
proper course rounding.

Question 2
Before the 2009 rules there was a difference in rounding a mark when the inside boat also had right of way and was specifically permitted to make a tactical rounding unlike a situation with an inside keep-clear boat where a tactical rounding was not permitted.
Is that situation continued under the 2009 rules?

Answer 2
There is no game change between the 2005 and 2009 rules for the purpose of room given or taken at a mark. The removal of the preamble to Section C in the 2005 rules that said 'To the extent that a Section C rule conflicts with a rule in Section A or B, the Section C rule takes precedence' means that there is now no precedence to any of the rules of Sections A or B, so those rules always apply whenever a boat is entitled to mark-room. As a result, the words 'and if the inside boat has right of way the outside boat shall also keep clear' are no longer necessary.

Q&A 2009-022

Hopefully this will lay the matter to rest. You might want to print out this particular Q&A, to show it sailors in the room.

Room given or taken at the mark may not have changed, but as far as I can see, there has been a subtle game change between the 2005 and 2009 rules in mark rounding rule 18, regarding the application of rule 15 and 16.

Rule 15 was not applicable when a fetching boat gained an inside overlap with a boat that just had completed her tack inside the zone. In the 2009 it is, perhaps very shortly, before the inside boat is AT the mark. If you break it, before you are AT the mark, you will not be exonerated.

Rule 16 was switched off when a right of way boat changed course to round or pass a mark. In the 2009 rules, a right of way boat will be exonerated for breaking rule 16, but ONLY if she's AT the mark and she rounds the mark on her proper course.

By removing the precedence over Sections A and B, the right of way boat has been given a clearer picture of what it can do under the rules, but it also means that she has to comply with the general limitations in section B a little more.

This is consistent with the general overhaul in the rules, a couple of cycles back. Avoiding contact, when possible, has been given priority.

We will all have to wait and see what the new rules will actually bring into the room. And do our very best to stay consistent. A good understanding of the "transition areas" between applying a rule or not, is all we can do at the moment. No doubt there will be situations that we haven't yet thought about. But by understanding both "paths" we should be able to resolve them.

Don't hesitate to send in your cases... we can all learn from them.

Monday 23 February 2009

LTW Readers Q&A | 19 "Filling the chair..."

I am a judge in training and await, with angst, the day when I will be the protest committee chair.

I was wondering if any of the experienced judges who visit your blog would like to say how they handle and respond to the following situation, which I expect to encounter?

When the jury is reading it’s decision to the parties the DSQ’ed party attempts to interrupt and to give more evidence or to ask questions such as " where did you get that, I did not say that" or some other questions as to how the jury made a conclusion or, to try to remind the jury of what the parties said during the testimony part?

Thanks, D.


Well D, I can honestly say that all chairmen go through this. They have had several occasions where one or both parties become emotional or even unreasonable, when the conclusion is read and the decision is announced.

The foremost thing to remember is that the time to discuss those issues is not during that part of the process. What works for me are these things:

- If I get the feeling during the hearing that one of the parties is going that way, is already upset during finding the evidence, I start with telling both parties the procedure, before reading the facts found, conclusion and decision. That this final part is not a discussion, that they are invited to listen but not expected to speak.
Sometimes it also helps to let someone else of the committee do the actual reading, while you as chairman immediately stop a party when he or she starts to object. Don't let them speak a sentence before you intervene, ask them to listen. If you haven't told them before, tell them at the first sign it is going that way.

- Secondly, offer to discuss the issue at another time. Some time after all the protests have been handled and the party has time to cool down a little. Emphasize that you are willing to discuss it, but not while emotions have the upper hand. You are always available to talk about the rules and procedures, but in a reasonable atmosphere and only if the other party is willing to listen. Suggest a time the next morning if possible....

- If a party persist, politely but firmly point them out that a request for reopening or an appeal are available to them, but they should follow the rules in getting that started.

Don't fall into the trap of actually responding to the accusations, don't go over the arguments, don't answer. Discussion is closed. Read the facts, conclusions and decision and ask parties to leave the room. Most likely you'll have other protests waiting.


If all fails, call Corporal Carrot of the Night Watch....

Comments invited.

Fact Finding Friday

from "The Room" by Brass.

Starting on 27th of February, LTW's overseas correspondent Brass, will burn the midnight oil to bring you practical protest cases to sharpen your writing skills, and help you practice particularly in the lead-up to Regional, National or International Judges examinations. We'll try to run this over about 15 weeks.

Brass will present situations in various ways to provide practice in diagramming and writing facts found, conclusions and decisions.

Then you can post your solution on LTW and see what others think.

Right or wrong, complete or incomplete, correct wording or much to elaborate; You can comment on it all.

Brass is eager to start and has his pencils sharpened...... how about you?

Sunday 22 February 2009

Bad Manners at the Royal Snooty Nose; Simple Rule 69 Bad Manners Problem.

A guest post by Brass.


Rule 69 has recently been debated quite hotly elsewhere on the web. There are a number of issues raised that should be of interest to judges. We might all unexpectedly become involved in a rule 69 situation at short notice. Here’s an opportunity to think about how we should deal with a simple situation.


You are the chair of the PC for the annual Snooty Nose Cup regatta, run over three days at the Royal Snooty Nose Yacht Club (RSNYC).

E-mail from the Commodore

On the second day of the regatta you receive the following email from the Commodore of the RSNYC:

Dear Protest Committee Chair,

After racing last night Brass Spiderman, who is a competitor in the Snooty Nose Cup regatta, and who had been drinking heavily in the bar of the RSNYC and was quite drunk made unwelcome sexual advances to my wife on the dance floor. He embraced her tightly. He said ‘come to bed with me’. He patted her bottom, then went back to the bar. About twenty minutes later he made the same advances to my seventeen year old daughter.

He then fell down the stairs and wrestled with the RSNYC doorman. The police arrived and he was hauled off in a police van singing ‘All International Judges are bastards’ at the top of his voice.

I am outraged as this gross breach of good manners and abuse of the hospitality of the RSNYC. The matter has been considered by the RSNYC House Committee which has decided that Brass Spiderman will not be admitted to the RSNYC Clubhouse and recommended that action be taken to ensure that he does not attend any venues or event of the RSNYC from this time onwards.

I attach written statements from Billy Beer the barman and Danny Door the doorman.

I request that the PC takes strong action against Brass Spiderman so as to immediately exclude him from further participation in the Snooty Nose Cup regatta.


I was the barman on duty at the RSNYC last night. About 6:00pm a man came up to me at the bar. He said ‘Hullo, I’m Brass Spiderman, and I’m competing in the Snooty Nose Cup regatta. May I have a beer please?’

I served him a beer.

Between 6:00pm and 10:30pm I served him beer and other drinks. About 10:40pm I saw Brass Spiderman take the Commodore’s wife onto the dance floor. I saw him embrace her tightly. As they danced past the bar hatch I heard him speak to her. He said ‘Come to bed with me.’ I saw him pat her on the bottom.

About 11:00pm I saw Brass Spiderman take the Commodore’s daughter onto the dance floor. I saw him embrace her tightly. As they danced past the bar hatch I heard him speak to her.

He said ‘You’re better looking than your mother, Come to bed with me.’ I saw him pat her on the bottom. I saw the Commodore come up to him and speak to him. I saw him walk towards the stairs then fall down the stairs.

I am prepared to give this evidence under oath should I be required.


I was on duty as the doorman at the RSNYC last night.

About 11:05pm I saw a man fall down the club stairs from the bar and dancefloor into the lobby, apparently drunk. I called the police and asked them to attend and remove the drunk. I saw the man stagger to his feed.

He said ‘I’m Brass Spiderman and I hate International Judges’.

He then fell towards me, grasped me with his arms and dragged me to the floor. I wrestled to get away from him. The police arrived and took him away in a van. As they drove away I heard him singing ‘All International Judges are bastards’.

I am prepared to give this evidence under oath should I be required.

The Protest Committee

The PC consists of four members, one of whom is the son of the Commodore of the RSNYC.

You show the email and statements to the other members of the PC. One of the PC members, who is not the son of the Commodore says ‘I was in the RSNYC clubhouse last night about 11:00pm, sipping camomile tea and reading the ISAF Judges Manual, and I heard shouting and singing and looking up I saw the competitor Brass Spiderman falling down the stairs’.

You read carefully the RYA Guidance on Rule 69, or any material you have from your MNA or elsewhere. You recall that you have seen a helpful posting about What We Need to Prove on the Look to Windward Blog.

Question 1: What do you do next?

Question 2: Supposing the PC has decided to call a rule 69 hearing:

  1. Analyze the allegations and rule 69.1 and list what will need to be proved if the PC is to penalize Brass Spiderman.
  2. Draft the written information that the PC is required to give to Brass Spiderman under rule 69.1(a).


Just last week I received an Email from Jon Napier drawing my attention to a new paper from the RYA's Fair Sailing Team. You will have no time reading this when an actual case of misconduct presents itself, so I suggest you do it sometime before. Perhaps it will also help you answer this case?

Here is the link: RYA Misconduct Guidance.pdf

Most judges will - fortunately - seldom have to be involved in a Rule 69, but because of the serious and far reaching consequences it can have, some preparation would not be amiss.


Friday 20 February 2009

LTW Umpire Q&A; Room to tack?

Andraz send me a question he and his fellow umpires have been discussing. It's about how to use the new definition of mark-room regarding room to tack. Here are his questions:


Hello Jos!

I had a debate with some fellow umpires and it seems that we cannot completely agree on whether a boat has right of room to tack or not, in different situations. Since I've also traced some interpretations which are opposing our most accepted approach, maybe some of your readers would comment on it?

Here goes:

According to the definition, mark room includes room to tack if a boat is on the inside, overlapped and windward of the boat required to give mark room.

Now, the main question is: When must these conditions been fulfilled? When entering the zone or when starting to tack?

In most of the opinions it was said, that since the room to tack is "included" in mark room, the conditions should be met, when entering the zone of course, because obligations for giving mark room starts there.

So, when a boat gains the right of mark room, it depends on whether this room includes room to tack, on having an overlap at the zone....

In some of the diagrams I've seen, explaining the situations, the boats were drawn at the mark, hence one would assume to start looking for the overlap when the boats are near the mark.

Let's take a look at some of the possible situations.


Diagram 1.

Boats overlapped at the zone, Blue inside has the right to mark room an Yellow right of way boat. The overlap is broken in position 4, Blue starts tacking somewhere between 6 and 7, Yellow has to take avoiding action in position 7. Blue says that the tack was part of the mark rounding.

The overlap was broken, but regarding the 18.2(c) nothing really changed, Yellow is still required to give mark room.
Does the second part of the mark room definition kick in?
When Blue starts tacking, she is overlapped, but outside and leeward.


Diagram 2.

Similar case, Blue inside overlapped, windward when entering the zone, but Yellow follows the Blue boat on the outside. In position 6 and 7 Blue is windward, still inside & overlapped, so she should be entitled to room to tack.


Diagram 3.

Blue boat clear ahead at the zone but slower, overlap established inside the zone, Yellow must give mark room. When Blue starts tacking, she is most probably inside, overlapped & windward, but Yellow might be forced to take avoiding action. Is Blue entitled to room to tack, since she was not overlapped when entering the zone, even though she has right to mark room?

Here depicted are only leeward mark situations, but you can similarly apply the same rules at the windward mark.

It is hard to determine the exact moment of the transition from rule 11 to 13 and checking for the overlap at the same time, to see if the boat should be exonerated for a possible breach of a section A rule.

The question is - from the tactical point of view - would it be better for a barely leading boat to wait for the trailing one, to get an the overlap before entering the zone? So that mark room includes room to tack?
Or should the leading boat only make sure that he has an overlap before he passes head to wind? And does not matter if that happens at the mark or when entering the zone?

If one is not sure if to make it round the mark clear ahead, just be sure to be on the inside and overlapped, so that you're protected, no matter about the overlap when entering the zone?

Best regards, Andraz


Dear Andraz,

Room to tack is written into the definition of mark-room. It is only "part" of mark-room if a specific set of conditions are met. Those conditions being: If you have an inside overlap to windward of the boat required to give mark-room.

Once a boat has mark-room, every time it meets those conditions, that mark-room includes also room to tack. If that boat fails one of the conditions stated, it still has mark-room, but room to tack is no longer included.

It does not matter when the conditions are established. It doesn't have to be at the zone. At the zone it gains or has to give mark-room. Mark-room according to the definition with everything that entails.

To go back to your diagrams:

In diagram 1 Blue may have mark-room and may claim the tack was part of her rounding, but because she is on the outside of the boat required to give mark-room, that mark-room is not including room to tack. Blue breaks rule 13, penalty on Blue.

In diagram 2 Blue meets all the conditions, so she her mark-room does include room to tack. Green Flag

In diagram 3 Blue no longer has an overlap in position 5, that means that her mark-room has no longer "room to tack" included. Yellow must alter course before Blue has passed head to wind because she has to give mark-room and Blue is ROW boat under 12. If Yellow does not have to alter course, to avoid Blue after Blue passes head to wind, there is no rule infringement and no penalty. Blue keeps clear according to 13.

To go back to your original question: A boat with mark-room, has room to tack, when all the conditions have been met at the moment a boat starts to tack.
Well, that's my opinion anyway.

Cheers, Jos


As always, comments are welcome.


Thursday 19 February 2009

Sailing World: Dick Rose on Damages

As well as in the last post, I want to draw your attention to information on another website.

This time to Sailing World. Rules expert Dick Rose is writing a series of articles on what to do if there's damage:
Go and have a look at: What to do when there's damage or injury.

I realise there is limited use outside the USA, but the principle should work all over the world.
I also tell sailors to protest if there's been damage and or injury, to get at least an appropriate list of facts found from the PC. Insurance companies - and even most courts - will mostly follow those in awarding costs.


RYA Conference 2009

Mike send me an email drawing my attention to the 2009 RYA Race Officials Conference.
The presentations are all available on the RYA website.

Looks like a lot of information for us to go trough. I haven't had time to study them, but will try to do that in coming weeks. Here's the list:

Presentation Given by
1. Course Design David Campbell James and Peter Bentley
2. Course Data David Campbell James
3. Rules Submissions David Lees and Richard Thompson
4. Overview of Mark Laying Courses Ed Stevens and Drew Stanley
5. Match and Team Racing Management John Burgoine
6. Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme Bas Edmonds
7. Working with Volunteers Jackie Bennetts
8. Dinghy Safety Fleet Management Roger Wilson
9. Competitor Misconduct John Napier
10. Rules Changes and writing Sailing Instructions Trevor Lewis
11. Tactics and the new rules Chris Gowers
12. Medal Racing John Doerr

Please don't hesitate to draw attention to highlights if you find them.


Wednesday 18 February 2009

FTBD (15) 497, no 498 and counting

If I check my published posts list, the counter is just shy of 500. I'm sure there are many many blogs out there, who've been more prolific, but I'm at least ahead of my standard one per day.

One year and three months. It's that day in the month again;
Flog The Blog Day (am I a closet masochist?)

Anyway, you can give me your opinion on the blog, its layout, its sidebar widgets and general style and don't have to hold anything back. If you draw blood, I might strike back.... that's all.

LTW projects at hand at the moment are:

  • Getting the conclusion and decision wording list ready. Brass is helping me with that and doing a thorough job! The new RRS 2009 English version will become available in a couple of weeks. After that I'll get the translations sorted out.

From last FTBD:

  • screen and archive bloglist; (halfway)
  • screen and clean up downloads and files; (still pending)
  • update popular post list; (done)
  • competition for new blog cover photo; (hmmm, I'm cancelling this one for the moment, I think. Don't want to loose my Regenbogen just yet. )
  • write E-book: Handbook for PC's; (I'm going to use the OG Protest Checklist as a format guide.... )
  • add and update label explanation pages (still pending)
  • write a couple of posts about changes in Match Race call book. (....want to do the Case book first! )
  • answer the long list of mails still pending (Neverending story.... )
  • write about rule 69 (Soon: The misconduct of Mr. B Spyderman... watch this space! )



Tuesday 17 February 2009

Forms & Templates RRS 2009-2012

RRS: Protest Form
The 2009 edition from the ISAF site.

Except for a very small change in layout, exactly the same form as in the previuos RRS.

Also available the template to write a Notice of Race (word document),
Appendix L, Sailing Instruction Guide, in template format that will make it easy to produce a set of Sailing Instructions for an event
and Appendix LE, Expanded Sailing Instructions Guide in template format that it will make it easy to produce a set of Sailing Instructions. This is an expanded version of Appendix L containing provisions applicable to even the largest and most complicated multi-class events, and variations on several of the sailing instructions found in Appendix L. This version includes sailing instructions for a Medal Race.

Monday 16 February 2009

ISAF Q&A 2009-021; The right to choose

An interesting Q&A on the ISAF website: At an obstruction the boat with right of way has the right to choose on which side to pass the obstruction. Written in the new rulebook in rule 19.2(a). Pretty straight forward, don't you think?

This Q&A answers a question when the right of way switches just before the obstruction or is subject to change because of boats changing course.

I think this Q&A perfectly illustrates the "new" principle that the rules in sections A & B are no longer "switched off" for passing marks and obstruction.
Like on the beat or on the run or anywhere else on the course, the first thing you need to establish is, WHO has right of way.... and only then can you use additional rights and obligations from other rules.

Read the Q&A here: Racing Rules Q&A 2009-021


Sunday 15 February 2009

RRS 18.2(c) changed in US College Sailing!

In recent months another issue about the new rules has been surfacing. First discovered by Chris Love from Sailgroove and subject of intense discussions on several forums and blogs, now another twist has been added.

I'm referring to "The Move".

What is "the Move"

The second sentence of Rule 18.2(c) switches off rule 18.2(b) when the boat entitled to mark-room leaves the zone or either boat passes head to wind. In the RRS 2005-2008 it was only the boat who entered the zone as clear ahead boat - thereby gaining RoW - who could switch off rule 18 by passing head to wind. In the new RRS 2009-2012 that can be done by either boat. So if the clear astern boat somehow manages to tack AND establish an inside overlap she has the right to mark-room, if the outside boat is able to give it. Here's the situational diagram (from BI Star Fleet - Blog)

image This new technique promises to be specially applicable in Team Racing.

US College Racing does not wait for ISAF

With permission of US Sailing, RRS rule 18.2(c) has been changed for the competition. From the newly published 2009-2012 ICSA Procedural Rules and Collegiate Dinghy Class Rules:

7.5.1 In accordance with the US SAILING prescription to RRS rule 86.3, the second sentence of RRS rule 18.2(c) is changed to "However, if the boat entitled to mark-room passes head to wind or leaves the zone, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply.” This proposed rule remains in effect unless rule 18.2(c) is changed in the RRS.

This is what Mitchell Brindley, President of ICSA said about it:

Please find the link at for the 2009-2012 Procedural Rules. Everyone should review these, and if you are a hosting an event you need to have a printed copy available.

Also take note of the Class rule 7.5.1 on the last page. ICSA has chosen to be proactive concerning the unintended consequences of RRS 18.2(c). The essence of the problem is that rule 18.2(c) turns off rule 18.2(b) when either boat tacks. This allows a boat that is required to give mark-room under rule 18.2(b) to get out of that obligation by crossing head to wind, and then claim mark-room under rule 18.2(a) from boats that are already at the mark. In certain scenarios, this would have an outcome that runs counter to the general concept of rule 18.2(b), which "locks in" mark-rounding obligations early.

It is the feeling of the majority of the US Sailing Racing Rules Committee that ISAF will make a correction to the RRS later this spring. The ICSA executive committee did not want college sailing to have to accept what could amount to a significant game change in mid-season. ICSA is essentially "testing" an experimental rule prior to the expected implementation.

I do want to thank the ICSA Rules Committee and Chairman, Geoff Becker for their efforts.

It appears that the US SAILING RRS Committee is also expecting a change in the rules from ISAF.

What do you think? Should ISAF change 18.2(c)?
You can now also Vote on the new Poll in the sidebar.


Friday 13 February 2009

Tactical Rounding with Mark-Room? | 4

The experts now have all lined up!

As the poll already indicated, the consensus is that you can only take more room - to do a tactical rounding - if you also have right of way as an inside boat. I was send an scan of an article in Yachting World by Mike B (thank you for that and also thank you, Jose).

In it John Doerr, who previuosly stated that a boat could sail her proper course from the moment she entered the zone, now explains she cannot if she's only entitled to mark room and thereby corrects his earlier interpretation. An inside keep clear boat breaks a row rule, if she takes more room then needed to sail to the mark and will not be exonerated for breaking that rule by 18.5.

Read the whole article here: The Knowledge march 2009

I'm glad we got that sorted out, only 99 more to go....


Thursday 12 February 2009

Boat Scenario 200902 Released

Thibaut has let me know that a new version of Boat Scenario was released yesterday. On the release note, the new features since last release:
  • configurable zone at marks
  • boats resized to real world size
  • multiple series in a scenario
  • a list widget for tracks edition
  • color chooser for tracks
  • nicer sail drawing
  • and a startboat
New features like these will keep coming in the future. The site also has an RSS feed So you can get updates in your feedreader.

Screenshot of release 200902 with a blue keelboat, green laser, red optimist and yellow tornado. Also a orange startingvessel and a grey mark with zone....
If you want to download and try out this latest release, go to


LTW Readers Q&A | 18 : "Significantly"

Received a question from Sen about the meaning of a particular word in the rules used in RRS 62.1

Dear Jos;

I always appreciate your great work in LOOK TO WINDWARD.

What is the meaning of “significantly”? Now the Japanese Sailing Federation (JSAF) has been confusing how to translate the word "significantly" into Japanese. I just found a description about the word in your CYA Appeals.
The preamble of the appeals is as follows;

PREFACE1 The Canadian Yachting Association Appeals, Interpretations of the Racing Rules, 2005 - 2008 follows a complete review of all of the cases previously published in the 11 June 2003 edition, and also includes Appeals 92 to 95, which were decided in 2004. Although few Appeals required substantive revision, there are numerous cases of editorial revisions to reflect changes in rule numbering, names or text. For example, rules relating to redress no longer use the term “materially prejudiced” and so wherever possible this term has been replaced by “made significantly worse,” as used in the 2005 - 2008 rules.

Would you please let me know how to understand which is the difference between “materially prejudiced” and “made significantly worse,” with easy English?
I would be very happy to receive your reply. But please don't regard this as an obligation because I know well you are very very ... busy.

Thanks in advance.
Sen Yamaoka

Dear Sen,

The word "significantly" in the redress rule is very subjective!
It is not a fixed quantity, but depends on several variables.

Perhaps a few examples will make things clearer?:
If a boat entitled to redress has only lost 1 place in a fleet of 40, her score is not "made significantly worse". But if that same loss of one place happens in a medal race and she loses a medal because of it, you could argue that one place is "significantly".

Last year the nomination to the Olympics of the American woman windsurfer was about a redress for one place. That Jury found it to be significantly.
In a normal fleet race with nothing else at stake, I would think that "significantly" should be at least 4 or 5 places.

From the dictionaries:
  • fairly large; by a substantial margin;
  • a difference among observed values, deemed large enough to be considered reliable;
  • having or likely to have a major effect; important: a significant change in the tax laws;
  • fairly large in amount or quantity: significant casualties; no significant opposition.

The old wording of "materially prejudiced" had a material component. Something had to be broken. Something that influenced the speed of the boat. That part is now covered by rule 62.1(c) and therefore no longer needed in the wording.

With your permission I’ll make an LTW Q&A about this.

As always, with highest regards,

Dear Jos;

I deeply appreciate your kind and quick reply.
I will be very happy you post my question.
In my district, the plum (Ume) blossoms are at their best now.
This flower smells very sweet.

Thanks again.
With kindest regards;
Sen Yamaoka

So, I had to look up the plum (ume) blossoms,

and found this picture and blogpost: Spring 2008 : Japanese Plum (Ume) Blossoms. Over here, in the frozen north, spring still seems like a million years away.... (sigh)

Thanks for reminding me that spring will arrive here too, Sen!


ISAF Racing Rules Q&A's Booklet

New on the ISAF site: Racing Rules Q&A's Booklet.
All valid Q&A's in one pdf-file, including the latest: Racing Rules Q&A 2009-020.

If you print them two sided, with two pages on one A4 and with the book function on your printer engaged, you end up with a 25 paged A5 booklet. Should fit easily in your judges kit.

Racing Rules Q&A 2009-020 does not contain any applicable information about the rules. It is more a reminder of the Q&A panel that they only answer specific situations. The Q is too general and therefore not answerable without additional information.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

iShares Cup 2009 European Dates Confirmed

In Brief:
  • The dates for the 2009 iShares Cup Extreme 40 European Series are now confirmed.
  • Five, possibly six, rounds will be staged across Europe stopping in Italy, France, UK, Germany and Amsterdam.
  • The city of Kiel will, once again, host the German round of the iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series - the remaining venues will be revealed over the coming weeks.
  • iShares Cup shortlisted for the Sponsorship Industry Awards 'Best Sponsorship of a Sport Event or Competition'
In Detail:
Crowds watch the Extreme 40's racing close to shore at Kiel, Germany
© Kiel Marketing GmbH

The 2009 calendar for the premium iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series is now confirmed. Five rounds, with a possible sixth and final event, will be staged across Europe that will see the leaders in the sport of sailing vying for the overall iShares Cup, bringing the sport of Extreme 40 racing to the public for a third year running. Held at premium European venues that will grant the public accessibility and a grandstand view of the iShares Cup racing - spectators are guaranteed a close-up view of the short-course, action-packed racing alongside the iShares Cup Race Village, engaging the public both on and off the water.
Round 1 : Italy - 15th to 17th May 2009
Round 2 : France - 3rd to 5th July 2009
Round 3 : United Kingdom - 1st to 3rd August 2009
Round 4 : Germany, Kiel - 28th to 30th August 2009
Round 5 : The Netherlands - 25th to 27th September 2009
Round 6 : tbc - 10th to 12th October 2009

80,000 spectators visit the race village for Round 4 at Kiel
© Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/OC Events

Racing will be staged over three days Friday to Sunday with a Media Day held the day before each regatta. The venues will be announced over the coming weeks starting this week with the confirmation that the German city of Kiel will, once again, host a round of the iShares Cup.
After the huge success of the inaugural iShares Cup 2008 regatta in Kiel, which saw over 80,000 spectators cheering on the Extreme 40s which prompted Alinghi skipper, Ed Baird, to comment: "I think we've probably sailed in front of this many in a television situation but not in person, this is fantastic." - the city of Kiel will host Round 4 of the iShares Cup over the 28th to 30th August directly in front of the Kiellinie.
"KIEL.SAILING CITY is proud of the fact that it belongs to the select group of European venues, which are presenting the regattas of this year's Extreme 40 Sailing Series. These regattas offer a perfect mix of breathtaking entertainment and world-class sports," said Angelika Volquartz, Kiel's Lord Mayor. "It was most important for us to secure an option to continue this cooperation for the years to come, because this high-profile catamaran event so close to the city centre is a true asset to KIEL.SAILING CITY."


Tommy Hilfiger pitch-poles - but recovers - on Day 2 of the iShares Cup in Hyeres
© TornadoSport/Tommy Hilfiger

Dan Kiddle, Head of iShares Sponsorship, Europe, commented, "Germany is a key market for iShares and based on the success of the 2008 event in Kiel we are delighted to be returning there in 2009. The style of sailing you will witness and experience in the iShares Cup is revolutionary and we are delighted to be supporting such an exciting sport whereby its core characteristics reflect our brand values and business approach."
After winning the Business to Business Category of the European Sponsorship Awards last November, the iShares Cup has now been shortlisted in the 2009 Sponsorship Industry Awards 'Best Sponsorship of a Sport Event or Competition'. In the category for 'Best Sponsorship of a Sport Event or Competition', the iShares Cup is up against some powerful competition from Castrol, Guinness, Visa, Powerade and Speedo. The nominees now go before the main judging panel and the final award ceremony will be held on the 30th April.

iShares Extreme 40 racing at Kiel, Germany
© Kiel Marketing GmbH

For further information on the iShares Cup, visit:

If all goes according to plan I'll be umpiring 4 of the events. Italy, France, Netherlands and tbc (Spain?). Seeing these pictures I already want to go!

Tuesday 10 February 2009


I've been fiddling with a diagram from the presentation of the ISAF RRS Section C Working Party. (You can look that up in this post: Tactical Rounding with Mark-Room? | 3)

For everybody who is finding their way in the new section C, the presentation gave a schematic flow-chart to find the appropriate rule. When I first started translating this in Dutch to use in a presentation, I
discovered there should be an additional question. Rule 19 can be applicable for boats that approach the line to start!

So I revised the flow chart to include that question and here's the result

I'm also including the Dutch translation:

We will no doubt have protest about boats approaching the first line of boats at a starting line from astern. The discussion if the windward boat will be able to give room, might be difficult, but must somehow be resolved. Mike B already predicted a Black flag chaos: RRS 2009-2012; Rule 19 Room to Pass an Obstruction

What do you think? Any comments on the diagrams are welcome.


Monday 9 February 2009

Benelux Race Officials Seminar 2009 | 2

At the seminar last weekend we were given a presentation about the interaction between the different Race Officials and how to gain an advantage with interacting better.

At any (major) event there are several Race official (groups) who need to cooperate to make it a success; Race Officer (committee), Judges and or Umpires and Measurers.

If you are a Judge or Umpire, what do you know of the responsibilities of the Measurer? If you are a Race Officer, when do you ask a Jury member if you have an issue. If you are a Measurer can you disqualify a boat without the Jury?

I must admit that I have a fairly good picture of what a Race Officer can and cannot do, but almost no idea about the obligations or rights of a Measurer. At the seminar we were asked to consider what we would need to know of the others to perform our own task better. Not only arriving at an event but well before. Not what you think "they" should know. But what you think you need from them....

It begins with having respect for each others work.
Then we all need knowledge about the responsibilities and rights of each group and knowledge about procedures the others follow.
Furthermore we need to check that the documents each group prepares don't have contradictions, like in the last Olympics. Each document must also be screened by the other groups to know the impact on each others work.
It is sometimes frustrating for a Race Officer to get a paper from the Jury on the first day amending several rules in the Sailing Instructions. It is equally frustrating to have to do protest after protest because the SI haven't been properly written. Do you always read the Class Rules before you go to an event?

ISAF has/will develop more interaction between the Race Officials using Internet. They already have streamlined and build consistency in the four groups, by making several requirements to become an international Race Official, general applicable. All four have a sub-committee which are guided by the Race Official Committee. All four must follow a code of conduct and all four represent ISAF. It will take some time, but it is on the agenda.

Perhaps it would beneficial to do an event helping in the group you are not familiar with? I wouldn't mind helping out a Measurement Team for an event to learn about there responsibilities.

How about you? Do you know enough?


Saturday 7 February 2009

Benelux Race Officials Seminar 2009

If all goes according to plan this post will appear on the blog when I'm travelling to Rotterdam to attend a two day seminar: The Benelux Race Officials Seminar 2009.

Every year, alternating between Belgium and the Netherlands, the race officials of the "Dutch" language area are given the opportunity to meet and discuss the rules, race management and catch up on International developments. This year the focus will be on the new RRS 2009-2012, of course.

But we will also get a presentation on the interaction and cooperation between Race Managment, Measurement Team and Judges during big events. Furthermore, the head coach of our Dutch Olympic Sailing team will give a presentation and Josje Hofland, who has been to Qingdao as a member of the International Jury, will tell something about her experience.

I must also mention that a couple of the cases we will be discussing are from the BI Star Fleet blog and from Look to Windward.

It promises to be an interesting weekend....

If I can, I'll post about it during, but most likely it will be Monday before I can get on-line again to do that.


Friday 6 February 2009

Protest Model Boats from Russia

Because of comments on this post: Elfstrom explains with Plastic Boats, I received an E-mail from Russia. In that mail ANNA DEYANOVA offered a set of plastic model boats to use in a protest hearing. She send me a picture:

Made from plexiglas in bright colors and what looks like a nice sailcloth bag to keep them in.

After some further inquiries I learned that these boats are exactly the 2 inch ones, that Dick was searching for. Anna send me another picture with a ruler in the frame.

Dick made a sheet with a 2 inch grid, mark and zone which can be used on the protest table. With a set of three or four boats in the same colour you can then place the situation in sequence on the sheet. He is calling his sheet: "The Fold Out 17 inch X 22 inch Protest Table Top Course Diagram" and gave me permission to use it in a post.

If you combine these two individual efforts you can get a very nice setup for your judges-kit.
Anna is offering her boats for a very reasonable price, only 15 Euro. She also has to send it, that will take approximately 2 weeks and costs another 10 Euro for Normal Post. Perhaps she's willing to increase the number of racing boats to four of each colour to use with the sheet?

If you want to contact Anna and order a set you can use:
I'm going to.

Thursday 5 February 2009

Proper Course

A LTW-guest post by Brass

Proper Course in the Rules

There are only three rules where proper course is mentioned. These are:

  • Rule 17: overtaking to leeward …
  • Rule 18: Mark-Room
  • Rule 23: Interfering with another boat.

Additionally, rule 14(b) relies on the definition of mark-room, which in turn relies on proper course.

If there is no alleged or apparent breach of one of these rules, then 'proper course' has no meaning. If a Protest Committee's conclusion and rules that apply in a protest does not refer to one of these rules then the term 'proper course' should not be used.

What is Proper Course - Proper Course and Best Course

Proper course is defined as 'A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term.'

Note that a boat can have more than one 'proper course', for example, either gybe may be equally favored for a boat on a downwind leg, but usually, in the context of a proper course rule there will be only one relevant proper course.

Let's see how the definition of proper course is made up.

Let's define Best Course as 'the course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible'. A boat's best course is the course the boat would sail to avoid obstructions, and not break any rules.

A boat's proper course then, is the boat's 'Best Course', but not allowing for rules-tactical or wind/water-strategical effects of other boats referred to in an applicable proper course rule.

Let's look at a few diagrams.

Figure 1. Boat reaching to a mark alone


This boat's best course will be on, above or below the direct course to the mark depending on wind, tide, characteristics of the boat and so on.

If the boat was alone, beating to windward, its best course would be close hauled: it could be a little pinched, or a little free, again depending on wind, tide, characteristics of the boat and so on.

Figure 2. Boat reaching past an obstruction


This boat's best course will be to sail round the obstruction, on one side or the other, depending on the wind, tide, characteristics of the boat, and wind shadow of the obstruction and extra distance to be sailed

Figure 3. Overtaking a slower boat


Racing boat Blue with poorly trimmed sails is sailing slower than Yellow. Yellow, clear astern must keep clear of Blue. Yellow's best course will be to sail to windward of blue, avoiding Blue's wind shadow.

No proper course rule applies here so the notion of proper course is of no use.

Figure 4. Overtaking at an obstruction where Rule 17 applies


Yellow, reaching faster clear astern becomes overlapped to leeward within two of her hull lengths to leeward of Green, so rule 17 applies to oblige Yellow not to sail above her proper course.

Rule 17 which is a referring to proper course applies, so Yellow has a proper course.

Approaching Blue which is sailing slower, Yellow, clear astern must keep clear of Blue. Yellow's best course will be to sail to windward of Blue. This would be Yellow's best course whether or not Green was there; therefore Yellow's best course is also her proper course.

Although this will disadvantage Green, by forcing her to sail high, and make it easier for Yellow to break through Blue, as long as Yellow sails no higher than will get her past Blue fastest to the next mark, Yellow does not break rule 17.

Figure 5. Where Rule 17 applies without an obstruction


Yellow, reaching faster clear astern becomes overlapped to leeward within two of her hull lengths to leeward of Green, so rule 17 applies to oblige Yellow not to sail above her proper course.

Rule 17, which is a referring to proper course, applies, so Yellow has a proper course.

Yellow wants to take advantage of her better boat speed to get further ahead of Green and gain good position for her mark-rounding. To do this Yellow's best course is to sail high, pushing Green further up to windward.

But sailing high to windward would not be Yellow's best course in the absence of Green. Thus Yellow's best course is not her proper course. If Yellow sails any higher than she would have to get to the mark as soon as possible, she breaks rule 17.

Of course, if a strong lift arrived, which Yellow wanted to follow up, or a right of way boat arrived that Yellow had to keep clear of, responding to these things by sailing high, would be Yellow's proper course.

Figure 6. Where rule 17 does not apply


Suppose Green has sailed high of the mark and found a wind gust and is sailing down on the gust.

At position 3 Green, the windward boat must keep clear of Yellow. Yellow's best course is to sail high to avoid being blanketed by Green.

No proper course rule applies here so the notion of proper course is of no use.

Right to Sail Proper Course or Obligation?

The only rule which gives a boat a right to room to sail its proper course is rule 18.2 Giving Mark-Room.

Other rules restrict a boat in respect of its proper course. When they apply:

  • Rule 17 restricts the leeward boat from sailing above its proper course.
  • Rule 18.4 restricts they right of way boat from sailing beyond her proper course without gybing.
  • Rule 23 restricts a boat that may interfere with a boat taking a penalty or sailing another leg, to her proper course.

Except when rule 18.2 applies, no rule gives a boat an entitlement to sail her proper course. Any entitlement a boat has to sail her best course, comes from her having an entitlement to right of way or room under one of the other rules.

Protest Committee deciding what a boat's proper course is

It may be difficult for a Protest Committee to decide what a boat's proper course is. A boat's proper course will be affected by the factors discussed above.

There is no onus on any boat to prove facts in a protest, but a boat protesting another boat for breaking a proper course rule (rules 17, 18.4, or 23) or a boat protesting that she has not been given room to sail her proper course at a mark (rule 18.2), may be expected to provide relevant evidence and advance necessary arguments to support her contentions about proper course.

Whether or not a boat protesting another boat for breaking a proper course rule (rules 17, 18.4, or 23) observes that the course of the protestee is different from her own best course, or prevents her from sailing her best course does not decide the proper course of the protestee. If the boats are of the same or similar design, it may be indicative, but possibly different boat characteristics and the judgement of the skipper of the protestee must be taken into account.

Customarily Protest Committees give substantial latitude to a boat justifying her proper course. A possible standard for deciding proper course may be:

Given that there may be legitimate differences of opinion about what a boat’s proper course may be (Case 14), the standard to prove proper course requires a reasonable hypothesis explaining why the course sailed was the course the boat would have sailed to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term, that is consistent with the facts and not effectively undermined by counter argument.


Wednesday 4 February 2009

Scoring problem with one boat finishing

Some time ago I received an Email with a question from Wolfgang. I've been trying to find an answer, but no luck so far.
Perhaps one of LTW-readers can help?

Is there a protest, Q&A, case or call about the scoring problem with only one boat finishing in time?
And subsequently giving answers if that boat has finished normally or with OCS or with a Black Flag penalty?

Tuesday 3 February 2009

LTW Q&A | 17 revisited; Room to Pass

I received a mail from Mike posing a different approach to the new rules regarding:

Passing a Continuing Obstruction
(if you want to start from the beginning read LTW Q&A | 17 first)

I have been looking into this and am not sure we answered fully the questions posed by Sen.
  1. "She" is the boat that had been clear astern.
  2. The situation is when an overlap is created when passing a continuous obstruction. Strictly before could apply but when you are only approaching the test of there “being room to pass between them” is usually fulfilled. See old example in the old Elvstrom Rules books.
I think there is a big change unless I am mistaken, or if I am, the new rule is more explicit.
To me the old rule allows any boat RoW or other that gets and inside overlap to have the possibility of room if the test of “passing between the boat and obstruction is met”. This would have had to be the case under the old rules as at leeward marks a port boat had rights over a starboard boat when she was in the Zone. This was pure old RRS 18.

Now we have moved to RRS 19 and we can thus look a fresh not being tied by the old conventions. Thus for obstructions we see the Zone has gone. Further now there is an extra requirement in RRS 19.2.c in that it applies to a boat “clear astern and required to keep clear”.
If you are a ROW boat the rule does not apply and now (not perhaps previously) the clear ahead port boat has to move. This is a game change or clarification.

The additional words “While the boats remain overlapped, she shall keep clear and rules 10 and 11 do not apply” are now very important. If you now are on port as the boat clear astern of another port tack boat, then get an inside overlap, when you could not “have passed between them” you cannot gain ROW by gybing to starboard.
In similar fashion you cannot have no rights and gybe to become the leeward boat and claim ROW. If you agree, perhaps you could forward this to Sen for his consideration.

Mike Butterfield IRO IU IJ

What do you think?

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