Monday 23 July 2012

(pillow)Case of the week (30/12) - 2

(This is an installment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2011. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)
(pillow)Case picture
Case 2
Rule 12, On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 18.2(a), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room
Rule 18.2(b), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room

If the first of two boats to reach the zone is clear astern when she reaches it and if later the boats are overlapped when the other boat reaches the zone, rule 18.2(a), and not rule 18.2(b), applies. Rule 18.2(a) applies only while boats are overlapped and at least one of them is in the zone.
Case 2 diagram

Summary of the Facts

A and B were both on port tack, reaching to a mark to be left to starboard. The wind was light. At position 1, when A came abreast of the mark she was clear ahead of B but four-and-a-half hull lengths from the mark. B, who had just reached the zone, was three lengths from the mark. Between positions 1 and 2 A gybed and headed to the mark, becoming overlapped outside B. Between positions 2 and 3, after B had gybed and turned towards the next mark, she became clear ahead of A. When B first became clear ahead of A there was about one-half of a hull length of open water between the boats. A few seconds after B became clear ahead, A, who was moving faster, struck B on the transom. There was no damage or injury. A protested B under rule 18.2(b). B protested A under rule 12. A was disqualified and she appealed.  


A apparently believed that the second sentence of rule 18.2(b) applied when the two boats were at position 1 and that B, then being clear astern, was obliged to give A mark-room. As that sentence states, it applies only if a boat was clear ahead when she reached the zone. At position 1, B had reached the zone, but A was well outside it. Moreover, the first sentence of rule 18.2(b) never applied because the boats were not overlapped when B, the first of them to reach the zone, did so. However, while the boats were overlapped, rule 18.2(a) did apply, and it required A to give mark-room to B. During that time B had to keep clear of A, first under rule 10 and later (after she gybed) under rule 11.

After B gybed she pulled clear ahead of A. At that moment rules 18.2(a) and 11 ceased to apply and rules 12 and 15 began to apply. Rule 15 required B initially to give A room to keep clear, and B did so because it would have been easy for A to keep clear by promptly bearing off slightly to avoid B’s transom after B became clear ahead. When A hit B’s transom, she obviously was not keeping clear of B, and so it was proper to disqualify A for breaking rule 12. A also broke rule 14 because it was
possible for her to bear off slightly and avoid the contact with B.

After it became clear that A was not going to keep clear of B, it was probably not possible for B to avoid the contact. However, even if B could have avoided the contact, she could not have been penalized under rule 14 because she was the right-of-way boat and the contact did not cause damage or injury.

The appeal is dismissed, the protest committee’s decision is upheld, and A remains disqualified for breaking rules 12 and 14.

USSA 1962/87


I must confess that this Case is something that I have learned myself only recently. I never had a case involving the clear ahead boat not reaching the zone first before. Only after reading the sentences of rule 18 in the book again and again, I came to the same conclusion.

It is easy to overlook these first cases in the book as being too obvious. This one however is pretty important, although it might be some time before you come across a similar situation in the protest room.

We are almost at the 'end' of our series... One more to go.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Umpire Call; Returning?

Both Blue and Yellow are over early. Due to not enough people on the starting vessel the RC is a little late in calling them back. Yellow and Blue sail back to the starting line to start. This is what happens:

In position 3 the Blue boat on Port, forces Yellow on Starboard to gybe. The boats have no contact but it is very close. Blue protests in position 4.
You are the Umpire in the green rib. (and you are alone). What is your decision?

Monday 16 July 2012

(pillow)Case of the week (29/12) - 03

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2011. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)

(pillow)Case picture

Case 3

Rule 19.2(a), Room to Pass an Obstruction: Giving Room at an Obstruction
Rule 20.1, Room to Tack at an Obstruction: Hailing and Responding
Rule 64.1(c), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration

A leeward port-tack boat, hailing for room to tack when faced with an oncoming starboard-tack boat, an obstruction, is not required to anticipate that the windward boat will fail to comply with her obligation to tack promptly or otherwise provide room.

Summary of the Facts

S hailed PL as the two dinghies approached each other on collision courses. PL then twice hailed ‘Room to tack’, but PW did not respond. PL, now unable to keep clear of S, hailed a third time, and PW then began to tack. At that moment, S, which was then within three feet (1 m) of PL, had to bear away sharply to avoid a collision. PW retired and S protested PL under rule 10. The protest committee disqualified PL observing that, not having had a timely response from PW, she should have used her right to luff and forced PW to tack.

Case 3 diagram

PL appealed, claiming that:

  1. she had no right to force PW onto the opposite tack;
  2. even with both of them head to wind, S would still have had to change course to avoid a collision; and
  3. she had foreseen the development and had hailed PW in ample time.


PL’s appeal is upheld. PL is to be reinstated. Because S was an obstruction to PL and PW, PL was entitled to choose between tacking and bearing away (see rule 19.2(a)). Having decided to tack and having hailed for room to do so three times, PL was entitled by rule 20.1 to expect that PW would respond and give her room to tack. She was not obliged to anticipate PW’s failure to comply with rule 20.1. PL broke rule 10, but she is exonerated as the innocent victim of another boat’s breach of a rule, under the provisions of rule 64.1(c).

RYA 1962/37


We are almost at the ‘beginning’ of our Casebook. The Cases there, are all dealing with the most fundamental principles. In this particular case the right of the right-of-way boat to choose, and – if the keep clear boat does not do what it is suppose to do – the exoneration for breaking a rule.

But there’s another principle here;

Although most experienced regatta sailors know beforehand what is most likely going to happen, the rules don’t have any provisions or obligations that you have to anticipate. The rules deal in facts, not in intentions. In almost all incidents a boat has to act on the factual rights and obligations.
Am I keep clear boat?
Am I right of way boat?
And from the answers to those questions you know what you can or cannot do.

The trouble is that in any given situation the facts can change very quickly by what the boats do. That leads to ‘getting ahead’ of what the facts will become and with that to rights and obligations that are not (yet) established.

A port tacking boat will become a starboard right of way boat. But until it has completed its tack, it is still a keep clear boat. And until that time any (not tacking) boat does not have to respond, although its crew already knows that moment will come. If the tacking boat already acts as if she’s right of way boat, because that will happen in a second or two, it most likely will break rule 13.

The right-of-way boat in Case 3 does not have to anticipate that the keep clear boat will not act according to the rules – when she’s hailed three times.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Sneekweek 2012; Invitation to sailors II

In a previous post I mentioned the Sneekweek: Invitation Sneekweek for Sailors
The Organizing Authority has organized a couple of packages for International Sailors to make it easier (and cheaper) to come; From the leaflets:

Some time ago the Royal Yacht Club Sneek sent you an invitation to join us for Sneekweek. We
understand that it may not be easy for you to arrange accommodation and the like, and that is
why we have done it for you. Below please find information on the gold and silver packages put
together especially for Sneekweek.

Special offer!
The Royal Yacht Club Sneek cordially invites you to take part in Sneekweek. To make participation
even more attractive, you are given the choice between two special offers: the Gold and Silver

The Royal Yacht Club Sneek (KWS) has organized this special event for the past 77 years. It takes
place in the north of the Netherlands, in the province of Friesland. This year, the event will be
held from 4 through 9 August. The Sneekweek is Europe’s largest inshore sailing regatta. The most
important thing for many people, however, is the fun and hugely enjoyable atmosphere for which we
are famous!
Sailors compete in 40 different classes. Vaurien, Yngling, Optimist, Finn, 2.4mR, Laser and Splash among others offer loyal fleets that keep coming back for more. Sneekweek easily compares to Travemünder Woche or Kiel Week, except it is much more personal.

More information:
Invitation Sneekweek 2012 & Leaflet Sneekweek 2012

Tuesday 10 July 2012


Sailing a kite board is not like sailing a sailboat. But you already figured that out. Didn't you?

One of the basic differences is in how they regulate there 'sail' in heavy wind conditions. On a sailboat you start trimming. More tension on the back stay. Flattening reef. Leeward with the traveler. Or even reefing the mainsail and changing the jib.

Kite boarders don't have those options. Sure you can - to a certain extend - de-power your kite by letting go of the handle bar. But the size of the kite stays the same.....

Or does it?

No, it does not. Any skilled kite boarder has a range of kites varying from 6 to 18 m2. Eight or seven of them. He or she picks the kite most suitable for the wind conditions and their own mass. Heavier, stronger riders, choose bigger kites. Smaller people need less square footage and choose a smaller size. And that's also how they cope with stronger winds. More wind equals smaller kites.

The International Kiteboard Class Rules however, have a limit on the number of kites you can use for an event. For a sailboat I can understand that you want to limit the number of sails - sound economical issues are to be considered. But to do the same for kiteboarders is like tying a knot in your sheet. You are not allowed to trim your main out any further. No matter how hard the wind is blowing. You must sail with a tight sheet.

Riders must judge the wind conditions for an event - look at the forecasts and choose three sizes they want to use. Those three kites are registered at the beginning and only those three they are allowed to use.

We all know how predictable weather can be. Those weather guys never get it wrong.
So that's fair, no?


You're on the north German shore of the North sea. One day it is a balmy 23 degrees, with sunshine and low 8 to 14 knot breeze. The next day it's blowing your socks off, with rain and 42 knots wind.
But those weather guys saw that coming weeks ahead.....

There's wind, let's go kiting.

The amazing thing is that kiteboarder go sailing in those conditions... provided they can use their smaller kites. They love it. No wave to high, no breeze to strong. They just go faster.... and higher.....

The Race Committees for next year's World Cup events have a surprise coming. When every other class stays ashore because the wind is too strong.... kiteboarders will want to go racing!

Unless they are forced in using a limited number of kites...... or even only one.


Monday 9 July 2012

(pillow)Case of the week (28/12) - 04

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2011. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)
(pillow)Case picture
Case 4
(Case 5 has been withdrawn for revision during 2009)
Rule 49, Crew Position
Rule 50.3(a), Setting and Sheeting Sails: Use of Outriggers

A competitor may hold a sheet outboard.
Is it permissible for a competitor to hold the sheet of a headsail or spinnaker outboard?
Rule 50.3(a) prohibits the use of an outrigger and defines it to be a fitting or other device. A competitor is neither a fitting nor a device. It is therefore permissible for a competitor to hold a sheet outboard, provided that rule 49 is complied with.
RYA 1962/41
For those of you who are wondering about rule 49:
49.1 Competitors shall use no device designed to position their bodies outboard, other than hiking straps and stiffeners worn under the thighs.

49.2 When lifelines are required by the class rules or the sailing instructions they shall be taut, and competitors shall not position any part of their torsos outside them, except briefly to perform a necessary task.
On boats equipped with upper and lower lifelines of wire, a competitor sitting on the deck facing outboard with his waist inside the lower lifeline may have the upper part of his body outside the upper lifeline.
When holding a sheet outboard your torso will be most likely outside the lifelines on a yacht that is equipped with those. Therefore you can only do it briefly to perform a necessary task. Taking the spinnaker pole down just before lowering and then a crewmember holds the sheet outboard to keep the spinnaker drawing, complies with rule 49 and with rule 50.3(a). If you do the same for half a leg – provided you are that strong – it breaks rule 49 and the boat can be protested and DSQ-ed.
And since it is in part 4 of the RRS – no alternative penalty can be taken to exonerate this infringement.
A sheet is not a device designed to position a crew’s body outboard, so you even comply with rule 49.1 by using that same spinnaker sheet as support to prevent you from falling in the water. But, like stated, only briefly!

Sunday 8 July 2012

Race Management Program for Finishing

Today I'm asking for your help (again).
I'm looking for a software program that can accurately score a finish in a regatta. On a tablet or phone. Anything with a touchscreen.

To start with you have an entry list with all the sail numbers. They are sorted in order. At the finish line you tab the number of the boat/kite/board coming in and it records the number with a time.
The number is deleted from the list or at least changes color or some such distinction. (In special cases you should be able to record a finisher twice, remember?)

I can imagine making something like this in a spreadsheet - Excel or whatever - but that would require typing in a number - something that in some classes is a drag. (how many digits does a laser sail number have again?)

So my question to you: Is there anything like this currently available or 'in the making'?

Please come back to me in a comment or send me an Email: rrs-study ed home dot nl

Saturday 7 July 2012

Answers in the Case of the Seven Samurai

Perhaps you remember our discussion in the case of Seven Samurai boats at the Leeward Mark, back in February?

If not have a look at and at it's sequel:

As agreed in the discussion, it would be sent in to ISAF as an official Q&A and now the answers are published in ISAF Racing Rules Q&A 2012-005 B023.

It seems the answer tells us that both camps in the discussion were partly right; As per usual - it depends.....

Here is the text:

ISAF Racing Rules Question and Answer Service; B 023 Q&A 2012-005; Published: 6 July 2012

Question 1
In the first sentence of rule 18.1, does the phrase 'applies between boats' refer solely to each possible pair of boats, or can it mean “amongst any number of boats”?

Answer 1
Rule 18.1 states: 'Rule 18 applies between boats when they are required to leave a mark on the same side and at least one of them is in the zone.' Note the unqualified use of boats in the plural. Therefore, at any point in time, rule 18 can apply to any number of boats as long as one of them is in the zone. In many instances, this number will be more than the number of boats affected by an obligation placed by rule 18.2 on an outside overlapped boat or a clear astern boat. The fact that rule 18 applies between boats may be a condition for another part of rule 18 to apply but, in itself, it does not mean that any of the boats has an obligation or entitlement under another part of rule 18.

Question 2
In the three-boat scenario on the right, Does B (Purple) break rule 18 by luffing A (Grey) after
position 2, but before reaching the zone?

Answer 2
Rule 18 applies to A, B and C from the time that C enters the zone at Position 2. See answer to question 1 above.

The relevant part of rule 18.2 states 'If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone, the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter give the inside boat mark-room.'

This creates an obligation on an outside boat, from a particular point in time, to give mark-room to each boat inside her. Thus, after C reaches the zone, she is required to give mark-room to both A and B. However, B does not have a similar obligation to A, the boat inside her, as neither A nor B have reached the zone. Therefore, B does not break any part of rule 18 when she luffs A.

Question 3
In the seven boats scenario, does rule 18 apply in Position 2 amongst the three boats E, F and G that are not in the zone?

Answer 3
Yes. A has reached the zone. All boats outside her have an obligation to give her mark-room. The same applies for B, C and then later D. See answer to Question 1.

Question 4
If there is contact in Position 2 between D, E, F and G, may E be exonerated for breaking rule 11 and rule 18.2(b)?

Answer 4
Yes. Because there is contact between D, E, F & G and D is in the zone, G has broken rule 18.2(b) by not giving mark-room. F and E have broken rule 11 but are exonerated under rule 64.1(c).

Question 5
Rule 18.2(b), first sentence, requires both E and F to give mark-room to the boats A, B, C & D that are overlapped inside them. While giving such room, E fails to keep clear of F and breaks rule 11. Is E entitled to exoneration?

Answer 5
The answer depends on the space between D and E. If this space is sufficient for E to luff and keep clear of F while giving mark-room, then the incident is simply that E breaks rule 11. However, if E cannot luff and still continue to give mark-room to D, then F breaks rule 18.2(b) by failing to give mark-room to D and E is exonerated under rule 64.1(c).

That's it then.
The solution in the Seven is given. They can all stay in service and don't have to become 'Ronin'.
I think all PCs and IJs can use this principle for multiple boat scenarios under rule 18.

Monday 2 July 2012

(pillow)Case of the week (27/12) - 06

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2011. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)

(pillow)Case picture

Case 6

Rule 16.1, Changing Course
Rule 16.2, Changing Course

A starboard-tack boat that tacks after a port-tack boat has borne away to go astern of her does not necessarily break a rule.

Case 6 diagram

Summary of the Facts

Between positions 1 and 2 P bore away to pass astern of S. A moment later S chose to tack. After sailing free for about a hull length, P resumed her close-hauled course, having lost about a hull length to windward, and passed S a hull length to windward of her. After S tacked, P’s luff to closehauled was not caused by a need to keep clear of S. P protested S under rule 16.1. P claimed that, when S tacked after P had borne away to pass astern of S, S failed to give P room to keep clear. The protest committee disqualified S under rule 16.1. S appealed.


S’s appeal is upheld. She is to be reinstated. S was subject to rule 16 only while luffing from a close-hauled starboard-tack course to head to wind. During that time P had room to keep clear, and so S did not break rule 16.1. S did not break rule 16.2 because P was able to continue to sail her course ‘for about a hull length’ which demonstrated that S’s luff did not require P to change course immediately to continue keeping clear. After S turned past head to wind, P became the right-of-way boat under rule 13, and rules 16.1 and 16.2 no longer applied. S kept clear of P as required by rule 13. No rule was broken by S.

USSA 1963/93


Did you notice the hand-drawn picture? The typing has to be something that was added later.

This case demonstrates that rules in Section B of Part Two do not have the same impact as the rules in Section A. They are ‘mere’ limitations on the right of way rules.

A ROW boat has to give the other boat room to keep clear. That is not the same as not doing what she wants. As long as she gives that room, she is free to sail wherever she wants.
The limitation rules do NOT cancel out the ROW-rules. They merely provide the keep clear boat the space and time she needs, to do what she must do, and that is to keep clear.


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