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Entanglement, Redress, Substantial Advantage and Retirement.

Darin Ballington

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Well, the title says it all really..

Sailing at Fleetwood lake, course was full length of lake twice with finish 1/2 way up.

Going up the beat approaching the 1st windward mark,black boat calls starboard on white boat, white boat wriggles, misjudges and there is contact in which both boats become entangled for about 30 secs- 1min (seemed longer when racing!) White acknowledges fault and does penalty turn.Both boats were in the top half of the fleet, after entanglement (on water without assistance) both boats are last by maybe 30 secs to a minute.

Both boats continue on course and black boat catches up with pack on final beat (last leg of course).

Black boat then collides with another boat (BB 2) with a port and starboard incident, Black acknowledges fault and does penalty turn, finishing penalty turn behind BB2, black boat then continues to finish.

Observer then advise that black boat had finished in front of BB2 and claimed had gained advantage. (BB2 was demoted and black boat stayed up) BB2 skipper asked Black Boat skipper what he was going to do so Black boat skipper retired and BB2 stayed in A fleet.

So, questions are:

1. Was Black boat entitled to redress for 1st incident or does the boat now have to be disabled to claim redress (other than protesting under rule 2 etc)

2. Can a boat who has subsequently retired after the race for a later incident claim redress for an earlier incident in the race or does the 2nd incident cancel out the 1st?

3. Significant advantage- does staying in a fleet over going down represent a significant advantage- implying that if its the last leg or near the finishing line and there is a contact between the back end of the fleet that any boat has to finish behind one that it has fouled, or does the significant advantage switch off once the appropriate penalty is taken?

4. Is it in the remit of an observer to state or note that there is an advantage, or it is up to the skipper to claim this?

As you can tell it was a frenetic race for the black boat and he (me) probably got what he deserved :) (sorry Damian)

Any thoughts??

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Hi Darin, looks like a tough week end !

Some thoughts :

1 If E66 is not modified in SI, then yes you have to retire because of a break to hope getting redress after such entanglement.

2 My head hurts...

3 In last leg BB2 can get a redress in place, but here there was no boat disabled so he can't. If you finish penalty behind BB2, there is no advantage. So I don't understand observer's call Except if he is still in irons and you are sailing.

4 Yes observer can observe this, and an umpire could ask for another penalty.

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Olivier has answered Q1.

These are my thoughts.

Q2. May you receive redress for incident A, even if you retire subsequently, having being at fault in incident B. I do not know of any case covering this, but I suspect the answer would be No - retiring after an 'at fault' situation, your finish position is affected by your own action and forfeits any redress.

Q3. If you gained significant advantage over another boat, and took a series of penalty turns until the advantage has gone - then you overtake enough boats to avoid relegation, while the other boat fell back and became relegated, the issue ended when you took the penalty.

Q4. The observer duties include calling contacts and recording the positions of the boats for the incident, and reporting the incident to the RC at the finish. It would be up to the skipper involved, or the RC to initiate additional action - ie file a protest if they felt that the penalty taken was insufficient. Yes, an Umpire may call additional turns, but not an observer.

Q3 raises a different issue. Scenario - you are in B heat with 6 up/down and you foul the boat that is seventh last, such that you finish seventh last and the ROW boat finishes 6th last - so he gets relegated to C fleet for the next race. You did a one penalty turn, but you recovered faster and were still ahead of the other boat after the penalty turn. Did you gain significant advantage? The rule is not clear on what is 'significant'. It is very subjective. On the score sheet for that race, you finish one place higher than the boat you fouled. I would argue that one place in many circumstances, is not significant. If the rule wants you to take penalty turns until you are behind the boat that you fouled, why does the rule not simply say that. (like passing under a Yellow flag in motor racing - get back behind the other guy).

However, if the incident happened at the front end of the heat, such that after the penalty, you finish 6th in the heat and get promoted, while the other boat finishes 7th and stays in B - Now you go into A fleet and may finish many places higher in the race that the boat you fouled - that sounds more significant.

I really dislike the current wording for significant advantage because of the subjectivity of both the foul (how many boats to be significant) and the penalty (how many turns until the advantage has gone). I have suggested to the IRSA Rules committee to look at changing it in the next RRS so the penalty for significant advantage is to retire. eg. If you foul one boat, do one turn and carry on - if your foul affects more than one boat - retire.


John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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  • 2 weeks later...

Q1 Redress can only be given when a boat becomes entangled and as a result retires. In this case boat was able to continue in the race. No redress.

Q2 No, she must retire as a result of the initial entanglement

Q3 Yes, going up or down would be a significant advantage in the heat or race. Rule E4.3 refers to penalties taken at the tile of the incident. Significant advantage is evaluated after a boat has taken the required penalty. If after taking a penalty a boat is ahead of the infringed boat this usually means that she has gained a significant advantage... especially on the last leg near the finish. The one proviso is that the infringed boat is being sailed in a seamanlike way (and not, for instance, stuck in irons because she has chosen a rig that is too big)

Q8 Under E5.1c the observer reports unresolved incidents. In his report it would always be helpful to include information regarding the positions of the 2 boats after turns have been taken. When sailing under IRSA Addendum Q the observer and umpire can decide that a significant advantage has been gained.


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