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SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES (Scenario 2)

SO, YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES?
1. SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES (Scenario 1)
2. SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES (Scenario 2)
3. SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES (Scenario 3)
4. SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES (Scenario 4)

There are situations at the windward mark where the port tack boat ‘tries it on’, by tacking underneath a starboard tack boat inside the zone and close to the mark. I hear people say a lot, when you tack inside the zone from port to starboard you have no rights. Read on because I think you will be surprised what the rules say.

One thing to bear in mind is that all this happens in a few seconds so you need to be confident you are in the right before you get into this situations

THE SITUATION

Green approaches on port and thinking there is a small gap, tacks onto starboard close hauled inside the zone and overlaps with red, who alleges is forced at the last moment to luff slightly above close hauled. There is no contact but red protests green.

Is there a penalty?

You might think this a simple situation but there are several rules that apply and are listed in full below the explanation of how they apply. It is worth referring to the full rule as you work through the unravelling of the situation.

The relevant rules are shown in full at the bottom of the article.

HOW DO THE RULES APPLY

  1. While the facts do not say so, from an examination of the diagram, it looks as if green entered the zone first. At that stage the boats are on opposite tacks so rule 18.1 (MARK ROOM) does not apply. (See 18.1 (a).) Consequently, rule 18.2.(b) cannot apply.
  2. Until she tacks, green on port is give way boat under rule 10 (ON OPPOSITE TACKS) and must keep clear of red.
  3. Equally by rule 13 (WHILE TACKING) she must also keep clear while tacking after she passes head to wind and until she is on a close-hauled course.
  4. The diagram does not show the point when she achieves a close-hauled course but the protest committee would almost certainly find that she was overlapping red when she did so.
  5. Assuming that to be the case, when green tacked onto starboard she acquires right of way under rule 11 (ON SAME TACK, OVERLAPPED) but she is bound by rule 15 (ACQUIRING RIGHT OF WAY) and therefore “initially” must give red room to keep clear. This she does and red can keep clear by luffing.
  6. Is green entitled to require red to luff above her proper course to keep clear?
  7. Two rules apply, rules 15 and 18.3 (TACKING IN THE ZONE). Rule 15 requires that a boat that acquires right of way shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear. Green complied with this rule as red had room to luff and thus keep clear.
  8. However, Rule 18.3 is more demanding. It only applies when boats pass head to wind from port to starboard in the zone of a mark to be left to port. Clearly 18.3 applies in this case. The rule requires that such a boat shall not cause a boat that has been on starboard since entering the zone to sail above close hauled to avoid her.
  9. The facts in this case state that red was “forced to …… luff slightly above close hauled.” “Close hauled” is not defined in the rules and if I was green, I would argue that in fact red, while she luffed, she never actually went above a true close hauled course.
  10. It would be for red to satisfy the protest committee that in fact she did sail above close hauled.
  11. The protest committee would have to decide on the facts produced whether green broke rule 18.3. The fact that she tacked late, put herself inside red and between red and the mark, tells me that it is up to green to satisfy the committee that she did not break rule 18.3, so the “burden of proof” is on her.
  12. Unless she can satisfy the committee that she did not break the rule, the committee should find that she has broken a rule and disqualify her.

THE RULES

Rule 10 ON OPPOSITE TACKS

When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.

Rule 11 ON THE SAME TACK, OVERLAPPED

When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

Rule 13 WHILE TACKING

After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course. During that time rules 10, 11 and 12 do not apply. If two boats are subject to this rule at the same

Rule 15 ACQUIRING RIGHT OF WAY

When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear, unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat’s actions.

Rule 18 MARK ROOM

Rule 18.1 When Rule 18 Applies

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. However, it does not apply

a) between boats on opposite tacks on a beat to windward,
b) between boats on opposite tacks when the proper course at the mark for one but not both of them is to tack,
c) between a boat approaching a mark and one leaving it, or
d) if the mark is a continuing obstruction, in which case rule 19 applies.

Rule 18.2 Giving Mark-Room

1. (a) When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the inside boat mark-room, unless rule 18.2(b) applies.
(b) 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. If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches        the zone, the boat clear astern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room

18.3 Tacking in the Zone (READ CAREFULLY)

If a boat in the zone of a mark to be left to port passes head to wind from port to starboard tack and is then fetching the mark, she shall not cause a boat that has been on starboard tack since entering the zone to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact and she shall give mark-room if that boat becomes overlapped inside her. When this rule applies between boats, rule 18.2 does not apply between them.

Next week, scenario 3.

Nigel Barrow
MYA Racing Officer

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