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Another Rule Situation ( #228154
02/04/11 08:32 AM
02/04/11 08:32 AM
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Jake Offline OP
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This one is a weird one from the Unruly Blog by way of Scuttlebutt this morning (http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/)


THIRD PARTY PROTEST -- “TACK OR CROSS”
By Matthew Knowles, Unruly blog
Here is one that I've been asked about by two people separately in the last
few months:

Three small keelboats, S, P, and X, are going upwind in light air. S(tarboard) and P(ort) are on a collision course. X is a few boatlengths away. P hails to S "Tack or Cross?".

S decides that she wants to continue towards the left side of the course, and realizes that if P leebows her she will have to tack away onto port, so she responds "Cross!", and bears down and ducks P, allowing P to cross. Had S not altered course, she would have hit P.

X then yells "Protest P and S!" and files a protest against both. You are on the jury. What is your decision? ANSWER BELOW.



JURY DECISION
The situation in question - a starboard tack boat agreeing to duck a port tack boat on an upwind leg - happens all the time on the race course. But the rules are not as understanding. Here are two opinions:

* From Jos M Spijkerman, International Umpire/Judge:
Rule 60.1 states that a boat may protest another for an alleged breach of a rule in part 2 if she sees the incident (or was involved). So X has the right to protest. She protests both boats, because she wants to have both stories, and - more importantly - both to become "party" in a protest.

The PC cannot do anything else then conclude that P did not keep clear. The fact that she had to ask for the crossing alone would already mean that S might need to take avoiding action. And that is already not keeping clear.

The fact found that S also ducked and otherwise would have hit P only reinforces that. But even if S did not have to duck, P did not keep clear according the definition. Rule 64.1 dictates that any boat that was a party to a protest is found to have broken a rule SHALL be disqualified!

I understand this might be perceived as "Why the F is X interfering" and "Leave well enough alone", but the basic principle is not only to follow the rules, but also to ENFORCE!

* From Matt Knowles, US SAILING Racing Rules Committee:
Jos makes a very articulate argument and I agree with him. I think in this case the rules force an unfortunate outcome. One boat "keeps clear" of another when "the other can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action." Without doubt S had to take avoiding action. Therefore P broke rule 10, and must be disqualified per rule 64.1

Now, you can hedge and say "her course" was to duck, but you would have to face the reality that it is only because of P's presence that she is required to duck. S's desired "course" is to keep sailing upwind!

I don't think this scenario is unrealistic either. In my mind the way this is most likely to come up is if, late in a series, P were fighting for a top spot with X, and X saw the incident and decided to press an aggressive 3rd party protest. In fact, I'd be quite surprised if this has never come up before.

More comments here: http://www.unrulyracing.com/2011/02/third-party-protest-tack-or-duck.html



Jake Kohl
-- Have You Seen This? --
A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Jake] #228156
02/04/11 09:32 AM
02/04/11 09:32 AM
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Isotope235 Offline
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Well, I'm very junior to the two judges quoted - but you know that doesn't keep me from expressing my opinion. I disagree with their analysis. The difference is how we apply the definition of "keep clear"

The key phrase is "with no need to take avoiding action". I think that in this case, P was keeping clear. Had S not replied to P's hail but simply held her course, then P would have kept clear by tacking. S did not NEED to take avoiding action. She CHOSE to alter course for tactical reasons. Therefore her action was not an AVOIDING action.

When S changed course, she was obligated under rule 16.1 "CHANGING COURSE" to give P room to keep clear. Because of the verbal exchange beforehand, any other action would have been a breach of rule 2 "FAIR SAILING".

My decision would be that no rules were broken.

Regards,
Eric

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Isotope235] #228158
02/04/11 09:48 AM
02/04/11 09:48 AM
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Jake Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Isotope42
Well, I'm very junior to the two judges quoted - but you know that doesn't keep me from expressing my opinion. I disagree with their analysis. The difference is how we apply the definition of "keep clear"

The key phrase is "with no need to take avoiding action". I think that in this case, P was keeping clear. Had S not replied to P's hail but simply held her course, then P would have kept clear by tacking. S did not NEED to take avoiding action. She CHOSE to alter course for tactical reasons. Therefore her action was not an AVOIDING action.

When S changed course, she was obligated under rule 16.1 "CHANGING COURSE" to give P room to keep clear. Because of the verbal exchange beforehand, any other action would have been a breach of rule 2 "FAIR SAILING".

My decision would be that no rules were broken.

Regards,
Eric


I agree. To look at it any other way would be to give P the authoritative right in the situation to dictate S's. X was not affected...in fact, S lost distance up the course by ducking P to the advantage of X. X is just bitter little man.


Jake Kohl
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Isotope235] #228160
02/04/11 09:52 AM
02/04/11 09:52 AM
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I'd go with Eric, and then I'd go find X and kick him in the nutz.

;^)


Blade F16
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Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Timbo] #228164
02/04/11 10:25 AM
02/04/11 10:25 AM
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I would also have to agree with Erics' post. If S was worried about altering course for P, S could have hailed P to tack when they asked.

X is SOL


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Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Jake] #228166
02/04/11 10:31 AM
02/04/11 10:31 AM
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Isotope235 Offline
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Originally Posted by Jake
To look at it any other way would be to give P the authoritative right in the situation to dictate S's.

I don't follow that statement. Can you elaborate on it?

Also, I don't think X is necessarily being a poor sport. She is entitled to protest under rule 60.1(a), and actually expected to under the Basic Principle of Sportsmanship and the Rules. The circumstances regarding X's involvement are not described in this scenerio - only that she witnessed the incident. We have no evidence to suspect X's motives.

For example, suppose that X was directly behind S, close enough to view the encounter but too far to hear the hails. X clearly sees S alter course and naturally assumes it was to avoid P. X honestly believes that P broke rule 10 and exercises her right to protest. This is not in iteslf a bad thing. It could actually be a good thing.

What if this were in a closely contested regatta, where X and P were in prize contention. If I'm X and I see P break a rule, I'm going to protest.

What if X knows that P has a knowledgable and crafty skipper, but beleives that S is a relative novice? X might suspect that S is reticent to protest, or that P cowed S into believing she was at fault? Sportsmanship might demand a protest here.

But, let's stick with the usual circumstance - S and P think they're both fine, but X thinks a rule was broken. It goes to a hearing where all three boats tell their stories, everybody realizes that the crossing was amicable, and the three skippers go away satisfied. That's much better than X telling everybody on shore (or at the bar) that he saw P "cheating" on the racecourse.

Regards,
Eric

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Isotope235] #228172
02/04/11 11:14 AM
02/04/11 11:14 AM
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Look, you guys may not like it, but that was a legitimate way for me to win that race. I have a really hard time with those two guys, but fortunately this rule is a sword not a shield. I like my pickle dish - those Corinthian yabbos can suck it. Fact is, take this to the room with three different Juries and you get three different outcomes - I rolled the dice and came out on top for a change. And I didn't need better boat handling or speed to do it! I love this game.

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Isotope235] #228175
02/04/11 11:33 AM
02/04/11 11:33 AM
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Hold on...Case states that S wanted the left side of the course AND to avoid P's potential leebow. So S elected to change course. 'Nough said? Both S & P would be exonerated?

Had S held her course, P would have been obligated to keep clear but S thought that there was a tactical advantage to let P sail off to the percieved unfavorable side. P's hail does not impress me and someone should enlighten him.



Kris Hathaway
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Timbo] #228177
02/04/11 12:15 PM
02/04/11 12:15 PM

M
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M



Originally Posted by Timbo
I'd go with Eric, and then I'd go find X and kick him in the nutz.

;^)


Note to self, wear a cup near Timbo

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Kris Hathaway] #228179
02/04/11 12:43 PM
02/04/11 12:43 PM
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I agree with Eric... (I think the senior judges see an opportunity to make some rule refinements because the language is not up to the situation .... a sailing version of an activist judge)

The lesson learned here is that Protests are NOT WAR in the Jury room!....we need to get over the notion that protests are about fixing cheating and teaching the SOB not to do it again.!

IMO it also reinforces the notion that you play the game by the rules and we REQUIRE you to self enforce the rules for a good game.

The game is great when you play it hard and by the rules.... A culture of ah... I will let that infraction go simply undermines the entire game. The rest of the fleet can't know that the game has the necessary degree of self imposed integrity unless we follow all of the rules all of the time.

Situations happen quickly on the water (damn fast when I don't anticipate the situation coming up), the rule book sets the standard that the entire fleet can sail to.... Your instantaneous choosing to waive a rule has unintended consequences.

In this case Starboard made a legit tactical call .. X thought S an P were breaking the rules. He makes that call by evaluating the fleet culture on the race course.

Perhaps X was frustrated with the diminution of the game and decided to take a stand or he had something to gain. ( A noted A class sailor lost it over this kind of issue) ... No matter... It was a legit protest.

Differences of opinion, interpretation and perception of the facts get sorted out best in the protest room... Perhaps the bar will work well but a hearing ensures all points being heard and it reaches closure. The bar conversation will go on and on and on.

If I were X and heard the testimony that S waived P by... I would withdraw my protest (assuming that I could at that point).

We need to emphasis sailing fairly and by the rules and lower that psychological barrier to hailing protest and taking the issues to the room. We should expect all to learn to handle the disagreement on the water like Corinthians.

Those old guys have seen it all!


crac.sailregattas.com
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Mark Schneider] #228180
02/04/11 01:01 PM
02/04/11 01:01 PM
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Isotope235 Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Schneider
If I were X and heard the testimony that S waived P by... I would withdraw my protest (assuming that I could at that point).

A protest can be withdrawn if the protest committee allows (see rule 63.1). I agree that if I were representing boat X, and heard S's and P's stories in the room, I would ask to withdraw the protest. If I were on the protest committee, and X asked to withdraw his protest after hearing the other boats' testimony, I would vote to allow it.

Regards,
Eric

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Isotope235] #228181
02/04/11 01:12 PM
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Ah I remember now. ... the PC committee has to allow the withdraw at that point in the process.
So, An activist judge looking to make some history.

Do you think the wording needs some work... or can the case book clarify this point.... (I hope it's the case book)


crac.sailregattas.com
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Mark Schneider] #228185
02/04/11 02:23 PM
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I am confused here. If port-starboard conflicit is immenent and port asks tack-cross? and starboard says cross, what would you do as port? Wouldn't you assume it was YOUR job to duck the S boat? Why did S duck P? Seems like a recipe for disaster! If S wanted to keep going up wouldnt' they just yell "starboard" just keep going?

In this case if X and P were up for top spot, if I were X I might consider "team racing" going on here as it seems that S was clearing the way for P to keep charging upwind instead of losing ground to S.

I say, "team racing" so DSQ for both S and P!

But then, I know nothing.

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: David Parker] #228186
02/04/11 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Schneider
Do you think the wording needs some work... or can the case book clarify this point.... (I hope it's the case book)

I'm not aware of any authoritative reference (e.g. ISAF case) on this scenerio. It would be nice to have. Perhaps if such a situation were to go to an appeal, we'd get a ruling. In the meantime, I think it can be useful to approach rule interpretations backwards from time to time. That is, the "tack or cross" gambit is a common and accepted part of the sailing game. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to apply the rules in such a way that prohibits a port-tack boat from using it. That approach leads me to the opinion I gave earlier. Maybe some other judges think the rules need revision, but I'm ok reading them as I do currently.

Originally Posted by David Parker
I am confused here. If port-starboard conflicit is immenent and port asks tack-cross? and starboard says cross, what would you do as port? Wouldn't you assume it was YOUR job to duck the S boat? Why did S duck P? Seems like a recipe for disaster! If S wanted to keep going up wouldnt' they just yell "starboard" just keep going?

This situation doesn't really come up much in catamaran racing. Boatspeeds and tacking times make the lee-bow an impractical maneuver for cats. It's more of a keelboat tactic. Picture two boats beating to windward on opposite tacks. Boat "S" is on starboard tack, and "P" on port. As they approach, it becomes apparent that P is a little ahead, but not quite far enough to cross S.

P calls out "Tack or cross?" This is really a bit of a threat. P is essentially saying "if you don't let me cross, I'm going to tack on your lee bow - what's it going to be?" Another boat's weather hip is a bad place to hang out for most boats. If P were to successfully tack on S's lee bow, S would be in an untenable position. She would have to tack away.

Therefore, S needs to decide where she'd like to go. If she wants to head back to the right side, she can hail "tack", "starboard", or even say nothing at all. Then when P tacks, S can tack too. If S wants to keep going left, her best option may be to reply "cross", and bear away (or slow down) so that P has enough room to make it.

Once P has hailed "tack or cross", she is bound by S's response. If S says "tack" and P ducks, or if S says "cross" and P tacks, then P breaks rule 2 "FAIR SAILING". Therefore, P should only use this gambit if she wants to go right, but is willing to tack and leebow S if necessary. If P wants to go left, she should simply tack. If she really wants to go right, perhaps she should just duck and hope S doesn't tack on her wind. P only gets an advantage when she wants to go right and S wants to go left.

I hope that helps,
Eric

Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: David Parker] #228187
02/04/11 03:18 PM
02/04/11 03:18 PM
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Tactically, Starboard has the option. If you're S and you're headed to the favoured side with a clear lane, you DON'T want Port to pull off a successful leebow and steal your thunder.

If you're the Port boat and you don't want to tack into the traffic or risk the foul, it is polite to ask for the cross if you suspect Starboard is going that way for a reason. If you ask, you're obligated to tack immediately if Starboard says so, and hold your course if he waves you through.

Edit - Can't keep up with you, Eric. I disagree, however; I see this situation three or four times a season from both sides. Watch the latest video from Steeplechase for a great visual demonstration of how effective a leebow can be.

Last edited by John Williams; 02/04/11 03:23 PM.

John Williams

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Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: Isotope235] #228195
02/04/11 05:29 PM
02/04/11 05:29 PM
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Jake Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Isotope42
Originally Posted by Jake
To look at it any other way would be to give P the authoritative right in the situation to dictate S's.

I don't follow that statement. Can you elaborate on it?


I guess I didn't word that really well and in hindsight it's not quite that way.


Jake Kohl
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: David Parker] #228201
02/04/11 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by David Parker
I am confused here. If port-starboard conflicit is immenent and port asks tack-cross? and starboard says cross, what would you do as port? Wouldn't you assume it was YOUR job to duck the S boat? Why did S duck P? Seems like a recipe for disaster! If S wanted to keep going up wouldnt' they just yell "starboard" just keep going?
No way man, if I was P I'd expect just the opposite, IF I'd asked/hailed "cross or tack", and been given the OK to cross.

If I was P, and knew I needed to keep going right, I'd hail "Hold your course" first, then duck S.


John H16, H14
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: _flatlander_] #228203
02/04/11 10:10 PM
02/04/11 10:10 PM
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John Williams Offline
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"Hold your course" gets you nothing, though, John. It is a meaningless hail that S can completely disregard, and therefore dangerous, IMO.


John Williams

- The harder you practice, the luckier you get -
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After watching Lionel Messi play, I realize I need to sail harder.
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: John Williams] #228219
02/05/11 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by John Williams
"Hold your course" gets you nothing, though, John. It is a meaningless hail that S can completely disregard, and therefore dangerous, IMO.
OK, sorry for the thread hijack BTW...and understood hailing "hold your course" is no longer in the rules,
If on a collision course (as P boat) and my intention is NOT exercise my option to tack, with S hailing "STARBOARD" to the last second, and guessing if I'll lee bow him?
And at the point when I'm obviously not lee bowing? (because it takes ~4 seconds to initiate and complete the lee bow tack) and still in collision course, then what?
Is he going to keep driving forward? thinking if I hit him I'll be DSQ'd and him exonerated?
I think instinctively S is going to do everything but blow his main sheet, or head up in to irons (he wants to maintain his speed).
At a critical point he may (or may not) do "something" to avoid contact by P which would likely be ducking P (and then protest)
Trouble is, that critical point would be about the same time I(P) would be starting a duck of him (S).

Given in the previous example, P is testing to see if she can get S to bite on a slight change in course in exchange for no lee bow.

What's the proper way to intentionally duck S? (when on a collision course) do I hail "I'm gonna duck" What? "ducking you" What?
Seems like "Hold your course" gets me nothing, rights wise, but it does clearly get my intentions across, legal or not?
Since my PROPER COURSE as P, in this situation is to duck S, (when not choosing to tack) do I just wave? give the OK sign?
Are you saying hailing my intentions is dangerous?
Enlighten me.

BTW, is asking "Cross or Tack?" a specific rule?


John H16, H14
Re: A Dissenting Opinion [Re: _flatlander_] #228221
02/05/11 10:17 AM
02/05/11 10:17 AM
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Guys,

Remember the rules discussion last year that may have an impact on this situation ..... the starboard boat gets to determine/say "what is too close for my comfort" and has the right and obligation to avoid a "imminate collision" .... so port maybe trying to feel out starboard as to what is "too close" and avoid violating the RRS's and being protested.

Personally I think the more (polite) communication between boats racing is benefical in preventing collisions .... even if the hail is not an offically reconized one according to the RRS's.

I agree w/ Eric on this one .....

Harry

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