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Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" #280676
10/01/15 12:19 PM
10/01/15 12:19 PM
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Hillsborough, NC USA
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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It's been a while since I've posted on the racing rules, so here is another installment. Taking a penalty may not be a topic near to anybody's heart, but I believe it needs to be addressed. Note that this write-up is for fleet racing - match racing and team racing penalties are different.

So, you’ve broken a rule on the racecourse – now what? It happens even to the best of us from time to time. We make a miscalculation, sail into an untenable position, or simply get an unlucky wind shift – and commit a foul. When that happens to you, what should you do?

The answer lies in the preamble to the rules, titled SPORTSMANSHIP AND THE RULES, which states (in part) “A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire”. Quite simply, if you break a rule, you must take a penalty. That is so even if no other boat protests. Sportsmanship requires you to call foul on yourself when nobody else does.

Note that this applies even if no other boat was disadvantaged. The saying “no harm, no foul” does not apply to sailboat racing. If you break a rule, you must take a penalty – regardless of whether or not it affected the positions of any other boats.

The Standard Penalty
Sailing instructions may change the penalties, but if they don’t then rules 44.1 “Taking a Penalty” and 44.2 “One-Turn and Two-Turns Penalties” detail what you need to do. Rule 44.1 states (in part) “A boat may take a Two-Turns Penalty when she may have broken one or more rules of Part 2 in an incident while racing. She may take a One-Turn Penalty when she may have broken rule 31”. Part 2 of the rules is the section that covers rules for when boats meet. Therefore, if you foul another boat while racing, the standard penalty is two-turns. Rule 31 prohibits touching a mark, so if you hit a mark while racing, the standard penalty is one-turn.

When to Take a Penalty
Rule 44.2 begins with “After getting well clear of other boats as soon after the incident as possible…”. This is a very important and often overlooked clause. You cannot choose when to take a penalty. You must take it as soon as you are able, not when it becomes convenient. If you happen to be surrounded by other boats at the time of the incident, you must immediately “get well clear”. If that means you have to stop your boat and let everybody else pass you, then that is what you must do. You can’t sail along waiting for other boats to tack, gybe, or otherwise clear away.

How to Take a Penalty
Rule 44.2 continues with “…a boat takes a One-Turn or Two-Turns Penalty by promptly making the required number of turns in the same direction, each turn including one tack and one gybe”. A penalty turn need not be a full 360 degrees, but it must be enough to include a tack and a gybe (in either order). When two turns are taken, they must be in the same direction. You cannot tack, tack back, and gybe twice. The sequence must be tack-gybe-tack-gybe or gybe-tack-gybe-tack. The turns must be done “promptly”, which means without delay.

You might wonder how it is possible to take a penalty turn that is less than 360 degrees. Here is a diagram illustrating one. The boat below touches a windward mark while passing it on the required side and then takes a penalty turn.

[Linked Image]

At position 1, the boat touches the mark, breaking rule 31. She immediately gets well clear by sailing to position 3. She then takes a turn consisting of a tack (position 4) and a gybe (position 8) in the same direction. Although she continues to turn until position 9 (a 270 degree turn), her penalty was actually completed at position 8 (after turning only 225 degrees).

Penalties at the Start and Finish
Note that if you foul a boat (or touch a mark) between the preparatory signal and the starting signal, you don’t have to wait to take your penalty. You can - and indeed you must - do your turn(s) right away.

If you foul a boat (or touch a mark) while finishing, you can take your penalty and then cross the finish line again. Rule 44.2 states (in part) “When a boat takes the penalty at or near the finishing line, she shall sail completely to the course side of the line before finishing”. Therefore, you must complete the penalty first, and then cross the line in the correct direction. You cannot simply take the penalty on the finish line. It is permissible to take a turn (or turns) around the finish pin, but you must complete your tack(s) and gybe(s) before crossing the finish line for the last time.

One Penalty per Incident
What if you foul multiple boats at the same time, or if you touch a mark while breaking a rule of part 2? Look again at rule 44.1. It says “when she may have broken one or more rules of Part 2 in an incident…”. Also, rule 44.1(a) says “when a boat may have broken a rule of Part 2 and rule 31 in the same incident she need not take the penalty for breaking rule 31”. In these situations, you only have to take a single two-turns penalty.

Keeping Clear While Taking a Penalty
Rule 22.2 states “A boat taking a penalty shall keep clear of one that is not”. Note that this rule is in Part 2, Section D, and the Section D preamble says “When rule 22 or 23 applies between two boats, Section A rules do not”. Therefore, a boat taking a penalty must keep clear of all the other boats, regardless of the other right-of-way rules. That is why it is vital that you must first “get well clear”. If you foul another boat while taking a penalty turn, you’ll have to take a penalty for that too (it’s a separate incident).

On the flip side, however, a boat may not go out of her way to disadvantage a boat taking a penalty. Rule 24.2 states “Except when sailing her proper course, a boat shall not interfere with a boat taking a penalty…”.

Alternate Penalties
It is fairly common for sailing instructions to specify alternate penalties. They may, for example, provide for a scoring penalty per rule 44.3, invoke Appendix T Section A, or otherwise change the number of penalty turns required. Therefore, it is very important to read the SI’s before racing.

Appendix T Section A (rule T1) is worth mentioning, because it is becoming fairly common. When in effect, rule T1 changes the penalty for breaking a rule of part 2. If the incident occurs within the zone around a mark other than a starting mark, then the penalty is still two-turns. Otherwise, the penalty is reduced to one-turn. The penalty for touching a mark is still one-turn.

When Turns aren’t Enough
There are some circumstances when turns aren’t a sufficient penalty. Rule 44.1(b) states “if the boat caused injury or serious damage or, despite taking a penalty, gained a significant advantage in the race or series by her breach her penalty shall be to retire”. If, as a result of you breaking a rule, anybody gets hurt, or if either boat sustains serious damage, then you must retire. Turns won’t do.

If you break a rule and gain a significant advantage even after having taken a one-turn or two-turns penalty, then you must retire. Such situations are rare, but possible. For example, if a boat breaks rule 20, doesn’t give another boat room to tack to avoid a shoal, does two turns and sails away while the other boat is aground, then she has gained a significant advantage. She must retire.

Penalties when not Racing
Note that rule 44 applies only when a boat is racing - that is, the time between her preparatory signal, and when she finishes and clears the line and finish marks. What if you touch a mark, or foul another boat before, after, or in between races? For the most part, there is no penalty. Rule 31 only applies while racing. The preamble to Part 2 states (in part) “a boat not racing shall not be penalized for breaking one of these rules, except rule 24.1”. The only time you can be penalized for breaking a Part 2 rule when not racing, is if you interfere with a boat that is racing (rule 24.1). Unfortunately, the two-turns penalty does not apply to this situation. The only penalty is disqualification from the race nearest in time per rule 64.1.

Exoneration
There are a couple of ways that a boat may be exonerated for breaking a rule, in which case she need not take any penalty at all. One is governed by rule 64.1(a) which states “when as a consequence of breaking a rule a boat has compelled another boat to break a rule, the other boat shall be exonerated”. To be exonerated for breaking a rule, a boat must have been “compelled” (i.e. forced) to do so. If a boat could reasonably avoided breaking a rule but didn’t, she is not exonerated. Also, the other boat must be breaking a rule herself. A common example involves three boats overlapped on the same tack. If the windward boat (W) prevents the middle boat (M) from keeping clear of the leeward boat (L), then both M and W break rule 11. W is penalized, but M is exonerated under rule 64.1(a).

Rule 21 specifies the other scenario under which a boat is exonerated for breaking rules. It states:

“When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is entitled under a rule of Section C, she shall be exonerated if, in an incident with a boat required to give her that room or mark-room,
(a) she breaks a rule of Section A, rule 15 or rule 16, or
(b) she is compelled to break rule 31.”

Note that in order to be exonerated, a boat must be entitled to mark-room, and must be sailing within that mark-room. If she sails outside the mark-room that another boat must give her, then she is not exonerated for breaking the above rules.

Conclusion
If you think you have broken a rule on the racecourse, then take your penalty (even if nobody protests). Take it right away (even if you have to drop behind). Get well clear and do your turn(s) promptly before continuing to sail the course. It may cost you the race, but you’ll earn the respect of your competitors – which is far more valuable.

I hope that helps,
Eric Rasmussen
US Sailing Certified Judge
Chair, SAYRA Appeals Committee

Attached Files
OneTurnPenalty.png (131 downloads)
One-Turn Penalty
-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Isotope235] #280678
10/01/15 01:14 PM
10/01/15 01:14 PM
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brucat Offline
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Great discussion, Eric.

Regarding turns not being enough: Outside of Optis and 420s jamming themselves inside of giant pinwheels in light air gate groundings, the most common example (across all boats including cats and keelboats) has to be the port approach to a packed starboard layline at the weather mark in large fleets.

If you force others to avoid you so you can sneak in behind boat 3 of a 20-boat parade, a circle isn't enough. You should have ducked the parade, and been 21st. RET...

Mike

Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: brucat] #280679
10/01/15 04:07 PM
10/01/15 04:07 PM
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Mark Schneider Offline
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Great reminder Eric!

I sum it up as... Sailing is a game where you HONOR the rules... IE... you call the foul on yourself.

You get three bites at the apple to take a penalty.
Call the Penalty on yourself and take it as you point out.
Listen to the call PROTEST and Reconsider taking the penalty and finally, before you walk into the protest hearing choose to Retire. The responsibility is on you..

Golf is the only other game with a similar honor code that I can think of.


crac.sailregattas.com
Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Isotope235] #280682
10/01/15 07:44 PM
10/01/15 07:44 PM
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brucat Offline
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I golf once or twice a year, always at a best-ball tournament of some kind. I won't say when this happened, but the least fun I ever had was when one of the guys in our foursome decided to keep score, but refused to be honest about just how badly we were playing. He just couldn't stand to see his name at the bottom of the results. I hope never to play with him again.

In sailing, my favorite is when people hit the mark (and know it). If you're DFL with no chance of passing anyone, I'd say keep going so you don't hold up the next start. Otherwise, do your turns and sleep better at night.

Mike

Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: brucat] #280684
10/01/15 09:19 PM
10/01/15 09:19 PM
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Mini Me Offline
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I sail, and I golf, a lot! Both of these sports are among a few sports that are condidered under the rules of the Corinthian rules where gentleman with good concious are bound to call their own penalties if known according to the written rules and to submit to an infraction unkown to the actor if committed. I have made mistakes in both sports.. and accept the penalty on the course because winning is not everything. Winning with honor is. I'll take second or third or last with honor. Do your 360 and get back to racing. You may still win or place.

Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Isotope235] #280686
10/01/15 09:45 PM
10/01/15 09:45 PM
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Hobart, Tasmania, Oz.
Dazz Offline
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Originally Posted by Isotope235


Keeping Clear While Taking a Penalty
Rule 22.2 states “A boat taking a penalty shall keep clear of one that is not”. Note that this rule is in Part 2, Section D, and the Section D preamble says “When rule 22 or 23 applies between two boats, Section A rules do not”. Therefore, a boat taking a penalty must keep clear of all the other boats, regardless of the other right-of-way rules. That is why it is vital that you must first “get well clear”. If you foul another boat while taking a penalty turn, you’ll have to take a penalty for that too (it’s a separate incident).




Rule 21 Exoneration
EXONERATION
When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is
entitled under a rule of Section C, she shall be exonerated if, in an
incident with a boat required to give her that room or mark-room,
(a) she breaks a rule of Section A, rule 15 or rule 16, or
(b) she is compelled to break rule 31.


as you can see there is no provision for an exoneration from rule 22.2. If you foul another boat while making your turns then you are out of the race. Harsh but true.


C2 AUS 222 by Goodall design
"Darph Bobo"
Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Dazz] #280687
10/02/15 06:59 AM
10/02/15 06:59 AM
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Detroit, MI
mbounds Offline
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Originally Posted by Dazz
Rule 21 Exoneration
EXONERATION
When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is
entitled under a rule of Section C, she shall be exonerated if, in an
incident with a boat required to give her that room or mark-room,
(a) she breaks a rule of Section A, rule 15 or rule 16, or
(b) she is compelled to break rule 31.


as you can see there is no provision for an exoneration from rule 22.2. If you foul another boat while making your turns then you are out of the race. Harsh but true.

Not true. Exoneration has nothing to do with taking a penalty. Exoneration is a "free pass" - you don't have to do anything if you break a rule (you are "exonerated").

Penalties for breaking a rule fall under rule 44:

44 PENALTIES AT THE TIME OF AN INCIDENT
44.1 Taking a Penalty
A boat may take a Two-Turns Penalty when she may have broken one or more rules of Part 2 in an incident while racing. She may take a One-Turn Penalty when she may have broken rule 31.

Rule 22.2 is in Part 2, therefore you may take a penalty if you break it.

Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Isotope235] #280689
10/02/15 07:31 AM
10/02/15 07:31 AM
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Without digging out a book, I agree with Eric and Matt on this.

One thing I don't see mentioned here is emphasis on the fact that "penalty" turns are meant to be just that. They must be in addition to (i.e. not inclusive of) any turns that you would make to sail around the course.

Looking at the diagram above, pretend there's a weather mark in the middle, and the boat is sailing the other way (approaching on port). If that boat fouled another (typically a starboard boat), she cannot simply tack, round the mark, gybe and call that a penalty, primarily because the tack was a normal turn as part of sailing the course. If other boats were around, the gybe would also fail to count, as she would not be clear of other boats.

Mike

Last edited by brucat; 10/02/15 02:35 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: brucat] #280691
10/02/15 08:06 AM
10/02/15 08:06 AM
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Hillsborough, NC USA
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mbounds
Rule 22.2 is in Part 2, therefore you may take a penalty if you break it.

Correct.

Originally Posted by brucat
One thing I don't see mentioned here is emphasis on the fact that "penalty" turns are meant to be just that. They must be in addition to (i.e. not inclusive of) any turns that you would make to sail around the course.

Although the sentiment is appealing, I don't see anything in the rules saying that a turn may not be taken around a mark, nor that it must be contrary to a boat's proper course.

What I do see is ISAF Case 108 which states "Rule 44.2 does not require a boat that takes a One-Turn Penalty to complete a full 360° turn, or a turn of any particular number of degrees, and it does not prohibit taking the penalty while making another manoeuvre, such as rounding the mark".

One of the diagrams in Case 108 shows a boat touching a windward mark on port tack, and then taking a penalty turn (consisting of a tack and a gybe) around the mark and says:

"In each illustrated situation she takes a One-Turn Penalty that complies with rule 44.2, provided that
(a) as soon as possible, and before beginning her penalty turn, she sails well clear of any other boats;
(b) when she begins her penalty turn she is no longer touching the
mark; and
(c) she makes her penalty turn promptly after she is clear of other boats.
...
All four illustrated turns comply with rule 28.2. Provided that the string representing the boat’s track when drawn taut lies on the mark’s required side...
".

So, I must disagree.

Regards,
Eric

Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: brucat] #280692
10/02/15 09:19 AM
10/02/15 09:19 AM
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David Ingram Offline
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Originally Posted by brucat

In sailing, my favorite is when people hit the mark (and know it). If you're DFL with no chance of passing anyone, I'd say keep going so you don't hold up the next start. Otherwise, do your turns and sleep better at night.

Mike


Nah, do your turn it's what 15 seconds to do the turn? The fleet can wait and there will always be someone that will make an issue of it and/or remember it later. Run clean all the time no exceptions.


David Ingram
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http://www.solarwind.solar

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Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: David Ingram] #280693
10/02/15 09:35 AM
10/02/15 09:35 AM
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Jake Offline
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Originally Posted by David Ingram
Originally Posted by brucat

In sailing, my favorite is when people hit the mark (and know it). If you're DFL with no chance of passing anyone, I'd say keep going so you don't hold up the next start. Otherwise, do your turns and sleep better at night.

Mike


Nah, do your turn it's what 15 seconds to do the turn? The fleet can wait and there will always be someone that will make an issue of it and/or remember it later. Run clean all the time no exceptions.


Agreed. Sail with honor at all times.


Jake Kohl
Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Isotope235] #280698
10/02/15 03:03 PM
10/02/15 03:03 PM
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brucat Offline
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Maybe you guys haven't been as far back as I've been/seen, lol... If you've never been the grateful recipient of a mercy killing (finished in place), you can't relate.

Eric, thanks for posting that. Some judges around here certainly have a different opinion.

Mike

Last edited by brucat; 10/02/15 03:06 PM.
Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: brucat] #280699
10/02/15 04:11 PM
10/02/15 04:11 PM
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by brucat
Some judges around here certainly have a different opinion.

LOL, differences of opinion among judges are far from uncommon. In fact, I have a list of rules I believe have problems and just today I sent out a paper detailing my disagreement with an ISAF Case.

From time to time, the Area D judges discuss various rules, ISAF Q&As, US Sailing Appeals, and hypothetical situations. Although our debates are usually quite interesting, I don't recall a single instance where we reached a consensus. I don't expect this time will be any different.

Regards,
Eric

Re: Racing Rules: "Taking a Penalty" [Re: Isotope235] #280700
10/02/15 04:44 PM
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Too funny. IJs and IUs don't always agree, either. Some people see this as a weakness in our sport (comments like protests are 50/50 odds), but I prefer to think that it just shows the complexity of our sport, which is why it's not boring.

Mike


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