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Rules Question - Downwind Finish #288729
05/01/18 08:47 AM
05/01/18 08:47 AM
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Jake Offline OP
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I'm looking for some further clarification about a downwind finish. I've attached a (rather crude - I'm not at home with my graphics software) sketch and I've left a couple of things ambiguous because I want to understand more than just a who's right/wrong....I want to explore and understand the various facets of the rule as worded so I know what my tactical options are in this scenario. I believe I know the answers to some of these questions but I am looking for some really rounded thoughts here and I'm trying to approach this from a couple of different angles.

Situation; A course is set with a separate start/finish line - the start line is to port of the committee boat and the finish line to starboard of the committee boat when viewed facing upwind. The start/finish lines are set at the bottom of the course below C-mark. A two lap race is finishing with a downwind finish between the committee boat (to starboard as approaching the finish) and a pin (to port as approaching the finish). Blue boat has been gradually gaining on orange down that leg and as both boats approached the three boat length circle on starboard, blue established a leeward overlap. If maintaining a typical downwind gybe angle (the same angles sailed down the entire course) it would mean both boats would need to gybe back to port in order to finish. At some point (inside the circle or outside the circle) both blue and orange could have soaked it dead downwind and crossed the finish line.

What happened: Blue insisted on being able to sail her proper course and continued sailing until she reached a point where she could gybe at a regular angle in order to finish right at the committee boat. This made orange sail further than she needed and put orange solidly behind blue (no overlap after the gybe) and orange finished behind blue.

[Linked Image]


Questions:
At what point is orange technically the "inside boat". Blue could physically be closer to the committee boat if they approach near the apex of the three boat length circle. "inside" doesn't seem to be defined very well in this context with our typical gybe angles for a downwind finish with the end of the line to be passed to starboard.

If orange is the "inside boat" but couldn't lay the mark without gybing - is blue required to allow orange to gybe to port at close quarters in order to finish? What if there isn't enough room for orange to give blue time an opportunity to avoid her gybe?

Should blue allow orange room to drive to dead downwind (maintaining starboard) and soak it dead downwind to finish once they entered the circle?




Jake Kohl
-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288731
05/01/18 02:04 PM
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This is my understanding of the rules for this situation.

The first thing to keep in mind is that downwind finishes are handled exactly the same way as downwind gate marks. The rules make no distinctions between the two so anything that would apply at the gate also applies at the finish.

Prior to postion A, it's assumed from your description that orange was clear ahead. Blue created an overlap to leeward from clear astern. Once the overlap is established, orange is required to keep clear of blue. Since blue established the overlap from clear astern, blue can not sail above her proper course (i.e., blue can not aggressively luff orange), however this does not relieve orange of her responsibility to keep clear of blue. As long as they remain outside of the three boat circle, blue can sail as far from the mark as she wants before jibing.
Orange should have either footed down early to prevent blue from going below her or heated up to maintain separation and allow room to jibe in front of blue when there was still space. Once the overlap is established, orange's only real option is to jibe after blue and follow her to the finish or slow down and jibe behind blue.

Position B is unclear whether this occurrs inside or outside of the three boat circle. If outside the circle, blue is entirely in control before the jibe. After the jibe, since there is no overlap, neither boat is inside the other, blue is clear ahead, and orange must keep clear.

If the boats are overlapped when they reach the circle, the inside boat is granted mark room and the outside boat needs to keep clear even if the overlap is later broken. In this case, orange is the inside boat and blue would need to bear off and/or jibe once she reaches the circle to give orange mark room. I agree that the wording/definitions of the rules are little unclear but since the mark must be rounded to starboard and orange is on blue's starboard side, orange is the inside boat.

The reality is, once blue established the overlap to leeward, it was pretty much game over for orange.

sm

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288732
05/01/18 06:54 PM
05/01/18 06:54 PM
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Jake, thanks for starting a topic and sm for replying, was beginning to wonder if anyone was coming back after spending a lot of hours getting this thing fixed.

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288735
05/02/18 08:52 AM
05/02/18 08:52 AM
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I think the relevant rule that applies in this situation is that orange had inside overlap when they entered the zone and was entitled to room at the mark even if that included gybing to cross the finish line. Example, if orange had been on port approaching the finish line inside the zone, overlap was still in play, and orange would have the right to gybe or continue on port while crossing the line in a seamanlike manner.

I don't agree with the game over comment. With blue and orange on starboard at the zone, orange had the right to sail low enough to cross the line without hitting the committee, so therefore blue had the choice of trying to sail lower and through the lee of the orange sail, or gybe away and hope for clear air and better speed through the gybe.

What actually happened was that blue called for leeward boat room, pushed orange beyond the point that orange could lay the finish line, then blue gybed back to the finish line, and orange did a 270 (tack and bear away), to return to the finish (all of this took place inside the 3 boat length circle).

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288736
05/02/18 11:17 AM
05/02/18 11:17 AM
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In a typical downwind finish with rule 18.2(a), since an overlap existed at the zone, orange is entitled to mark-room since she is the inside overlapped boat. However, in this case you have to get into definitions. The definition of mark-room is the room required to sail to the correct side of the mark on a proper course. The definition of proper course is the course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of other boats. So, would it have been faster to soak or to continue and gybe? Not knowing what kind of cats these were, my guess would be soaking would've been slower. This is not about what orange "wanted" to do, its about what she should've done in the absence of other boats. Now, if blue sailed in a way that kept orange from gybing when she should've to be on her proper course, then Blue fouled. I wasn't at this situation, but I've seen the same thing 100 times. The onus is essentially on Blue to prove that she didn't foul Orange. You can bet that Blue would get chunked in a protest room.


Shannon Galway
Fulshear, TX
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Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288738
05/02/18 02:51 PM
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The original post doesn’t state when the overlap was established. My interpretation is blue got a leeward overlap well before entering the zone. Once blue gets an overlap, the onus is on orange (now the windward boat) to keep clear. Blue is limited in how far she can turn up in that she can’t sail above her proper course, but proper course is a pretty broad term. Obviously she can’t luff orange head to wind, but she can almost certainly push orange above the zone, meaning mark room doesn’t apply and blue can sail until she can jibe to the mark on a hot reach. Orange will be forced to follow. That’s why I’m saying that once blue establishes the overlap to leeward on starboard tack, it’s pretty much game over for orange.

Even if blue does drop into the zone and orange calls for room, blue just has to give her space to round the mark. Blue can do a quick jibe to port at the finish and will blanket orange. Blue still wins.

That’s my experience with these situatuons. You never want to allow a situation to occur where someone on starboard establishes an overlap to leeward of you and prevents you from jibing when you need. Either foot down to their line (even if it means going slower), jibe out early and cross them, or heat it up to maintain separation so you can jibe when you need to.

sm

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288739
05/03/18 06:51 AM
05/03/18 06:51 AM
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Jake Offline OP
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For the record, I left some of the details out just to explore the tactical options for both orange and blue. I am NOT debating the outcome of the actual event in question or the intent in the rules.







Jake Kohl
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288740
05/03/18 09:01 AM
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Since I am boatless... and sailing my keyboard, this question is fun to think about...

From my interpretation, the finish line, treated as a gate, means "Rule 18.4 does not apply at a gate mark." And that prior to the gybe, windward orange must keep clear of leeward blue, and blue must sail his proper (fastest, shortest) course to the mark. In contrast, if orange could have fetched the committee boat without gybing, he could have demanded room at the mark.

So as drawn, I would side with blue.

http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/WorldSailingRRS20172020-[20946].pdf
"18.4 Gybing
When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at a mark to
sail her proper course, until she gybes she shall sail no farther from
the mark than needed to sail that course. Rule 18.4 does not apply at
a gate mark."

https://www.racingrulesofsailing.org/cases/669?page=5
"W's proper course is not relevant to the application of the rules to this incident. She was required to keep clear of L."

https://www.racingrulesofsailing.org/cases/243?page=16
"Different boats may have different proper courses at any moment depending on the circumstances. However, when those proper courses put the boats on converging courses, the windward boat must keep clear of the leeward boat."

Last edited by TeamTeets; 05/03/18 10:40 AM.

Mike, Ohio
Former H16, H18, N20, N17, M4.3
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: TeamTeets] #288743
05/04/18 06:47 AM
05/04/18 06:47 AM
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Seeing a diagram with the wind coming from the bottom makes my brain hurt. The convention for diagrams is to have the wind coming from the top.

Oh, and there's Boat Secenario (http://boats.sourceforge.net/) that makes drawing these incidents so much easier:
[Linked Image]

Position 1 - Yellow is clear astern and must keep clear (RRS 12)
Position 2 - Yellow has established an overlap to leeward; Green must keep clear (RRS 11). Yellow is limited initially by RRS 15 and by RRS 17. She may sail no higher than her proper course, but she gets to determine what proper course is (Case 14).
Position 3 - Yellow enters the zone as the inside boat. RRS 18 applies (RRS 18.1). Parts of RRS 18 that do not apply - 18.3 (mark is left to starboard) and 18.4 (mark is a gate mark).

So we are left with 18.2, specifically 18.2(b) and the definition of mark-room:
Quote
18.2(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.

Quote
Mark-Room - Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also, (a) room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and (b) room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.


Yellow is the leeward boat and gets to determine her proper course. She is owed mark room as long as she doesn't pass head to wind or leave the zone (RRS 18.2(d). She does neither in this case. Green must keep clear.

There was contact, so Green did not keep clear - penalty Green (RRS18.2(b) and RRS 14).

Because there was contact, there was a possible RRS 14 breach as well by Yellow, but if there was no damage or injury, she is exonerated (RRS14(b))

Attached Files
180504.jpg (125 downloads)
Last edited by mbounds; 05/04/18 07:22 AM.
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288744
05/04/18 09:29 AM
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Matt, can you clarify (and I think this is the crux of Jake's question), based on the rules/definitions, what are the factors in position 3 that are used to determine who is the inside boat?

Based on your explanation so far, if the boats were shifted 2 or 3 boat lengths towards the center of the course (to the right) green would be the inside boat. If the boats were shifted a few boat lengths to the left, yellow would be the inside boat? That means, theoretically, by this rationale there must be a possible position where neither is the inside boat.

Another way of looking at it. If at position 3, green had been on port tack (opposite tacks, yellow still on starboard), would she not be considered the inside boat with yellow required to give her mark room?

sm

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: mbounds] #288745
05/04/18 11:49 AM
05/04/18 11:49 AM
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Jake Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mbounds

Position 3 - Yellow enters the zone as the inside boat. RRS 18 applies (RRS 18.1). Parts of RRS 18 that do not apply - 18.3 (mark is left to starboard) and 18.4 (mark is a gate mark).


Yeah, this is the crux of the question - how is "inside" defined / determined at these gybing angles? I know full well that I'm splitting hairs here...it also doesn't make for a safe situation if yellow can push green beyond her gybe layline (into oncoming mark rounding traffic) at a right hand gate mark (right as viewed from the approaching boats). Did you mean to say that yellow was the inside boat here? That goes against what everybody has been saying...the common thought was that green is treated as the "inside" boat in this situation (which I contend is more like "will be the inside boat") all the way to even before they gybe for the gate.


Jake Kohl
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288746
05/04/18 12:24 PM
05/04/18 12:24 PM
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I'm confused on Matt's comments. Green was always the inside boat. Especially if green had been on port. We see this situation all of the time at the downwind gate. If the starboard boat is on the layline to round the gate to starboard, then they have to be aware that they owe the port boat room to gybe inside at the mark.

-mike

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: srm] #288747
05/04/18 08:02 PM
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I tried to find something in the match racing / team racing call books (since they specifically cover starboard roundings), but I can't find anything that's directly applicable. They have their own versions of RRS 18 which may not be applicable in fleet racing.

There's a principle in match and team racing that whomever gets to the zone first "owns the zone" and I suspect that applies here, although determining exactly who got there first could be a challenge.

The summary of US Sailing Appeal 97 says that when there is no obvious "inside" or "outside" boat, then the rules of part A and B apply (essentially rules 10 - 17), although the diagram of the incident in Appeal 97 looks nothing like this situation.

Last edited by mbounds; 05/04/18 10:13 PM.
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288748
05/04/18 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jake
it also doesn't make for a safe situation if yellow can push green beyond her gybe layline (into oncoming mark rounding traffic) at a right hand gate mark (right as viewed from the approaching boats).

The scenario didn't include boats coming from the left on port tack. If there were, then they would be owed mark room by both Green and Yellow and both would be obligated to jibe to provide it.

Realize that at 10 kts. (fairly slow for an F-18 downwind), the boat will travel 3 hull lengths in about 3.5 seconds. That's not a lot of time - and it doesn't include the pole overhang (which counts for the overlap, but not for the zone).

Originally Posted by Jake
Did you mean to say that yellow was the inside boat here? That goes against what everybody has been saying...the common thought was that green is treated as the "inside" boat in this situation (which I contend is more like "will be the inside boat") all the way to even before they gybe for the gate.

Yes, Yellow is the inside boat. She got to the zone first and "owns the zone" - but only in this instance the way I drew it in Boat Scenario. A little bit of distance either way could change things drastically.

Last edited by mbounds; 05/04/18 10:07 PM.
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: mbounds] #288750
05/07/18 07:54 AM
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Matt, a question relative to the 18.4 gate applicability at the finish... I could not find anywhere that defined a gate, or was specific about a finish line being, or not being a gate. I can see in match racing rules they use the phrase "at a gate mark or a finishing mark" which implies they are different. Am I just missing it somewhere obvious?


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Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288751
05/07/18 09:12 AM
05/07/18 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jake
Did you mean to say that yellow was the inside boat here? That goes against what everybody has been saying...the common thought was that green is treated as the "inside" boat in this situation (which I contend is more like "will be the inside boat") all the way to even before they gybe for the gate.

Yes, Yellow is the inside boat. She got to the zone first and "owns the zone" - but only in this instance the way I drew it in Boat Scenario. A little bit of distance either way could change things drastically.


Yellow was never the inside boat. If you are required to round a mark (in this situation) to starboard, and you have an overlapped boat also to starboard, you are not the inside boat. You might be physically closer to the mark, but you are not the inside boat. This can be shown with the "string test", if each boat's track were a string and you pulled it tight, approaching the mark who would be the inside boat.


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Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: SGalway] #288752
05/07/18 02:04 PM
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Jake Offline OP
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Originally Posted by SGalway

Originally Posted by Jake
Did you mean to say that yellow was the inside boat here? That goes against what everybody has been saying...the common thought was that green is treated as the "inside" boat in this situation (which I contend is more like "will be the inside boat") all the way to even before they gybe for the gate.

Yes, Yellow is the inside boat. She got to the zone first and "owns the zone" - but only in this instance the way I drew it in Boat Scenario. A little bit of distance either way could change things drastically.


Yellow was never the inside boat. If you are required to round a mark (in this situation) to starboard, and you have an overlapped boat also to starboard, you are not the inside boat. You might be physically closer to the mark, but you are not the inside boat. This can be shown with the "string test", if each boat's track were a string and you pulled it tight, approaching the mark who would be the inside boat.


I'm not sure I've ever heard of a "string test" being applied that way - do you have a rule reference?


Jake Kohl
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288755
05/07/18 11:12 PM
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I'm going to throw a little kink in this discussion. Assuming both boats are outside the 3 boat length and Orange wants to gybe, I'm assuming she can do this only if she does note force the Blue boat to change course Rule 15. Am I correct in this?

Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: hobiejay] #288756
05/08/18 06:41 AM
05/08/18 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by hobiejay
I'm going to throw a little kink in this discussion. Assuming both boats are outside the 3 boat length and Orange wants to gybe, I'm assuming she can do this only if she does note force the Blue boat to change course Rule 15. Am I correct in this?


Rule 15 probably does not apply on that one - since orange would be gybing to port, she is not "acquiring right of way" and must still yield to blue. This is, however, another crux of my question that comes into play inside the zone and it has implications on who is the "inside" boat as to which rules are going to play...but that's away from your question.

Assuming they're both outside the zone, they're overlapped and sailing with the wind to starboard (I'm sorry for my upside down diagram now ;-). Orange would be gybing onto port and a couple areas of the rules that apply are as follows: Before orange gybes (while blue is overlapped inside) rule 11 (ON THE SAME TACK, OVERLAPPED) applies and orange (windward) must stay clear of blue (leeward). The only way she could gybe is if she had room to do so without affecting blue. So assuming they are far enough away from each other for orange to gybe, once orange establishes a port tack (gybe), rule 10 (ON OPPOSITE TACKS) would come into play and orange (port) would have to stay clear of blue (starboard). Outside the zone in this position, orange is at the mercy of blue and simply has to avoid making blue change course unless there is an obstruction or another right of way boat that comes into play.


Jake Kohl
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288760
05/08/18 11:25 AM
05/08/18 11:25 AM
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After much reflection and review, I've made the determination that I shouldn't comment on fleet racing situations late on a Friday night when I've been studying for team race umpiring the next day. I was completely wrong in this situation. Mea maxima culpa.

Green is the inside boat. Yellow owes her mark room and must gybe when she (Yellow) enters the zone in order to provide Green with sufficient mark room, which includes room to gybe.

Something that's not obvious in this case is that the zone around the RC boat isn't circular, but boat-shaped and consequently much larger than my original diagram. Here's the diagram with the zone shown around the boat (light blue shading).
[Linked Image]


Attached Files
180504.jpg (112 downloads)
Last edited by mbounds; 05/08/18 11:26 AM.
Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: Jake] #288762
05/08/18 01:04 PM
05/08/18 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jake


I'm not sure I've ever heard of a "string test" being applied that way - do you have a rule reference?


28.2(a) -- A string when drawn taut should pass each mark on the required side and in the correct order

Would Yellow's string be closer to the mark or Green's when passing the mark on the required side? The answer is Green, at this mark she is the inside boat.


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Re: Rules Question - Downwind Finish [Re: mbounds] #288763
05/08/18 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mbounds
After much reflection and review, I've made the determination that I shouldn't comment on fleet racing situations late on a Friday night when I've been studying for team race umpiring the next day. I was completely wrong in this situation. Mea maxima culpa.

Green is the inside boat. Yellow owes her mark room and must gybe when she (Yellow) enters the zone in order to provide Green with sufficient mark room, which includes room to gybe.

Something that's not obvious in this case is that the zone around the RC boat isn't circular, but boat-shaped and consequently much larger than my original diagram. Here's the diagram with the zone shown around the boat (light blue shading).
[Linked Image]



You've got them both gybing a little before they enter the zone and I don't think that's quite right. Yellow would not be obligated to gybe or otherwise avoid green until they were in the zone with overlap. If they can stay out of the zone, yellow can control the gybe back to the mark (as long as she remains on her proper course as the overtaking boat) on the layline and if she can break overlap before/as they enter the zone, yellow does not owe green room. While I'm certainly fallible, pretty confident I have that one right but correct me if wrong.

Supposing they are overlapped entering the zone, both on starboard, you are saying that yellow needs to anticipate green's gybe to port because green is currently the inside boat and yellow should gybe away before reaching the layline to allow green to be inside and have room at the mark - am I interpreting your statement correctly? BTW, I agree with this is how the rules SHOULD be structured in this situation (re; my earlier comment about yellow driving green into oncoming traffic at a gate)

However, I do believe that the word "inside" is very poorly used in this context in this rule with these gybing angles. Green isn't technically "inside" (between yellow and the mark) at the time that Yellow is required to make a maneuver because green is "inside".


Jake Kohl
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