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Rule question

Posted By: PTP

Rule question - 10/01/16 10:43 PM

2 boats finishing downwind. One boat on starboard, other on port. Starboard boat is approaching finish line at committee boat side. Port boat coming in on collision course with starboard boat. Port boat hails for room. Starboard boats says "w...t...f" and finishes without changing course. Port boat says "w...t...f? we were entitled to room because there was overlap." There was never any danger of someone hitting the committee boat.
Who is correct?
Never came across this issue before since I don't really consider a finish line as a mark... but then again... misunderstood so many things today it is almost as if I have never raced before!
Posted By: srm

Re: Rule question - 10/01/16 11:37 PM

The marks of the finish line are marks of the course and are handled exactly the same as the marks of a downwind gate. When the first boat reaches the three boat length circle, if an overlap exists, the inside boat is entitled to mark room. If no overlap or if the interaction occurs outside of the three boat circle, then port/starboard or clear ahead/astern rules continue to apply.

sm
Posted By: PTP

Re: Rule question - 10/02/16 12:10 AM

Port boat reached 3 boat length circle first but I am having a hard time figuring out if there was overlap. The port boat was ahead of a line drawn through stb boats transom so I guess there was inside overlap
Posted By: srm

Re: Rule question - 10/02/16 01:15 AM

Quite honestly, I'm having trouble visualizing the scenario because typically with a port/starboard situation at the left gate mark (facing down wind) or the committe boat end of the finish line, the starboard boat would be inside and the port boat would be outside. So the boat on starboard tack would have right of way regardless of whether or not there is an overlap (i.e. if no overlap, they are on starboard, if there is an overlap, they are inside).

sm
Posted By: rehmbo

Re: Rule question - 10/02/16 12:04 PM

I think this captures the essence of the issue. Both boats were finishing downwind in light air on opposite gybes. Blue boat had to alter course to avoid collision and protested yellow.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Isotope235

Re: Rule question - 10/02/16 03:22 PM

Short answer:
Yellow broke rule 18.2(b).

Long answer:
Although there are times that rule 18 does not apply, such as when approaching the starting line to start and between boats on opposite tacks on a beat to windward (see the preamble to Section C and rule 18.1 for a complete list), a downwind finish is NOT one of them. Rule 18 DOES apply at gybe, leeward, and downwind finish marks.

The RC Boat is a mark (see the definition of mark). The two boats were overlapped (see the definition of Clear Astern and Clear Ahead; Overlap) when the first one reached the zone. The outside boat (yellow, on starboard tack) was required to give the inside boat (blue, on port tack) mark-room per rule 18.2(b). Mark-room (see the definition of mark-room) consists of "room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it and room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course". Yellow did not give Blue that room, and therefore broke rule 18.2(b).

I hope that helps,
Eric
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/02/16 03:52 PM

SM hits on an important subtlety here. PTP left out an important detail: On which side of the line did this occur?

If the RC boat in question was the port end of the line (as shown in the diagram), I agree with all above.

If the RC boat in question was the starboard end of the line, then port would not be inside and would have neither mark room not right of way.

Either way, I agree with all above that this is exactly the same as a leeward gate.

Mike
Posted By: mbounds

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 12:58 PM

Another subtlety is that port is only allowed the mark room to which she is entitled - which means that she must jibe at the committee boat. Mark room in this context does not include room to cross the starboard boat.
Posted By: Jake

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 02:05 PM

I thought this would be just a port starboard scenario. It isn't port's proper course to round the committee boat as per the drawing - right? If they both were on Starboard and overlapped, leeward couldn't use the boat as a pick and would have to give room but I can't see how this is any different than if they met in the middle of the line - no?

Hmmm...I'm going to have to read up. I guess blue would have plenty of gybe room in the middle of the line and the presence of the end of the line (the boat) changes that.
Posted By: Jake

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 02:09 PM

Originally Posted by PTP
Port boat reached 3 boat length circle first but I am having a hard time figuring out if there was overlap. The port boat was ahead of a line drawn through stb boats transom so I guess there was inside overlap


Overlap downwind on boats on opposite gybes with typical multihull sailing angles is easy - If you are close enough for overlap to matter, there is going to be overlap. The line off your stern goes through about half the course.
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 03:16 PM

Originally Posted by mbounds
Another subtlety is that port is only allowed the mark room to which she is entitled - which means that she must jibe at the committee boat. Mark room in this context does not include room to cross the starboard boat.


I see nothing in the definition to require this gybe, as a finish mark isn't a rounding mark.

It does seem like the logical way to avoid a collision.

Is there a case to support this interpretation?

Mike
Posted By: rehmbo

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 04:00 PM

PTP and I were on the yellow boat in question. Clearly the proper thing to do at that point was to bear away just enough to give mark room. Probably would have still beat them.

It was a good lesson. I'm still very much a student of the sport.

Mike - I think that once yellow had provided mark room then blue boat has a choice to gybe or take yellow's stern. Either way yellow fulfilled its obligation and no penalty.
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 04:25 PM

My view is that port gets mark room, which is different than ROW. I agree with Matt that port can't cross starboard, and only gets enough room to sail to the mark, but port could satisfy this at a finish line by sailing DDW without gybing. Probably makes more sense on slower boats.

Yeah, so not exactly like a gate...

Mike
Posted By: mbounds

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 06:38 PM

Originally Posted by brucat
Is there a case to support this interpretation?


WS Case 118 - "In the definition Mark-Room, the phrase ‘room to sail to the mark’ means space to sail promptly in a seamanlike way to a position close to, and on the required side of, the mark."

While you could argue that P isn't technically required to jibe, she is the give way boat, even though she is entitled to mark room. If P merely bears away to dead downwind (forcing S ti also sail dead downwind) she's still on port tack and subject to rules 10, 14 and 18.2(b) until she clears the finishing line and marks (definition of finish). The best way to avoid a possible rules infringement is to jibe.
Posted By: Jake

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 09:34 PM

Originally Posted by mbounds
Originally Posted by brucat
Is there a case to support this interpretation?


WS Case 118 - "In the definition Mark-Room, the phrase ‘room to sail to the mark’ means space to sail promptly in a seamanlike way to a position close to, and on the required side of, the mark."

While you could argue that P isn't technically required to jibe, she is the give way boat, even though she is entitled to mark room. If P merely bears away to dead downwind (forcing S ti also sail dead downwind) she's still on port tack and subject to rules 10, 14 and 18.2(b) until she clears the finishing line and marks (definition of finish). The best way to avoid a possible rules infringement is to jibe.


Ahh...OK. You are saying that once she (blue) gybes, they're both on starboard and now blue is entitled to room on that end of the finish mark? I get that - that's pretty straight forward in that you can't use the finish mark as a "pick". However, I think that I understood that blue was asking for room to gybe around the committee boat and, in essence, yellow would have had to yield to blue while she was still on port and finishing.

Suppose, however, that if they were both in the middle of the line, blue (p) would have to avoid yellow (s) plain and simple - blue would either have to gybe or take yellow's stern to avoid her. Just because they are near the end of the line, nothing says that blue has to round the committee boat...blue's proper course is to cross the line - not round the end of the line. Why would blue be given special circumstances just because of where they are on the finish line - why wouldn't it be the same as if they were meeting in the middle of the line?

Posted By: srm

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 10:05 PM

It doesn't matter whether it's a gate or a finish line, the rules regarding mark room are the same in both cases.

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.

It would be the same scenario if you had a race committe that set up an excessively wide gate. In the three boat length zone(s) rule 18 apllies. In the area between the marks (but outside of the zones), the standard rules regarding when boats meet apply.

Using the committe boat or the pin end of the line to an inside boat's advantage is just part of the tactics of racing.

sm
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 10:14 PM

Thanks Matt, that's what I thought. The practical thing for port to do is gybe, but I doubt anyone would protest this after a finish. Most sailors think once you've touched the line, you're done, and are happy just to move on to the next race. Seems like only ROs and judges (and probably match racers) appreciate the full rule and definition.

Jake, it's because it's a mark, covered by RRS 18. Most likely, it's to add fairness and open options. Otherwise, everyone would approach on starboard, cutting out part of the racecourse.

Mike
Posted By: rehmbo

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 10:36 PM

Originally Posted by brucat
Most likely, it's to add fairness and open options. Otherwise, everyone would approach on starboard, cutting out part of the racecourse.


And this finally gives me a logical answer to the "why" question. Have to say this rule is a pretty obtuse one for the unwashed masses (aka me)

That being said, I have a much firmer understanding of it now. Thanks guys!
Posted By: Jake

Re: Rule question - 10/03/16 11:32 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I see it now. For some reason I was looking at multihull angles all different but it's really not. I've yielded room to port on the same situation on keelboats and never given it a second thought.

Lesson for starboard, if you want to force port/starboard rights at the finish line, cross the finish line a couple of boat lengths away from the end of the line.
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/04/16 12:54 AM

You're welcome. One of the fringe benefits of attending US Sailing meetings and seminars, and volunteering for enough of the right regattas is the chance to meet the rules guys and ask questions like this. Once you get a feel for what they're trying to accomplish, it helps a lot.

Of course, it's an international effort, and doesn't always make perfect (or obvious) sense. Some of the submissions during the change cycle can make your head spin. It's usually the unintended consequences that cause the problems.

Mike
Posted By: srm

Re: Rule question - 10/04/16 06:53 PM

Originally Posted by Jake
Lesson for starboard, if you want to force port/starboard rights at the finish line, cross the finish line a couple of boat lengths away from the end of the line.


That assumes that you would somehow be able to draw the port tack boat away from the pin end of the line (or boat end of the line in the above case). If I'm approaching the line on Port on a collision course with a boat on Starboard and I know I have inside rights at the pin, there's no way you would be able to draw me away from the pin. Like I said, a Port tack boat taking advantage of mark room at the pin is one of the tactics of racing.

sm
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/04/16 09:51 PM

If a port boat beats a starboard boat across the line, it's almost always because the port boat was in the lead before approaching the line. The only way to preserve that in a tight race is to finish at the pin.

Mike
Posted By: Isotope235

Re: Rule question - 10/05/16 03:32 PM

Believe it or not, the purpose of rule 18 is to make mark roundings simpler. If you think rule 18 is complicated, try to imagine a gybe or leeward mark rounding without it. As boats are bearing away, gybing, and rounding up, overlaps are constantly being broken, new overlaps are established, and boats are changing tack. Try to figure out the applications of rules 10, 11, 12, 15, and 16 in real time while all that changes -- especially if there are multiple boats involved -- while still performing all the necessary acts of seamanship needed to round the mark. It can't be done.

Now, enter rule 18.2(b). All you have to do is look at the relationship between boats at the moment the first one enters the 3-boat-length-zone. If the boats are overlapped, then the outside boat must thereafter give the inside boat mark-room. If they are not overlapped, then the astern boat must thereafter give the ahead boat mark-room. That obligation holds even if the boat's right-of-way or overlap relationship changes as they maneuver.

Back to the scenario at hand, where a port-tack boat is overlapped inside of a starboard-tack boat at a downwind finish mark, rule 18.2(b) applies. The outside boat (S) must give the inside boat (P) mark-room. If that means that both boats must turn dead-downwind to avoid each other and the mark, then that's what both boats must do. Forget about proper course, as that term has nothing to do with rule 18.2. Don't get hung up on "rights", as both boats have obligations. P must keep clear of S, and S must give P mark-room.

I hope that helps,
Eric Rasmussen
US Sailing Judge
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/05/16 04:02 PM

I thought the ACWS rule was the simplest: first one to enter the zone is ROW until after rounding (or something to that effect), applied at both windward and leeward marks. What's easier than that?

Of course, they probably had sensors to help sort it out.

Mike
Posted By: srm

Re: Rule question - 10/05/16 04:35 PM

Originally Posted by Isotope235
Don't get hung up on "rights", as both boats have obligations. P must keep clear of S, and S must give P mark-room.


How can P be required to keep clear of S AND S be required to give P mark-room? If you look at the definitions, those appear (to me) to be mutually exclusive requirements.

Keep Clear: A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action.

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

Room: The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.

Thus, for P to KEEP CLEAR of S, then it means that S has to be able to sail her course without needing to take action to avoid P. This of course is not possible if at the same time S must maneuver to give P mark room.

sm
Posted By: samc99us

Re: Rule question - 10/05/16 06:32 PM

Thanks Eric. Would have loved to have you in the room in NJ...may ping you on a separate topic.
Posted By: Isotope235

Re: Rule question - 10/05/16 09:46 PM

Originally Posted by srm
How can P be required to keep clear of S AND S be required to give P mark-room? If you look at the definitions, those appear (to me) to be mutually exclusive requirements.

The two are not mutually exclusive. S must give P enough room at the mark so that P can sail the course without S having to take avoiding action. If S does not give P mark-room, and as a result S must act to avoid P, then S breaks rule 18.2(b) and P breaks rule 10. It is entirely possible for both boats to break a rule. In this instance, however, provided P is sailing within the mark-room to which she is entitled, she is exonerated under rule 21 for breaking rule 10 or 31.

I hope that helps,
Eric
Posted By: tback

Re: Rule question - 10/06/16 11:14 AM

Originally Posted by Jake


FIFY

Lesson for starboard, if you want to force port/starboard rights at the finish line, cross the finish line a couple of boat AT LEAST 3 BOAT LENGTHS away from the end of the line.


Posted By: graybon

Re: Rule question - 10/06/16 07:23 PM

I'm always amazed at how many sailors do not think about the downwind finish being exactly like a gate. Then again, I guess many do not understand the rules at the gate that well either. It all makes sense and is intended to keep us all from crashing. Keep this in mind in big fleets with lots of overlapped boats. Even on starboard, you may have to give room to more than 1 boat at the finish.


Mike, I distinctly remember you sitting in the pin boat at the finish in Galveston at the Hobie 16 NA's when Jason Hess tried to assert his Starboard rights on me at the pin end when I was finishing on port. I'm pretty sure he knew the rule but was hoping I didn't. He gave me room, I jibed at the pin and we both finished cleanly.
Posted By: PTP

Re: Rule question - 10/07/16 12:32 AM

Originally Posted by graybon

Mike, I distinctly remember you sitting in the pin boat at the finish in Galveston at the Hobie 16 NA's when Jason Hess tried to assert his Starboard rights on me at the pin end when I was finishing on port. I'm pretty sure he knew the rule but was hoping I didn't. He gave me room, I jibed at the pin and we both finished cleanly.


it should be against the rules to knowingly fake that you don't know them!
Posted By: Isotope235

Re: Rule question - 10/07/16 01:36 AM

Originally Posted by PTP
Originally Posted by graybon
... tried to assert his Starboard rights on me at the pin end when I was finishing on port. I'm pretty sure he knew the rule but was hoping I didn't.

it should be against the rules to knowingly fake that you don't know them!

Not knowing the rules does not excuse one from breaking them. Neither does pretending not to know the rules.

Trying to intimidate another boat (whos crew may not know the rules) into giving up right-of-way or room to which she is entitled is against the rules. It is a breach of rule 2 "Fair Sailing".
Posted By: Jake

Re: Rule question - 10/07/16 11:54 AM

Originally Posted by PTP
Originally Posted by graybon

Mike, I distinctly remember you sitting in the pin boat at the finish in Galveston at the Hobie 16 NA's when Jason Hess tried to assert his Starboard rights on me at the pin end when I was finishing on port. I'm pretty sure he knew the rule but was hoping I didn't. He gave me room, I jibed at the pin and we both finished cleanly.


it should be against the rules to knowingly fake that you don't know them!


It is - most definitely...that would be a rule 2 violation. The problem is, though, the onus would be on you to prove that the other guy wasn't an idiot. grin

I was doing tactics/trimming on a boat with a talented, but somewhat inexperienced owner/helm, not too long ago where we had a finishing issue. We were windward sailing upwind to the starboard end of the finish line with a boat, pretty even and maybe slightly ahead, close and overlapped to leeward. Neither one of us were laying the starboard end of the finish line and both of us had to tack back to port in order to finish. The lawyer helming the other boat, an experienced sailor who had a fairly unethical reputation, started screaming for room to tack while blurting something about overlap and zone, etc. I instructed our boat to hold course and tack on my call. My skipper flinched and tacked - we probably gave up that finish position at that moment but our crew wasn't ready for the tack and we got smoked to the line. The subsequent sheepish grin from the skipper of that other boat really got under my skin. I knew he knew that I knew he knew. smirk
Posted By: brucat

Re: Rule question - 10/07/16 12:46 PM

Greg, I do remember, that and plenty of other incidents at that regatta which made me scratch my head and say "Really???" If you recall, I was also on the PC, and we had a few really late nights. Rules 2 and 69 were discussed a few times, which thankfully is pretty rare, but never pleasant.

I've seen all sorts of head games (and worse) over the years, both as a racer and as an official. It's almost always impossible to prove intent, and sometimes people just deny it all ever happened once they're in the room and realize the severity of the situation.

You'd think that since Rule 18 has been around for about 20 years, and we've used gates for about that long, people would stop using the excuse that they don't see port as being overlapped in that situation. We either need to dramatically improve our training, or maybe implement requirements to pass a basic test before entering a race?

My biggest pet peeves are bumper boats (pileups at the start line or gate, with no turns or protests, usually more of a problem with Optis), or the blatant kamazazi port boat crossing through a starboard-tack parade, doing a penalty turn, and still coming out 10 boats ahead: a clear violation of the Basic Principles and specifically 44.1(b).

Back to the point about dealing with the wrong-rule-yelling bullies: typically, holding your ground and not backing down on the water will give them the clue that you're not a pushover, and they'll leave you alone after that. Otherwise, protest, protest, protest.

Mike
Posted By: Jake

Re: Rule question - 10/07/16 06:06 PM

Originally Posted by Jake


It is - most definitely...that would be a rule 2 violation. The problem is, though, the onus would be on you to prove that the other guy wasn't an idiot. grin

I was doing tactics/trimming on a boat with a talented, but somewhat inexperienced owner/helm, not too long ago where we had a finishing issue. We were windward sailing upwind to the starboard end of the finish line with a boat, pretty even and maybe slightly ahead, close and overlapped to leeward. Neither one of us were laying the starboard end of the finish line and both of us had to tack back to port starboard in order to finish. The lawyer helming the other boat, an experienced sailor who had a fairly unethical reputation, started screaming for room to tack while blurting something about overlap and zone, etc. I instructed our boat to hold course and tack on my call. My skipper flinched and tacked - we probably gave up that finish position at that moment but our crew wasn't ready for the tack and we got smoked to the line. The subsequent sheepish grin from the skipper of that other boat really got under my skin. I knew he knew that I knew he knew. smirk


sorry..had to fix that typo.
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