In a moderate to rough sea and a fresh breeze, S, close-hauled on starboard tack on her proper course, converged with PW and PL, overlapped and broad reaching on port tack on a different leg of the course. The rigging of PW and S touched, in spite of S luffing sharply in an attempt to avoid a collision, but there was no damage or injury.
Two protests arose from this one incident and were heard separately. In the first protest, S v PW, the latter was disqualified under rule 10. The facts found in that hearing did not mention PL. During the hearing of the second protest, PW v PL, PL stated that she knew that S was converging with PW and PL, that PW would be likely to need room from PL to avoid a possibly serious collision, and that the situation was developing rapidly. PL was disqualified under rule 19.2
(b) for not giving PW room between her and S, an obstruction. PW appealed the decision of the protest committee disqualifying her for breaking rule 10
In cases of this kind, the two protests should be heard together in the presence of representatives of all the boats involved. This ensures that all of them hear all of the testimony given to the protest committee about the incident, as required by rule 63.3
. Had this procedure been followed, the protest committee would have learned that the collision between PW and S arose from the inability of PW to bear away because PL did not give her room to do so, and, under either rule 21
(a) or rule 64.1
(a), PW would have been exonerated for breaking rule 10
PW's appeal is upheld, and she is to be exonerated for breaking rule 10
and reinstated. The protest committee's decision to disqualify PL for breaking rule 19.2
(b) was correct.