Case 81
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 18.2(b), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room
Rule 18.2(d), Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room
When a boat entitled to mark-room under rule 18.2(b) passes head to wind, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply and she must comply with the applicable rule of Section A.
Two boats, A and B, close-hauled on starboard tack, approached a mark to be left to starboard. A entered the zone clear ahead and on a track to leeward of B, and tacked onto a close-hauled port-tack course in order to round the mark. B, still on starboard tack, made contact with A, then on port tack, causing no damage or injury. Both boats protested.

Citing rule 18.1(b), the protest committee decided that rule 18 did not apply because just prior to the contact both boats were on opposite tacks and B had to tack to pass the mark on her proper course. Having decided that rule 18 did not apply, the protest committee disqualified A under rule 10. A appealed.

B was clear astern of A from position 1 to position 4. While B was clear astern, rule 12 required her to keep clear of A. Also, from the time A reached the zone until she passed head to wind, rule 18.2(b)'s second sentence applied, requiring B to give A mark-room. B fulfilled both these obligations. Shortly before position 5, when A passed head to wind, B’s obligation to give A mark-room ended (see rule 18.2(d) or 18.1(b) ). At that time B acquired right of way and A became obligated to keep clear of B, first by rule 13 and later, after A was on a close-hauled course, by rule 10. Rule 15 did not apply because B acquired right of way as a result of A's tack.

It is not clear from the facts whether B needed to act to avoid A before or after A assumed a close-hauled course on port tack. However, it is clear that B needed to act to avoid A while B held right of way. Therefore, A is disqualified, under either rule 13 or rule 10. Because it was possible for A to have avoided the contact, she also broke rule 14.

Rule 14 applied to B, but the facts do not enable a determination of whether it was reasonably possible for B, acting after it became clear that A was not keeping clear, to have avoided the contact. However, it is not necessary to make that determination because B had right of way and the contact did not cause damage or injury. Therefore, if B had been found to have broken rule 14, she would have been exonerated under rule 14(b).

A's appeal is dismissed. She remains disqualified, and B is not to be penalized.

USA 1993/290
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