Q&A 2019-009
Rule 51 Movable Ballast
Pumping out bilge water for the purpose of changing a boat’s trim or stability does not break rule 51, however, class rules may limit the amount of bilge water allowed and/or put restrictions on the time and/or the type of bilge pump used to bail water out.
Question 1
Does pumping out bilge water for the purpose of changing a boat’s trim or stability break rule 51?

Answer 1
No. See the last sentence of rule 51.
However, class rules may limit the amount of bilge water allowed and/or put restrictions on the time and/or the type of bilge pump used to bail water out.

Question 2
Does pumping out bilge water while racing at a time and place of the crew’s choosing, break rule 51?

Answer 2
No. See answer 1.

Question 3
Does the fact that there are well established, easy ways of automatically removing bilge water, and that no other reasonable reason can be established for fitting a more complex system other than to control exactly the time and place that bilge water is pumped out, change that answer?

Answer 3
No. See answer 1.

Question 4
Given that it might be easier to use a manual pump downwind than while hiking upwind, does a boat that is only equipped with manual pumps and which chooses to pump out bilge water only at the beginning of a downwind leg, break rule 51?

Answer 4
No. See answer 1.

27 March 2019