Between the preparatory and starting signals, Ephesian
on starboard tack and Jupa
on port tack approached each other head-to-head. Both boats were heavy keelboats, 33 feet (10 m) long. Neither boat was aware of the other. The bowmen on both boats, who normally would have been stationed by the forestay, were handling their genoas, and no other crew members were keeping a lookout. Ephesian
was moving slowly with limited manoeuvrability. They collided, causing serious damage to Jupa,
who therefore retired. In the resulting protest, Jupa
was disqualified under rule 10
, and Ephesian
was disqualified under rule 14
appealed, claiming that she could not have avoided Jupa
by changing course or speed.
begins “A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible.” This requirement means a boat must do everything that can reasonably be expected of her in the prevailing conditions to avoid contact. This includes keeping a good lookout while sailing in the starting area during the starting sequence, a time when boats are often close to one another and frequently change course.
The protest committee concluded that if either boat had seen the other a collision could have been avoided, even at the last minute, particularly if Ephesian
had hailed Jupa
when it was clear that Jupa was not changing course to keep clear. Until that moment, rule 14
(a) allows a right-of-way boat to delay acting to avoid contact. It follows that at that moment she must begin to act in an effort to avoid contact. The word “act” is not restricted to changing course or speed. Hailing was an action that Ephesian
could and should have taken. Ephesian
broke rule 14
. Because the collision resulted in damage, Ephesian
was not exonerated by rule 43.1
(c) and the protest committee's decision to disqualify her was correct. Her appeal is therefore dismissed.
broke rule 10
. As a result of the serious damage she suffered in the collision, she retired from the race and thus took the applicable penalty (see rule 44.1
(b)). Rule 64.2
(a) prohibits penalizing her further. The disqualification of Jupa
is reversed and she is to be scored RET.