Case 53
Rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
A boat clear ahead need not take any action to keep clear before being overlapped to leeward from clear astern.
Summary of the Facts
Thirty seconds before the starting signal, W was nearly wayless, her sails flapping. At least three hull lengths prior to becoming overlapped to leeward of W, L hailed "Leeward boat". W took no evasive action. Immediately after she became overlapped, L had to bear away to avoid contact with W; meanwhile, W began to trim her sails and head up. L protested. The protest committee found that W, having been given adequate warning of the impending situation, failed to keep clear of a leeward boat, thereby breaking rule 11. W appealed asking: "Does W, under rules 11 and 15, have an obligation to anticipate becoming overlapped to the extent of having to gather sufficient way to be able to respond immediately after the boats become overlapped?"

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Allowing adequate time for response, when rights and obligations change between two boats, is implied in rule 15 by its requirement to allow a newly obligated boat "room to keep clear". This rule does not require a boat clear ahead to take any action to keep clear as a windward boat before the boat clear astern becomes overlapped to leeward.

If L had not borne away immediately, she would have broken rule 15. After L became overlapped to leeward of W, W immediately trimmed her sails, headed up, and thereafter kept clear. By taking these actions, W fulfilled her obligations under rule 11. W's appeal is upheld; neither boat broke any rule. W is to be reinstated.

USA 1969/126
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