Case 81
Rule 14, Avoiding Contact
Rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 18.1(b), Mark-Room: When Rule 18 Applies
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.

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B was clear astern of A from position 1 to position 4. While B was clear astern, she kept clear of A as required by rule 12.

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 this obligation until shortly before position 5, when, at the moment A passed head to wind, B’s obligation to give A mark-room ended (see rule 18.2(d) or rule 18.1(b)).

At that moment, B acquired right of way, and A was required to keep clear of B, first by rule 13 and later, from the moment A reached 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 broken rule 14, she would have been exonerated by rule 43.1(c).

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

USA 1993/290
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