USA Appeal US2
Rule 10, On Opposite Tacks
Rule 20, Room to Tack at an Obstruction
Rule 64.1(a), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration
Doon vs. Esperanza
Cacouette vs. Doon

When a port-tack leeward boat, on a collision course with a starboard-tack boat, hails the port-tack windward boat for room to tack and she fails to respond, the port-tack leeward boat’s obligation under rule 10 continues. The hailing boat is not compelled to break rule 10 if she can avoid breaking it after it becomes clear that the hailed boat has broken rule 20.2(c). She therefore cannot be exonerated under rule 64.1(a).

Facts and Decision of the Protest Committee
Three small scow-type boats approached a windward mark to be left to port, one on starboard tack and two on port tack. Esperanza (PW) hailed Doon (PL) for mark-room under rule 18.2(b) (Mark-Room: Giving Mark-Room), and PL hailed PW for room to tack under rule 20.1. PW failed to respond. Cacouette (S) luffed to avoid a collision, and both PW and PL tacked around the mark inside her.

PL claimed that she did not bear away under the stern of S because she thought that, with the type of boat and the strength of wind, a collision would result. However, the protest committee found that she could have borne away safely or slacked her sheets.

PW was disqualified under rule 20.2(c) on PL’s protest and did not appeal. PL was disqualified under rule 10 on S’s protest and she appealed.

Decision of the Appeals Committee

Both PW and PL were required to keep clear of S, under rule 10 while on port tack and under rule 13 (While Tacking) after passing head to wind while tacking. PW was correctly disqualified for breaking rule 20.2(c), by not responding to a hail for room to tack.

Because PW and PL were overlapped when the first of them reached the zone, rule 18.2(b) began to apply at that time. However, that rule ceased to apply when PL hailed for room to tack (see rule 20.2(e)).

When PW failed to respond to PL’s hail for room to tack, PL was faced with the necessity of taking alternative action to avoid S. This raises the question of whether she should be exonerated under rule 64.1(a) as the innocent victim of another boat’s breach. We think not, since the protest committee found that PL could have gone astern of S after it became clear that PW was not giving her room to tack as required by rule 20.2(c). A boat breaking a rule is not entitled to exoneration under rule 64.1(a) unless she was compelled by another boat to break a rule.

PL’s appeal is denied. The decision of the protest committee is upheld, and both PL and PW remain disqualified.

Note that Appeal addresses a similar incident.

November 1940
Revised January 2017
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