Facts and Decision of the Protest Committee
International 110 664 (OL) and International 110 64 (IW) approached the leeward mark after a series of maneuvers for favorable position. When IW reached the zone, OL was overlapping her on the outside.
Both boats bore away from a direct course to the mark, and a collision (with no damage or injury) occurred when IW was about one length from the mark and sailing a course that would result in her passing about one length abeam of the mark. Both boats protested.
The protest committee held that IW, as an inside boat, was entitled to sufficient room to sail so as “to finish as quickly as possible” and that OL did not give sufficient room for IW to do so. Accordingly, it dismissed OL’s protest and disqualified her for breaking rule 18.2
OL appealed on the grounds that she gave IW more than enough room to sail to the mark, stating that she did not force IW to go close to or be in danger of touching the mark.
Decision of the Appeals Committee
As the boats sailed to the mark in the zone, OL continued to be the right-of-way boat and IW was required to keep clear by rule 11
. Rule 18.2
(b) required OL to give IW mark-room, which is the space IW needed to sail to the mark in a seamanlike way, and not the space she would take to sail to the mark in a tactically desirable manner. In this case, IW was sailing a course that would bring her approximately one length abeam of the mark. That was space enough for another boat of the same class, even with her mainsail fully out, to sail inside IW without contacting either her or the mark. This space was clearly more than needed by IW to sail to the mark in a seamanlike way. Therefore IW was not sailing within the mark-room to which she was entitled, and she is therefore not exonerated under rule 21
It was reasonably possible for both boats to avoid contact; therefore they both broke rule 14
. However, both boats are exonerated for breaking rule 14
because OL was the right-of-way boat and IW was entitled to mark-room, and the contact did not cause damage or injury (see rule 14
OL’s appeal is upheld, and the decision of the protest committee is changed. IW is disqualified for breaking rule 11
, and OL is reinstated in her finishing place.