Facts and Decision of the Protest Committee
Gadzooks (PL) and Bubba (PW) were both sailing close-hauled on port tack, PL approximately one hull length ahead and one and a half hull lengths to leeward of PW. S was on starboard tack on a collision course with PL.
PL did not expect a boat coming from where S was sailing and did not become aware of her presence until there was no opportunity to bear away and go astern of S. As soon as she saw S, PL hailed that she was tacking and simultaneously tacked onto starboard. PL hit PW amidships, resulting in substantial damage to both boats. PW protested.
The protest committee found that PW was not able to keep clear of PL without having to begin to change course before PL had borne away to a close-hauled course. Its decision was that PL had no rights under rule 10
(On Opposite Tacks), because she had not satisfied the protest committee that she had complied with rule 13
. Also, she broke rule 20.2
(a) by hailing and tacking simultaneously. PL was disqualified.
Decision of the Association Appeals Committee
On appeal by PL, the association appeals committee upheld the protest committee’s decision. It further found that, even though it was not clear that PW was aware of the presence of S, she should have been prepared to respond as required. Accordingly, it also disqualified PW for breaking rule 20.2
(a). PW appealed.
Decision of the Appeals Committee
The protest committee was correct in finding that PL had no rights with respect to PW, because she had not kept clear as required by rule 13
. Since PL did not give PW time to respond before tacking, she also broke rule 20.2
The association appeals committee’s statement that PW should have been prepared to respond is unwarranted. PW was not required to anticipate PL’s breach of rules 13
(a). By the time it became clear that PL was not keeping clear, it was not reasonably possible for PW to avoid contact; therefore PW did not break rule 14
PL was at fault both in failing to observe S in time to pass under her stern and in hailing and tacking simultaneously, contrary to rule 20.2
(a). She also broke rule 13
by failing to keep clear of PW, and rule 14
by failing to avoid contact when it was reasonably possible for her to have done so.
PW’s appeal is upheld, the decision of the association appeals committee disqualifying PW is reversed, and the decision of the protest committee is changed. PW is reinstated in her finishing place, and PL is disqualified for breaking rules 14