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When is it necessary to gybe to sail the course without touching the mark (port -starboard)
Nationality: United Kingdom
Hello, can you help answer what I think is a basic question. Three scenarios, in each it is undisputed that yellow is clear ahead entering the zone. Blue calls starboard on yellow when yellow gybes to port (position 3). Blue changes course to avoid yellow but there is contact (no damage) between blue and yellow.
Is there any difference between the scenarios as to whether yellow may gybe as part of their mark room?
Scenario 1: spreader mark (kites already raised). Downwind leg is slightly offset so port is the long gybe. Both continuing on starboard and gybing to port can be argued as a 'proper course'. Scenario 2: Gybe mark on triangle course, proper course is to gybe. Scenario 3: leeward mark, proper course is to gybe and round up.
Created: 21-Oct-12 17:19
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In all the scenarios, Yellow is entitled to the room to sail to the mark and then around it. If a boat must gybe to sail to the mark then she can gybe and is exonerated for breaking rule 10 as she is sailing within the room to which she is entitled. Also, look at rule 18.2(c)(2) as Blue will become overlapped with Yellow as Yellow bears away and gybes. Yellow can determine what her proper course is, not Blue.
The diagrams also show the direction of the next mark if that changes the interpretation of 'must gybe to sail to the mark'.
Your approach will promote chaos and promote the actions of late arrivals at a mark barging their way in. In your justification for your approach that ROW should always prevail with no limitations to allow a boat to gybe onto port, is somewhat unfair, given that they got to the zone first and therefore earned the right to sail the course and round the mark. The boat behind can earn the right by obtaining an inside overlap when the first if them reaches the zone, as per current rules. That's an easy concept to understand, particularly in mixed fleets.
But, can anyone think of any reason why yellow would not be in her rights to gybe for the mark in any scenario?
Tom - "Any scenario"? If Blue was overlapped inside when Yellow reached the zone, then Yellow could not gybe at will for the mark. Or, if both were outside the zone and Yellow thought she was gybing for the mark, she would still have to avoid Blue on starboard.
For instance, I have been given an opinion that in scenario 1 yellow may not gybe as it is not required by the course for her to gybe (she could continue and gybe later), so as soon as she does she loses mark room.
It's not an opinion I agree with, but it's one I've been given and am trying to understand it. This is a situation that comes up often on our championship courses with boats gybing at the spreader mark.
I think that, within certain fairly broad constraints, a boat's proper course is what she decides it is. There are many reasons why in scenario 1 Yellow might want to gybe at the spreader mark - better pressure, anticipated wind shift, favorable current, traffic, desire to approach the leeward mark on starboard, etc.. I think Blue would have a hard time making a convincing argument that gybing could not be a proper course for Yellow.
Yes, there's a fourth scenario in addition to the ones you described, where the mark is a windward mark on a port rounding triangle.
In that case Y's proper course, supposing the got herself into @2, 1.5 hull lengths to windward of the mark, would be a reaching course on starboard gybe, away from the mark.
In that case, her proper course is not to sail close to the mark and she is not entitled to mark-room to do so, so she is not entitled to room to gybe, even supposing she madly wanted to do so.
It looks like this is all about proper course.
Proper course comes up twice in rule 18 and the meaning of mark-room.
The reason for this is that the definition of mark-room says that when a boat's proper course is to sail close to the mark, her mark-room [includes] room to sail to the mark.
In both your Scenarios 2 and 3, I don't think there can be any doubt that Y's proper course to finish as soon as possible is to sail to and round close to the mark.
So the slightly more difficult scenario is Scenario 1.
I think that, from @2, 1.5 hull lengths to windward of the mark, Y's proper course is still to sail close to the mark: it's on her direct course from her position @2 to the leeward mark. That being the case, she's entitled to room to sail to the mark and room to gybe to do so.
As John C also says, rule 18.2(c)(2) also applies, once Y is overlapped on B (and they will be overlapped even after Y gybes onto the opposite tack because rule 18 applies (Definition: Clear Ahead and Clear Astern; Overlapped, last sentence).
As Y gets close to the mark, @3, her proper course is the course she would sail to finish soonest. In a protest it would be up to B to prove that the port gybe to the port gybe favoured mark was NOT the course to finish soonest. As Tim H says, that's going to be a very big ask.
In this case I was yellow and blue called starboard. At the time I thought they were just confused but later they said I had passed the mark (assuming continuing straight on starboard gybe to the right downwind was my proper course).
I said my proper course was the gybe (long gybe was port) and I hadn't passed the mark until I was on the next leg. At the point I gybed I was still not between mark 2 and 3.
There are no current cases about the meaning of ‘mark-room has been given’.
When one boat is changing course to pass astern of another in order to comply with an obligation, and is aiming towards the after part of the other boat, there's nothing much the other boat can do to avoid contact.
The room or mark room situation is not the same as a simple right of way situation, where the give way boat could always have avoided contact by keeping clear in the first place.