Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

What is a CONTINUING OBSTRUCTION ???

Catalan Benaros
Nationality: Argentina

What is a CONTINUING OBSTRUCTION ( C.O. ) ???

.....As we do not have a DEFINITION of CO......how can we defIne a CO?

Can we consider a capsized boat a CONTINUING OBSTRUCTION ?



THANKS !!!
Created: 18-May-03 18:03

Comments

Michael Butterfield
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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1
See the definitions and "Obstruction"

It says a boat racing is never an obstruction. A Capsized boat is Racing even if not sailing.
Created: 18-May-03 19:23
John Christman
Nationality: United States of America
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1
From the internet (not that you can believe everything you read there) the definition of "continuing" is:

1. State of not having an immediate ending. For example, a union may tell union workers that negotiation meetings have been continuing on for months, days, or in some cases, years, with no end in sight.

(Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/continuing.html)

So a continuing obstruction is an obstruction (as defined in the RRS) that has, for all practical purposes, no ending in space or time.
Created: 18-May-03 19:47
Mays Dickey
Nationality: United States of America
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1
FWIW, I would define "continuing obstruction" as an obstruction that may not be left on one side or another. A crab pot, a boat, or a mark can practically and safely be "rounded" on one side of the obstruction or another if given enough space and are just basic obstructions. Continuing obstructions such as a shoreline, pier or other geographical feature may only be safely rounded to one side.

Created: 18-May-03 20:04
Greg Dargavel
Nationality: Canada
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1
Careful with a boat racing is NEVER and obstruction. There is the "unless......... " in the definition.
Created: 18-May-03 20:37
John Fox
Nationality: United States of America
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2
A capsized boat should be avoided, if possible, under rule 23 and this is mentioned as being included in the definition of obstruction. John Christman has provided a good common use definition of continuing and if not specifically defined by RRS, the common use definition is to be used. A capsized boat would not be a continuing obstruction.
Created: 18-May-03 20:41
John Fox
Nationality: United States of America
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Careful Michael and Greg, a boat racing is not an obstruction unless the other boats must keep clear of her. The last sentence of the definition says that a vessel underway, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.
Created: 18-May-03 20:47
Graham Kelly
Nationality: United States of America
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  • National Judge
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Doesn't the Introduction to the RRS provide definitions for a number of sailing-related terms, refer readers to terms whose meaning is set forth in the "Definitions" section of the RRS, and goes on to say, "Other words and terms are used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use."

"Obstruction" is defined in "Definitions", "continuing" is not.

In Definitions, "obstruction" is defined as, "An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull
lengths from it."

Referring to the Merriam Webster dictionary, "continuing" is defined as, "marked by uninterrupted extension in time or sequence." The Oxford Dictionaries website defines it as, "Without a break in continuity." With respect to an object, I think it can be defined as an object that extends for a considerable distance.

Putting these together, I would define a continuing obstruction as: "An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull
lengths from it, that extends for a considerable distance."
Created: 18-May-03 20:57
Catalan Benaros
Nationality: Argentina
0
Thanks all of you very very much !!!
I´ll post the case we are talking about in my school.
Created: 18-May-03 21:16
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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Rule 23 applies to a capsized boat and according to the definition of obstruction it is therefore an obstruction. The definition states that a boat racing can never be a continuing obstruction and assuming the capsized boat meets the definition of racing then she cannot be a continuing obstruction.

On a more general point I have always used the test of whether or not the obstruction takes some time to pass as to whether or not it is continuing. The fact that it can only be passed on one side is not relevant. There was a Q&A regarding break waters protruding from the shore and the view was that the end of the break water was not a continuing obstruction as it did not take significant time to pass it.
Created: 18-May-03 23:57
Mays Dickey
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
1
Bill,
Agree totally about a capsized boat. I would be interested to learn more about this breakwater scenario however--I can't imagine a situation where a breakwater could be anything but a continuing obstruction. Could you elaborate?
Created: 18-May-04 01:28
John Grace
Nationality: New Zealand
Certifications:
  • International Judge
1
What Bill Handley is thinking of was ISAF case 33 prior to the 2003 casebook.

The scenario then was as it is now, but the answer to the second question included a paragraph which read "Although the breakwater is a continuous structure from the shore to its outer end, it does not qualify as a continuing obstruction because the boats pass close to it only briefly, near its outer end. Therefore, rule 19.2(c) does not apply."

That paragraph has not been included in the 2003-2016 or 2017-2020 casebooks.

If anyone responsible for compiling the casebook is reading this, it would be good to know the reason why that paragraph was deleted.
Created: 18-May-04 04:50
Phil Mostyn
Nationality: Australia
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Perhaps the reason had something to do with the said case concerning boats approaching the end of the breakwater and not further back towards the shore.
Down in Busselton West Aust., there is an old jetty that extends out about a kilometre or more from the shore - so it makes sense to me that boats approaching the jetty close to the shore are approaching a continuing obstruction, but boats approaching the end of the jetty are not.
Created: 18-May-04 08:46
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
1
Glad someone can remember where I read this stuff - it's one of the problems of having been around for a very long time.

I think the logic is that the shore line and the break water itself are both continuing obstructions but because the end only takes a short time to pass then it is not. For what it is worth, for the very many protests that I have heard the decision has never turned on whether or not the obstruction is continuing, it's usually pretty obvious.
Created: 18-May-04 19:17
John Grace
Nationality: New Zealand
Certifications:
  • International Judge
1
What I get out of case 33 (now by implication) is that whether an object is a continuing obstruction is a question of it's affect on the boats' courses rather than the physical nature or shape of the object itself. If the affect is momentary, in terms of time and distance, then it will not be a continuing obstruction, but if its affect is continuing, then it will.

Normally this would be obvious. The main cases of doubt I have is when there is a succession of objects that affect boats' courses, such as a line of moored boats or a group of capsized boats. Should they be regarded collectively as a continuing obstruction or as separate non-continuing obstructions? In an old book, Gerald Sambrooke Sturgess says they are a continuing obstruction. He seems to be relying on nautical practice.

My suggestion would be that if it is reasonably possible to sail between separate objects in a seamanlike manner, then they can be regarded as separate obstructions, but if that is not reasonably possible, then their affect on the boats' courses will necessarily be continuing.
Created: 18-May-05 06:15
Ant Davey
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Going with the dictionary definition, I would propose that an obstruction is a continuing obstruction while you still have to avoid it and can't sail around it.
Created: 18-May-06 16:37
John Grace
Nationality: New Zealand
Certifications:
  • International Judge
0
Ant. I think you are interpreting the word "continuing" too restrictively. The word "continuing" does not only mean "continuing for ever" or "continuing with no end", either in the dictionary, ordinary usage or a nautical sense.

First, when looking at dictionary definitions, I suggest that you use one of the authoritative dictionaries rather than just something off the internet. As sailing terms are generally based on UK English (for better or worse) I suggest the best is the Oxford, as that is the one generally used by the legal profession over there when dealing with nautical disputes.

Looking at my Oxford English dictionary, the adjective "continuing" refers to the various senses of the verb "continue", of which there are 14. We have to choose the sense of the verb that fits the context of the Rule. Without going into those definitions, it is permissible to say something is "continuing for 5 seconds" or something is "continuing for 2 meters", as well as saying something is "continuing with no end", like the strike in John Christman's early comment.

In a racing rules context, an object like the shore of an island or the side of an anchored ship will be a continuing obstruction (if it has a continuing effect on a boat's course), and the purpose that Rule 19.2(c) will apply, even though boats can sail around them. On the other hand, a boat cannot sail around the break water in case 33, but in that situation, it wasn't a continuing obstruction. Therefore, whether or not a boat can sail around an object does not determine whether it is a continuing obstruction.
Created: 18-May-06 23:45
Ant Davey
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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John,
As a technical writer and editor I didn't actually feel the need to resort to the dictionary - I don't own an English language dictionary, and resort to Oxford online when I need to. Oxford online says: Without a break in continuity; ongoing. I have re-read my proposal several times and can't find any fault with it.
Assuming that avoidance includes not being able to sail one's proper course, a sailor need only ask him or herself, Can I sail around it now? If the answer is No, I still need to avoid it, then the obstruction is continuing. The definition doesn't provide any further assistance, hence our debate. 19.2(a) says a boat may choose to pass an obstruction on either side. By inference only, one could suggest that an object that can only be passed in one direction would be a continuing obstruction. That argument, as you say, falls when applied to small islands that may be found on lakes of all sizes. However, an ongoing need to avoid it - for an as yet undetermined, but significant period - would make it a continuing obstruction.
As for the time period concerned I would resort to the rule of thumb that I've been taught - particularly in relation to Rule 15 and the local interpretation of initially - of about 3 seconds. So, if a substantial change of course is needed for more than 3 seconds, the obstruction could be considered as ongoing. Your views may vary.
Best regards,
Ant
Created: 18-May-07 13:36
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
This issue has more recently come up in a new post Room at obstruction.

John Grace
said

What Bill Handley is thinking of was ISAF case 33 prior to the 2003 casebook.

The scenario then was as it is now, but the answer to the second question included a paragraph which read "Although the breakwater is a continuous structure from the shore to its outer end, it does not qualify as a continuing obstruction because the boats pass close to it only briefly, near its outer end. Therefore, rule 19.2(c) does not apply."

That paragraph has not been included in the 2003-2016 or 2017-2020 casebooks.

The language was still used in the 2009-12 version of Case 33
Although the breakwater is a continuous structure from the shore to its outer end, it does not qualify as a continuing obstruction because the boats pass close to it only briefly, near its outer end. Therefore, rule 19.2(c) does not apply.
It was deleted from the 2013 version, although that version continued to apply rule 19.2( b ), without mentioning rule 19.2( c ).

The approach taken in early versions of Case 33 was to construct an argument for why the exemption to giving room at a continuing obstruction should not apply.

Supposing that the shoreline and the jetties were treated as a continuing obstruction, following the 'freezing' or 'snapshot' approach in RYA Appeal 2014/4 (which is also adopted in Dave Perry's rules books), at the moment PW became overlapped inside PL, there was ample room between the position of PL and the obstruction, so rule 19.2( c ) does NOT 'switch off' rule 19.2( b ) and PL was required to give PW room to pass between her and the end of the jetty.

This is consistent with the current wording of Case 33.

This argument negates any suggestion that it is necessary to imply a qualification on the normal meaning of 'continuing', based on the relative direction of approach of boats, as was done in earlier versions of Case 33.

I suggest that in language and in logic, absent a specific interpretation, which has been pointedly omitted from the current Case 33, the shoreline, and projecting jetties form a continuing obstruction.

Applying this approach, boats sailing parallel or almost parallel with a continuing obstruction are able to avail themselves of the exemption in rule 19.2( c ), but if boats approach a continuing obstruction at an angle, then there is likely to be sufficient room at the time the overlap begins and the rule 19.2( c ) exemption will not apply.

Mays Dickey
said

FWIW, I would define "continuing obstruction" as an obstruction that may not be left on one side or another. A crab pot, a boat, or a mark can practically and safely be "rounded" on one side of the obstruction or another if given enough space and are just basic obstructions. Continuing obstructions such as a shoreline, pier or other geographical feature may only be safely rounded to one side.

I find this approach attractive.

To attain a level of generality, I would suggest that it might be worded along the following lines:
An obstruction is a 'continuing obstruction' if it is not reasonably possible for a boat to choose which side of the obstruction on which to pass, or if choosing to pass on one particular side of the obstruction would result in a boat clearly not sailing her proper course.
Created: 18-Jun-29 06:29
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