Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

"Accidentally" in the definition of "Mark"

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer

Mark
An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side, and a race committee boat surrounded by navigable water from which the starting or finishing line extends. An anchor line or an object attached accidentally to a mark is not part of it.

Wondering if any judges on the forum have had to determine if something was "part of" a mark by parsing whether or not that thing was "accidentally" attached to the mark or not?

From Merriam-Webster ....

Accidental
a : occurring unexpectedly or by chance
b : happening without intent or through carelessness and often with unfortunate results


I guess what we are considering is mainly debris? A large branch gets hung-up on the windward mark .... a boat that touches the branch does not touch the mark seems a clear-cut interpretation.

How about the branch gets hung in the bow pulpit and pulls the mark into the boat?

Sometimes SI's declare that a float behind the RC is part of the RC. Even without that specifically spelled out, it seems that anything hanging off the RC (stern float(s), kayaks, runabouts and dinghies) that was intentionally tied-to and hung-off the RC would be part of the RC-mark ... and therefore if a boat touches any of these things they have touched the mark.

Anyone disagree with that?

Maybe an exception would be a gust of wind comes by and blows something off the deck of the RC unexpectedly (but still attached by a line) .. goes overboard and hits a competitor starting/finishing .. that would/would-not be part of the RC-mark? In that case, it was intentionally attached to the mark (RC) but accidentally in the water?

Maybe one way of differentiating it is consider the opposite .. that anything intentionally attached to a mark and intentionally in the water is part of the mark.

Ang
Created: 18-Jun-20 15:09

Comments

Thomas Armstrong
Nationality: Chile
Certifications:
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I think your addition of the definition of "accidentally" serves good purpose. I see it is clear that anything attached with intent to the mark is part of mark, like dinghies, kayaks, fishing lines/nets, etc. Of course one could argue if the RC is doing a good job or not by allowing hanging such things to a mark.... On the other hand, debris, fallen-off rigs or even boats adrift count for me as accidentally attached. Again, one could argue that a boat adrift may have decided to attach itself to a mark to avoid danger - so this is with intent, not accidental.

The point I am trying to make here is that you should post your question with the specific example that happened or that you are thinking of...
Created: 18-Jun-20 18:36
Rob Overton
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • International Umpire
0
Ang,

I've learned from experience that when my initial reaction to one of your posts is that the rule has no problem, I'd better look again. But this time, I'm completely puzzled by your post. It seems to suggest there's some ambiguity we need to worry about, but you don't point out anything I can see is a problem. The definition you quote seems right but adds nothing to what I think people understand "accidental" to mean, and all your examples seem correct. The branch hung up on the mark is definitely accidental; does anybody think it's not? And things tied to the RC boat -- kayacs, dinghies, or plastic floating ducks (popular in the US for this purpose) are not accidentally attached. Your example of the object blown off the RC boat but somehow attached to it by a string seems bizarre enough that we shouldn't worry about it.

My answer to the one question you ask -- How about the branch gets hung in the bow pulpit and pulls the mark into the boat -- is that if the mark touches the boat then the boat has broken rule 31, which, I think, is quite clear:

"While racing, a boat shall not touch a starting mark before starting, a mark that begins, bounds or ends the leg of the course on which she is sailing, or a finishing mark after finishing."

I don't see that this is any different from hooking one's keel on the mark's ground tackle, which act pulls the mark up against the boat. Hooking the ground tackle is not a breach of rule 31, but making contact with the mark as a result of that hooking is a breach. This really has nothing to do with the meaning of "accidental", which is the main topic of your post.
Created: 18-Jun-20 19:49
John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Ang -

"Sometimes SI's declare that a float behind the RC is part of the RC. Even without that specifically spelled out, it seems that anything hanging off the RC (stern float(s), kayaks, runabouts and dinghies) that was intentionally tied-to and hung-off the RC would be part of the RC-mark ... and therefore if a boat touches any of these things they have touched the mark.

Anyone disagree with that?"

No, and I think that is why that sentence was added to the definition (there were apparently a few instances of some idiot trying to pass between a keep-away buoy and the RC boat (needless to say, the owner of the RC boat took a dim view of that).

"Maybe an exception would be a gust of wind comes by and blows something off the deck of the RC unexpectedly (but still attached by a line) .. goes overboard and hits a competitor starting/finishing .. that would/would-not be part of the RC-mark? In that case, it was intentionally attached to the mark (RC) but accidentally in the water?

Maybe one way of differentiating it is consider the opposite .. that anything intentionally attached to a mark and intentionally in the water is part of the mark."

I think that strictly speaking, your hypothetical piece of trash from the RC boat would be a part of the mark according to the definition, so that's a valid qualification, but I also think it's an event so rare that it's worth avoiding the possible confusion that could be generated by adding an extra clause to the definition. If it happened, it would be an error on the RC's part, would be redressable, and hopefully, would be a reason to abandon and restart the race, if the competitor did anything but ignore it.
Created: 18-Jun-20 20:08
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Rob, it wasn’t my intention to question the language (I don’t think I did). Rather I thought I was clear in asking for those on the forum to share instances where they had to determine if something was part of a mark or not.

I agree with your read of the branch creating a mark-touch and the anchor line.

I wasn’t suggesting at all there was a problem with the RRS language.

Ang
Created: 18-Jun-20 20:13
Ben Fels
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
  • National Race Officer
0
We had 4 incidents this season that invoked "accidentally"
  • 49er capsized on inflatable mark and got it between the forestay and mast (15 knots wind and 2 knots current) then hooked anchor caribeener onto forestay
  • Jubilee hooked anchor line under rudder (picture)
  • VSR tied to a gate mark to shorten course
  • VSR grabs drifting 2.2m inflatable mark that has had anchor line cut and holds in position by motoring

The first 2 were accidental attachments the second two were not.
Created: 18-Jun-20 22:06
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Ben .. thanks for those examples .. exactly what I was hoping to reel-in.

So, how did this get before the PC (if it did)? Did a boat make contact with the 49er or Jubilee and claim that they only had to do 1-turn for an RRS 31 instead of 2-turn for an RRS 14 or RRS 18 violation?

Ang
Created: 18-Jun-21 02:42
Mathias Rebholz
Nationality: Switzerland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Very interesting discussion here.

I have two examples that I'd like to share:

1) Is a simple line (rope) hanging out of the back of the starting vessel part of the vessel? And how do we expect the competitors to distinguish between "attached accidentally" or "attached with intent"?

2) Is a buoy attached to the race committee starting vessel's ground tackle part of the mark or the ground tackle?
SI's often state that "boats shall not pass between this buoy and the race committee starting vessel at any time" but do not include the buoy in the description of the mark.

Matt

Created: 18-Jun-21 11:16
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John Mooney ..

I think that strictly speaking, your hypothetical piece of trash from the RC boat would be a part of the mark according to the definition, so that's a valid qualification, but I also think it's an event so rare that it's worth avoiding the possible confusion that could be generated by adding an extra clause to the definition.

Agree ... like I replied to Rob, I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with the current definition.

I like to understand the black, understand the white and then explore the grey. Sometimes I find a nice line in the grey which divides the black and white .. sometimes grey is a place unto itself .. but I never know until I start zooming in.

Mathias ...

2) Is a buoy attached to the race committee starting vessel's ground tackle part of the mark or the ground tackle?
SI's often state that "boats shall not pass between this buoy and the race committee starting vessel at any time" but do not include the buoy in the description of the mark.

IMO if its only attached to the anchor line/tackle then that would not be part of the RC-mark. However, if the RC simultaneously tied with a second line to the bow of the RC, then it would be part of the RC-mark. (PS .. maybe tied off the top of the float to the bow such that the line is in the air ... with a couple pennants too for a belt and suspenders approach. Seems like a nice idea to protect the anchor line from getting snagged)



Not sure about your Q1. I think I'd go with John Mooney's reasoning in my "thing getting blown overboard" scenario.

Ang

Created: 18-Jun-21 12:23
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