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?
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.
From Merriam-Webster ....
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.