Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Is this a starting mark ?

Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
The starting line for a race is set out in the SIs as being a line projected from two transit poles on the shore. The SIs go on to say that boats must pass between an Inner Distance Mark and Outer Distance Mark when starting and that these marks may not necessarily be on the starting line.

Due to tide the IDM at the start of the race is two boat lengths on the course side of the start line. My questions are -
Is the IDM still a starting mark and if so how far up course would it have to drift before it ceased to be one ?
If the IDM is no longer a starting mark the the exclusions in preamble to Sect C no longer apply so presumably rule 18 would apply and boats could claim mark room on that mark, is that correct ? - alternatively
As a boat will have cleared the starting line when her bow is one boat length from it she will not be "starting" when she arrives at the mark so is the SI irrelevant and can the mark be left on either side as stated in 28.1?
Created: 18-Jul-02 09:59

Comments

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
  1. The starting line for a race is set out in the SIs as being a line projected from two transit poles on the shore.
  2. The SIs go on to say that boats must pass between an Inner Distance Mark and Outer Distance Mark when starting and that these marks may not necessarily be on the starting line.
  3. Due to tide the IDM at the start of the race is two boat lengths on the course side of the start line.

Just to be clear, you are describing a situation where the IDM-ODM and the starting-line are not parallel and also intersect (one mark on each side of the line)?

Seems to me it comes down to the definition of "when starting". Isn't a boat starting once racing in her starting sequence? Or is a boat starting only once her bow crosses the starting line after her starting signal? I know I've yelled that to other boats in other fleets while we are in sequence who are in our starting area .. "Hey . we're starting .. can you guys get out of the way!".

Also, think about all the discussions of "starting area" in the rules and cases.

If a boat is starting after her prep-signal, then boats could have crossed through the IDM-ODM at any time after her prep and then got back behind the starting-line.

Ang

Created: 18-Jul-02 13:20
Thorsten Doebbeler
Nationality: Germany
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
CASE 58 talks about a similar situation, but on the finishing line.
While starting marks do not necessarily bound the starting line, it gets tricky when the limitation mark is not on the course side of the line but on the "outside".
Created: 18-Jul-02 13:53
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
Ang - I envisaged a situation where both the ODM and the IDM had been carried two boat lengths to the course side of the line by the tide. A boat is certainly racing from her prep signal (see definition of Racing) but she starts when having been whole on the non course side of the start line before or at the starting signal any part of her hull. crew or equipment crosses the line in the direction of the first mark - see definition of Start.
Created: 18-Jul-02 13:54
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
Thorsten - I am pretty comfortable at both starts and finishes when the marks are on the non course side of the line as in case 58. It is this specific issue of a starting mark being encountered by a boat some time after she has actually started because it is on the course side of the line that is causing me a problem
Created: 18-Jul-02 13:59
Thorsten Doebbeler
Nationality: Germany
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
My two cents (and not talking about proper RM policies here):
A Mark according to the definition is an object the SI require a boat to pass on a specified side. This is true for IDM, so by the rules it is a mark, regardless where it drifts.
This may end in boats playing follow the mark - that is, following CASE 58, provided the mark is on the course side of the line, as only then it bounds the leg the boat is sailing on and RRS 28.1 can be applied.

Ruleswise, there does not seem to be a difference between marks and starting marks - at least there is no separate definition or differentiation of a 'starting mark' vs a 'standard mark'.
Section C Preamble and RRS 31 mention a starting mark (note the non-italicized word 'starting') and RRS 28.1 only mentions marks.

A starting mark seems to be just a mark related to starting (not necessarily a part of a starting line) - the 'related to the start' part probably somewhat being subject to common interpretation.

Following this, I would think that drifting starting mark on the course side on the line is always a mark - it has a required side and the rules prohibit touching it.
Created: 18-Jul-02 14:39
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
Thorsten - i think you illustrated my dilemma very well. There is no clear distinction in the rules between a mark and a starting mark. If we accept that an IDM on the course side is a mark the question then remains is it a starting mark ? If it is the rule 18 does not apply and a boat can not have mark room to pass it but if it isn't then rule 18 does apply and inside boats are entitled to mark room. If we decide in the case I gave that at two boat lengths over the line the mark remains a starting mark then at what point would we decide that it was not a starting mark but just a mark and apply rule 18 ?
Created: 18-Jul-02 15:07
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
The SI state that boats must pass between the ID and OD marks when starting, A boat is starting from the moment she is approaching the starting line to start, until a part of her hull, crew or equipment crosses the start line.
Once she has started, a boat is no longer starting and therefore is no longer required to pass between the ID and OD marks.

Created: 18-Jul-02 15:19
Thorsten Doebbeler
Nationality: Germany
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
What is the precise SI wording on this?
Created: 18-Jul-02 15:31
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Bill (and Murray)

she starts when having been whole on the non course side of the start line before or at the starting signal any part of her hull. crew or equipment crosses the line in the direction of the first mark - see definition of Start.

I agree, that's when a boat starts .. and you can use this definition to determine if a boat has started or not. What I'm asking where in the RRS is the concept of "starting" defined?

Murry offers ...

A boat is starting from the moment she is approaching the starting line to start, until a part of her hull, crew or equipment crosses the start line.

Murry want to offer an RRS or Case reference for that language?

What I'm saying is that when I look through the RRS and Cases I find "starting" used as follows:

  • Starting Sequence
  • Starting Line
  • Starting Area
  • Starting Signal
  • Starting Penalties
If you think about "starting sequence" and "starting area" we have the idea that "starting" describes a time and place after the prep signal and until the boat starts (crosses the starting-line after her starting-signal).
..

RYA 2010-003 .. "When the starting area is not stated in the sailing instructions, it will normally be the area where boats in good time for their start will sail between their preparatory signal and starting signal."

Seems to me one could make the argument (I'll concede that it's maybe not a very good argument) ... using the above terms ..

... that a boat is "starting" when she is in the "starting area" and in her "starting sequence" from the time after her prep signal until she "starts" (by crossing the "starting line" after her "starting signal").

Bill .. I don't disagree with your interpretation, it's just that I never examined the word "starting" before.

Ang

Created: 18-Jul-02 16:08
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
Ang - I think that is exactly my point. Nowhere can I find any clear indication of what is meant by "starting" or "starting mark" and yet these terms have a significant impact on what rules are applied and how.

Thorsten - The SIs define the start line as a transit and then say...."An inner and outer distance mark will be laid and boats must pass between them when starting. These marks will not necessarily be on the start line".

If we accept that a boat is starting until she clears the start line then it is physically impossible for a boat the pass between the IDM and ODM "when starting". That suggests to me that as the instruction can not be obeyed the marks can be ignored. This is very much the logic implied in Case 58.
Created: 18-Jul-02 17:30
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Bill,
I don't think a boat is starting "until she clears the start line". A boat starts the moment any part of her hull, crew or equipment crosses this line in accordance with the definition of start. That is usually (but not always) the moment her bow crosses the line at or after the start signal. Once she has started, she is no longer starting (because those terms are not defined and therefore must be used in their common language meaning). So most of a boat's hull, equipment or crew will still be crossing the start line (and not clear of it) after she has already started. As said, once she has started, she can no longer be starting, and therefore, she does not have to pass between the ID and OD "marks". Thus, the ID and OD "objects" are no longer marks by definition (they only have a required side while a boat is starting, not after she has started) and rule 18 does not apply.
Created: 18-Jul-02 18:09
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Is there an english teacher in the house? Think this is coming down to when we use it in the 'present participle' adjective-form (starting mark, starting line) vs the 'gerund' noun-form (The boat is starting).

Ang
Created: 18-Jul-02 18:11
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
28.2 would seem to support the fact that a boat would only be required to pass the ID or OD marks on a required side when she approaching the starting line to start.
28.2 A string representing a boat’s track from the time she begins to approach the starting line from its pre-start side to start until she finishes shall, when drawn taut,
(a) pass each mark on the required side and in the correct order,


Created: 18-Jul-02 18:22
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Bill Handley
said

The starting line for a race is set out in the SIs as being a line projected from two transit poles on the shore. The SIs go on to say that boats must pass between an Inner Distance Mark and Outer Distance Mark when starting and that these marks may not necessarily be on the starting line.

Due to tide the IDM at the start of the race is two boat lengths on the course side of the start line. My questions are -

Is the IDM still a starting mark and if so how far up course would it have to drift before it ceased to be one ?

The IDM is not and never was a 'starting mark'. See RYA Appeal 2004/9.

It is not necessary for there to be any starting marks.

There is also an old out of date Q&A 2010-033 which has some helpful and not so helpful ideas.


If the IDM is no longer a starting mark the the exclusions in preamble to Sect C no longer apply so presumably rule 18 would apply and boats could claim mark room on that mark, is that correct ?

The SI say it is a mark, by requiring boats to pass between the IDM and the ODM, the SI specify a required side for each: it would appear that rule 18 applies at the IDM
- alternatively
As a boat will have cleared the starting line when her bow is one boat length from it she will not be "starting" when she arrives at the mark so is the SI irrelevant

The Definition of Start defines an instantaneous event, having no duration: there is no meaning to 'a boat starting' in the RRS and the RRS do not use 'starting' in that sense.

So the SI have invented a term 'a boat starting'

I might be convinced that a boat is 'starting' (common or nautical english) from the time she is approaching the starting line to start, but it could equally well be argued that she is 'starting' from the time she is in the starting area and is racing, that is, in the starting area from her preparatory signal. Given that the defined term 'start' is precise, I don't think it can be said that a boat can be 'starting' after she has started in the defined sense. I would certainly agree that she is no longer 'starting' once she has cleared the starting line.


and can the mark be left on either side as stated in 28.1?

Given that the SI only specify a required side for boats 'when starting', once a boat has started I don't think there is any required side on the IDM and she may pass on either side of it.

Had the SI used different wording, like 'Boats shall pass the IDM to starboard' without the 'wnen starting' qualification, the IDM would have been a mark at which rule 18 applied, however inconvenient its proximity to the starting line might have been.

Note the significant difference between marks at starting lines and under Case 58 at finishiing lines:

With marks on either side of a starting line, boats have been racing from their preparatory signal and after they have started, but once a boat has finished and cleared the finishing line and marks, she is no longer racing
Created: 18-Jul-03 00:29
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
John - Thanks for the helpful thoughts which I think explore the very issues I raised. I would however take issue with you on the one point you make that "the IDM never was a starting mark."

The RYA case you quote is making the point that a transit starting line does not terminate at the IDM or ODM which is a point upon which everyone agrees. Those marks do (or rather may) limit where boats can start and therefore may be starting marks and the case certainly says nothing to contradict this. If we accept your point that a mark can only be a starting mark if it is a termination point of the line then we are left with the situation where if a RC lays an IDM to protect a Committee Boat (as often happens) but the line terminates at the CB mast then that IDM is not a starting ,mark. This in turn would mean that the exception in the pre amble to part C does not apply and rule 18 does so that any time an IDM is laid boats can barge at the CB calling for mark room on the IDM under rule 18.

The Q&A you quote dealt with the situation where the IDM was some way behind the line. Back when that answer was provided the string test in rule 28 started when a boat started and as the mark was more than a boat length behind the line the string test was not capable of being applied so the conclusion was that the mark could be ignored. Rule 28 has changed significantly since that answer was given and the string test now starts when a boat approaches the line to start so the answer under the current rules would be totally different.
Created: 18-Jul-03 07:27
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
So, I guess we need to answer the question 'What is [the definition of] a 'starting mark'".

My first inclination is to say that starting marks are marks that mark the ends of the starting line.

There are only two cases in the WS Case Book that refer to starting marks and they use starting mark in this sense.

There is one RYA Appeal (1982/13) which refers to a distance mark as a starting mark, RYA 2004/9 refers to two limit marks, without saying whether they are 'starting mark' or not.

So, would you say that a starting mark is a mark with respect to which the SI impose some obligation on boats, either from their preparatory signal, or from when they are approaching the starting line to start,until they start/have started?

Is there an argument to be made that an obligation with respect to a starting mark can exist after a boat starts/has started (except, of course that once a boat has started, a starting mark that is an end of a starting line is a mark that begins the first leg which she is sailing on and attracts obligations under rules 28 and 31)?

I take your point about the Q&A and the 2009 version of rule 28, and the operation of the starting mark exemption to rule 18.

It seems then, that I need to accept an expansive definition of starting mark, to include 'distance marks' with respect to which the SI impose obligations on boats in the context of starting.

The (lapsed) Q&A suggests that a mark, purporting to be a starting mark that is on the course side of the starting line must be 'somewhere within a reasonable distance on the course side of the starting line'.

If that qualification is accepted, then, in your OP, a distance mark within one or two boat lengths of the course side of the starting line is still a starting mark for the purposes of the starting mark exception to rule 18.

Once the mark got beyond three boat lengths on the course side of the starting line, then I think it could no longer be regarded as a starting mark, and it would depend on careful analysis of the SI whether boats had any obligation with respect to it at all.

How does that sound?
Created: 18-Jul-03 23:50
Thorsten Doebbeler
Nationality: Germany
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
0
How about a starting mark to be a mark related to starting?

So what happens if a starting mark loses her starting relation - it is still a mark?
Created: 18-Jul-04 07:21
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
I think where we are getting to with all this discussion is that a termination mark on a start line is always a starting mark and distance marks may also be starting marks.

If a distance mark is on the non course side of the line it will be a starting mark as the action of starting begins as a boat starts to approach the line to start. Rule 28.2 places a course limitation on boats from the moment they start their approach to the start line and this confirms that point of view.

The issue remains when the mark is on the course of the line. One strict interpretation would be that a boat starts when any part of her crosses the line so from that point onwards as she has "started" she can not be "starting" so a mark laid in that way can not be a starting mark. If this were the case then an IDM laid slightly on the course side of the line to protect a CB would not be a starting mark and boats could claim mark room on it under rule 18 which is something that does not happen in practice.

We seem to be gravitating to the idea that a starting mark is a mark that in some way affects the course that a boat may sail at the starting line or where on the starting line she may start. This leaves the question of how far up the course can the mark be laid and I think that we will just have to wait for a case on this for a definitive answer and in the meanwhile just use our judgement and experience.

Finally if the mark has a required side and is so far up the course that it is no longer a starting mark then rule 18 would apply at that mark.

Thanks to everyone for this helpful discussion.
Created: 18-Jul-04 08:07
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
28.2 implies that any mark does not have a required side to pass until the moment a boat is approaching the line to start. The SI give the IDM a required side only when a boat is starting. So, once a boat has starts and is no longer starting, the IDM ceases to have a required side and loses its definition as a mark. If the IDM is not a mark, then rule 18 cannot apply. The preamble to section C states that the rules of section C "do not apply at a starting mark... ...from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them". Wouldn't that imply that rules 18, 19 and 20 would not apply until after boats have passed all starting marks, including the IDM? If the IDM rated as a starting mark when a boat was approaching it to start, then section C rules would not apply until after the boat had passed it, whether it be on the pre-start or course side of the line.
Created: 18-Jul-04 16:12
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Thorsten Doebbeler
said

How about a starting mark to be a mark related to starting?

That would leave us with the problem of what exactly is meant by 'starting'.

So what happens if a starting mark loses her starting relation - it is still a mark?

Marks don't blink on and off like traffic lights. A mark is a mark.

What can change is a boat's obligation with respect to a mark.

Which leads us back to the meaning of 'starting mark'.

Bill Handley
said

I think where we are getting to with all this discussion is that a termination mark on a start line is always a starting mark and distance marks may also be starting marks.

Yeees.

If a distance mark is on the non course side of the line it will be a starting mark as the action of starting begins as a boat starts to approach the line to start.

That's one possibility.

But rule 31 says a boat, while racing, that is from the time of her preparatory signal, shall not touch a starting mark, so maybe 'starting' begins at the preparatory signal.


Rule 28.2 places a course limitation on boats from the moment they start their approach to the start line and this confirms that point of view.

I take your point, but rule 28 doesn't use the word 'starting'.

I'm not sure that when 'starting' starts is all that important


The issue remains when the mark is on the course of the line.

Here's the nub: it's once that a boat has started when does the notion, if not the express precise meaning of 'starting' end.

Bear in mind that the original question, and the one that it seems useful to focus on, is How does rule 18 work at a 'starting mark' on the course side of the starting line?


One strict interpretation would be that a boat starts when any part of her crosses the line so from that point onwards as she has "started" she can not be "starting"

As long as we avoid Thorsten's suggested definition and the OP SI, we don't need to define a boat starting: what we need to do is define a 'starting mark'.

And the main issue is the switch off of rule 18.

Preamble to Section C says Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark or its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them. That is, it continues to give exemption from the time that a boat starts until it has passed the mark and it's anchor line.

So, that's the duration of effect of the rule 18 switch off, but we don't have to define 'boat starting' for that to work.


so a mark laid in that way can not be a starting mark.

So, I don't think that's right. I don't see any reason to upset the old Q&A: as long as a distance mark is within a reasonable distance of the starting line, and the SI do something to make it a 'starting mark' that's OK.

If this were the case then an IDM laid slightly on the course side of the line to protect a CB would not be a starting mark and boats could claim mark room on it under rule 18 which is something that does not happen in practice.

We seem to be gravitating to the idea that a starting mark is a mark that in some way affects the course that a boat may sail at the starting line or where on the starting line she may start.

Yes.

What do you think of my suggestion above

starting mark, to include 'distance marks' with respect to which the SI impose obligations on boats in the context of starting.


This leaves the question of how far up the course can the mark be laid and I think that we will just have to wait for a case on this for a definitive answer and in the meanwhile just use our judgement and experience.

The old Q&A said 'reasonable distance' that seems reasonable to me. As I said, more that 3 BL would establish a zone that was completely on the course side.

Finally if the mark has a required side and is so far up the course that it is no longer a starting mark then rule 18 would apply at that mark.

I'm not sure, but I think the approach should be that it is a starting mark, but laid out of position, an improper action of the race committee, which may (or may not) give rise to redress.

Thanks to everyone for this helpful discussion.

I think it may be worth while going on a bit with the discussion

Created: 18-Jul-05 01:30
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