Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

RRS Concepts We Explain Over and Over Again (even to experienced racers)

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
This post is just an invitation to share your experiences and successful approaches to explaining those RRS concepts that, for some reason, keep coming up over beers and sailing-karate. It's not my purpose to try to find fault in the current RRS's with this thread. It's my hope that we can share the explanations and approaches that worked so that we can learn and borrow from each other's successes.

Also, I agree that the RRS's are already written and organized to be clear, concise as possible and meant to be easily understood. Even so, racers tend to "boil them down" to rules of thumb for whatever reason. They also hold onto old concepts that have been rewritten over the years.

So .. which RRS and concepts do you find you are repeatedly explaining and what silver-bullet's have you come-up with that give that "ah-ha moment"?

I can start off with a couple to get this going. Of course, if you feel my "silver bullets" are incorrect, please offer yours in its place or make mods.

Obstruction Room vs Continuing Obstruction Room and Different Zone-Concepts around Obstructions

Very often I will have a racer say in the context of Obstruction overlap ..

"Well, the other boat didn't establish inside overlap with me before my bow was overlapped with the Obstruction" .. or another variant ..
"He didn't establish inside overlap before the zone" (when talking obstructions).
There seems to be a pervasive confusion/conflation of mark-room and obstruction-room as well as a rejection of the idea that an inside boat can "nose-in" between a boat and obstruction and force the outside boat off her course to let the inside boat squeeze-in (if there is room for outside to do so).

I can see how folk get it confused during their learning process. Mark-room can't nose-in. Obstruction Room you can if there is room for the outside boat to give, and Continuing Obstruction at first blush seems like you can't "nose in", but as we know it's not that simple.

Silver Bullet: My go-to explanation of the difference between Obstruction and Continuing Obstruction Room which get's the most traction is the one offered on the forum by Bill Handley. He describes the process of freezing the position of all boats (except the inside boat) at the moment the inside overlap is established. If the inside boat would have room to sail between the outside boat and the CO (with the outside boat standing still), then the inside boat gets room. The trajectory of the boats doesn't matter (where they will be) but rather where they are at that moment.

Barging the RC on STB at the Start
Many racers seem to think that the leeward boat has to "shut the door" on the barger and if the barger gets their nose in, then they have rights ... without regard to whether or not the leeward boat altered course to windward or not.

Silver Bullet: For this one, I like to focus on the STB/Leeward boat's right to hold their course and that concepts of Section C mark/obstruction room do not apply to an RC boat (surrounded by good water). That yes, a windward barger can get to the point that they are between the RC and the leeward boat and they have no escape .. and the leeward boat has to avoid contact .. but there is no rule in this situation that allows a windward boat to force a leeward boat off her held-course. If the leeward boat luffed up .. then there can be a question.

The issue here is also often the perception of angles. The leeward boat holding her course has a straight-line perspective on the RC and her course. The barger, coming in from above and at an angle, likely changing course and closing with the bow the leeward boat, can get the impression that the leeward boat is changing her course, when she is actually not.

Mark Room Doesn't Include Room for a "Tactical Rounding"
This is one of those rules-of-thumb that are more subtle as it's sometimes true and sometimes not.

Silver Bullet: Here I focus on getting racers to understand that if you are an inside boat who is owed mark-room, you can also be a ROW boat who can take the room to sail your proper course, which many times can be to take the extra room to make a "tactical rounding". I find that I get blank stares often as racers let that sink-in. Also that though your proper course is determined in the absence of the boat who is overlapped with you .. your tactics can include calculations how to deal with boats ahead and behind you. This is especially important to realize at a leeward mark and STB-inside boat is coming in hot into a port rounding.

You Can't Luff At the Start After the Gun
I find this one ties into a lot of topics where racers think there is a rule requiring a boat to sail her proper-course after the gun.

Silver Bullet: I point out that there is only 1 rule that prevents a STB and leeward boat from sailing above her proper course in the vicinity of the starting line, and that's RRS 17. If the leeward boat didn't establish the overlap from clear astern, it doesn't matter if it's before of after the starting signal, she can luff above her proper course.

Ang
Created: 18-Aug-22 17:55

Comments

John Eilers
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0
First remember that the rules, like the law, are a shield, not a sword. The rules are designed to avoid collisions by establishing a right of way boat and a burdened boat. The right of ay boat can not interfere with the burdened boat's maneuvers to avoid contact. Arriving too late and thus interfering with a boat rounding a mark is obviously wrong. Viewing the rules from this prospective will help in obtaining the right answer.
John Eilers, Cincinnati.
Created: 18-Aug-24 03:04
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
For me it is usually new sailors asking which rules they should study.
The quick answer is: It is only these five pages of when boats meet.
.
Even for me it was decades before I learned the organization of the rules:
10-13 Keep clear - you do not have ROW.
14 (neutral)
15-17 Limitations when you do have ROW.
Why is that such a secret?
(A tip of the hat to Coach Pat Healy.)
Created: 18-Aug-24 05:37
Roger Ford
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
0
Ladies / Gents

Angelo mentioned Bill Handley in his post.

I presume you know Bill passed away a few weeks ago.

Thought I should mention this in case you were not aware.

Bill is a loss to the sailing community in Falmouth where he sailed and beyond.

Roger
Created: 18-Aug-24 06:32
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Roger .. I had no idea of Bill's passing! I'm so sorry to hear that news.

Bill was one of my very favorite contributors on the board ... patient and thoughtful and I think his replies, insights and commentary always went to the heart of the issue with just the right balance between directness and supporting discussion.

I will sorely miss his presence on the forum.

Angelo
Created: 18-Aug-24 11:44
Stephen Chessor
Nationality: Canada
0
The last concept came into play yesterday....Lasers on a beat, nowhere near a mark, starboard crosses close in front of port then tacks immediately, they are overlapped, port (now leeward) luffs up, starboard (now windward) protests the luff.  If they became overlapped, within two boat lengths of each other, because starboard tacked into a windward (not clear ahead) position, is there any reason that leeward is restricted from luffing to head to wind?
Created: 19-May-20 17:45
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Stephen,

Look at last sentence of RRS 17 and last phrase of RRS 15 in the context of RRS 13.  Then think about RRS 16.1 and always RRS 14.
Created: 19-May-20 18:23
Stephen Chessor
Nationality: Canada
0
Thanks Angelo.
Created: 19-May-20 18:49
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Of course W will try to claim that the overlap was created after completing the tack. I have seen that.
Simple diagramming will show that if she was too close to complete her tack dead ahead of L, then an overlap was inevitable before W was on course.
A more aggressive action for L would be to anticipate W's tack and to luff as W passes, taking control, perhaps even before W crosses head to wind.
Then only 13 comes into play. (Mostly.)
Created: 19-May-20 19:07
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