Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Racing Tactics at Obstructions and Safety

Jay Howell
Nationality: New Zealand
Our race area contains numerous moored boats that the fleet often sails thru. These moored boats are at times used tactically under Rule 19.2(a) and (b). As I understand these rules, if a leeward right of way boat (L) can break overlap with a windward boat (W) before reaching the obstruction, then L is no longer required to give W room between her and the obstruction when passing to leeward. This can be accomplished by sailing towards and close to the obstruction, luffing up and then turning sharply downwind shortly before reaching the obstruction. If executed in this manner, it is difficult for W to maintain or reinstate an overlap and W might also be forced to sail to the windward side of the obstruction or tack away to avoid the obstruction. 
1) Is the above tactical description sound? 
2) Is there a point as L approaches the obstruction where the above tactical maneuver would be viewed as denying W the room that she is entitled under Rule 19.2(b) and if so, how would this point be determined? 
3) Any other thoughts on reducing the risk of collision with the moored boats due to the above tactics apart from changing the race area? How about using the SI to modify the definitions (Rule 86.1(b)) of an obstruction and/or room in the context of Rule 19.2 to create a safe zone of say 2? boat lengths?
Created: 24-Feb-02 16:45

Comments

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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Jay, I had a post from a long time ago which touched on some of the same issues here

Re: Q3 above, an SI cannot change a definition .. so changing def: obstruction or def:room is not allowed, but an SI can define an “area or a line” as an obstruction (emphasis added below)

Obstruction  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.An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an object, area or line so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions. However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her or, if rule 22 applies, avoid her. A vessel under way, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.
Created: 24-Feb-02 16:47
Jim Champ
Nationality: United Kingdom
0
If I understand things correctly there doesn't seem to be any reason why the SIs should not define an area of say 30 feet  radius round each moored boat as an obstruction. But I foresee complications, especially if these areas overlap or if boats are allowed to sail in these areas without penalty. 
There are a good few cases in various case books about Rrs19, I think they would bear study. Is there an NZ Case book? Or does your NA endorse RYA or US Sailing casebooks? 
Created: 24-Feb-02 19:18
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Jay,

Is this what you have in mind?
Moored Boat.png 88.6 KB

I think I've got the turning circles realistic.

So B begins to luff @3.5, about 1.5 BL away from the obstruction.  B, changing course, gives G, room to keep clear, and G does so.

B then does her hard bear away, breaking the overlap and leaving G clear astern, within 0.5 BL from the obstruction, with space to change course in either direction.

This, of course, depends on B executing her bear away so that she becomes clear ahead of G.  If she doesn't, and G remains overlapped inside her, B must give G room between herself and the obstruction.

How do you see there's a problem with this situation?

How is there a risk to safety that the OA/RC should be concerned about?

Around Sydney, we have a Port Authority requirement that  'Sailing Event participants do not navigate between moorings during the Sailing Event ... '.

We implement this in our SI by saying:  'Moorings - ... boats shall not sail within mooring areas'.

Neither of these are a triumph of perfect drafting, but we don't experience many problems.  I've never seen or heard of a protest about this.
Created: 24-Feb-02 22:28
Jay Howell
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Hi John - thanks for the diagram and this correctly portrays. Strategically, the closer to the obstruction that blue executes the luff and bear away, the more likely it will successfully force green to go to windward of the obstruction. For Green to attempt to maintain overlap at position 5, it puts itself in a unsafe risk of collision.  If an incident with a moored boat does occur, we could end up with something similar to the Sydney Port Authority requirement you refer to, and then would be required to move our start and finish line. This might be appropriate anyway, but I don't think we would reach consensus on this without a requirement. 
Created: 24-Feb-02 23:42
Beau Vrolyk
Nationality: United States
0
I would take a good look at the various team racing books that are available. The sort of tactics that Blue used on Green, are very common maneuvers. Imagine flipping this over and having Blue and Green approaching a starboard tacker who is on Blue's team. Blue is going to try and insure that Green has to get pinned by her team mate on another Blue boat.

Indeed, this is downright friendly compared to some of the mark traps that I've seen thrown at people. I do realize that all parties need to be wide awake and both the Blue and Green skippers really need to understand the true maneuverability of each other's boats. 
Created: 24-Feb-02 23:54
Jim Champ
Nationality: United Kingdom
0
The problems, I suppose, are if something goes wrong, and B doesn't succeed in breaking the overlap or A has trouble clearing the moored boat. Add tide to the mix, and being a SE England based sailor I always associate lines of moored boats with plenty of tide, it seems to me that extreme manouvering close to moored craft would be a game associated with unnecessary risk of damage to third party's craft.

My first question is at what point does Rrs19 switch on? The rule says a ROW boat at an obstruction may choose to pass the obstruction on either side, and must give room to an inside boat. That suggests to me that at the latest the boats are at the obstruction at the point where ROW decides which side to pass - some way short of the mark. Is this reasonable?
My second question is whether it matters if the overlap is broken once the boats are largely committed to passing one side or the other. Does 19 switch on and off?
In the UK we have
RYA 2011/1
An inside boat that reasonably believes that she is at an 
obstruction and acts accordingly is entitled to room from 
an outside boat. The inside boat is not required to 
endanger herself in order to claim her entitlement to 
room. If the outside boat disputes the inside boat's 
entitlement to room, she must nevertheless give room, 
and then, if she wishes, protest.
Created: 24-Feb-03 00:14
Russell Beale
Nationality: United Kingdom
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Regional Umpire
  • National Judge
0
@Jim - I think "at an obstruction" identifies when the rule is in effect.  Not approaching, or before, but at it.  So, referring to Jay's diagram, I think this is fine if done with appropriate regard to tide, wind and sea state conditions.

(And whilst not a rules point, strategically and practically I can't really see why Green would think going in there is a good idea - it's minor to luff slightly and go above, unless a mark is just below the moored boat - in which case chatting to the race officers would be a better bet as that's simply poor mark laying.....)
Created: 24-Feb-03 01:20
Beau Vrolyk
Nationality: United States
0
@Jim -- I would only add that no competitor forced green to turn down at 5. She did so of her own choice. Given where she was at 6, it seems clear that she could successfully avoid the obstruction. Therefore, Blue breaking the overlap at 5 was entirely appropriate. 
Created: 24-Feb-03 03:00
Jim Champ
Nationality: United Kingdom
0
I confess myself surprised that such manouvering could be considered appropriate in fleet racing round third party craft. Team racing seems an inappropriate comparison. 

I'm still not clear about when Rrs19 turns on. Dictionary wise 'at' is a rather vague preposition with a lot of meanings. Are they 'at the obstruction' in position 3? It's a far looser word than say 'adjacent to' . I think I could sensibly make an argument that they are 'at' an obstruction when they must make a significant course change to avoid it. It certainly seems to me that at position 3 blue has chosen which side of the obstruction she will pass, and if, as a very amateur and inexperienced PC chairman I had to write up facts found, I would say that at position 3 blue had  decided to leave the obstruction to starboard. 

If that's the case then at position 4 surely yellow is being denied room to pass the obstruction on the same side as blue. 


Created: 24-Feb-03 07:24
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Jim,

We've had a few discussions about the meaning of 'at' in RRS 19 before.

I think a workable interpretation is 'a boat is at an obstruction when, if another boat was overlapped between her and the obstruction and in need of room, she would need to take action to give the inside overlapped boat room to pass between herself and the obstruction.'

Sometimes people use the term 'committed', with the meaning 'unable to take another option'.

@3, as the diagram shows, B is readily able to change course to pass to windward of the obstruction without even coming close to breaking RRS 16.1, and G is more than 2BL from the obstruction, and in no need of room.

@4 B is overlapped inside between G and the obstruction, and it is G that would be required to give B room to pass between herself and the obstruction.

@5, not only is G clear astern of B with no entitlement to room, but, in my opinion, she is being given room:  she can readily change course in either direction.

It's no business of the RRS what is 'appropriate'  No rule requires a boat to sail in a seamanlike way, or prudently, or, to use Jay's words to avoid ' unsafe risk'.

Any risk is the boat's to take if they choose.  They may or may not break a racing rule, or may or may not incur some liability for damage: that's their risk.

Created: 24-Feb-03 10:27
Jay Howell
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Hi John - so using this interpretation, what are your thoughts on the following slightly different scenario? When blue luffs, green is not between her and the obstruction, so this would then seem ok? 
diagram3.png 166 KB
Created: 24-Feb-03 10:45
Jim Champ
Nationality: United Kingdom
0
Well, if it's the case that the requirement for room in Rrs19 is interpreted so narrowly then Mr Howell's club certainly has a problem, because I cannot imagine any harbour master considering the manouvers in the drawing acceptable in his moorings. So when the inevitable accident does happen there will surely be a ban on racing through the moorings. 

This being the case, what can we come up with in the form of a legal SI that will ameliorate the problem? 

Created: 24-Feb-03 10:59
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Jay I particularly like one of John A’s comments above ..

John A: “@3, as the diagram shows, B is readily able to change course to pass to windward of the obstruction without even coming close to breaking RRS 16.1, and G is more than 2BL from the obstruction, and in no need of room.”

To me leaning on 16.1 can be a big help here.  When B alters course, G is entitled to room to keep clear and G’s room includes room to avoid the moored-boat.  So, Blue being a leeward ROW boat can choose to pass the obstruction to either side, but she must make that choice such that B doesn’t break 16.1 in the process.

Rule 19.2(b) is agnostic about ROW .. it’s which boat is inside or outside. Looking at a zoom-in of John A’s diagram, which boat is inside/outside at pos4?  It is G who owes B obstruction-room at 4.

Also, nobody has brought up RRS 17 (and to be fair, it wasn’t part of the facts in the OP).   A PC would want to investigate back to the origins of this overlap and determine if 17 applies. In the absence of G, B’s “crazy Ivan” maneuver at 4 would be hard to justify. 



image.jpeg 24.9 KB
Created: 24-Feb-03 15:09
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Jim re: This being the case, what can we come up with in the form of a legal SI that will ameliorate the problem?

If an OA/RC wanted to close the mooring-field in the SI, they could have an areal picture or drawing of the mooring field and, both pictorially and by mooring number reference, identify the moorings which bound the area and define that area as an obstruction

SI # Mooring Field Obstruction
SI #.1:  The area inside the mooring-field as outlined by the line-segments connecting moorings #1, #2, #3, #4 (… #?, etc) is an obstruction (“Mooring Area”, see dwg).  

SI #.2 Boats shall not sail through [or into] any part of the Mooring Area while racing.  

SI #.3 A boat compelled to sail into the Mooring Area by another boat shall sail a course which has her exiting the Mooring Area as soon as reasonably possible.

SI #.4 A boat which breaks SI #.2 for any reason shall notify the RC of the incident at the first reasonable opportunity after she finishes and [, if requested by the RC,] deliver a written report describing the incident and boat(s) involved to the race office within the protest time limit. [optional: RRS 60.2(a) is changed such that the RC may protest any boat described in a Mooring Area incident report]. 

PS: The above SI’s is for a OA/RC that wants to convey the seriousness that boats stay out of the area.  For those who don’t want to be as “forceful”, SI #4 could be [DP][NP] .. and not put in the optional change to RRS 60.2(a). 
Created: 24-Feb-03 15:37
Jay Howell
Nationality: New Zealand
1
Unfortunately given the proximity of the mooring area to our start line, boats must sail thru the mooring area and there is no way to isolate this entire area in the SI. We have used this start line for 50 years, so not much interest in changing. 
Created: 24-Feb-03 19:59
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I have some thoughts about using SI to solve this 'problem'.

Doing proactive hazard identification and risk assessment is a good thing, but it should be based on hard data, not speculation.

You don't have a problem until you have a problem:
  • What is the incidence of your racing boats hitting moored vessels and causing damage?
  • Of these incidents, how many have not been promptly resolved between the respective owners, by insurance or private settlement?
  • How does the number of these incidents compare with the number of similar incidents involving powered vessels and other non racing boats?

OA/RC should not impose restrictions on boats racing by way of NOR/SI that the government is not prepared to impose on the general community of waterway users, including yahoos in power craft, by way of proper laws or regulations.
Created: 24-Feb-03 21:02
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
For those interested in variations on RRS 19, it's probably useful to take a look at MR Calls B13 to B19.  These are all what used to be called 'UMP' calls, that is, they did not rely on any MR specific changes to the ordinary RRS.

Match Race Call B13
Rule 19.2; Giving Room at an Obstruction

A right-of-way boat must give the inside boat room at an obstruction sufficiently soon enough that the inside doesn't take evasive action to avoid contact with the obstruction.. 
Rule 16.1; Changing Course
Rule 19; Room to Pass an Obstruction
Definitions; Mark and Obstruction

The rules of Section A and B apply when boats are passing the committee boat in the pre-start. 
Rule 11; On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 16.1; Changing Course
Rule 19; Room to Pass an Obstruction

The right-of-way boat can choose to luff or bear away as she pleases at an obstruction provide she complies with rule 16.1.

Match Race Call B16
 Rule 10; On Opposite Tacks
Rule 19; Room to Pass an Obstruction
Rule 21; Exoneration
Definitions; Overlap

The outside right-of-way boat is obligated by 19.2(b) to give room to the inside boat at an obstruction but does not need to take avoiding action until the moment she needs to change course to fulfil her obligation under rule 19.2(b). 
Rule 11; On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 12; On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped
Rule 15; Acquiring Right of Way

An increase or decrease in speed is not in itself an 'action' within the meaning of the second part of rule 15. 
Rule 10; On Opposite Tacks
Rule 19.2; Giving Room at an Obstruction
Definition; Keep Clear, Overlap

For the purpose of rule 19, the determination of inside and outside boat is relative to the right of way boat and the obstruction when the boats are at the obstruction. As the right of way boat is passing the obstruction on her port side, any boat that is on the port side of her is an inside boat and any boat on the starboard side is an outside boat.



Created: 24-Feb-03 21:21
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Jay Howell
Said Created: Today 10:45
Hi John - so using this interpretation, what are your thoughts on the following slightly different scenario? When blue luffs, green is not between her and the obstruction, so this would then seem ok?

diagram3.png 166 KB

That's the archetypal RRS 19.2(a) and RRS 19.2(b) situation.

Difference between this and my previous diagram is that here, @3 both boats are within 0.5 BL of the obstruction, clearly 'at' the obstruction, and as B bears away, up to @3.5, G is still overlapped inside B.

Compare this with Match Race Call B15, first diagram, where boats are a more like 1 BL from the obstruction, and Y's bear away puts her clearly clear ahead of B.

In your example, on valid protest, penalise B.
Created: 24-Feb-03 21:45
Beau Vrolyk
Nationality: United States
0
Being curious, I took a look at the Annapolis YC SIs for their mid-winter racing (the Wednesday night series documents weren't easy to find.)

What the SIs say about the original topic we're discussing is: "16.2 Boats shall not touch anchored, moored, or docked vessels."

A quick call to an AYC member who is a National Race Officer revealed that they had problems with folks running over mooring lines and bumping into boats many years ago. Those problems were resolved in the usual ways with the vessel racing paying to repair the mooring or vessel it damaged. SI 16.2 added the additional penalty of the vessel striking another vessel or mooring can be protested and removed from the race, and the more stringent criteria being simply touching a vessel. His opinion is that this is no longer a serious problem and certainly not a safety issue. 

Created: 24-Feb-03 23:11
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Beau … that’s correct re Annapolis. We sail thru the mooring field without incident all the time (I also stated that on my old thread, which was about if/can a series of individual obstructions … moorings with boats on them … become a continuing obstruction).

Annapolis has consistently over 100 boats show up every Wed night from April thru Aug sailing through moored boats.

We cut it pretty close sometimes and it’s not uncommon for kids on the moored boats to hit us with squirt-guns and super soakers on hot nights.  When I’m sailing in there I am MUCH more concerned with harder to see kayaks or paddle boards unexpectedly popping-out from being hidden behind a hull … than hitting a moored boat.

The prospective SI I wrote was only in response to Jim’s question what an SI could look like if an OA/RC wanted to close out the mooring area and I was not suggesting that was necessary or even preferable at all as a general rule (though others on my old thread took that point of view). 

Ang

PS … I’ve never witnessed the behavior described in the OP of this thread in Annapolis in the mooring field. 
Created: 24-Feb-03 23:18
Jim Champ
Nationality: United Kingdom
0
The impression I have is that some of Jay's clubmates have developed this undesirable behaviour to evade the requirements of RRS 19, and that he wishes an SI that would curb this behaviour without the extreme option of banning passage through the moorings. 

My first thought is what happens if an SI defines an area round individual moored boats as an obstruction *without*  penalising boats that sail through the area? Superficially it means that RRS 19 switches on some distance before the actual moored craft, so any shenanigans to break overlap must also happen at a distance. But I can't help feeling there must be lots of potential for unintended consequences, especially if sailing upwind with RRS 20 coming into play. 

Another thought, which feels considerably rockier, is to introduce a club membership rule rather than a RRS rule. Such a rule wouldn't be subject to protest, but egregious breaches would presumably be misconduct. Something on the lines of "Manouvering within mooring area. Members shall at all times take care to avoid moored craft. Significant changes of course within three boat lengths of any moored boat within the mooring area for purely tactical racing considerations are forbidden. “

I sure there must be other and better ways of doing this, and better wording too. Who knows, the threat of taking action might be enough to reduce the problem, although I fear there will always be some too pig headed to refrain unless given little choice. 

A question for Ang is that supposing this behaviour did break out at Annapolis, and the harbour master started making noises, how would you proceed?
Created: 24-Feb-04 04:22
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Jim re: “A question for Ang is that supposing this behaviour did break out at Annapolis, and the harbour master started making noises, how would you proceed?”

First, AYC has a sailing committee that writes their NOR’s and SI’s and I’m not on that committee.  I’m not sure how they might proceed .. but they are a group of VERY experienced RO’s and competitive racers. So what comes below is not what “Annapolis” would do.

Importantly, I think we have to assume that racers are NOT crashing into moored boats.  Contact between racers and moored boats is not part of the OP so let’s take that as a given. 

I’d have to image how this is information/complaint is coming to ANY OA/RC would result in different outcomes. 

Sources of “complaint” I see are:

  1. Racers themselves in the form of protests
  2. From moored boats, feeling their expensive toys and loved ones are being put at risk (this close racing is removing their right to quiet enjoyment of the mooring they rented). 
  3. From the marine police or Harbourmaster who has the responsibility to maintain order and safety. 

From Racers
If these are just protests coming to the PC, I think they will find facts, make conclusions on the rules and DSQ boats that break rules and dismiss protests when no rule is broken.  Without other complaints, I for one wouldn’t think to prophylactically send the protest-decision “up the chain” for changes in SI’s.

From Moored Boats
At least in Annapolis, Wed Night Racing is a spectator-boat attraction.  People make plans to cocktail on a mooring and work to get a good spot so they can be in the middle of it all along the last leg to the finish. The race being in the middle of the week mainly attracts people who want to be there. So, without contact, I think complaints are unlikely.

However, people can get their undies in a bundle you know .. and some dogs won’t drop the bone once they have their jaws clinched around it … so they would just as likely complain to an “authority” (next) than to the YC running the race.

Harbourmaster or Marine Police
Say either of these gets wind that something “scary and unsafe is happening” (description from a moored boat) .. gets a formal complaint or 3 … maybe decides to keep a lookout for themselves to see what the hubbub is all about. They then decide (maybe never being in a sailboat race themselves so lacking context) that they won’t have that behavior in their mooring field.  Well .. then the YC will either do a song-n-dance and convince them it’s OK or have to come to some accommodation which satisfies the authorities.  Your guess is as good as mine what would be necessary once you are here. 

Like I said .. if racers are not banging into moored boats … and this is just staying in the protest room, I don’t think anything happens in the race docs. 
Created: 24-Feb-04 13:33
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Beau Vrolyk
Said Created: Yesterday 23:11

 ... the Annapolis YC SIs ...  : "16.2 Boats shall not touch anchored, moored, or docked vessels."

Angelo Guarino
Said Created: Today 13:33
 if racers are not banging into moored boats … and this is just staying in the protest room, I don’t think anything happens in the race docs. 

So AYC has put itself on the high ground with a 'good neighbour policy'.

If anyone comes along, they can say
  1. We have identified the risk.
  2. We have implemented a risk control measure.
  3. The risk control measure we have implemented is working effectively.
Created: 24-Feb-04 14:17
Russell Beale
Nationality: United Kingdom
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Regional Umpire
  • National Judge
0
@Jay's diagram - at the time of the luff, to me they are at the obstruction, in that Blue cannot go to windward of it. She therefore has to go below it and green can also choose to go below it.  If Blue had luffed in the first position, I'd consider that ok as they both have a choice and so, given they are free to manoeuvre within the rules, are not 'at' the obstruction.
Created: 24-Feb-04 14:39
Jay Howell
Nationality: New Zealand
1
Thanks everyone for the good comments and helpful insight. My objective is to keep things fun and safe and to improve my understanding of how Rule 19.2 is being applied. We race in a congested area with a range of boats and experience levels, and while these situations aren't frequent, it is helpful to have better clarity when they do arise, and for any training or internal discussions.
Created: 24-Feb-05 01:42
Andrew Wise
Nationality: United Kingdom
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0
We regularly race through the moorings in Burnham-On-Crouch - its a relatively narrow river & very tidal.
Sailors regularly use moored boats tactically to shake off a competitor - its part of the sport here.
We do however have additional rules in our NoRs to protect moored boats - typically:-

"A boat shall not, while racing, touch a moored vessel or a mooring buoy to which a
vessel is moored or cause another boat to do so. When a boat while racing touches a
moored vessel:
a. Her penalty is to retire unless she protests another boat and is exonerated under RRS 43;
b. The owner/person in charge shall report the collision to the Crouch Harbour Authority at
the first reasonable opportunity ....."

This includes sails like spinnakers brushing the rigs of moored boats - it helps to keep the moored boats safe, but obviously is not foolproof! 
Created: 24-Feb-05 11:35
Michael Balay
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
This long discussion shows a lot of interest in the issues. I have two questions:

1. Do we see many boats adopting these tactics? In a fleet race, Blue is giving up several boat lengths to EVERYONE in the fleet except Green. Since the analysis (which I accept) says they are not "at" the obstruction, one would expect to see see the same tactics in the middle of the course if they are  advantageous. At position 5, all that has happened is, Blue has broken the overlap, sure, but at the cost of getting Green dead astern and on his air. Why Green would choose from that position to head away from the mark to round to windward side of the obstacle is unclear to me. A gybe to port, establish an overlap and gybe back to starboard would put Green in the leeward position. You're starting on Blue's air, and they are in the lee of the obstruction. You might make up the quarter boat length you lost quite easily.

2. How do other judges take TIME into account in such cases? A lot of the discussion is about distance, appropriately enough. It seems to me that speed and therefore time are also important Facts to be found. An Opti coming to the obstruction, with these distances, in light air is one thing. A foiling boat at speed might lead us to a completely different conclusion about when a boat is "at" the obstruction, as well as to a different conclusion about how much Room is required. I am aware of certain regattas with classic big boats where the Rules specify that coming within 30  meters is definitionally "not keeping clear." (I would like to hear a 12 Metre case with these facts, though the obstruction would need to be a naval destroyer, or an oligarch's yacht.)  In the keelboats we usually race (Shields class, 30 feet), at position 3 Blue will be past the obstruction in about 3 seconds and Green will pass in about 6 seconds. It is hard to imagine the subsequent maneuvers in the space available, and they would be unusually dangerous. Part 2 is about safety: we don't want boats running into each other. When I consider the time dimension, I might find in such a case that Blue was in fact "at" the mark at position 3 with Green overlapped inside, and on course to leave the obstruction a boat length to starboard, which is just about the room Green needs and is entitled to. 
Created: 24-Feb-05 16:51
Beau Vrolyk
Nationality: United States
1
Michael, to respond to question #1: No. When racing in areas where there are moored boats I have very rarely seen the sort of maneuver described in the OP, except in Team or Match Racing. (Thus my initial reference to those areas of our sport.) As you know, this would be a very typical maneuver in Team Racing where even a back marker needs to hold back a competitor for as long as possible, or the leader needs to delay a challenger to allow the rest of the team to catch up. I have also found that for precisely these tactical interchanges, Team and Match racers head into spectator fleets and moored boats aggressively. Please recall the maneuvers in 12-meter during past America's Cups where these sorts of maneuvers were on display. If fleet racing, it makes almost no sense if you're trying to win the race, and a tremendous amount of sense if you're trying to beat your buddy in a beer can race to show him or her that you're a better sailor. The OP presumes a fleet race (and has said as much) and doesn't mention the boat-on-boat exchanges back in the fleet that many of us find really entertaining.

To respond to #2: My understanding is that the Racing Rules take time into account at all times. Let's consider the definition of "Keep Clear". You'll note that there is no "distance" or "time" measurement in (a), while in (b) the word "immediately" is pretty clear.  Other rules are worded to leave things like "room" to be based on the size, speed, and manuverability of the craft involved.

Keep Clear
 A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat 
(a) if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and,
(b) when the boats are overlapped, if the right-of-way boat can also change course in both directions without immediately making contact.

I sail an IOD, which is much like your Shields, and the competent skippers know the turning circle, acceleration, and boat speed of their craft. However, those numbers are quite different from a boat I also sail called a Moore-24, that can turn 90° in almost its own length and stop rapidly by turning the rudder to 90° and using it as a brake. Similarly, I sail on an old massive schooner that requires minutes to tack. Diagrams like the OP are arbitrary extractions that fail to denote the characteristics of the boats (as you've correctly pointed out), which is why most judges list the type of boat in the facts found and often the conditions of sea and wind. All of these, help the reader to understand the ultimate decision. Without this knowledge, no judge can (IMHO) decide if the competitors were "at the obstruction" or not. However, the drawing helps. In the OP Green shows through subsequent maneuvers that she could make a choice to follow Blue downwind after the overlap was broken or to harden up and go above the obstruction. No contact was made with the obstruction or any boat, so in my view the boats were safely operating within their limits and the maneuvers were not made "at" the obstruction. For different boats, the decision would be different.

I do agree that neither my old IOD or your Shields could safely perform the maneuvers in the diagram, but I also know dozens of modern boat designs where this wouldn't even be exciting. 

To conclude, I don't think we should write rules or Sailing Instructions that presume a certain level of competence or various performance characteristics of boats, with one exception. As your undoubtedly know, as is done in France for Classic Yacht races, a bubble around the boats was established following the horrifying death of a beloved sailor as he presumed that a massive schooner could avoid him. Many other formal and informal safety measures have been taken in other fleets similar to the 30-meter bubble. But, all of those are based upon a clear fleet or sailor specific reason for the change and relative uniformity in the performance of the craft involved. 


Created: 24-Feb-05 17:39
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
2
Andrew re: NOR containing ".. or cause another boat to do so"

I'd be careful wording an NOR/SI like that.  Here is what you posted repeated below ..

"A boat shall not, while racing, touch a moored vessel or a mooring buoy to which a vessel is moored or cause another boat to do so. When a boat while racing touches a moored vessel:
a. Her penalty is to retire unless she protests another boat and is exonerated under RRS 43;
b. The owner/person in charge shall report the collision to the Crouch Harbour Authority at the first reasonable opportunity ....."

My first issue with that wording is that it does not require the boat "causing" another boat to touch a moored-boat to be breaking a rule of Part 2. As it is worded, this NOR/SI potentially changes rules 10, 11, 19 ... just off the top of my head and maybe def: room and def: keep clear too.  In other words, this NOR could be found to be invalid as written (JMO).

Secondly, (a)'s condition is to protest .. does it have to be valid?  It says "is exonerated" .. a boat is exonerated now at the time of the incident and doesn't need a PC to exonerate .. so there are a couple more loop holes.

I think I see the intent of the language though .. and we can borrow some of the language I wrote earlier to tighten this up.

SI # Contact with Moored-Boats and Moorings
SI #.1 While racing, a boat shall not touch a moored vessel or a mooring buoy to which a vessel is moored.

SI #.2 A boat’s penalty for breaking SI #.1 shall be DSQ, unless a Protest Committee exonerates her for this breach in a protest hearing. Requiring Protest Committee exoneration for a breach of SI #.1 changes RRS 43.

SI #.3 The owner/person in charge shall report  [her breach of SI #.1] collision to the Crouch Harbour Authority [and the Race Committee] at the first reasonable opportunity after racing.  RRS 60.2(a) is changed such that the RC may protest any boat described in an SI #.1 breach report.

PS: the last sentence of SI #.3 gets the RC around the limits on using a report from a person with a conflict of interest and thus allows the RC to file its own protest against all the boats reportedly involved in the incident (not just the reporting boat). This gives the incident a better chance of getting in front of a PC to determine what happened (regardless if boats failed to validly protest each other). 

PS2: pruned the wording in .2 and .3 above.  Removed the phrase regarding a report from a touched moored boat because the RC can already use that report under 60.2(a) without a change. 
Created: 24-Feb-05 22:36
Andrew Wise
Nationality: United Kingdom
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
1
Angelo, thanks - very helpful!
Created: 24-Feb-06 13:34
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