I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced confusion in the minds of racers regarding the meaning/definition of the word "course" . We use the word in its noun-form to refer to at least 2 different things: (1) the current straight-path a boat makes through the water, (2) the path through the water around and between marks a boat must complete to race.
- change of course (1)
- close-hauled course (1)
- differing, collision, converging courses (language used in cases) (1)
- proper course (1,2?)
- sailing the course (2)
- shorten the course (2)
As a modifier it seems to be consistently applied as referring only to the second application
- course side
- course length
The reason I put (1,2?) next to "proper course" is that I think it is often thought-of and used in a way that bridges both noun uses. In the "" definition, if refers to "a course", so is it a type 1 or type 2 course or a little of both?
. One might hear someone say that in the presence of a strong current, a boat's proper course could be to head-up and sail toward shore and then along the shore once in the shallows, thus simultaneously describing a current direction though the water as well as a future nonlinear path.
We can look at use of "proper course" in US Appeal 4 "When a boat intervenes between two others on the same tack, her proper course is to keep clear of the leeward boat."
which seems encompass the changing path through the water to keep clear.
We also have Case which implies a ROW's boat's proper course could be to swing-wide and round close to a leeward mark in the absence of another give-way boat, "S's proper course might well have been to sail even farther from the mark and higher than she did ..",
again describing a larger path through the water.
So, wondering if others have seen this multi-use of the word "course" cause confusion. I've tried to think of alternative wording which would be both concise and clearer for some applications, but haven't had much luck.