Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Avoiding contact on the same tack, overlapped

Noel Eichbaum
Nationality: New Zealand
Need clarification on what is deemed "keeping clear of a boats equipment".
In a race last evening, two overlapped boats were reaching on starboard tack with the leeward Boat B giving room to the windward Boat A, which also had a continuous obstruction to windward. Boat A doused its gennica in a controlled and orderly manner without altering course but in the process the gennica briefly touched a spreader of boat B, which protested on basis it was giving sufficient room. Boat B was aware Boat A was dousing its gennica as the course they were racing was a regular course that required boats to follow a curving line (the contour of the continuous obstruction) to windward, with boats eventually ending up close hauled. The question is, does the gennica constitute equipment that Boat B must keep clear of when it is being doused? I would argue yes, and that Boat A actually had the right to protest Boat B. I realise the dousing had to be controlled and orderly - it was - and in the event control of the sail was lost and unexpectedly fell on Boat B it may have rights to protest. A witness directly astern of Boat A considered the drop orderly.
Created: 18-Nov-22 00:45

Comments

Mike Palazzo
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
Unless the continuous obstruction was so close that it prevented the windward boat from coming up slightly, she is at fault. Dousing sails counts as part of the boat.
Created: 18-Nov-22 01:31
Fields Gunsett
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
For two perspectives on equipment, out of its normal position, making contact with another boat, I suggest a quick look at the following two Cases, 77 and 91. These should provide some guidance for the discussion.
Created: 18-Nov-22 02:34
Will Moore
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
1
Fields, those are both relevant when equipment is out of its normal position, but is a sail coming down in the the normal and seaman like dousing of the sail considered to be equipment out of its normal position? I could make an argument either way, but I wonder if a precedent or standard has already been established.

Will
Created: 18-Nov-22 03:10
Juuso Leivonen
Nationality: Finland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
1
”Room - The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.”

if that manoevre was “seamanlike”, as it sounds from the description, then the W-boat was not given room. It’s not seamanlike to sail upwind with a spinnaker, so the drop is included in the “room” the W-boat needs.
Created: 18-Nov-22 06:35
Noel Eichbaum
Nationality: New Zealand
0
My view is the same as Juuso's. I consider equipment in its normal position includes the dousing of a spinnaker, and when done in a seamanlike manner it is incumbent on the leeward boat to give sufficient room. Otherwise it is simply an unfair advantage the leeward boat has over the windward boat that surely is not intended by the rules makers. Consider where both boats are flying spinnakers and both douse their spinnakers in identical seamanlike fashion at the same time. Why should the rule offer the overtaking leeward boat - which must keep clear - any advantage, it is akin to allowing the leeward boat to luff. In such circumstances the rules would essentially prevent the windward boat from being able to douse their spinnaker unless it sails upwind to do so. It would provide an element of control to the leeward boat which could then control the race by preventing the windward boat from dousing its spinnaker, something I have never experienced or heard of before.
Created: 18-Nov-22 08:34
Juuso Leivonen
Nationality: Finland
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Spinnaker in the process of being set or taken down is not "equipment in normal position". At least that's the way it is called in match race call A5, and I think that applies here as well. The point is, that there needs to be enough space for the inside boat to do the manoeuvres she needs to do in the existing conditions promptly in a seamanlike way. Going up with spinnaker, when it's not flying anymore, is not seamanlike, so there needs to be room to take it down. In match luffing on the downwind leg is very normal, but also in match the leeward boat must give the W-boat a chance to take her spinnaker down. (Often in match the W-boat doesn't do it, and that's another topic, but the fact remains). Case 21 discusses room and mark-room in more detail.
Created: 18-Nov-22 09:39
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Why does anyone thiink B, the leeward boat was required to give room? What sort of room are we talking about?

Is someone saying that B changed course? If so, where, when and how?

Why does anyone think that 'normal position' of a boat's sails or equipment is relevant to keeping clear or giving room,, when the phrase only appears in the definitions of Clear Ahead, Clear Astern, Overlap and Finish?
Created: 18-Nov-22 12:18
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
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Why does anyone thiink B, the leeward boat was required to give room? What sort of room are we talking about?

From OP: "two overlapped boats were reaching on starboard tack with the leeward Boat B giving room to the windward Boat A, which also had a continuous obstruction to windward."

The implication is, but not specifically stated, is that these 2 boats were "at" the continuous obstruction, and therefore the leeward overlapped boat was required to give windward room to pass between them. Your and Mike's good point being that the proximity of the windward boat to the obstruction hasn't been sufficiently established.

Is someone saying that B changed course? If so, where, when and how?

From OP: "... the course they were racing was a regular course that required boats to follow a curving line (the contour of the continuous obstruction) to windward, with boats eventually ending up close hauled."

The implication based from above (but not specifically stated at the time of the incident) is that both Boat B and Boat A are following the curved continuing obstruction, thus both boats are changing course to match. Your point is well asked .. did the leeward boat change course and tied into the previous question, was there any more room to weather for the windward boat?

Why does anyone think that 'normal position' of a boat's sails or equipment is relevant to keeping clear or giving room,, when the phrase only appears in the definitions of Clear Ahead, Clear Astern, Overlap and Finish?

From OP: "Boat A doused its gennica in a controlled and orderly manner without altering course but in the process the gennica briefly touched a spreader of boat B"

From Case 21: "The definitions Room and Mark-Room do not include any reference to a maximum or minimum amount of space, and no rule implies that the right of-way outside boat must give a maximum or minimum amount of space. She must give the inside boat the space she needs in the existing conditions to carry out those manoeuvres promptly in a seamanlike way ......

The phrase "manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way" has implications for both boats. First, it addresses the inside boat, saying she is not entitled to complain of insufficient space if she fails to execute with reasonable efficiency the handling of her helm, sheets and sails while manoeuvring. It also implies that the outside boat must provide enough space so that the inside boat need not manoeuvre in an extraordinary or abnormal manner"

Oops .. pressed submit accidentally ..

So, the question is what is the character of the Room that Inside is owed by Outside? The Room is such that it is sufficient for her to pass between Outside and the Obstruction. OP stated that Inside did not change course during the douse.. but we are talking about a curving continuing obstruction. The implication is (but not specifically stated and thus facts are needed) her straight-line course took her further away from the curving obstruction and thus created room for her between her and the obstruction.

Room Inside is owed doesn't necessarily include room for her to sail a course such that her spin doesn't collapse.

I think the Facts needed are:
(1) the space to windward between Inside and the Obstruction and
(2) between Outside and Inside immediately prior to the contact ..

#1 to establish if there was room to windward for Inside to take and #2 to establish if Inside had room to maneuver to take that room prior to/during the douse.

Ang

Created: 18-Nov-22 14:16
Noel Eichbaum
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Angelo,
Let me clarify a couple of things:

1. The incident occurred soon after the start of the race, with the continuous obstruction being a harbor boundary consisting of a line of piles. The line is straight for approximately 400m before curving slowly upward until boats are close hauled (presumes the same wind each race). The two boats were overlapped soon after the start and both moved up to the continuous obstruction whereupon reaching it the windward boats squares off and runs along the line of the obstruction and the leeward boat does the same having to give the windward boat room. There is no disputing the rules on this and neither boat is.

2. Both boats were doing the same speed but the inside boat had a natural advantage in that the leeward boat cannot pass owing to the wind shadow caused by the inside boat. At the point where the course boundary curves up the windward boat's advantage naturally increases. This is a simple fact.

3. The windward boat was in this instance hard against the obstruction (the pile line) with the leeward boat giving room and both were sailing along in a straight line i.e. before the course boundary begins to curve up. Ahead of this line curving, the windward boat drops its reaching spinnaker in anticipation of the course curving. It does not come down off the line of the continuous obstruction nor does it change course; it cannot sail any higher. Again this is not in dispute by either boat.

4. The question therefore is, if the spinnaker touched the leeward boat while being doused in a seamanlike manner - again this is not in dispute - then which boat is at fault? Does the leeward boat have to give sufficient room to allow an orderly drop of the spinnaker or are we saying a spinnaker being doused is outside the 'boat and all its equipment' definition? I accept that the rules applying to match racing may permit luffing by the leeward boat but they do not apply to fleet or club racing here. The continuous obstruction really is a distraction because the same question would apply: if the boats were sailing in open water, and the leeward boat was overtaking, would the leeward boat giving room need to include the room needed for an orderly spinnaker drop if it knew the windward boat was about to do so? If the leeward boat does not have to oblige, are we saying that on a reach the leeward boat can strategically place itself in a position where the windward boat cannot douse its spinnaker without it touching the give way boat, I would have thought not?
Created: 18-Nov-22 20:48
Mike Palazzo
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
It is a seamanlike maneuver to change sails. If an outside, leeward boat must give room, this includes room to do the necessary things to round the mark (or in this case continuing obstruction), which includes changing sails. Having a spinnaker blow to leeward during a takedown is quite ordinary/expected. Note, right of way does not change in this situation, but the right of way boat has restrictions on what it can do (i.e. must give room). So if the spinnaker hits leeward, leeward was not giving room. Now it is up to windward to show that she wasn't taking too much room.

In open water this restriction is removed, but rule 16 (changing course) still applies. If the leeward boat comes up (luffs), she must give the windward boat a chance to keep clear. Changing sails would not be necessary for the windward boat to keep clear.

Another possible restriction on the leeward boat might be proper course if she established overlap from clear astern.
Created: 18-Nov-22 21:39
Juuso Leivonen
Nationality: Finland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
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Noel, from what I can gather from your description is that the inside boat was sailing within the room she was entitled to by 19.2b. She was not given room (the space a boat needs in the existing conditions to manoeuvre promptly in a seamanlike way) by the outside boat, so the outside boat is dsq.
Created: 18-Nov-23 07:34
Noel Eichbaum
Nationality: New Zealand
1
Thanks to all who replied to my post. I appreciate your experience and insights.
Created: 18-Nov-23 07:36
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
First, Angelo, thanks for clarifying my questions.

Some comments on Noel's posts.

Need clarification on what is deemed "keeping clear of a boats equipment".

B, to leeward, has no obligation whatever to keep clear of A or any part of A. A was required to keep clear of B (rule 11)

In a race last evening, two overlapped boats were reaching on starboard tack with the leeward Boat B giving room to the windward Boat A, which also had a continuous obstruction to windward.

So B was required to give A room to pass between her and the obstruction (rule 19.2b) That room includes:
  • the space required to pass between B and the obstruction, in the existing conditions, while manoeuvering promptly and in a seamanlike way and
  • space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 (that is, room to keep clear of B) (Definitions: room).
Boat A doused its gennica in a controlled and orderly manner without altering course but in the process the gennica briefly touched a spreader of boat B, which protested on basis it was giving sufficient room.

Boat B was aware Boat A was dousing its gennica as the course they were racing was a regular course that required boats to follow a curving line (the contour of the continuous obstruction) to windward, with boats eventually ending up close hauled.

What B was 'aware of' is hardly relevant. What matters is the relative positions of the boats, and their actions.

The question is, does the gennica constitute equipment that Boat B must keep clear of when it is being doused?

B has no obligation of any kind to keep clear of anything.

So the better question is, perhaps, Did B give A the room to which A was entitled?


I would argue yes, and that Boat A actually had the right to protest Boat B.

Yes, A could certainly have protested B for breaking rule 19.2b. Whether B did break that rule is what we need to ascertain.

I realise the dousing had to be controlled and orderly

I'm curious about where this 'controlled and orderly' language comes from, but so be it.

- it was - and in the event control of the sail was lost and unexpectedly fell on Boat B it may have rights to protest. A witness directly astern of Boat A considered the drop orderly.

1. The incident occurred soon after the start of the race, with the continuous obstruction being a harbor boundary consisting of a line of piles.

I'm by no means sure that a line of piles, each of which is probably an obstruction is a continuing obstruction, but that seems irrelevant to the question.

The line is straight for approximately 400m before curving slowly upward until boats are close hauled (presumes the same wind each race). The two boats were overlapped soon after the start and both moved up to the continuous obstruction whereupon reaching it the windward boats squares off and runs along the line of the obstruction and the leeward boat does the same having to give the windward boat room. There is no disputing the rules on this and neither boat is.
2. Both boats were doing the same speed but the inside boat had a natural advantage in that the leeward boat cannot pass owing to the wind shadow caused by the inside boat. At the point where the course boundary curves up the windward boat's advantage naturally increases. This is a simple fact.
3. The windward boat was in this instance hard against the obstruction (the pile line) with the leeward boat giving room

OK, so B, the leeward boat can't say that A had space to harden up and separate so as to create space to drop her gennaker.

and both were sailing along in a straight line

So B has no rule 16 obligation to give A room to keep clear: B's obligation to give A room to keep clear arises from the definition and as a consequence of her obligation to give A room to pass between her and the obstruction under rule 19.2b.

i.e. before the course boundary begins to curve up.

Ahead of this line curving,

I'm taking it that you mean, before the course boundary line begins to curve up, that is, while the obstruction boundary is still a straight line.

the windward boat drops its reaching spinnaker in anticipation of the course curving.

I think we're getting close to the issue now. The question Iwould be asking at this poiint was, did A need to drop her gennaker at this point? Was dropping the gennaker at that point, before beginning to harden up to the next mark necessary an prudent seamanship, or was it unnecessarily cautious?

It does not come down off the line of the continuous obstruction nor does it change course; it cannot sail any higher

OK, but you were saying that, at this point, she was still sailing a straight line course on which she had been successfully carrying the gennaker for some time.

. Again this is not in dispute by either boat.

4. The question therefore is, if the spinnaker touched the leeward boat while being doused in a seamanlike manner - again this is not in dispute - then which boat is at fault?

There was contact between a right of way boat (B) and a give way boat (A).

A did not keep clear of B. A broke the relevant right of way rule (in this case rule 11). A might be exonerated for this breach, but we will come to that later.

There was contact: let's 'park' that issue for a few minutes.

What we have to conclude now is whether B gave A the room to which A was entitled.

Angelo has helpfully pointed us to Case 21, which tells us, among other things that we need to consider the characteristics of the boat. For example if we are talking about a cruisinng gennaker on a 30ft boat, which is designed to be easily managed, that's different from a sportsboat iike a SB3, where, for reasons best known to themselves, they refer to a racing assy as a 'gennaker'.

I'm going to assume that here, we're talking about a managable cruising gennaker, in wind conditions that mean that it can be doused, without doing anything extraordinary or abnormal (Case 21), as the boat hardens up when the obstruction bends away.


Does the leeward boat have to give sufficient room to allow an orderly drop of the spinnaker

I would say, on the assumptions that I have made, A does not need to drop her gennaker at that time: B is giving her room to pass and room to keep clear.

A little later, at the 'corner' A will need to drop the gennaker, and then she would be entitled to room to do so.

A protest committee with fuller information about the course, conditions, and characteristics of boats might reach a different conclusion.

So, my conclusion is that B is giving A the room that B is required to give. B does not break rule 19.2b.

Now let's go back to contact an rule 14.

There was contact, whether a boat is going to be exonerated or not, a protest committee should always first reach a conclusion about whether rule 14 was broken by either boat, that is, whether it was reasonably possible for each boat to avoid contact. In this case:
  • A could have avoided contact by refraining from dropping her gennaker at that point: A did not avoid contact when it was reasonably possible for her to do so. A broke rule 14.
  • Once A began dropping her gennaker, it was not reasonably possible for B to avoid contact. B did not break rule 14.
  • Seemingly, there was no injury or damage caused by the contact and A was a boat entitled to room: A shall be exonerated for breaking rule 14 in accordance with rule 14b.
In summary:
  • A, overlapped to windward did not keep clear of B to leeward. A broke rule 11.
  • B gave A the room she was required to give. B did not break rule 19.2b.
  • A did not avoid contact when it was reasonably possible to do so and broke rule 14, but is exonerated because there was no injury or damage and A was a boat entitled to room.

or are we saying a spinnaker being doused is outside the 'boat and all its equipment' definition?

There is no defnition of 'boat and all its equipment'. The phrase never appears in the rules.

The conclusions above turn on whether, at the time of the incident, A needed to douse her gennaker.


I accept that the rules applying to match racing may permit luffing by the leeward boat but they do not apply to fleet or club racing here.

'luffing' is not a term or concept used in the current rules. Tactical luffing is controlled by rules 14, 16.1 and 17. There is very little difference in the way the rules apply to luffing between MR an Fleet Racing.

The continuous obstruction really is a distraction because the same question would apply:

Not really the same. The problem at an obstruction depends on an entitlement to room.

If not constrained by an obstruction, in open water, as long as the leeeward right of way boat does not change course an acquire an obligation to give room to keep clear under rule 16.1, the only applicable rules will be rule 11 and rule 14.


if the boats were sailing in open water, and the leeward boat was overtaking, would the leeward boat giving room need to include the room needed for an orderly spinnaker drop if it knew the windward boat was about to do so?

In a word, No.

When a windward boat drops her spinnaker, the sail will almost inevitably move into the space between the two boats, thus decreasing the space between the boats: if as a consequence of that that reduction in space, the leeward right of way boat can not sail her course with no need to take avoiding action or change course in both directions without immediately making contact, then the windward boat is not keeping clear (Definitions: Keep Clear)

If the leeward boat does not have to oblige, are we saying that on a reach the leeward boat can strategically place itself in a position where the windward boat cannot douse its spinnaker without it touching the give way boat, I would have thought not?
Created: 18-Nov-23 13:54
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Noel, your last 1-4 descriptions provided the info which allows the issue to be simplified down to Juuso's conclusion. The outside-leeward boat was ROW by RRS 11. The inside-windward boat was entitled to Room to pass the obstruction by RRS 19.2b. We can interpret your description of being "hard against the obstruction" meaning there was no ability for inside-windward to move further away from outside-leeward and at the point of the incident, the obstruction was "straight" (not curved).

There were some other items you tossed in your #4 though.

Does the leeward boat have to give sufficient room to allow an orderly drop of the spinnaker or are we saying a spinnaker being doused is outside the 'boat and all its equipment' definition?

As Juuso indicated, given the above facts-found, yes.

I accept that the rules applying to match racing may permit luffing by the leeward boat but they do not apply to fleet or club racing here.

Both RRS 19 and the definition of Room are unchanged for Match Racing. If this was a Match Race, the same conclusion could be reached using the same rules. If the overlap was established more than 2 BL's apart, the leeward boat can luff.

The continuous obstruction really is a distraction because the same question would apply:

The continuous obstruction is what gives Inside-Windward "room". The CO is at the crux of the scenario and conclusion.

if the boats were sailing in open water, and the leeward boat was overtaking, would the leeward boat giving room need to include the room needed for an orderly spinnaker drop if it knew the windward boat was about to do so?

A few things to unpack there. In #1, you state, "The two boats were overlapped soon after the start ...", but you do not talk about the distance between the boats when the overlap begins. This piece of info is critical as it will determine whether or not RRS 17 applies and if the leeward boat's course is restricted.

  1. If the overlap was established > 2HL's apart, and leeward is holding a converging-course on windward and windward is obliged to keep-clear of leeward under RRS 11. RRS 17 does not apply. Leeward is course-change limited by RRS 16.
  2. If the overlap was established < 2HL's apart, leeward is first obligated under RRS 15 to give windward an opportunity to keep-clear and thereafter, is course-limited by RRS 17 and course-change limited by RRS 16.
  3. Leeward does not have an obligation to anticipate Windward's spin-douse in open water. If Leeward is not restricted by RRS 17, she can luff windward to the point her spin collapses and beyond as long as she complies with RRS 15 and RRS 16. There is no rule which gives a windward boat the right to hold-her-course during a spin-douse in open water. In this case, she would have to show that the leeward boat broke RRS 15, RRS 16 or RRS 17.

If the leeward boat does not have to oblige, are we saying that on a reach the leeward boat can strategically place itself in a position where the windward boat cannot douse its spinnaker without it touching the give way boat, I would have thought not?

By saying "strategically place itself in a position .." implies an established static positional relationship between the boats. Windward needs to keep-clear of Leeward and if she needs more room to douse her spin, windward needs to head-up to make that room for herself.

Ang

PS .. funny John .. appears we were typing at the same time :-)
PS PS .. I really like your post and your RRS 14 analysis ..

Created: 18-Nov-23 14:14
Juuso Leivonen
Nationality: Finland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Not anymore so much related to the original question, but Ang, you wrote about luffing rights on the downwind leg without obstructions and spinnaker. Assuming no 17, the L boat can luff W provided she complies with 16, ie gives room for the W to keep clear. What match call G2 discusses is that “room” includes space for seamanlike sailing, and this includes room to take the spinnaker down, when the spinnaker is not flying anymore. Even though match calls are for match, the interpretation of what’s seamanlike (in this case) is the same :)
Created: 18-Nov-23 16:14
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
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Jusso, thanks for that. Have you seen G2 applied to fleet racing?
Created: 18-Nov-23 16:51
Juuso Leivonen
Nationality: Finland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
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Ang, not really no.. In fleet luffing like that doesn’t happen as often, as you’re often sailing against more than just one boat.. And in fact I can’t remember even in match, that the W-boat would start taking her spinnaker down. But when the L-boat starts luffing, she usually pauses for a bit, when the kite stops working, to give the W a chance to take the kite down. So of course, I would look at this also when umpiring fleet (e.g. Sailing league), or when sitting in PC. If something is considered unseamanlike in match, then for sure it in my mind is that also in fleet :)
Created: 18-Nov-24 11:58
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
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  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
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From Call G2:

If Blue continues her luff so that Yellow, in order to keep clear, has to luff beyond the point where she can keep her spinnaker filled and drawing, then Blue must give Yellow room to drop her spinnaker. ... Whether or not Yellow drops her spinnaker at that time, she is still required to keep clear. If she does not drop her spinnaker at that time, then Blue is not required to give her additional room to drop the spinnaker later in that luff. (and later says it's OK for Blue to take Yellow past HTW).

Wondering what movements and timing of each boat comes to people's minds in the above description. I'm trying to play it out in my head. I'm mainly trying to see the responsibilities from Blue's perspective and what constitutes "room to drop her spinnaker" in the absence of anything to windward of Yellow preventing her from heading higher.

So, I'm luffing up Yellow. Say I don't have a spin up at all, just a genoa .. or maybe I'm an asym on sprit and she's sym on a pole (so I as Blue can head higher). I'm slowing turning toward Yellow, Yellow is matching my turn, Yellow's spin starts to collapse .. maybe folding over 30% at first .. she's having a hard time keeping it pulling .. so at this point:

  1. is Call G2 saying I must hold my course a moment to give Yellow an opportunity to start taking her spin down?
  2. As Blue .. how long do I have to wait for her to start this process?
  3. Is it saying that I have to fall-off to provide Yellow more room to drop or just that I have to not take away the room she has?


I notice that it talks about "later in that luff" .. which could imply that if Blue falls off and gives Yellow opportunity to fill her spin again, then the process starts all over again? ... or is "that luff" one single luff from the time Blue takes Yellow up using RRS 11, even though their spins may fill or flop as they sail the edge of what their spinnakers can take, until RRS 11 no longer applies between them?

Created: 18-Nov-24 14:35
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