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.