Forum: Rule 18 and Room at the Mark

Some Questions about Rule 18

Stavros Kouris
Nationality: Greece
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire

The situation is the following:
- Yellow enters the zone clear ahead of Blue, but about one boat length away from the mark. The direction to the next mark is a reach to the finish line. Blue sails between Yellow and the mark

Question 1:
When does mark- room ends for Yellow? Is it at position 3?

Question 2:
If mark room for Yellow ends at position 3 then according to RRS 18.2(d), rules 18.2(b) and 18.2(c) ceases to apply at that moment.
But since both boats are required to leave the on the same side and both of them are in the zone Rule 18 still apply?
Does RRS 18.2(a) apply from that moment on and because Blue is overlapped inside Yellow she gets mark room?
Created: 18-Dec-21 19:25

Comments

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
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0
Stavros, just to be clear on your scenario ...
  1. Is your arrow around the mark implying the course to the "reach to the finish" will require the boats to tack and head-off to the left as drawn? ... or
  2. ...when you say "The direction to the next mark is a reach to the finish line" .. is that off at the direction that Yellow is heading in position #3?
Ang

PS .. if you did not know, you can "edit" your original post and upload an updated picture with "direction to finish" to make your scenario clear. Right-click on the picture and select "Image Properties" and from there you can upload an updated image.
Created: 18-Dec-21 19:42
Loic Durand Raucher
Nationality: France
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I'm not quite sure where is the next mark.
If it's a reach on port, it's kind of straight line from Yellow 3
But the arrow makes me think that the reach is on stb, and that both boats have to tack around the mark.
So, please, Stevie, more information.
Created: 18-Dec-21 19:49
Robby Hill
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-2
Matters NOT where the next mark is. IF yellow reaches the circle and blue has no over lap. Blue is required to go behind. NO over lap, no ROOM. Your picture makes any further discussion moot?.
Created: 18-Dec-21 20:49
Angelo Guarino
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Robby .. the question of whether or not Blue gets room isn't one of the questions Stavros asked (as I read his last question as Yellow getting room).

Ang
Created: 18-Dec-21 21:00
Roger Strube
Nationality: United States of America
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-2
Robby Hill correct. No overlap when entering the Zone, no room at the Mark.
Created: 18-Dec-21 21:26
Joseph Burgin
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
-2
I believe it does matter where the next mark is. 18.2.c part 2 means the outside boat has to be careful if heading above her proper course to "close the door".
Created: 18-Dec-21 21:45
Jim Saylor
Nationality: United States of America
-1
No overlap before the Zone = No room, does not matter where the next mark is. Windward overlap from behind = no proper course for yellow, blue must stay clear.

Created: 18-Dec-21 21:52
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
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2
Stavros, lemme take a swing at your specific questions assuming the course to the next mark is as Yellow is heading at position #3

Question 1:
When does mark- room ends for Yellow? Is it at position 3?

Yellow is clear ahead when the first of Blue and Yellow enters the zone, therefore the second sentence of 18.2(b) applies ..

"If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the zone, the boat clear astern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room."

18.1 tells us that 18 applies to Blue and Yellow while at least one of them are in the zone. At position #3, they are both still inside the zone, therefore RRS 18 still applies.
18.2(d) tells us the conditions which 18.2(b) and (c) cease to apply ..

"Rules 18.2(b) and (c) cease to apply when the boat entitled to mark-room has been given that mark-room. or if she passes head to wind or leaves the zone."

Looking at these 3 conditions, Yellow has not passed head-to-wind and has not left the zone, therefore the only question is whether or not Blue has given Yellow mark-room.

So .. now we look at Mark Room ..

Mark-Room is given when potentially 3 characteristics of the room have been given ..

  1. Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side.
  2. room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
  3. room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
At positions #1, #2 and #3 .. I would say that Blue has given Yellow all 3 of the above. Specifically at position #2, Yellow was clear to sail closer to the mark (which would have been her proper course), but choose not to do so. That's not Blue's fault based upon the drawing.

Therefore, to answer Question #1, I would say that, assuming that Yellow is at the heading to the next mark...
  1. Blue has given Yellow mark-room
  2. Therefore 18.2(d) turns-off 18.2(b) and Yellow is no longer entitled to mark-room because she has been given it.

Question 2:
If mark room for Yellow ends at position 3 then according to RRS 18.2(d), rules 18.2(b) and 18.2(c) ceases to apply at that moment.

Yes.

But since both boats are required to leave the on the same side and both of them are in the zone Rule 18 still apply?

Yes as 18.1 states, 18 applies as long as at least one of them is in the zone

Does RRS 18.2(a) apply from that moment on and because Blue is overlapped inside Yellow she gets mark room?

Yes. At this point, we turn to 18.2(a) "When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the inside boat mark-room, unless rule 18.2(b) applies.". 18.2(b) does not apply anymore because 18.2(d) turned it off, therefore 18.2(a) does.

  • Yellow is leeward ROW under RRS 11 to Blue.
  • Yellow is not restricted by RRS 17 as the overlap was not established from close-leeward astern.
  • Blue is owed Mark Room under 18.2(a).


Therefore, Yellow is free to maneuver, even to above her proper course as long as she gives Blue mark-room and changes course in accordance to RRS 14, 15 and 16.

Ang

Created: 18-Dec-21 23:17
Stavros Kouris
Nationality: Greece
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0
Both boats after the mark they have to sail a straight line to the finish.

​​​​​​Angelo i totally agree with your answer but doesn't that mean that when blue gets the entitlement for mark room she can bear away onto yellow and be exonerated if she is sailing within the mark room she is entitled to?
Don't you find it a little "confusing"?
Created: 18-Dec-21 23:54
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
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2

​​​​​​Angelo i totally agree with your answer

We have a saying in the US .. "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!" :-P

but doesn't that mean that when blue gets the entitlement for mark room she can bear away onto yellow

No, it does not.

  • Yellow is ROW boat vs Blue under RRS 11 as the leeward boat.
  • Blue must keep-clear of Yellow

and be exonerated if she is sailing within the mark room she is entitled to?

"mark room she is entitled to" is the key to your question. What is the mark-room she is entitled too?

Mark-Room has 3 characteristics ..

  1. Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side.
  2. room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
  3. room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.

So at position #3, Yellow is providing Blue room to:

(1) leave the mark on the required side,
(2) sail close to the mark because Blue's proper course is to sail close to it and
(3) round the mark to sail the course.

Blue is not "entitled to" any more room than is shown she posses at position #3. Being entitled to room is different than being ROW. If Blue was to sail away from the mark into Yellow, she would be sailing outside the "mark-room she is entitled to" into a ROW boat.


Furthermore, Yellow is free to close the gap on Blue as long as she leaves room for Blue to do 1-3 above and changes course in accordance to RRS 14 and 16.

Don't you find it a little "confusing"?

I wouldn't say "confusing" .. though I find your example instructive and very interesting because it takes a situation which at first glance seems cut and dry, but when you walk through the rules, it's actually pretty cool and informative (assuming my analysis is correct of course) ;-)

Ang

Created: 18-Dec-22 01:17
Angelo Guarino
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Interesting twist is changing the direction of the finish ...

Created: 18-Dec-22 01:34
Stavros Kouris
Nationality: Greece
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Angelo your example is much simpler as yellow in position 3 is still entitled to mark room.
Yellow needs room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
Created: 18-Dec-22 04:51
Angelo Guarino
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Angelo your example is much simpler as yellow in position 3 is still entitled to mark room.

Yellow needs room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.

Stavros, I think like your first example, this is maybe a more interesting question than it seems at first glace.

Given where Yellow and Blue are at position #3, imagine Yellow's turn to windward to round as Yellow continues to move forward through the water.

Questions: Assume Yellow starts to turn-up at position #3 (and as shown, there are no other boats around to produce tactical/duty variations to either boat's Proper Course) ...
.
  1. Has Yellow been given mark-room when she reaches a close-hauled course on port?
  2. If "yes" above, are we back to the same conclusion as the previous scenario? (i.e. 18.2(d) turns off 18.2(b) and Blue gets mark-room from that moment after).
Ang

PS .. too funny .. I don't think I have once put the "r" in your name in the correct place the first time I write it. My fingers have come up with at least 7 variations including a couple extra r's thrown-in for good measure.
Created: 18-Dec-22 15:28
Philip Hubbell
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Timing of luff gets a little trickier if Blue and Yellow are sailing different courses to different next marks: Blue to reach and Yellow to weather.
Created: 18-Dec-28 21:20
Angelo Guarino
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Philip

if Blue and Yellow are sailing different courses to different next marks: Blue to reach and Yellow to weather.

I think in your new situation, Blue would be obliged by RRS 18.2.c.2 to provide Yellow room to come up to her course to the next mark, which for Yellow would be close-hauled. Unless Blue can slow and quickly drop her bow to duck below Yellow, Blue will be trapped inside Yellow until she passes ahead of Blue.

18.2.d isn't satisfied until Yellow has been given mark-room which is until she reaches close-hauled ..... so 18.2.b and 18.2.c.2 apply simultaneously until that point.

At/after position #3, I think Yellow would be exonerated by RRS 14 and/or 21 if there was contact with Blue as long as Yellow luffed no-higher than close-hauled (assuming there is no damage or injury).

Created: 18-Dec-29 15:01
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
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Angelo Guarino
said Created: 18-Dec-22 01:17

​​​​​​Angelo i totally agree with your answer

We have a saying in the US .. "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!" :-P

but doesn't that mean that when blue gets the entitlement for mark room she can bear away onto yellow

No, it does not.

  • Yellow is ROW boat vs Blue under RRS 11 as the leeward boat.
  • Blue must keep-clear of Yellow

and be exonerated if she is sailing within the mark room she is entitled to?

"mark room she is entitled to" is the key to your question. What is the mark-room she is entitled too?

Mark-Room has 3 characteristics ..

  1. Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side.
  2. room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
  3. room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.

So at position #3, Yellow is providing Blue room to:

(1) leave the mark on the required side,
(2) sail close to the mark because Blue's proper course is to sail close to it and
(3) round the mark to sail the course.

Blue is not "entitled to" any more room than is shown she posses at position #3. Being entitled to room is different than being ROW. If Blue was to sail away from the mark into Yellow, she would be sailing outside the "mark-room she is entitled to" into a ROW boat.


Furthermore, Yellow is free to close the gap on Blue as long as she leaves room for Blue to do 1-3 above and changes course in accordance to RRS 14 and 16.

Don't you find it a little "confusing"?

I wouldn't say "confusing" .. though I find your example instructive and very interesting because it takes a situation which at first glance seems cut and dry, but when you walk through the rules, it's actually pretty cool and informative (assuming my analysis is correct of course) ;-)

I agree with Angelo's analysis above

I think Stavros has pointed to a flaw in the intended operation of rule 18.2d. Strictly construed rule 18.2d ceases the operation of rules 18.2b and 18.2c, which does indeed leave rule 18.2a in operation (last phrase of rule 18.2a '... unless rule 18.2b applies'), which has the effect of transitioning the entitlement to mark-room from Y to B (overlapped inside).

I thought when it was introduced, that the 'switch off provision after mark-room has been given in rule 18.2d was superfluous.

The point I make is that, once mark-room has been give, and the entitled boat has taken the mark-room that she needed, she will no longer be sailing within the mark-room to which she is entitled (because she no longer needs to be given any mark-room). This means that her exoneration for breaking a rule of Section A or rules 15 or 16 under rule 21a, which is the key benefit of having mark-room, is no longer available. That is to say, a boat can have an 'entitlement' to mark room but at some point may cease to have an entitlement to exoneration under rule 21. Entitlement to mark-room is not the same as entitlement to exoneration.
Created: 18-Dec-31 01:08
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
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Angelo Guarino
said Created: 18-Dec-22 15:28
Angelo your example is much simpler as yellow in position 3 is still entitled to mark room.

Yellow needs room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.

Stavros, I think like your first example, this is maybe a more interesting question than it seems at first glace.

Given where Yellow and Blue are at position #3, imagine Yellow's turn to windward to round as Yellow continues to move forward through the water.

Questions: Assume Yellow starts to turn-up at position #3 (and as shown, there are no other boats around to produce tactical/duty variations to either boat's Proper Course) ...
.

  1. Has Yellow been given mark-room when she reaches a close-hauled course on port?
  2. If "yes" above, are we back to the same conclusion as the previous scenario? (i.e. 18.2(d) turns off 18.2(b) and Blue gets mark-room from that moment after).
In Stavros second example, Y's proper course is to tack around the mark, that is to say, for her, tacking at the mark is 'necessary to sail the course' (Definitions: mark-room ( b )).. She is entitled to mark-room that she needs to do this as long as rule 18 ever applies, that is, until she passes head to wind.

There is no reason why this entitlement should cease when she reaches a close hauled course on port.

So Y is entitled to mark-room until she passes head to wind, at which point, rule 18, in its entirety will cease to apply because she will be on the opposite tack to B, and B's proper course at the mark will also be to tack onto starboard (rule 18.1b), and rule 13, then rule 10 will apply, with rule 15 and 16 limitations.

Created: 18-Dec-31 01:23
Angelo Guarino
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John,

In Stavros second example, Y's proper course is to tack around the mark, that is to say, for her, tacking at the mark is 'necessary to sail the course' (Definitions: mark-room ( b )).. She is entitled to mark-room that she needs to do this as long as rule 18 ever applies, that is, until she passes head to wind.

I found your point above interesting. Since the rhumb-line and wind are inline with each other and it's a beat to windward to the next mark (which is the finish in this case), Y will apparently be spending equal time on port and starboard tack on the next leg.

How I have always interpreted it, it's necessary to Y to have room to come up to a close-hauled course on port. It might be advantageous for her to tack through at the mark onto starboard, but I'm having a hard-time seeing how tacking meets the "necessary" burden.

FWIW, that's why I thought to determine she's been given mark-room at the point she reaches close-hauled on port.

Ang

Created: 18-Dec-31 15:41
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
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Angelo,

My mistake. I failed to observe the wind arrow and assumed that the wind was coming straight down the page.

I agree with you that, with the mark directly upwind it is not necessary for Y to tack in order to sail the course.

In the previous post I used 'proper course' loosely to establish the (assumed) necessity to tack. Y is entitled to the room necessary to sail the course, but is not entitled to room to sail her proper course because she is not overlapped inside (rule 18.2c).

So in both examples, we have the situation where Y's entitlement to mark-room ceases (in effect when she no longer needs mark-room), and the entitlement transitions to B, as inside boat. Practically speaking, as long as Y does not engage in 'tactical' manoeuvres against B, and sails away on her new course to the next mark, she will be giving mark-room as required, and B's entitlement to mark-room will be of only short duration, ceasing when she herself no longer needs mark-room.
Created: 18-Dec-31 22:55
Philip Hubbell
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So here, with a revised diagram, is the quiz question:
Who has mark room at position 2? Who has mark room at position 3?
Created: 18-Dec-31 23:11
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
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1
Philip, I think you need to add a position 1 showing the positions and orientations of Y and B when Y reaches the zone if you really want an answer to the question at position #2 (unless you are trying for a "trick question" in your quiz).

Ang
Created: 19-Jan-01 16:31
Philip Hubbell
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Created: 19-Jan-01 17:05
Angelo Guarino
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Philip .. you're getting warmer ..

18.2(b) [emphasis added]

"If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone, ..."

Yellow is first to reach the zone. You have to show the boats' orientations and locations at that point (when Yellow reaches the zone) to answer who has mark-room at position #2.

Ang
Created: 19-Jan-01 18:51
Philip Hubbell
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Given the wakes shown, can you describe a scenario in which Y was not clear ahead when she reached the zone?
Created: 19-Jan-01 19:00
Philip Hubbell
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The point of Stavros' original contribution is this fascinating transition of mark room from one boat to the other.
Created: 19-Jan-01 19:07
Angelo Guarino
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The point of Stavros' original contribution is this fascinating transition of mark room from one boat to the other.

Yes .. and if you look at his drawing (and my modification) he was careful to provide position #1, clearly establishing the positions and orientations of both boats when the first of them (Yellow) reaches the zone.

If your scenario/drawing was a multiple choice quiz question ...

Question #1: Which boat is entitled to mark-room at position #2? (choose the best answer)

  1. Yellow
  2. Blue
  3. Neither
  4. Both
  5. Difficult to determine definitively
I'd say the best answer is #5.

My point being, if you want the answer to be #1 2 (Yellow), you should use Stavros' original drawing in its entirety, and add your indication of the direction to the next mark.
Created: 19-Jan-01 20:21
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
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C'mon Angelo,

How about an answer to Phil's question

Given the wakes shown, can you describe a scenario in which Y was not clear ahead when she reached the zone?

Created: 19-Jan-01 21:29
Angelo Guarino
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Sure .. assume the wind is coming from due North. Yellow capsizes just outside the zone, rights herself (with her boom downwind) with her bow facing 60 deg as her bow just crosses the zone, spins her bow down, fills her sails and starts moving forward showing that track inside the zone.

The tracks represent the path the CG of the boat makes through the water, not the orientation of the boat at that time.

Ang

PS .. my only point being . if this was a question designed for a Quiz or Test, it should have position #1 shown.
Created: 19-Jan-01 21:49
John Allan
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1
Can't fault your counter-example.

On the basis that a quiz question should have only one correct answer, I agree.

On the basis that it is a judge's job to draw reasonable inferences on the balance of probabilities from affirmative evidence, it is more probable than not that yellow was either clear ahead when she reached the zone.
Created: 19-Jan-01 22:44
Philip Hubbell
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You are forgetting the other likely scenario in which Blue actually entered the zone first, but briefly snagged a NW-bound submarine back to the edge of the zone (doubling over her original track) while Yellow barreled past.
Then, of course, the answer to Question 1 would, with absolute certainty, be 2.
Created: 19-Jan-02 07:58
Angelo Guarino
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On the basis that a quiz question should have only one correct answer, I agree.

Thanks John, that's all I've been trying to say. I've been providing feedback to Philip's drawing and the question on the basis of it being part of a test or quiz, with the thought that there may be race-volunteers gleaning ideas, topics, and scenarios from RRoS for their presentations, seminars or sailboat-karate at the bar.

On the basis that it is a judge's job to draw reasonable inferences on the balance of probabilities from affirmative evidence, it is more probable than not that yellow was either clear ahead when she reached the zone.

Roger that. I'd have to imagine that if this came before a jury, and one of the parties placed the boat-models at #2, at least one of the Judges would say, "OK, using the same models, would you please go back to the moment in time when Yellow first reached the mark-zone and place the boats in their relative positions at that point." In other words, I don't think most juries would leave position #1 to be inferred.

Ang

Created: 19-Jan-02 14:08
Angelo Guarino
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Blue actually entered the zone first, but briefly snagged a NW-bound submarine back to the edge of the zone (doubling over her original track) while Yellow barreled past.

Ah .. Philip .. now you're on to a topic I've been thinking quite a bit about for a while now! ... that of submerged and "invisible" obstructions and the rules .. but that's a rabbit-hole for another day (and thread).

Ang

Created: 19-Jan-02 14:12
Rob Overton
Nationality: United States of America
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2
I think the simple answer to Phillip's question, above, is that, assuming Yellow entered the zone clear ahead, she is entitled to mark-room at position 2 and, assuming yellow has passed the mark at position 3, Blue has mark-room at that time.

This transfer of obligations was unintended by the rule-writers. I know this because I was one of them.

The brief history of the words "or has been given that mark-room" in rule 18..2.(d) is this:

There used to be a criterion for when rule 18 turns off -- rule 18 applied "until the boats have passed the mark". But that turns out not to work; picture two Sunfish, with their long booms, passing close by a windward mark, overlapped and with the windward boat bows-out on the leeward boat. The leeward boat cannot release her sheet and bear off until she is past the mark, and at that point the windward boat is also past the mark; yet we surely don't want to turn off rule 18 yet, as the boats have barely begun to round the mark! The simple requirement "the boats have passed the mark" also doesn't work in other common scenarios, especially where there is a current and boats must sail beyond the point where the mark is clear astern of them, in order to sail the course without risk of hitting the mark. So that statement was removed in 2009. It was not replaced because, as John Allen points out above, such a clause seems unnecessary -- rule 18's provisions about mark-room "turn off" (or, more precisely, become moot) when there is no more room to be given.

Alas, a rule that turns on at a clear point (when one of the boats enters the zone) and then doesn't turn itself off again bothers the heck out of people, especially because rule 18.2(b) says that a boat clear ahead or overlapped at the zone is entitled to mark-room "thereafter", which is a pretty strong word; it's used in religion to indicate eternity. Anybody who presented a class or seminar on the rules between 2009 and 2013 knows that sooner or later somebody would ask, "But when does the rule turn off?" The explanation, that it really doesn't turn off until both boats leave the zone, but that doesn't matter because at some point there is no more room to be given, takes a long time and satisfies nobody.

So we decided to answer the question if we could find an easy fix. Rule 18.2(d) already had two conditions where a boat can lose her right to mark-room, so that seemed an obvious place to add an additional condition. Further, it's rule 18.2(b) that uses the word "thereafter", and as everybody knows, it's rule 18.2(b) that almost always grants mark-room, so a rule that talks about entitlement for mark-room under rule 18.2(b) seemed like a good place to put a criterion for that rule turning off.

Rules-makers soon recognized that this was a mistake. We never intended to switch the right to mark-room, from the boat clear ahead or overlapped inside at the zone, to the other boat. However, as a practical matter it's not a big deal -- once a boat has been given mark-room, she is sailing the next leg (or finished) and the requirement for her to give mark-room to a boat overlapped inside her is not onerous. Furthermore, almost anything she might do that deprives the other boat of the space to round the mark is prohibited by rules 15 or 16 (remember, it is unseamanlike to hit a mark, so if she changes course in such a way that the boat inside her is compelled to hit the mark, she breaks rule 16, even if she doesn't owe that boat mark-room).

Still, the problem should be fixed, and in their annual conference in October, 2018, World Sailing passed changes to rule 18 and the definition "mark-room", to answer the question better in 2021. These changes remove the words "when mark-room has been given" from rule 18.2(d), and move them to a new sentence in rule 18.1 turning off all of rule 18 when mark-room has been given (regardless of whether it was given under rule 18.2(b) or some other part of the rule) and the mark no longer influences the course of the boat entitled to that room. WS also passed changes to the definition mark-room making it clear that mark-room has been given only when the boat entitled to mark-room is past the mark and she can continue to sail the course without hitting that mark. This is not an urgent change and will not come into effect until January, 2021. Note also that the change made in 2018 can be reviewed by National Authorities and edits proposed in 2019; in fact, the US Racing Rules Committee is currently working on some minor word-smithing for the new definition.
Created: 19-Jan-02 17:19
Tribhuwan Jaiswal
Nationality: India
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Thank you Rob for giving the background to the rule change for making us understand better.

Created: 19-Jan-31 14:00
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