Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Engine start at finish line

Michael Lahrkamp
Nationality: Canada
Here's the scenario:
Conditions: Very light wind, almost non existent. Evening wind dying. 
Situation: Club evening can racing. Two boats are approaching the finish line at a fraction of a knot, Boat A clear ahead of Boat B whose bow is only inches from the stern of Boat A.
Event: Boat A gets a horn as her bow crosses the finish line and she immediately starts her engine and aggressively powers away. The wash from her prop brings Boat B to a compete stop and with insufficient wind makes no further headway. 
Question: Were any rules broken?
Created: 19-May-27 11:41

Comments

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Michael, look carefully at the definition of “racing”, the preamble of Part 4 and then Rule 42.1. - Ang

PS: Our previous thread here may be helpful too. 
https://www.racingrulesofsailing.org/posts/288-to-be-racing-or-finished-racing-that-is-the-question
Created: 19-May-27 12:17
Juuso Leivonen
Nationality: Finland
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
And in additition to what Angelo said, also 24.1.
Created: 19-May-27 14:35
Warren Nethercote
Nationality: Canada
0
Breaks rule 42 .... which applies while racing, which she was.

(Paul: how do I change my signature block?  I am no longer a judge of any description.)
Created: 19-May-27 17:51
Rogèrio Albuquerque
Nationality: Brazil
Certifications:
  • National Measurer
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • International Race Officer
1
If A turned on the engine while any part of her hull, crew or equipment was on the line, she was still racing, so broke rule 42.
If she cleared the line and was not racing anymore, she broke Rule 24.1.

Created: 19-May-27 18:46
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Juuso and Rogèrio, I think your bringing up 24.1 in this scenario could spawn an interesting discussion, and that is of intent and 24.1. 

So, for the sake of this 24.1 discussion let’s add the following assumptions:
  1. That the Boat A delays the engine until she clears the line
  2. That Boat A was sufficiently far away from the ends of the line that she clear of them as well

OK .. so now we have these boats drifting across the line, bow to stern, Boat A might be thinking that,  now that she has finished, the best way NOT to break 24.1, is to turn on her engine and make room for the other drifters. A boat’s prop-wash effect on a boat behind would not even be on the radar of most sailors I think, but “getting the heck out of the way ASAP” might be .. and with no wind that means the iron-Genoa. 

So, how do we think about “intent” when applying 24.1?

Ang
Created: 19-May-27 20:14
Dennis Hendel
Nationality: Canada
0
Gentlemen, in the scenario presented, Boat A had "finished" according to Rule 28.1, so as I see it she could not have broken Rule 42. I don't see any language in the RRS that states a boat must clear the finish line by "sailing through it". Her only obligation is to not foul a boat that is still racing. It could be argued that she broke Rule 24.1 with her prop wash. Rule 2 "Fair Sailing" and Rule 69 Misconduct could also apply in this case, but if protested I would probably fight all of that in a protest room as the facts in the case are rather unique and claim of fault is weak. The case might end up in appeals though.
I frequently do weeknight races in a river where there is current that flows against the course to the finish line and sometimes in dying wind as we approach it. It would be interesting to see this case play out in "court".
Created: 19-May-27 22:07
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Dennis,  In the scenario, boat A had finished, but had not cleared the finishing line and marks.  Therefore boat A is still racing by definition.  Especially in your situation with an adverse current, "clears the finishing line and marks" can mean that a boat is still racing well after she has cleared the line.  She would have to continue to sail and not use the engine until after the possibility of the current pushing her onto a finishing mark.
Created: 19-May-27 22:29
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
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Dennis and Murray, you should read through the thread I linked to in my first comment on this thread.  Ideas on clearing the line and marks really got explored and debated.   I think you’ll both get something out of it. -Ang
Created: 19-May-28 00:28
Warren Collier
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
  • Club Race Officer
0
I agree with Murray that the boat had finished but was was still racing and needed to clear the line under sail either by completely crossing it or by turning up away from the line. Thus, in the scenario presented the boat broke rule 42.1. If the boat had cleared the line and was no longer racing then it would have broken rule 24.1. 28.1 just is saying the boat can clear the line either way. 
Created: 19-May-28 00:33
Dennis Hendel
Nationality: Canada
0
I refer you again to Rule 28.1 and to quote, "...After finishing she need not cross the finishing line completely." This is assuming she "finishes" far enough away from the finish marks to clear them. In the scenario we are discussing there is no mention of a mark nearby she might not clear. In the the most current appeals book and there is no mention that a boat must "sail" through the finish line until her stern has cleared it, therefore Boat A could not have broken Rule 42. She could have eased her sails and backed clear of the line. There is two issues here as I see it. 1st: Did she violate Rule 42 by motoring away from the line and 2nd: If the answer to the 1st question is yes or no, did she violate Rule 42?
Created: 19-May-28 05:42
Dennis Hendel
Nationality: Canada
0
I refer you again to Rule 28.1 and to quote, "...After finishing she need not cross the finishing line completely." In the the most current appeals book and there is no mention that a boat must "sail" through the finish line until her stern has cleared it, therefore Boat A could not have broken Rule 42. She could have eased her sails and backed clear of the line. There are two issues here as I see it. 1st: Did she violate Rule 42 by motoring away from the line and 2nd: If the answer to the 1st question is yes or no, did she violate Rule 42?
To quote the rule book under the definition of "Finish", "A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment ......... crosses the finish line from the course side."
Created: 19-May-28 06:03
Dennis Hendel
Nationality: Canada
0
I refer you again to Rule 28.1 and to quote, "...After finishing she need not cross the finishing line completely." In the the most current appeals book and there is no mention that a boat must "sail" through the finish line until her stern has cleared it, therefore Boat A could not have broken Rule 42. She could have eased her sails and backed clear of the line. There are two issues here as I see it. 1st: Did she violate Rule 42 by motoring away from the line and 2nd: If the answer to the 1st question is yes or no, did she violate Rule 42?
To quote the rule book under the definition of "Finish", "A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment ......... crosses the finish line from the course side."

Sorry - new to this - please refer to the 2nd back to back comment. I tried to edit the comment before sending it but this application has a glitch and sends everything
Created: 19-May-28 06:07
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Dennis, There is no doubt that boat A has finished  the moment her bow crosses the line and, as you say, she need not completely cross the line after finishing.  But she still needs to clear the line  to be no longer racing.  This means she is still racing until, at least, she is completely on the finished side of the line or has fallen back completely on the course side of the line.  Note that the scenario states that " her bow crosses the finish line and she immediately starts her engine and aggressively powers away" .  As the boats are only sailing at "a fraction of a knot", boat A's bow would be on the "finished" side of the line and her stern would be on the course side of the line when she "powers away".  She has not cleared the line, is therefore still racing and breaks rule 42.  
Created: 19-May-28 06:33
Juan Ruggero
Nationality: Argentina
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
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Boat A has finished, according definition of Finish. Boat A is still racing, according definition of Racing. But Boat A is not competing, because she cannot change her position (by her own actions) after finishing. So she is not obligued under rule 42. Because she is racing, it doesn't apply rule 24.1.
Created: 19-May-28 12:19
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
1
That's an interesting take on it, Juan - but I would argue that Boat A, because she is still racing, is still "competing."  As long as a boat is still racing, she is still subject to the rules - and subject to disqualification or another penalty.

There are two definitions of "compete" in the dictionary:
1) strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.
2) take part in a contest.

I think both apply here.
Created: 19-May-28 14:03
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Angelo Guarino said 
Created: Yesterday 20:14

Juuso and Rogèrio, I think your bringing up 24.1 in this scenario could spawn an interesting discussion, and that is of intent and 24.1. 

So, for the sake of this 24.1 discussion let’s add the following assumptions:
  1. That the Boat A delays the engine until she clears the line
  2. That Boat A was sufficiently far away from the ends of the line that she clear of them as well

So A is not racing and rule 24.1 can apply.

OK .. so now we have these boats drifting across the line, bow to stern, Boat A might be thinking that,  now that she has finished, the best way NOT to break 24.1, is to turn on her engine and make room for the other drifters. A boat’s prop-wash effect on a boat behind would not even be on the radar of most sailors I think, but “getting the heck out of the way ASAP” might be .. and with no wind that means the iron-Genoa. 

So, how do we think about “intent” when applying 24.1?

Intention is irrelevant to rule 24.1, as it is to most of the racing rules except possibly rule 2 and rule 69.

If her actions, prop wash, wind shadow, right of way, whatever, interfere with a boat that it racing, and it was reasonably possible to avoid doing so, she breaks rule 24.1, and on valid protest should be penalised.

Created: 19-May-28 14:22
Juan Ruggero
Nationality: Argentina
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
0
So, following the dictionary definition of "compete", and rule 42, I wonder:
Is boat A using her engine to compete?
Would be rigth say that a boat cannot use the engine any time during the event?
Created: 19-May-28 14:23
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Juan,The Cambridge English dictionary defines "compete" as
1. 1. to try to be more successful than someone or something else
2. to take part in a race or competition

Since boat A is still racing, then she is still taking part in the race and therefore still competing by definition.  
Created: 19-May-28 14:28
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
No Juan, it is not right to say  " a boat cannot use the engine any time during the event ".  She cannot use the engine as a means of propulsion while racing in the event.
Created: 19-May-28 14:36
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Hi John, thanks for the reply. 

So, my first inclination was as you state. But, upon further consideration, I wonder if within the determination of what is “reasonable” or not, there is a bit of “intent” in there? 

(I’m not taking a position either way, just exploring the idea). 

So, let’s go back to my modified scenario. We have a boat ahead that just finished and finished-racing with a boat (or let’s even make it boats) behind that are trying to both finish and finish racing .. and we have those drifting conditions as were stated. 

The boat is maybe in a bit of a conundrum..
  1. Leave the sails up to get out of the way, then she is blocking wind for a long time and casting a big shadow in very light air and taking up space along the line, or
  2. Take sails down and motor away, then her prop wash might interfere for a moment, but she’s out of the way quickly and her swath of impact is much narrower and shorter in duration. 

So, I could take the position that understanding her intent to “not interfere” (she wants to follow the rules) drives her “reasonable” options ... sail-on or motor away.  Both have the potential to interfere. 

Now certainly, if the boat was aware of the effect prop wash can have on a boat behind, she could have moved away under idle to minimize that effect.  I don’t know that this is part of sailors general knowledge like wind-shadows are downwind of sails. 

Ang

Created: 19-May-28 15:15
Warren Nethercote
Nationality: Canada
0
Ang, dancing upon the head of a pin sometimes gives you sore feet.  :-)

A is clear ahead of B when A finishes.  But although A has finished she is still racing.  While A is still racing, 24.1 does not apply, but 42 does. If A uses her propulsion engine while racing, she breaks 42.1.  By-the-way, if I assume that A and B are on the same tack (which is reasonable from the description), then B has to keep clear of A under rule 12.   If A is in B's way, tough luck.  So A's best course of action is to hang tight and sail clear of the line, or at least far enough to allow B to finish, after which they can both start their engines.

Warren
Created: 19-May-28 16:08
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Warren, I had changed the scenario so that A is clear of the line and marks and finished-racing, but B (and other boats) is/are not finished and/or finished-racing.  Based on the OP, I agree 100%.  - Ang
Created: 19-May-28 16:12
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Angelo Guarino said
Created: Today 15:15

Hi John, thanks for the reply. 

So, my first inclination was as you state. But, upon further consideration, I wonder if within the determination of what is “reasonable” or not, there is a bit of “intent” in there? 

(I’m not taking a position either way, just exploring the idea). 

So, let’s go back to my modified scenario. We have a boat ahead that just finished and finished-racing with a boat (or let’s even make it boats) behind that are trying to both finish and finish racing .. and we have those drifting conditions as were stated. 

The boat is maybe in a bit of a conundrum..
  1. Leave the sails up to get out of the way, then she is blocking wind for a long time and casting a big shadow in very light air and taking up space along the line, or
  2. Take sails down and motor away, then her prop wash might interfere for a moment, but she’s out of the way quickly and her swath of impact is much narrower and shorter in duration. 

So, I could take the position that understanding her intent to “not interfere” (she wants to follow the rules) drives her “reasonable” options ... sail-on or motor away.  Both have the potential to interfere. 

Now certainly, if the boat was aware of the effect prop wash can have on a boat behind, she could have moved away under idle to minimize that effect.  I don’t know that this is part of sailors general knowledge like wind-shadows are downwind of sails. 

In the scenario you posit, a protest committee has no need to consider intent.

Clearly
  • it is not reasonably possible for a boat that has been racing, and is interfering with another boat racing, but breaking no rule, for example by casting a wind shadow, or having a right of way entitlement, to cease that interference on the instant that she ceases to be racing, and the 'reasonably possible' provision of rule 24.1 will excuse her from breaking that rule.
  •  it is 'reasonable' for a boat that has ceased racing should manoeuvre as quickly as possible so as to stop interfering with boats that are racing.  Actions that a boat takes to execute that manoeuvre, such as applying motor power, or trimming sails or changing course, can be adjudged as reasonable or unreasonable by a protest committee on their own merits, again without consulting the intent of the boat.
To engage motor power at high revolutions, that increases the degree of interference with a nearby boat that is racing, absent some seamanship reason, like avoiding another vessel, would be unreasonable, while low revs, just enough to draw away might be quite reasonable.

As usual rules analysis should focus on actions not intent.
Created: 19-May-28 21:42
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
OK John. I’ll buy that reasoning. Thanks for play’n. - Ang
Created: 19-May-28 22:38
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