Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

W vs L while approaching starting line - But no room to keep clear

Jim Archer
Nationality: United States of America
I believe this is best addressed by case 93 or, better, by case 146. There is no protest on this situation at all.

While racing keel boats under PHRF, in about 12 knots of wind, I was approaching the starting line with about 15 seconds until start. I was burning some speed by letting the headsail luff a bit. Another boat approached from clear astern and started yelling "up up" as they are want to do. We were both on starboard tack. This boat had no lookout at the bow and was a 30 foot boat (I'm sailing a 35 foot boat) so I doubt he could have seen exactly where his bow was. From my position at the helm I could clearly see that he had not overlapped me and, if he headed up, would have easily crossed my stern so I took no action. About 5 seconds later he did establish a slight overlap, about a foot or so below my starboard quarter. Had he headed up he certainly would have contacted my boat. I had space above me but had I headed up, I would most certainly driven my port quarter into his bow. If I bore down, well that of course would be bad.

I can't think of any action I could have taken to avoid him and allow him to head up. He began yelling "protest, protest" although he never flew a flag and ultimately didn't file a protest. He was of course right to avoid contact.

So:

1 - He established a leeward overlap from clear astern 
2 - He is obligated to initially give me room to keep clear
3 - I failed to keep clear, because it was not possible for me to do so

So I think I was sailing within room I was entitled under 16.1 and therefore are exonerated under rule 21.

Is my analysis correct?

Thanks...

Created: 19-Jul-02 12:38

Comments

Ekaterina Minakova
Nationality: Russian Federation
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
  • Umpire In Training
  • National Judge
1
Here is my comment from another thread on the topic:
I believe it is a common 16.1 rule breaking issue when the leeward boat begins luffung before getting bow even with the windward boat. It happens because most boats' pivot points are located around 1/3 of its length. See https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-advice/cruising-tips/boat-handling-sail/Pages/pivot-points-windage-and-slide.aspx
Also Dick Rose gives a nice example on it regarding dinghy sailing (where pivots are mostly at centerboards)
https://www.sailingworld.com/young-sailors-are-not-alone-in-breaking-these-essential-racing-rules
Created: 19-Jul-02 13:12
Scott Collinson
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
From the way you described the situation, I believe Rule 15 is more applicable than Rule 16.
Created: 19-Jul-02 13:26
Jim Archer
Nationality: United States of America
1
The Dick Rose link is nice, thanks, I'll share that one. The leeward boat, in this case, is a guy who moves boats around frequently, I have to believe that he understands that my quarter would have hit his bow if I turned up. Perhaps he just thinks the rules require the impossible. 

Regarding rule 15, how long is "initially"? For the following 10 seconds after he got his leeward overlap, with his bow spitting distance from the quarter, nothing was going to change unless he bore off. At and after the gun, then he has to sail his proper course since he established his overlap from clear astern per rule 17. So, when does 15 stop applying and 16.1 start applying?
Created: 19-Jul-02 13:51
Scott Collinson
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
Case 24 provides good discussion for you on this. Again, from the way you described; the moment L acquired right of way, you were unable to Keep Clear.
Created: 19-Jul-02 14:55
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
3
Hi Jim,
In rule 15, the word "initially" is to be "used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use".  The common meaning of "initially" is "at the beginning" or "from the start". (not to be confused with the defined start).
Until the boats are overlapped, the boat clear ahead has right-of-way and the boat astern is required to keep clear. Rule 15 applies at the moment the overlap is established and right-of-way switches from the boat that was clear ahead to the boat that is now leeward.  So, "initially" in this case, means at the beginning of the overlap.  There is no time extension to "the following 10 seconds" or any other time-frame.  If W has not been given room to keep clear at the time the overlap is established, then L breaks rule 15. 

Rule 16.1 always applies.  It's requirements are invoked the moment a right-of-way boat changes course.

Created: 19-Jul-02 15:07
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
2
Rule 15 is applicable, without opening the Case Book.

Rule 15 begins to apply from the instant that the other boat acquires right of way, that is becomes overlapped from clear astern.

'Initially' in rule 15 is a sequential, not a temporal condition:  where, as in this case, at the moment of acquiring right of way the other boat is not giving room to keep clear (see Definition:  Keep Clear, second part), the rule 15 obligation to 'initially give room' continues to apply until the other boat [by bearing away or dropping astern] actually does give room.
Created: 19-Jul-02 15:09
Tom Sollas
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
 Regarding rule 15, how long is "initially"? 

I had a protest a few years ago between two E-Scows, where a port tacker tacked clear ahead of a starboard tacker. Facts found included that P completes her tack clear ahead of S. Because S is faster (since P slows down through the tack), S is overtaking and must avoid colliding with P's stern, which she does by heading above P.

We concluded that P broke 15, as S needed to avoid P's stern. This was a while ago so I don't remember the exact facts, like how far ahead of S that P completed the tack, but we felt that it was "too close". S appealed, and the local YRA appeal committee overturned the ruling. The appeal committee's decision argued that since P completed her tack, and S did not immediately need to take avoiding action, that P did not break 15.

In any case, Case 24 and Match Racing Call B3 are good references for this scenario.
Created: 19-Jul-02 15:21
Jim Archer
Nationality: United States of America
0
Thanks everyone, I clearly misunderstood the term "initially." I read it as a qualifier that limited the duration, something like "Initially the day was hot but it cooled down." Actually I just read Case 24, which says "B's obligation under rule 15 is not a continuing one; it protects A only temporarily, and only if she responds promptly after the overlap begins (see the definition Room)." That would seem to support my thought on the word "initially." Although what you all say makes sense to me that L could have broken both 15 and 16.1, as Murray said, with 15 broken instantly. 
Created: 19-Jul-02 16:19
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John Allen said:
'Initially' in rule 15 is a sequential, not a temporal condition
That's a handy way of describing it.  I'm going to keep that one in my quiver.   Thanks. Ang
Created: 19-Jul-03 12:47
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
The description does not indicate that L ever did change course, so 16 never comes into play.
And before the start signal, 17 does not have effect.
11, 14, and 15 apply. And none of these were violated.
Some folk just like to shake things up and start shouting when they have a poor start approach.
Created: 19-Jul-03 17:03
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
This later discussion about the meaning of "initially" has been fun. The trouble is that it is not true.
The dictionary definitions of initially refer to at or of the beginning. Not from the beginning.
If the rule only intended to indicate when the restriction begins, it would have left the adverb off entirely without changing that meaning.
Our understanding of the short duration of the limit survives.
Created: 19-Jul-04 18:24
Jim Archer
Nationality: United States of America
1
I'm still not clear on "initially" and it seems we have different opinions on that in this thread. 

Rule 15 says he has to "initially" give me room to keep clear. If he acquires right of way and immediately alters course at me, whether I have anywhere to go or not, he breaks rule 15. It seems with rule 15, I get a short time of room to keep clear, but not much time. 

Rule 16.1 does not say "initially" which makes sense, since that rule contemplates a situation where he has had the ROW for a bit before altering course. If he has ROW and alters course but I have nowhere to go, then he breaks 16.1. Is that correct?

I do appreciate all of you taking time to help me understand, thank you. 

Created: 19-Jul-04 22:18
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Jim, how about this scenario to isolate RRS 15 and compare that to the one in Appeal US108 to see the difference ..

Below, Blue becomes ROW while holding her course and does not initially give Yellow room to keep clear.

image.png 42 KB

On the other hand .. US 108 has nearly the same scenario where the leeward boat changes course ..
https://www.racingrulesofsailing.org/cases/1006?page=26

image.png 52.9 KB
Created: 19-Jul-07 14:47
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