Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Question Finish line

Scott Thurston
Nationality: United States of America
Finishing downwind. Leave pin to port, committee boat to starboard. Wind dies. Current takes us past the committee boat past the line.
Wind picks up. We can sail anywhere. What must we do to finish legally?  ( can we cross the line the wrong way and then back again without going around either end?).

Thanks Tim.
I know the rules, but I thought perhaps only looping the committee boat would satisfy.
Created: 19-Jul-08 16:32


Boris Kuzminov
Nationality: Russian Federation
See RRS 28

28.1 A boat shall start, sail the course described in the sailing instructions and finish. While doing so, she may leave on either side a mark that does not begin, bound or end the leg she is sailing. After finishing she need not cross the finishing line completely.

28.2 A string representing a boat’s track from the time she begins to approach the starting line from its pre-start side to start until she finishes shall, when drawn taut, (a) pass each mark on the required side and in the correct order, (b) touch each rounding mark, and (c) pass between the marks of a gate from the direction of the previous mark.

She may correct any errors to comply with this rule, provided she has not finished.

See also Case 106 
Created: 19-Jul-08 16:53
Peter van Muyden
Nationality: Canada
  • International Race Officer
The definition of finish provides you with the answer.

A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side. However, she has not finished if after crossing the finishing line she 
(a) takes a penalty under rule 44.2, 
(b) corrects an error under rule 28.2 made at the line, or 
(c) continues to sail the course. 
Created: 19-Jul-08 17:20
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
  • Club Judge
You must loop around an end to satisfy the string rule. It's OK if your string also touches the wrong side of one or both finish marks, but it must, when drawn taut, touch the correct side. A "reverse dip" fails that test. 
Created: 19-Jul-08 17:47
Charles Darley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Regional Umpire
This is a dancing on the head of a pin question/answer. The boat does finish correctly but has not sailed the course. The race cttee must give her a finishing position but can protest her for not sailing the course. 
Created: 19-Jul-08 17:57
Clark Chapin
Nationality: United States of America
  • National Judge
  • Club Race Officer
Mr. Hohman has answered correctly. Ten points to Gryffindor! See Case 106
Created: 19-Jul-08 20:22
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
  • Club Judge
Actually I missed the part that Charles pointed out, that the boat could meet the definition of finish without having sailed the course correctly and absent a protest would have to be scored in her finishing place. 

Case 128
Created: 19-Jul-08 20:36
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
I'd only add that care and attention is required by both the RC and the competitors in this situation.  When wind dies and currents prevail, depending upon how long the line is compared to the how much anchor line is let out, strange line orientations to the last mark can be created and competitors .. far from the last mark .. can loose orientation as they drift and spin.

If the line started skewed and then the RC swings in such a way to exasperate that skew, Case 82 might start to come into play .. Case 82  - Ang
Created: 19-Jul-09 18:44
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