Forum: Protest Hearing Procedures

Did a boat break Rule 14?

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John Porter
Nationality: United States of America
One of the struggles I see often during a protest is deciding whether a boat broke Rule 14.

It is easy to miss whether the boat that broke a rule of part 2 also broke Rule 14. It is also easy to have your mind put undue burden on the right-of-way boat.

After thinking about how to make this decision making easier, I drew this flow chart. I think it answers the question of whether a boat broke rule 14. Of course, there is always nuance when deciding damage and deciding what is reasonable, so I added notes with relevant cases and appeals that can help in that decision making.

Please feel free to give feedback.
Rule 14 Flow Chart Rev 2.pdf 151 KB
Created: 19-Oct-22 01:01

Comments

David Clinnin
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
While your decision box beginning "At the moment. . ." does not correctly phrase the rule, this is a nice flow chart and should be helpful to panels deciding this thorny issue.  I suggest changing to "At the moment it was clear the other boat was not keeping clear/giving room . . ."  The rest is perfect. Nice Job.
Created: 19-Oct-22 03:03
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
There are still problems with the decision diamond beginning "At the moment. . .".  It incorrectly states the test.

The test required by rule 14a does not require or consider whether the boat took action to avoid or not, the test is whether, at that time it was reasonably possible to avoid contact.

Case 87 provides an example of where, by the time it is clear that the give way boat is not keeping clear, it is no longer reasonably possible to avoid contact and rule 14 is not broken.

While taking rules apart using flow charts is a useful way to improve understanding and recollection of the operation of the rule, I don't think that the option switches in rule 14 are that difficult to apply.  It's the 'reasonably possible' and 'clear that other boat is not keeping clear/giving room' that are difficult.

I find the following 'rules of thumb' useful:
  1. Was there another boat or object constraining the manoeuvre of the boat so as to prevent it avoiding contact?  If so, not reasonably possible to avoid contact.
  2. Did the boat fail to keep clear without exoneration?  If so, she probably broke rule 14.
  3. Did the other boat break rule 15 or 16 or 20.2c second limb?  If so, this boat was not given room to keep clear, which also means that she was not given room to avoid contact and did not break rule 14.
  4. Did the other boat break rule 18 or 19?  If so was it reasonably possible to have avoide contact by hitting the mark or sailing into an obstruction area without endangering the boat (mark an inflatable unlikely to damage the boat, Obstruction and area designated in the SI, and not a physical object)?  If so, this boat probably broke rule 14.
  5. Was it a port/starboard cross with right of way boat 'crossing the T'?  if so, right of way boat did not break rule 14 under rule 14a (Case 87).
  6. Was the give way boat 'crossing the T'?  If so right of way boat probably did break rule 14 under rule 14a (Case 123).
Created: 19-Oct-22 13:06
P
John Porter
Nationality: United States of America
0
Rule 14 Flow Chart Rev 3.pdf 157 KB
Here is revision 3. I think it includes David and John's great additions. 

John, I drew the test of whether the boat took reasonable action from 
123

While the rule doesn't require action if it wasn't reasonably possible to avoid, the combination here shows that an inadequate action in Case 123 doesn't cut it, but a dramatic action in CAN Appeal 13 does. 
Created: 19-Oct-22 13:29
P
John Porter
Nationality: United States of America
0
If you want to download the real PDF of this document, it is here
Created: 19-Oct-22 16:13
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John P,

'Reasonable attempt' is no longer a relevant test:  those words appeared in the pre-1995 rule 32.1 which has been replaced by the language and concepts contained in rule 14.

Looking at the appeal number (CAN 13) and the language, I would suggest that the CAN Appeal was based on the old rules, and has now been effectively superseded by Case 123.

Just applying the headnote to Case 123 alone, to the diagram in Appeal CAN 13, shows that the CAN 13 interpretation is not correct.

Umpires often use the test 'doing all she could', usually in rule 15/16 situations but applicable here:  looking at the CAN 13 diagram, was S doing all she could to avoid contact?

Answer:  no:  she could have eased main further , applied more helm and borne away more to pass astern of P.   Such actions are seamanlike, even if 'radical' or 'dramatic'.

The fact that a right of way boat, from the instant it became clear that the give way boat was not keeping clear, was doing all she could to avoid contact, and despite this contact occurred, is sufficient evidence that it was not reasonably possible for her to avoid contact, but the test remains 'reasonable possibility'.

And by the way, rule 14 is about 'contact' not 'collisions'.
Created: 19-Oct-22 21:39
P
John Porter
Nationality: United States of America
0
I don't believe Case 123 is the same as CAN Appeal 13. 

In CAN Appeal 13, at the instant it was clear that P wasn't keeping clear, it was reasonably possible that S could have kept clear. When P turned to tack, her transom swung into S. That is fundamentally different than Case 123 where the port boat never changed course. 

We agree that the right-of-way boat isn't required to avoid the collision until it is clear the other boat isn't keeping clear, or giving mark room. If after they take that action, the boat that should have kept clear or given mark room turns in a manner that makes it harder (and probably impossible if you were sailing a course that assumed they would keep going), that by nature makes it not reasonably possible for right-of-way to avoid the collision.

The right-of-way boat isn't required to leave extra space to anticipate the other boat making further actions. That is counter-intuitive to the right-of-way boat not being required to avoid until the instant they aren't keeping clear. If they were required to anticipate it, the burden would actually be before it becomes clear that they won't keep clear. This makes CAN Appeal 13 different than Case 123 and provides an important missing piece of the puzzle. I do wish Case 123 addressed whether additional actions by the boat burdened to keep clear or give mark room affect the ruling. 

How would you phrase that diamond to fit into the flow chart? If you ask "at the moment it became clear that the other boat wasn't keeping clear, was it possible for ROW to avoid contact?" you don't capture the possibility that it was possible at that moment, but became impossible later. A protest committee could easily say that a collision is evidence that they didn't act enough - case 123. Clearly case 87 states that you can have a collision without ROW breaking 14. I'm trying to ensure that you don't mentally fall into the trap that a collision means the ROW boat broke 14. 

Yes, it is of course contact, not collision. Thank you for catching that. 

Created: 19-Oct-22 23:23
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John P .. " The right-of-way boat isn't required to leave extra space to anticipate the other boat making further actions. "

In the US, we have US-108 which indicates otherwise. - Ang
Created: 19-Oct-23 16:36
P
John Porter
Nationality: United States of America
1
Ang, 

US-108 is about leaving room to keep clear, not avoiding contact. Rule 14 doesn't state that the right-of-way boat needs to leave room to keep clear after it is clear the other boat isn't keeping clear, the burden is to avoid contact if reasonably possible. I contend that avoiding contact doesn't require room for both boats to turn in either direction without immediately making contact. If the rule writers had intended that, they would have used the definition of keep clear in describing the right-of-way boat's burden. 

JP
Created: 19-Oct-23 16:48
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John Porter said
Created: Yesterday 23:23

I don't believe Case 123 is the same as CAN Appeal 13. 

In CAN Appeal 13, at the instant it was clear that P wasn't keeping clear, it was reasonably possible that S could have kept clear. When P turned to tack, her transom swung into S. That is fundamentally different than Case 123 where the port boat never changed course. 

I agree there is a somewhat different fact scenario.

I don't agree that the principle in Case 123 applies any differently, in particular Question and Answer 2

We agree that the right-of-way boat isn't required to avoid the collision until it is clear the other boat isn't keeping clear, or giving mark room.

Agreed

If after they take that action, the boat that should have kept clear or given mark room turns in a manner that makes it harder (and probably impossible if you were sailing a course that assumed they would keep going), that by nature makes it not reasonably possible for right-of-way to avoid the collision.

If the give way boat changes course in a way that makes it impossible for the right of way boat to avoid contact (no matter how hard she tries), then, clearly, the right of way boat does not break rule 14.

If the give way boat changes course in a way that merely makes it 'harder' for the right of way boat to avoid contact, if it is reasonably possible for the right of way boat to take further action and avoid contact and she fails to do so, she breaks rule 14.

The right-of-way boat isn't required to leave extra space to anticipate the other boat making further actions.

But she misjudges the space at her peril.  See Case 123 Question and Answer 2.

That is counter-intuitive to the right-of-way boat not being required to avoid until the instant they aren't keeping clear. If they were required to anticipate it, the burden would actually be before it becomes clear that they won't keep clear. This makes CAN Appeal 13 different than Case 123 and provides an important missing piece of the puzzle. I do wish Case 123 addressed whether additional actions by the boat burdened to keep clear or give mark room affect the ruling. 

The pre-1995 rules (rule 32 and 33) upon which the CAN Appeal was based focused on 'a reasonable attempt' and singular actions.

Rule 14 imposes an ongoing obligation to avoid contact.  If one singular act (changing course) is insufficient, then the boat must continue to "do everything that can reasonably be expected of her in the prevailing conditions to avoid contact" (Case 107).

How would you phrase that diamond to fit into the flow chart? If you ask "at the moment it became clear that the other boat wasn't keeping clear, was it possible for ROW to avoid contact?" you don't capture the possibility that it was possible at that moment, but became impossible later.

I wouldn't try to improve on the words in rule 14.  Bear in mind that this is not a dumb switch:  it inevitably requires evaluative judgement by the protest committee, using the words in rule 14, informed by the relevant cases, which you have annotated beside the diamond.

A protest committee could easily say that a collision is evidence that they didn't act enough - case 123.

Yes they could, and if it was reasonably possible for the right of way boat to further respond to the give way boat's change, and still avoid contact, they would be absolutely right.

Clearly case 87 states that you can have a collision without ROW breaking 14.

The key thing from Case 87 that is important for Case 123 is the observation that, in a port/starboard cross (for most types of boats) [a boat aiming bow to midships or aft section of another] could readily have borne off and avoided [the other boat] from a position very close to [it].

In Case 87 the boat that could readily have borne off was the port tack give way boat and so it was not clear until very late that she was not keeping clear.

In Case 123, it is the starboard tack right of way boat that could have readily borne off and avoided contact from a position very close to the port tacker.

 I'm trying to ensure that you don't mentally fall into the trap that a collision means the ROW boat broke 14. 

I don't see why anybody would fall into that trap:  just apply rule 14a.



Created: 19-Oct-23 23:13
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