[Question posted on Facebook]
I [Alan Dowler] have an obscure race rule question that nobody seems to be able to definitively
The boat in question is a Holland 11 meter one design. It is a fixed keel sports boat . It's class dictates no stanchions or gunwale attached safety rails.
I regularly position one of my crew of 6, at the windward shroud base to clear the crowded cockpit , view and tune the self tacking jib, and keep a watch for other competitors. The remaining crew sit legs over gunwale between me at tiller helm aft , and the forward most crew member at the windward shroud / chain plate position As this vessel has a self tacking jib, the forward crew member steps through the gap between mast and jib leech at each upwind tack .
Question ; A competitor has threatened to protest the positioning of my foremost crew member, who stands on the deck at the shroud base , holding on to the shrouds for balance, pre and post tacks , and on occasions for sustained periods if there is heavy traffic requiring frequent visuals and calls to skipper. ( note, sails sweep low to deck on this vessel and once heeled, it is a difficult boat to view to leeward, from under the boom)
The crew positioned at the shrouds, whether standing or sitting , is NOT using the shrouds as leverage or as a device to hang out from the gunwale further than would otherwise be the case --- if standing , they are at all times vertical --- they are not using the shrouds to pull the vessel down flat --- their positioning is simply a practical , logistical solution , through necessity to be vigilant in traffic , diligent with jib tuning, and uncluttered for the rest of the crew aboard who traverse from side to side through the cockpit .
Is this situation breaking any general keelboat rules ?? ( mixed fleet, not racing in class ) We have scoured every rule publication we can find, but nothing references this.To repeat, this vessel's class rules do not allow for stanchions or safety rails/cables The bulk of these vessels in Australia are sailed at RPAYC Sydney, and on Lake MacQuarie
Thank you for your help