Two 16-foot OD boats under jib+main are broad-reaching on port-tack, converging toward a mark to be rounded to port, which is still 15+ boat lengths away. Winds are 5-6 kts and the boats are moving leisurely in smooth water at 3+ kts.
Windward (W) believes that rule 17 applies and thus is holding her course directly toward the mark ahead. Leeward (L) does not believe 17 applies and converges on W to force W away from the layline in an attempt to break W's inside position before the zone.
The boats converge and gently make contact still far from the zone. Both believing they are in the right, W holds her course and L hold hers and so the boats stay in contact for 20 seconds .. with quite a bit of "philosophical discussion" between the boats about who has to give way in this situation.
After 20 sec's, L finally gives-up, falls away from W and hails "Protest" just as the boats separate. L files a written protest containing the required info within the Protest Time Limit . There is no damage or injury.
Putting aside questions surrounding who broke which Part 2 rule(s) and who might ultimately be penalized , here are a few questions for thought ....
- Is this one incident?
- Can waiting over 20 sec's after the incident(s) began to hail "protest", meet the criteria of "first reasonable opportunity"?
- Is there an implied "after the incident" in 61.1 (a) relative to both the flag (not required <20' BL) and the hail ?
- Is the protest valid?