Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Port Starboard with Wind Shift

Matthew Blake
Nationality: United States of America
Etchells sailboats. Wind 6-10 kts, shifty.  Flat water.  Blue initially on layline (or very near to).

Small wind shift during crossing situation after passing position 3.  Yellow adjusted course to wind shift.  Blue held high of normal close-hauled (point mode) following wind shift to avoid Yellow.  At position 4, Yellow required a small course alteration to avoid contacting Blue's transom.  Blue claims it was crossing Yellow at positions 1, 2 and 3.  When Yellow altered course in reaction to the wind shift, that prevented Blue from keeping clear.

Question:  Is there a "rule of thumb" for what distance (or time) Yellow is no longer not permitted to alter course (as indicated on diagram)?
Race1.png 123 KB
Created: 20-Apr-19 20:45

Comments

John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
3
There is not just a "rule of thumb", but a racing rule. Rule 16.1 governs here; yellow is a right of way boat, and may alter her course until her doing so would prevent blue from keeping clear. The wind shift is irrelevant to the obligations of the boats.
Created: 20-Apr-19 23:38
Matthew Blake
Nationality: United States of America
0
I did not ask my question very clearly.  Clearly, if Yellow is 10 boat lengths away from Blue when Yellow changes course, Blue has time to assess and react to steer clear of Yellow.  But as the distance (or time) between the boats gets smaller, is there a "point of no return" where Blue is no longer expected to be able to assess and react to Yellow's course change?  How far apart are the boats at this point, or how much time might pass between the end of Yellow's course change and "contact"?
Created: 20-Apr-20 01:22
Ben Fels
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
  • National Race Officer
1
Hi Matthew, 

Unfortunately this is one of those scenarios where it isn't measured in meters of distance as a rule of thumb, rather it is simply "room" to keep clear under 16.1 
16.1

Definition:
Room

"The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way"


75
Case 75 - although a different scenario - describes the test that is used init's preamble "A starboard-tack boat that changes course does not break rule 16.1 if she gives a port-tack boat adequate space to keep clear and the port-tack boat fails to take advantage of it promptly."

So in this scenario, once port can't luff or tack to continue keep clear of starboard in response to a luff from starboard, starboard can't luff to a converging course.

I've tried to use links - not sure if they will work :)

Created: 20-Apr-20 03:15
Wayne Balsiger
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
1
Matthew,
I agree with what others have said so far.  The pertinent rule is 16.2 that says if Starboard alters course, Port must still have an escape route and must not immediate need to change course to continue keeping clear.  In your scenario, Yellow alters early and blue had time to tack to keep clear.  With a wind shift, Port got a header as well as Starboard a lift.  

16.2 In addition, when after the starting signal a port-tack boat is keeping clear by sailing to pass astern of a starboard-tack boat, the star-board-tack boat shall not change course if as a result the port-tack boat would immediately need to change course to continue keeping clear.

So Port has to show she was keeping clear until Starboard altered course, and her only escape was to continue on Port. It is not a simple answer.
Created: 20-Apr-20 04:49
Craig Evans
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Race Officer
2
I would suggest that RRS 16.2 is not relevant as in this scenario Blue on Port was crossing ahead of Yellow on Starboard. 
Created: 20-Apr-20 08:08
Bruce Hebbert
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
1
16.2 does not apply as the conditions have not been met. this is purely 16.1, and the judgement must be, at the moment Yellow changed course did Blue do everything in a seamanlike manner to continue to keep clear... if she did not Blue  breaks 10, if she  did and Yellow has to change course to avoid her then no rule broken.( See Team Race Call D3) as drawn there is no suggestion that Blue did anything let alone everything to keep clear...  To the original question, is there a rule of thumb about distances. no. But as these are Etrchells rather than FJ's then a change of course at our inside 2 lengths might be hard to respond to.


Created: 20-Apr-20 13:13
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
  • International Race Officer
0
RYA Case is worth reading and as Ben Fels already pointed out Case 75 .

  • When the keep-clear boat does not respond enough to the right-of-way boat’s change of course when she could have done so, the keep clear boat breaks rule 10 by not complying with the definition of the first part of keep clear.
  • When the right-of-way boat changes course in such a way that, although there is no immediate contact, it is not possible for the keep-clear boat to continue to keep clear, the right-of-way breaks rule 16.1 and the keep-clear boat shall be exonerated under rule 21 for breaking rule 10.

Rather than a rule of thumb try applying the following tests.
  1. Before starboard (Yellow) changed course, was port (Blue) keeping clear, as required by rule 10?
    • Was starboard (Yellow) the right-of-way boat able to sail her course with no need to take avoiding action?
  2. When starboard (Yellow) changed course, she was required by rule 16.1 to give port (Blue) room to keep clear.
    • If port (Blue) maneuvered promptly in a seamanlike way would she have been able to keep clear?
  3. If starboard (Yellow) had held her course after the wind shift, was port (Blue) continuing to keep clear after being headed, as required by rule 10?
    • If starboard (Yellow) was lifted, port (Blue) was likely headed, was starboard (Yellow) the right-of-way boat still able to sail her course with no need to take avoiding action?

Created: 20-Apr-20 17:15
Matthew Blake
Nationality: United States of America
0
Rather than a rule of thumb try applying the following tests.
  1. Before starboard (Yellow) changed course, was port (Blue) keeping clear, as required by rule 10?
    • Was starboard (Yellow) the right-of-way boat able to sail her course with no need to take avoiding action?   YES, before course changes
  2. When starboard (Yellow) changed course, she was required by rule 16.1 to give port (Blue) room to keep clear.
    • If port (Blue) maneuvered promptly in a seamanlike way would she have been able to keep clear?   This sounds like the answer to the question posed above... time and distance required to complete a "seaman-like" tack.  Maybe, plus some additional time to permit a crew on Blue to assess situation at the completion of Yellow's course change?  Maybe plus some time to notice Yellow's course change among the other objects of interest on the course in a 20 boat fleet?  In this case it is unknown if there was sufficient room or not for Blue to tack since Blue elected to continue on port tack; it would have been close.  Then you likely have the same issue, but in a tacking too close situation, no?
  3. If starboard (Yellow) had held her course after the wind shift, was port (Blue) continuing to keep clear after being headed, as required by rule 10?
    • If starboard (Yellow) was lifted, port (Blue) was likely headed, was starboard (Yellow) the right-of-way boat still able to sail her course with no need to take avoiding action?   Blue (even after header) would have cleared Yellow if Yellow held its original course.  But, this could have been a contentious issue in protest meeting, with no agreement between the boats.
Created: 20-Apr-20 20:47
Paolo Benigni
Nationality: Italy
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • National Judge
1
Hi all,
blu is able to cross ahead yellow. When yellow changes course blu has no room to keep clear and so yellow bears away to avoid contact. No contact? green flag. Contact? penalize yellow under rrs 16.1
Yours faithfully
Created: 20-Apr-22 09:28
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
  • International Race Officer
0
Mathew, There are a few Cases and Appeals worth reading.
World Sailing Case 50 
World Sailing Case 75
RYA Case 1975-05
RYA Case 1991-01
RYA Case 2001-05
USA Appeal

This sounds like the answer to the question posed above... time and distance required to complete a "seaman-like" tack.  Maybe, plus some additional time to permit a crew on Blue to assess situation at the completion of Yellow's course change?  Maybe plus some time to notice Yellow's course change among the other objects of interest on the course in a 20 boat fleet?  In this case it is unknown if there was sufficient room or not for Blue to tack since Blue elected to continue on port tack; it would have been close.  Then you likely have the same issue, but in a tacking too close situation, no?

Port (Blue) has to maneuver "promptly in a seamanlike way". Promptly means they acted with little or no delay. Not sure hearing port testifying we took "some additional time to permit our crew to assess situation at the completion of Yellow's course change" is acting with little or no delay.

The port tack boat (Blue) has to keep clear and the starboard has to give her room to keep clear. We have facts that indicate port (Blue) failed to keep clear and broke rule 10; "Yellow required a small course alteration to avoid contacting Blue's transom." 

Did the starboard tack boat (Yellow) give the port tack boat (Blue) room to keep clear. We have a fact that the starboard tack boat (Yellow) altered course. What we don't know is did that course change make it impossible for the keep clear boat (Blue) to continue to keep clear. Blue doesn't have to like her option, but if she tacked promptly when Yellow altered course could she have kept clear. If your conclusion is "When Yellow changes course, Blue has no room to keep clear." You need some facts that support that conclusion. 

You have to determine, which one the following applies.
  • When the keep-clear boat does not respond enough to the right-of-way boat’s change of course when she could have done so, the keep clear boat breaks rule 10 by not complying with the definition of the first part of keep clear.
  • When the right-of-way boat changes course in such a way that, although there is no immediate contact, it is not possible for the keep-clear boat to continue to keep clear, the right-of-way breaks rule 16.1 and the keep-clear boat shall be exonerated under rule 21 for breaking rule 10.

Created: 20-Apr-22 15:38
Paolo Benigni
Nationality: Italy
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • National Judge
0
Hello Mark,
I made a big mistake in my answer.I considered only the final moment of the incident. Using the correct umpiring procedure as umpire blu my words as follow: I'm on port, keep clear boat. I'm keeping. At position 3 I have to do something, I'm doing nothing and so the answer will be penalty blu as rrs 10. Thank you very much
It is always time to learn
ps sorry for my little English
Created: 20-Apr-23 09:39
Bruce Hebbert
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
0
Esatto. Penalty Blue.  if this was team or a match racing.

In the room Blue would have to do a lot of talking to convince the jury that her only way to keep clear was to carry on without any change of course at all.




Created: 20-Apr-23 10:10
Al Sargent
Nationality: United States of America
0
I wanted to wait for others to weigh in before commenting. To what degree should the number of degrees that Blue would need to bear away to duck, the amount of distance Blue has to complete her turn, the amount of wind, and Blue's rudder size, all be factors that come into consideration?

For instance, at position 1, Blue would only need to bear away 20 or 30 degrees to duck Yellow, and do so within two bothlengths. Easy. 

But at position 3, Blue would need to bear away about 90 degrees within half a boatlength. That might be doable in an Opti (with proportionally big rudder) in light air. But in a keelboat, in strong winds, that might be defying the laws of physics to think that a mainsail could be instantly eased enough to turn down 90 degrees.


Created: 20-May-11 21:26
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