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Fireball Finish Scenario
Nationality: United States of America
National Race Officer
This site has been quiet lately, so I'll throw this one out from several years ago.
In an eight-boat class, in the last race of the day, the first two Fireballs (17 feet long), leave the leeward mark to port, then reach across the bow of the finish boat to cross the finish line which was between the starboard shroud of a J-105 and a mark set off the starboard bow. The finish boat had a long anchor rode with no kellet. The finish line was approximately 10 boat lengths from the leeward mark.
Blue rounded the leeward mark clear ahead of Yellow. Both were flying spinnakers on the reach to the finish, planing at about 10 knots. Yellow established an overlap to leeward and inside when Blue was approximately two boat lengths from the anchor rode. Blue barely cleared the anchor rode, and finished overlapped, one-half length ahead of Yellow, but Yellow hooked the anchor rode with its rudder, with its bow just across the finish line. In the absence of the anchor rode, there would have been enough room for Yellow to pass between Blue and the finish boat.
Both skipper and crew were thrown into the water by the abrupt stop, but were not injured. Yellow was hung alongside, and touching, the finish boat, with the crew in the water hanging on the side of the Fireball, for over one minute, and had to cast off its rudder to get free. There was minor damage to both Yellow and the finish boat.
Yellow requested and received help from the finish boat and a mark boat to retrieve his rudder, then took a One-Turn Penalty, came back and re-finished in last place. At this point Yellow announced to the RC that he was protesting Blue. Yellow did not hail “protest” to Blue, but informed him on shore after the race. The protest was filed within the time limit. The skipper of Blue stated that he never saw Yellow get an overlap, as he was looking forward, but he did later see Yellow hung on the side of the finish boat as Blue was departing the racing area.
The RC filed a protest against Yellow for breaking RRS 41, outside help. (Note: This was in 2012, before “in danger” was added to RRS 41(a)). Blue’s protest against Yellow and the RC’s protest against Blue were heard together.
What should the RC record for Yellow’s finish?
Is the protest by Yellow valid?
Is the anchor rode an obstruction?
Was the long, unweighted, anchor rode an improper action or omission of the RC, and redressable?
What rules apply between Blue and Yellow, and why?
Did Yellow break RRS 41 under the 2009-2012 rules? Under today’s rules?
What are your conclusions?
What is your decision?
Created: 20-May-08 17:45
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