Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Fireball Finish Scenario

Eric Robbins
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • National Race Officer
This site has been quiet lately, so I'll throw this one out from several years ago.

Fireball Finish.jpeg 34.7 KB
 
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

Comments

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Eric .. FWIW .. I've lobbied that there should be a rule for invisible obstructions .. which your question touches on (also shoals, sunken objects, etc ..).  IMO, RRS's idea of obstruction hinges on the ability to of both boats, referenced in rule that uses the term, to know the objects location, nature, size and bounds. - Ang
Created: 20-May-08 17:52
Tom Sollas
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
The anchor rode is part of the RC and therefore even in that rule book, it’s part of a finishing mark and there subject to 18 (and therefore not an obstruction). So as far as the 18 interpretation goes, does the zone start at the beginning of the navigable water around the RC? If so, then 18.2e (in the current rule book) would apply. I’d probably conclude (in the absence of any good witnesses) that Yellow didn’t establish in time.

Edit: you can hit a mark’s anchor line without breaking 31, but I believe you’re still entitled to room to clear the anchor line.
Created: 20-May-08 19:13
Ken Hardy
Nationality: United States of America
1
I'll have a go:
  1. The RC should record Yellow as having finished last.
  2. Yes, Yellow's protest is valid.  She is exempt from RRS 61.1 because a members of the crew were in danger as a result of the incident.
  3. The anchor rode is an obstruction.  See the definition of Mark, the anchor line is not part of the Mark so RR 18 is not applicable.
  4. I do not believe lack of a "kellet" is an improper action or omission by the RC. (Learned a new word today!)
  5. Rule 19 applies between Y & B because they were at an obstruction (the anchor rode.)  Also, rule 11 because they were overlapped.
  6. Yellow did not break rule 41 under today's rules; she was receiving help to get clear from a collision.  I don't have a copy of the old rules.
  7. Yellow is finished in last place and no penalty for Blue.  

B was obligated to give Y room to pass the obstruction (the rode).  However, form the information provided it is not clear to me that B had any reason to suspect she was not providing sufficient room, or even that there was an obstruction.  I'm assuming yellow didn't realize the rode was a problem and therefor didn't try to head up to avoid it; and she would have been entitled to do so because heading up to clear the rode was her proper course.   As an analogy, imagine two boats overlapped and reaching down the bay.  Leeward established the overlap from behind sometime before,and is sailing her proper course.  The boats are close, but Windward is keeping clear, barely.     Neither boat realizes they are approaching a shoal and Leeward runs aground.  I don't think Leeward could claim Windward failed to give her room to clear the shoal which was an obstruction because neither boat new it was there and Leeward made no effort to avoid it. 

Created: 20-May-08 19:47
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Wow this is a messy one.

What should the RC record for Yellow’s finish?
Second time after taking the penalty turn:  see Definitions:  Finish (a).
 
Is the protest by Yellow valid?
Yes

I don't  think the exception in rule 61.a(4) applies.  Damage was not serious and a crew member of a dinghy in the water is not, without more 'in danger':  This was specifically discussed in Submission 144-14 which added  the 'in danger' provision, and which said:

Here’s another example in which the rule ought to apply. There is an incident involving A and B in which a crew member of B falls overboard and becomes separated from B. The water is very cold

However, I do think that the exception in rule 61.a(1) may apply.  

Failure by B to give Y room to pass the anchor rode had the inevitable consequences that Y hit the anchor rode, and Y's crew fell in the water suddenly. This is all one incident.  After the incident, the first reasonable opportunity for Y to hail 'protest' was after she had surfaced, spitting water, and drawn breath, meanwhile, B has been planing away at over 10 kts.  I'd be quite happy to conclude that by the time Y was able to hail, B was beyond hailing distance.

Y then informed B when ashore, and I'd be happy that this was the first reasonable opportunity as required by rule 61.1a(1).

Y was under 6m and no red flag was required (rule 61.1a(2)).
 
Is the anchor rode an obstruction?

Yes:  at the very least, approaching the anchor rode at right angles, the portion between where it left the RC Vessel to where it was more than say 1.5m below the surface would have been, say 10m, that would certainly require a Fireball, one hull length from it to change course substantially:  the definition of Obstruction is complied with.
 
Was the long, unweighted, anchor rode an improper action or omission of the RC, and redressable?
Yes, particularly when the anchor rode was across the course from the previous mark to the finishing line.

I'm pretty sure that I've seen unpublished appeals or Q&A specifically saying that a RC leaving  excessive scope around a mark so that a boat can become entangled is an improper action or omission. 

What rules apply between Blue and Yellow, and why?
Rule 11, B is required to keep clear of Y:  there's no indication that this rule was broken.

Rule 18.2b, Boats were in the zone around the RC Vessel finishing mark and overlapped:  there's no indication that B did not give Y room at the RC Vessel finishing mark.

Rule 19.2.  The anchor rode was an obstruction, it was not a mark (Definition:  mark), boats were at the obstruction, therefore rule 19.2 applies.  Even though neither B nor Y saw the obstruction, there was insufficient room for Y to pass between B and the obstruction, therefore B broke rule 19.2.
 
Did Yellow break RRS 41 under the 2009-2012 rules?  Under today’s rules?

Yes.

Y received help from RC vessels in retrieving her rudder.  There is no exception under either version of rule 41 for help in retrieving equipment.
 
What are your conclusions?
  1. B, overlapped outside Y at an obstruction did not give Y room to pass between B and the obstruction.  B broke rule 19.2.
  2. Y, before having cleared the finishing line and marks, touched a finishing mark after finishing.  Y broke rule 31.  Y then took an applicable penalty and may not be further penalised for this rule breach in accordance with rule 64.b.
  3. Y while racing received help from an outside source.  Y broke rule 41.
 
What is your decision?
B is disqualified.
Y is disqualified.

Redress
Leaving excessive scope of anchor line around the finishing mark, directly across the course from the previous mark, was an improper action by the race committee, however, Y's score in the race was DSQ, and it was not made worse by the improper action of the race committee.  Y is not entitled to redress under rule 62.1.
Created: 20-May-09 04:37
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
1
All Y's problems arose either because B did not leave room at an obstruction or because RC caused an unseen obstruction across part of the finishing line. Y should get redress to 2nd place which is where she was before the problems caused by B or RC.
The hitting the mark and outside assistance occurred after Y was wrongly disadvantaged by others and her redress should be gauged from the time she hit the anchor line. Hitting the mark and need for outside assistance were a direct and necessary consequence of the wrongful actions of B and/or RC.
Created: 20-May-09 05:44
Charles Darley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Umpire
0
I do not thing the arrangement of anchor line constitutes an improper action. Unwise perhaps. The competitors can see the inclination of the anchor line and judge its position below water, as the would with a shore. 

Blue did not give room at the obstruction. Whether or not either boat thought room was needed is not relevant to application of the rule. No exoneration for yellow because she was not forced to hit the anchor line and hence the committee boat. She could have passed the wrong side and protested. 
Created: 20-May-09 10:50
Eric Robbins
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • National Race Officer
0
Good to see this spirited discussion!
Commenting only on question 1:  The RC should record BOTH finishes for Yellow, but publish results showing him scoring 8.  That way if redress is granted, and the PC says to score him for his first finish, the RC will have that information available.
Created: 20-May-09 11:51
Tom Sollas
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
I think to argue the long anchor rode is an improper action you’d need more facts, such as wind speed, current, water depth, and sea state. It’s entirely possible the long rode was necessary to hold the RC on station. While I’d agree that placing the finish line such that the rode crosses the course is bad form, I’m not sure that it’s an improper action.

Side note, this on use of kellets: http://cruising.coastalboating.net/Seamanship/Anchoring/Kellets.html. The article seems to argue that the use of kellets is limited at best, suggesting that longer rode (and chain) will hold better.
Created: 20-May-09 12:42
P
Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
  • National Judge
0
You cannot argue that the anchor rode in any position is an omission or improper action by the race committee.  

An improper action is doing something that is not permitted by the rules of the event (racing rules, notice of race or sailing instructions and any others). An omission is not doing something that the rules specify will be done. If a race committee or protest committee or the technical committee does or does not do something over which it has discretion or is not mandatory, it is neither an improper action, nor an omission for which redress can be given.  (See WS Judges Manual WSJM - K29.9.)

There is no rule that limits where or how an anchor is to be set by the RC.  It is at their discretion.  Even if they choose to arrange the finish so that it is impossible to finish without hitting the anchor rode, the PC would need to indicate what rule was broken by such an arrangement in order to give redress.  The PC should not be second guessing the discretionary decisions of the RC.  It is up to the RC to decide if their decision was fair and if not, abandon the race.
Created: 20-May-09 14:49
Gram Slattery
Nationality: Brazil
1
A question about rule 19.2a in this situation. It seems that the right-of-way boat never actually chose a side upon which to pass the obstruction, given that she didn't know the obstruction was there. She just sailed into the anchor line, and presumably lingered there, given that she lost her rudder, and it doesn't seem like she should would have done anything different in the absence of the windward boat. 

So if the right-of-way boat did not chose a side upon which to pass the obstruction, it's not clear to me that the language of 19.2b applies. The same could be said of two adjacent overlapped boats approaching an unknown submerged obstruction with navigable water on both sides, if neither boat takes evasive action and one of them runs aground. If a boat is simply sailing into an obstruction - which would be the case if the obstruction is unknown to both boats - is either genuinely outside?

Created: 20-May-09 16:40
Eric Saenger
Nationality: Australia
0
I have another take:

I see Yellow as ultimately finishing in second place, as they finished prior to the messiness.
Had the exceptions to the definition of "finish" borne out, they would be last. 
However, under today's rules, yellow should be exonerated from the RC's Rule 41 protest. 
Blue will be exonerated of Yellow's protest, as no effort was made to obtain more room, and it was not clear they needed it.
I did not see that the RC protested Blue, but same result as above.  Exoneration.

To me, It comes down to whether or not it can be shown with evidence or admission that Yellow knew, or should have known that they would contact the obstruction after finishing.  Essentially that they intended to finish with a high likelihood of crashing after.  I would consider this dangerous and un-sportsmanlike.  A violation of Rule 2. (Just had to bring in a new one). with the proper result being DSQ.

There is no evidence presented that indicates this, or that any boat did anything improper under today's rules, unless taking the penalty turn and re-finishing, (just in case), constitutes a protestable offense.
The result was unfortunate, and maybe a lesson for all involved about creating and recognizing invisible obstructions.

I can't comment on the result with the old rules.

 Very interested in more thoughts on this.
Created: 20-May-09 16:46
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Based upon the drawing, it'd be hard for me say that Blue did not provide room for Yellow to avoid the obstruction.  I would contend that Yellow's contact with the line is not sufficient proof of lack of room.  Based upon the drawing, there is room for Yellow to head-up closer to Blue at position 3.

The OP offers "Blue barely cleared the anchor rode".  How can anyone know by what distance Blue cleared the anchor rode?  Underwater sonar/radar?

If there was testimony that Blue's rudder touched the rode but didn't get hung-up, that would be proof that Blue didn't leave sufficient room.
Created: 20-May-09 18:26
Tom Sollas
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
Well, for fun, you could use some fairly simple math to conclude whether room was given. If you find as fact the distance of the anchor line entering the water from the bow of the J105, and since we can find out the height of a J105 bow off the waterline, and we can similarly know the depth of a fireball rudder (and centerboard), it wouldn’t be hard to approximate pretty closely the closest point a Fireball could come to the rode without hitting it.
Created: 20-May-09 20:08
Tom Sollas
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
0
So, a) it’s cold out and b) we’re stuck home on stay at home orders anyway, so I went and did some math for fun.

If we assume:
  • Length of line from bow to water is say half a J105 boat length (I’m gonna make up this fact for the purposes of this discussion and use 17ft to make the math easier)  and
  • The height of the J105 bow off the water is 5‘ (this is a rough guess off the specs I could find)
  • The draft of a a fireball is 4ft with the board down, so we’ll go with 3’ as a guess on the rudder length.

Then we can calculate angle of the rode off the water using a handy right triangle calculator easily found on the internet. I got an angle of 16.39 with these numbers. Then, we plug the height (3’) and the angle from above, and you get a length of 10.1ft.

Thus, the closest a Fireball could get to the rode would be 10ft without touching it.

Note that 10ft is not even a full Fireball length, thus, given these facts, I’d have a hard time arguing that either boat didn’t know they’d foul the anchor line, given that 10 feet is really not that far.

If the rode was longer, say a full J105 length, then the closest the Fireball could get stretches out to 20’ish.

Edit: transposed a couple of numbers 


Created: 20-May-09 20:46
P
Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
  • National Judge
0
I'm not sure this is any different than an inside overlapped give-way boat sailing by an obstruction (let's say the end of a breakwater) and hitting a submerged rock.  The question is, did the outside boat give the inside boat room between her and the obstruction.  Room is enough space for the inside boat to keep clear of the obstruction.  So if the outside boat gave the inside enough room to alter her course away from the obstruction, had she so desired, then I would suggest the inside boat was given the room to which she was entitled, and the outside can't be responsible should the inside boat ultimately sail too close.  
Created: 20-May-09 21:10
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Eric Saenger
said Created: Today 16:46
I see Yellow as ultimately finishing in second place, as they finished prior to the messiness.
Had the exceptions to the definition of "finish" borne out, they would be last. 

Indeed, as Eric Robbins has pointed out, when Y's bow first crossed the finishing line she complied with the definition of Finish and thus 'finished'.  However according to the OP, she then "then took a One-Turn Penalty, came back and re-finished in last place.".  The One Turn Penalty puts Y squarely within the Definition of Finish exception (a), so, by taking the penalty turn she "unfinishes" and her correct finish is when she again crosses the finishing line.

However, under today's rules, yellow should be exonerated from the RC's Rule 41 protest. 
Blue will be exonerated of Yellow's protest, as no effort was made to obtain more room, and it was not clear they needed it.
I did not see that the RC protested Blue, but same result as above.  Exoneration.

There are just three rules that provide exoneration, rule 14(b),   rule 21, and rule 64.1(a).

Can you please explain how you think exoneration arises for these three incidents?

Or do you mean that boats should be found not to have broken the relevant rule and the protest dismissed? 
Created: 20-May-09 23:46
Eric Robbins
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • National Race Officer
0
Full disclosure:
This actually happened, as described.  I was the race officer.  After much discussion ashore, no protests were actually filed.  Yellow easily won the regatta using this final race as his throwout.  Yellow's centerboard was partially up, so the rudder was the deepest part of the boat.  After he cast off his rudder and tiller, the RC leaned over and picked it up, then had a mark boat come collect it, and return it to the disabled boat.

It was blowing probably 16-18, so a lot of pressure on the anchor rode, and the Fireballs were planing at warp speed.  Current was not a factor.

Ken - You had the best response so far.  How can we get you on Judge track?  We discussed this in person today.

John - It is my understanding that a crew overboard is "in danger".  Now, is a two-person boat with no rudder in 16-18k in danger?  I have argued both sides of redress in this situation, and I am still not sure.  Yellow THOUGHT he had enough room to finish between Blue and the finish boat, and it happened so quickly that there was no time to hail for room.  Back to Angelo's first post - do we need a rule for unseen obstructions?  Clearly the RC helping Yellow get clear of the finish boat did not break RRS 41.  Did retrieving the rudder and returning it break RRS 41?  Probably.  Finally, I would say that if (big IF) you find that the RC made an improper action that caused Yellow to break RRS 41, she would be entitled to redress, as he was prejudiced before the RRS 41 breach that led to the DSQ, as Paul H said in the next comment..

Tom - I agree with you.  The long rode was necessary, but I could have done a better job with setting the finish line and anchoring.

Paul Z - Good point.  The anchor rode did not prejudice any boat, as they all had to avoid it.

Gram - Yellow obviously chose the side in order to finish.  Blue was looking ahead and did not know Yellow established an overlap.  It happen so fast that there was no verbal communication.  In the absence of the windward boat Yellow could have easily given the rode more clearance.

Eric S - Yes, Yellow fulfilled the definition of finish, but still broke RRS 31 "touch ... a finishing mark after finishing".  I agree that under today's rules, Yellow would be exonerated, at least for help getting clear, but perhaps not under the 2012 RRS, which did not include the words "in danger" in RRS 41.  I disagree that Yellow had any expectation of crashing.  He established the overlap when Blue was about two lengths from the rode, but we are talking about 2-3 seconds at that speed.  He thought he had enough room, and gambled and lost.  Unfortunate, yes.

Angelo - I am not good at these drawings, but position 3 shows Yellow about 5-6 feet from Blue's boom.  My statement about Blue barely clearing is based on Yellow, right beside him, not clearing it.

Tom - Amazing math, beyond my capabilities, and certainly beyond two Fireballs careening into the finish line!

My conclusions, after much debate:
Blue should have been aware that Yellow had established an overlap before Blue reached the obstruction.  However, it is likely, at that speed, that Blue would have been unable to give room.  Yellow did not know he needed more room.  Yellow's protest is valid, but dismissed.
The anchor rode was an obstruction.  It was not improper, as no individual boat was prejudiced.
Yellow broke RRS 31, but took a penalty turn so is not penalized.
Yellow did not break RRS 41 by getting help getting clear of the RC vessel, but did break RRS 41 by requesting help, and receiving it in the return of his rudder.  Yellow DSQ.

I hope y'all are having fun with this!
Created: 20-May-10 01:33
Eric Saenger
Nationality: Australia
0
John Allan,

Thank you for the clarification on the exception to finishing.  Also; I misspoke.  I meant to say the protests were valid, but would be dismissed rather than that the parties would be exonerated.  
Created: 20-May-10 02:36
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Eric R .. yea .. this is a good one.

Your comments about Yellow's board being partially-up .. and your reply to Tom's math really highlight the point I tried to make when I lobbied for something in the rules for what we might call "invisible obstructions".

For instance ...
  • Should Blue be looking at the status of Yellow's board to determine how much room Yellow needed?  
  • What if we were talking about a PHRF fleet .. with a wing-keeled cruiser next to a J105 .. are boats supposed to keep an inventory of the drafts of their competitors in their heads?
  • If Yellow's centerboard was fully down and it was the board that got hung-up, could Blue contend it was Yellow's responsibility to lift the board?
  • Does an obstruction have to be an obstruction to both boats? 
    •  For instance, a 4' draft and a 7' draft boat approach a sandy knoll of 5-1/2" depth.   The knoll isn't an obstruction for the 4' draft boat and again how would she know the depth requirements of the deeper draft boat?  
    • What if that boat had a swing keel or retractable centerboard?

I think there should be a way in the rules to "call for room" at invisible obstructions, with the benefit of doubt on the need going to the one calling for it.  My approach would be similar to "room to tack".  The obligation on the called boat is to respond and can protest later if they felt it was unwarranted.

Just my 2 cents ...

Created: 20-May-10 12:11
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
  • International Race Officer
0
What definition, rule, case or appeal leads you to believe that the anchor line is an obstruction?

Mark
An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side, and a race committee boat surrounded by navigable water from which the starting or finishing line extends.  An anchor line or an object attached accidentally to a mark is not part of it.

Mark-Room
Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also,
1. room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
2. room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.  However,
mark-room for a boat does not include room to tack unless she is overlapped inside and to windward of the boat required to give mark-room and she would be fetching the mark after her tack.

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.

Obstruction
An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it.  An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an area so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions. However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her or, if rule 23 applies, avoid her.  A vessel underway, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.
Created: 20-May-10 15:28
Ken Hardy
Nationality: United States of America
1
Mark Townsend,

An anchor-line is not a Mark per the definition of Mark you just posted.  However, an anchor-line is "An object that a boat could not pass without changing course 
substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it."  Therefore an anchor-line is an obstruction.  




Created: 20-May-10 22:00
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Paul, I agree with you. If Y thought that there was not enough room to clear the anchor rode obstruction she was entitled to head up to give herself enough room and B was obligated to keep clear (which presumably she would have done in response to a luff by Y). Since Y made no attempt to luff I think you have to assume that Y thought she had enough room and her misfortune is the result of her own miscalculation. 

Protest dismissed and Y awarded last place.
Created: 20-May-11 05:42
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Is Yellow at an obstruction? (assume boats are overlapped and RRS 17 does not apply)

image.png 72.5 KB
Created: 20-May-11 20:42
Ken Hardy
Nationality: United States of America
0
No, but Blue is and she is entitled to room to avoid it.  
Created: 20-May-11 21:50
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
OK Ken .. let's follow that answer.

"Rule 19 applies between boats at an obstruction" ... "boats" is plural.  If you say that Yellow is not at an obstruction, then how can we have "... boats an an obstruction ..."? (emphasis added).
Created: 20-May-11 21:55
Ken Hardy
Nationality: United States of America
0
The shoal is an Obstruction because it is "an object that a boat (Blue) could not pass without changing course substantially..."  It is an Obstruction for Blue, and therefore it's an Obstruction-full stop.  It does not need to be an Obstruction for all boats concerned to make it an Obstruction.
Created: 20-May-11 22:05
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
The shoal is an Obstruction because it is "an object that a boat (Blue) could not pass without changing course substantially..."

Yep.  100% agree.

It is an Obstruction for Blue, 

Yep.  100% agree.

and therefore it's an Obstruction-full stop.

Not sure what full stop means.

It does not need to be an Obstruction for all boats concerned to make it an Obstruction.

Hmm .. your first answer to my question was that Yellow was not at an obstruction.  Now it seems you are saying that Yellow is at an obstruction. 

I'm not suggesting that the shoal is not an obstruction for Blue.  I think it is clear that it is.  Also, I think we would all agree that, in the absence of Blue, the shoal would not be an obstruction to Yellow. 

There is nothing I can find in the rules, cases or appeals which states that an obstruction for one boat is an obstruction for another overlapped boat.

So, what we have is a boat at an obstruction.  Rule 19 applies between boats at an obstruction.

Of course, I'm highlighting the core of the issue with submerged/invisible obstructions.  The rules are written assuming that an obstruction can be seen and that its character as on obstruction applies and exists equally to the boats referred to in rule 19.

There is no required communication in this case.  No defined terms of conveyance of the information that the shoal is an obstruction to Blue.  If Blue simply started heading into Yellow, Yellow would be yelling "Leeward Boat!!!".  She has no obligation to understand the depth requirements of Blue.

The idea of required communication is key here.  We only have "Room to Tack!" in the rules.  Even the obligations to providing room around obstructions are expected be done silently.
Created: 20-May-11 22:25
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
There is no required communication in this case.  No defined terms of conveyance of the information that the shoal is an obstruction to Blue.  If Blue simply started heading into Yellow, Yellow would be yelling "Leeward Boat!!!".  She has no obligation to understand the depth requirements of Blue.

I expect that in this situation when Yellow started yelling "leeward boat" (a non-required hail) Blue would hail "shoal water, need room" in response and Yellow should bear away to provide room. In the absence of a hail from Blue, Yellow is still obligated to avoid contact so she should bear away and protest - then Blue can explain her need for room to the PC.

With a submerged obstruction it's not possible for either competitors or a protest committee know with certainty how much room is required and how much room has been given (unless you hear a "clunk", then you know "not enough"). With shoal water it may be further complicated by tides - the 6 foot contour line may be an obstruction to both boats at 1100 but to neither at 1600.  I think you have to defer to the judgment of the boat that's at risk of hitting the obstruction - within reason. If a boat has a reasonable apprehension of hitting an obstruction (to her) that isn't visible then she should be entitled to call for room to avoid it.

I'm not sure how you'd write a rule to address "invisible" or submerged obstructions separately from regular obstructions. It would seem to make more sense to me that if boats (plural) are at an obstruction (singular, on the basis that it's an obstruction to either or both of the approaching boats) then rule 19 applies. I think you could parse the existing definition & rule that way without changing it.

Maybe it would make sense to add a required hail for room at an obstruction and a required response a la rule 20, but I'm not sure that's necessary.
Created: 20-May-11 23:09
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
20.3 solves the multiple boats at an obstruction interpretation, even though it reads as a different situation.
The intent of the rules as expressed in 20 carries over to 19.
The outside boat is so very obliged (in 20) that she has the power to convey the maneuver along to yet other boats, even when she herself does not qualify to claim room for the original obstruction.
Created: 20-May-12 00:55
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
19 does not say "at an obstruction for both of them", or "at an obstruction for all of them"
So, is there an obstruction Yes
Are there boats at it? Yes ( interpretation of "at" as meaning near, someone on the sidewalk out the front of it is "at" the Empire State Building)
Therefore 19 applies.
Think of two boats approaching a pontoon the length of a boat where one will pass just clear and the other smash into it. It is not an obstruction to both of them but no one would doubt that 19 applies.
Yellow is obliged, once it becomes clear that Blue is not keeping clear, to try to avoid a collision by bearing away.
While a hail by Blue is not required, it would be a very sensible thing to do and would support her efforts to avoid a collision
If Blue does not hail she may be in danger of not having tried hard enough to avoid a collision.
Adding a clause to 19 requiring hail and response might help with the avoidance of doubt as mentioned above.
Created: 20-May-12 00:59
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Paul, re: “Think of two boats approaching a pontoon the length of a boat where one will pass just clear and the other smash into it. It is not an obstruction to both of them but no one would doubt that 19 applies.”

A pontoon is an obstruction to both because it is, “An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it”

Yellow can be sailing directly toward the shoal 1 length from it and not have to change course (therefore not an obstruction to Yellow) and they can both see a pontoon and it’s boundaries. IMO a pontoon is not not very analogous. 

“Adding a clause to 19 requiring hail and response might help with the avoidance of doubt as mentioned above.”

That’s what I’m saying. 

To Phillip’s idea that Rule 20 “carries over” to Rule 19, it doesn’t, but Rule 20 is where the hail-right could probably live if written. 
Created: 20-May-12 02:40
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
The quality of the analogy might be strained in the sense that the obstruction to one boat might not be an obstruction to another in the same position such as occurs with something protruding lower than the obstructed boat's mast top but higher than the nearby right of way boat's mast eg a waterfront crane's derrick, or a J24 flying a jib could squeeze past but a 40 footer with a spinnaker might not. 
The analogy is relevant in that often only one boat is obstructed and one that is not obstructed has to give room, the other classic example being two port tackers crossing a starboard tacker when only one port tacker's course is obstructed. 
PS "Adding....as mentioned above" was a reference to you already having suggested it.
Created: 20-May-12 06:15
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Paul, I really like the crane example. That’s a great one to put in the box as these issues and challenges are considered.  Thanks. 
Created: 20-May-12 13:04
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