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Tacking in the Zone - Mark Room
Recently on a local Wednesday night race there was a scenario that I was asked to explain the rules that apply at a mark rounding.
The request was informal, and was sent to me the day after the race.
There was no protest, no contact, no injury.
There will be no official follow up to this.
I would like to ensure my understanding and possibly get some assistance in explaining the answer.
35' keel boats flat water 10 knots of air boat speed approx. 5 knots. 2 boats are approaching a windward mark that is to be left to starboard.
Blue is on the layline or slightly overstood.
Yellow is clear ahead, to leeward of Blue by between 1 and 1.5 boat lengths. Yellow is not far enough ahead of Blue to tack to port and cross Blue.
The boats are NOT overlapped when the first boat (yellow) enters the zone. The boats had never been overlapped.
Course for both boats is to tack at the mark and stay hard to wind on port tack.
The real course sailed by both boats is shown below. Yellow sailed past the mark and left room for Blue to tack inside.
This let Blue pass Yellow at the mark.
The question to me came from Yellow’s skipper.
Did he have to let Blue in at the mark? Could he have held course, tacked, stayed tight to the mark and not let Blue inside?
My thoughts: 18.2b states - If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the zone, the boat clear astern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room. Yellow was clear ahead when entering the zone, so Blue owes her mark room. However, 18.2d states - Rules 18.2(b) and (c) cease to apply when the boat entitled to mark-room has been given that mark-room, or if she passes head to wind or leaves the zone. So if yellow was to hold her course, tack, and then sail past the mark, she would lose her protection from 18.2b and be subject to the port-starboard situation as Blue approached the mark.
So, my answer to his direct question is NO. After completing the tack, you would lose protection of 18.2b and would break rule to rule 10. (Is this correct?) But, after entering the zone he could have headed up as high as head to wind while sailing to the mark and tacked around the mark forcing Blue to either go behind or outside.
There are lots of examples of Rule 18 that show overlap conditions, but I haven't seen this one where Yellow has to tack at the mark. Looking forward to your responses.
Created: 20-Sep-21 16:41
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