Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Rules at a Continuing Obstruction Redux

Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
Another issue around a "virtual" continuing obstruction.

Green, Yellow and Blue are maneuvering as shown below. Blue establishes an overlap on Yellow approximately 1.5 boat lengths from buoy 1. The buoys shown are midchannel buoys between two rock jetties. They are not marks of the course. There is no contact at any point.

The sailing instructions state:  "A straight line connecting adjacent center of channel marker buoys within the jetty shall be considered a continuous obstruction in accordance with Racing Rule 19.2. NO YACHT MAY CROSS SAID LINE."

The sailing instructions also require boats to douse spinnakers as they enter the channel.

Neither Yellow nor Blue protest.

Red, about 200 yards behind the three boats and in a position to observe, protests Blue for breaking rule 28.1 since Blue passed to the wrong side of buoy 1. Red informs Blue on the dock after the race and files her written protest within the protest time limit.

What do you all think?

jetty.png 49.8 KB
Created: Sat 20:21

Comments

David Allsebrook
Nationality: Canada
1
If the boats were not allowed to cross the line between the channel marker buoys then blue has violated that rule. It would also seem that because of that rule, the first channel marker was a mark of the course..

Created: Sat 21:15
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
As I read the OP description, there is no SI specifying on which side the mid-channel buoys or the line joining them must be left or passed.

Seemingly Blue would have been permitted to not cross the joining line by continuing to sail leaving all the buoys to starboard.

Blue breaks the SI, but does not break rule 28.1.

That might cause problems for the validity of Red's protest.

We would normally say that the special provision exempting hail and flag in rule 61.1(a)(3) applies to protests for breaches of rule 28, and we might say that a breach of the SI is not a breach of rule 28.1 and is an incident in the racing area, and that at least a display of a red flag at the time of the incident is required.

Looking more carefully at rule 61.1(a)(3), it does NOT refer to rule 28:  it just refers to 'an error in sailing the course'.  I think that description matches B's actions, so the requirements of rule 61.1(a)(3) do apply to the incident, and Red had met those requirements.

Of course Red's protest is not invalid because she cited the wrong rule (case 22).


Created: Sat 21:48
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Red felt that she was beyond hailing distance so did not hail. I believe she did promptly display a red flag, carry it through the finish and inform the RC at the finish line of her intent to protest (an SI requirement in this case)
Created: Sat 22:40
Fields Gunsett
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John, the assumption is that in order for Red's protest to be valid, her informing Blue on the dock was her "first reasonable opportunity" to meet the requirements of RRS 61.1 (a) (1).  So, the protest committee (PC) would need to determine if this was the case.  If the protest is considered valid, an interesting discussion then is - what additional rules may have been broken, and did boats other than Blue break a rule?  During the hearing, the protest committee should have discovered that Blue, Yellow and Green were all overlapped as they approached the obstruction.  Blue was trying to inform yellow that he needed room, yellow was informing Green that he needed room - both yellow and green failed to give Blue room and RRS 19 needs to be considered.  The PC will now look at RRS 21, EXONERATION.  It would appear that Green may be disqualified for breaking RRS 19, Yellow is exonerated under RRS 21 - but, what do you do with Blue?  I do not see RRS 28 listed in either RRS 21 (a) or (b).  Certainly,  if the obstruction that is defined as the channel markers would have been a pier, Blue would have had to circle back around and hopefully would have protested, but they would not have been allowed to benefit from the errors made by Yellow and Green.  So, it would appear that Blue will also get tossed for not sailing the course (RRS 28).

Since the new rules specifically includes defining an area or a line that can be an obstruction, it may help if the race committee also would have designated the first channel marker as a mark of the course with an assigned side to be left on, we could have added Rule 18 into our discussion (which would exclude RRS 19 from our discussion) which may have provided some valuable lead time for boats to round the mark and sail the course.
Created: Sat 23:55
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I think that Fields has quite rightly pointed out that there are quite a few balls in the air in this scenario, not just whether or not it's a rule 28 error.

I would point out that the diagram contains a lot more information than is likely to presented in the first stages of the protest, in particular Red's evidence.

Lets play a role-play game here.

Can someone take the role of Red, and write their description of incident as it would appear on the protest form?

Fields, how about you play the protest committee chair.  If you don't want to play let us know and someone else can step in.

Can I be the moderator and nosey protest committee member.

So let's see what Red says on her protest form.
Created: Sun 05:02
P
Michael Butterfield
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
  • International Race Officer
0
clearly, a yacht can cross the line so "May" is incorrect it should say, shall not cross, so is there a breach of a SI at all ?this is an incorrectly worded SI.
Even though a continuous obstruction is defined, I think the end could be a regular obstruction.
Blue has not been compelled to break a rule as she chose to cross the line.
Yellow and green would potentially have had to give blue room.
RRS 28 does not apply.
What of the spinnaker remaining up!
.

Created: Sun 12:13
Eric Saenger
Nationality: United States of America
0
I think another challenge with this situation is the applicability of 19.2(c).  Because Blue's overlap is established so close to the buoy that is one end of the line of the continuing obstruction, it may not have been possible for Yellow to obtain enough room from Green to allow room for Blue.  If that can be established, Blue is not entitled to the room she is requesting and while she keeps clear under 19.2(c), she breaks rule 28.1.    For Yellow, showing that it was not possible to give the room may be a tall order, and would depend on the conditions and boat speeds.  However; I think it is Blue who took the real risk of establishing the overlap to the inside, so close to the buoy.

If Yellow cannot show this, and should have given room, can Blue be exonerated for breaking 28.1?
And yes!  What about that spinnaker?

Created: Sun 13:51
doi cheung
Nationality: Australia
0
It appears from the language of the SI that the continuous obstruction is just one straight line from buoy 1 through to 2 then 3. The continuous obstruction does not appear to be an area so the boats can either stay to the left of the line (continuous obstruction) or to the right.

At position 2 Yellow is overlapped and to leeward of Green. Yellow is the right of way boat and Green has to keep clear. Rule 11.

At position 3 as between Blue and Yellow Blue is overlapped and to leeward of Yellow. Blue is the right of way boat and Yellow has to keep clear Rule 12. As between Green and Yellow Green gybed from starboard tack to port tack, Green remains the keep clear boat but at this position under rule 10. 

As Buoy 1 is not a mark Rule 18 does not apply; also at a continuous obstruction Rule 19 always applies and Rule 18 does not (Rule 19.1)

At a continuous obstruction Blue, as the right of way boat against both Yellow and Blue, may choose to pass either side of the obstruction. It appears Blue asked for room in position 3 to pass the continuous obstruction to port, and both Yellow and Blue failed to do so. 

However perhaps in true club racing spirit Blue did not protest either Yellow or Green.

Between Positions 3 and 4 Blue passed from one side of the channel into the other through the continuing obstruction. 

As we have assumed Buoy 1 was not a mark there is no breach of Rule 28. 

It seems to me this is not a breach of RRS - there is no rules being breach for sailing into a continuous obstruction - but a breach of the SI. We need to look to SI for the penalty for such a breach.

Created: Sun 14:05
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
John Allan, Red doesn't care about Yellow and Green, she is only protesting Blue for crossing to the "wrong" side of bouy 1 (Blue is a very successful boat and Red wouldn't mind seeing her DSQ). Red assumes that the bouy is a mark so she protests on 28.1. 

Red directly observed the incident, and the parties agree that notification on the dock was the first reasonable opportunity. 
Created: Sun 16:17
doi cheung
Nationality: Australia
0
Tim Hohmann. Can you clarify if the following assumptions are correct? Buoy 1 is not a mark (because it makes no sense to be able to pass a mark either side?). Boats can sail in either the left or right hand side of the channel (with continuous obstruction as a line running from Buoy 1 to 2 to 3) but cannot cross the continuous obstruction line?
Created: Sun 16:36
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
The buoy line marks the center of a narrow channel between two rock jetties, which opens into a larger bay where the finish is located (almost exclusively recreational boats, no large commercial traffic). The intent of the sailing instruction (which I'm not sure the wording supports) is that boats racing will remain on the inbound side of the channel. The wind in this area is typically on the port quarter so there's an advantage to staying as far to the left as possible - boats usually hug the buoy line. But the sailing instructions and course diagram do not call out the midchannel buoys as marks or assign them a required side. I don't think anyone has ever tried going entirely down the "wrong" side but I suppose it would be possible to do so. There is a local harbor regulation that requires boats to stay on the proper (inbound or outbound) side of the channel.

Racers typically treat buoy 1 like a mark, so I think part of the issue with this incident is Yellow assumed that Blue was clear astern at 3 boat lengths and not entitled to room. There are a couple of problems with this assumption...
Created: Sun 17:34
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Mike Butterfield:

Blue has not been compelled to break a rule as she chose to cross the line.

Blue's choices were to carry on and hit both the buoy and Yellow (potentially causing contact with Green as well), or bear off and cross the obstruction line.

What of the spinnaker remaining up!

While Blue carried her kite further than the other boats she took it down within the legal limit. Nobody alleged that she doused late.
Created: Sun 17:49
doi cheung
Nationality: Australia
0
Tim Hohmann thanks for clarifying. 

Plain language of the SI could probably suggested to an outside judge that it is just one line, not an area of continuous obstruction the area of which extend from a point on the shoreline to Buoy 1, then a line from Buoy 1 to 2 and 3 and then back to a point on the shoreline. 

Perhaps amend the SI to clarify that, also amend SI to it clear that Buoy 1 is a mark that should be rounded to port. 

From a club racing point of view blue and yellow did the right thing, their judgment was that this situation did not require protesting green. Blue as the most experienced boat probably read the SI thoroughly and concluded that they can pass either side so would not bother protesting Yellow.

Red protested but 

Buoy 1 is not a mark so can be passed either side. Any boat can decide to sail either side of the channel according to the SI even through that might not have been the original intention of the people who penned them. No spinnaker in channel is another SI issue and the SI needs to deal with the penalty for breaching any particular provision of the SI, if there is none then nothing can be do about it. It’s not an ISAF RRS issue it’s a club issue.

Rules 18, 19 and 20 deal only between boats. The three boats at the mark have no beef with each other.  I have not found any rules that prohibited a boat from sailing into a continuous obstruction so long as they sail the race course.

May I suggest that unless we can find anything in the RRS that prohibit a boat from sailing into a continuous obstruction Red’s protest should be dismissed?
Created: Sun 18:21
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Role Play

Tim, thanks for the input.

How about you write up Red's description of incident as she would have written it on her protest form?

And for the sake of the role play, as all the players have agreed, lets take it that the protest is valid.
Created: Sun 21:04
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
If I recall correctly it was along the lines of "Blue sailed to the wrong side of buoy 1, breaking rule 28." Not sure if they cited 28.1 or 28.2, but don't think it matters
Created: Yesterday 00:07
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Thanks Tim,

So, everybody who wants to play protest committee members,

Who are the parties to the protest who are going to be given notice of time and place of hearing?

What is the incident being protested?
Created: Yesterday 00:40
Helmer Schweizer
0
There are a number of assumptions made in the above. We only have the information from the SI, that the line connecting the buoys is declared a continuous obstruction. 
Do we know if the SI required the boats to use one 'lane' of the jetty, divided in two lanes by the continuous obstruction? From the picture it may well be that the boats are supposed to only use the starboard lane (in direction of the course). In which case buoy 1 was to left on port (why would the other yachts otherwise behave like this was a limitation. Entry into the jetty could be defined as  ... when passing buoy 1, which would would make the use of the spinnaker up to that mark OK. I would say, there is a lack of additional information, which may be in the SI or may have been given at the skippers meeting before the start of the race, or was on the race board. Helmer  
Created: Yesterday 09:44
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Helmer, the intent of the SI (and the understanding of the skippers) was that all boats would remain on the right-hand inbound side of the channel. As has been pointed out, technically a boat could pass entirely down the "wrong" side of the obstruction and not break the SI but nobody ever tested this. 

As a side note, after this incident the SIs were changed to make the first buoy a mark to be passed to port. 
Created: Yesterday 15:32
David Allsebrook
Nationality: Canada
0
Is it possible the second channel marker is a mark of the course, and blue has passed on the wrong side of it? Under the RRS definitions a "mark" is "an object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side." Once a boat has chosen a side at the first mark, it is prohibited by the SIs from going across the centre line to pass a subsequent channel buoy on the other side. If that is correct then blue has not completed the course.
Created: Yesterday 17:14
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Under the SIs in effect at the time none of the channel buoys were marks and none had a specified side. It was generally understood by the RC and the racers that they were to pass all of the channel buoys to port and come down the inbound side of the channel but this was not in writing in the SIs. The only instruction was that the line was an obstruction and boats were not to cross it.

There was also no prescribed penalty for crossing the obstruction line.
Created: Yesterday 17:27
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