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TOPIC: Rules roundup

Rules roundup 9 months 1 week ago #135

  • Bill Brockbank
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I’ve answered a few simple queries recently, none involving or requiring an Open Hearing of any flavour.
This rounds up the answers. Where needed I’ve reworded the original question to make the answers clearer.

Case #1
Two boats approach a mark overlapped on different tacks. The inside boat must gybe to round the mark.
Must the outside boat give her room to do so?
Yes.
Mark-Room (the modern term for ‘water’) includes room for the inside boat to round ‘in a seamanlike way’
Must the inside boat call for mark-room? No. The only mandatory calls are for ‘Room' to tack approaching an obstruction, ‘You tack’ if a boat so called decides to accept the onus of delaying her response, and “Protest’.
Must the inside boat call that she is overlapped. No, see above.
Is ‘water’ still an acceptable call? By custom and practice it’s still universally accepted.
Such calls may not be compulsory but they may help avert collisions. Usually, they do no harm.

Case 2 with variants
Two boats, 1 and 3 (the latter for reasons which will become clear) are not overlapped approaching 3 lengths from a rounding mark
Must 1 give inside room for 3 to round inside her? No because they weren’t overlapped entering the zone. But if 1 accidentally leaves enough room 3 can take it.
A different situation. Boat 2 overlaps both 1 (on the outside) and 3 (also on the outside). Who must give mark-room, and to whom?
Boat 2 must give room to both 1 and 3 because she overlaps them at the zone and they are inside.
3 is not entitled to room on 1 because although 2 overlaps them both she isn’t between them. The crucial wording is in the definitions ‘they also overlap when a boat between them overlaps both'

The situation is different, 3 overlaps 2 on her inside and 2 overlaps 1 on her inside. Who must give room to who?
3 is entitled to room on 2
3 is also entitled to room on 1 because 1 and 3 are overlapped as an intervening boat overlaps them both.
2 must give 1 room and is entitled to room on 3
3 must give both boats inside her room.

This is easier to illustrate than describe. If there’s enough interest we’ll hold a mock hearing.

Case #3
Two boats approaching a mark (but not yet at the 3 length zone) are overlapped and in a luffing match.
As the leeward boat (L) reaches the zone she bears away, breaking the overlap. What rules apply?
L was overlapped entering the zone, so must give W room to round the mark. Now that she is clear ahead of W she might be able to comply with the rule by rounding the mark without leaving the extra space for W to round inside her. If W is able to round ‘promptly in a seamanlike way’ in L’s wake and L doesn’t impede her rounding in any way, no rule is broken.
In theory!
If this came to protest all the committee’s sympathies would be with W. L would have a tough ask to prove she gave W room (required by the rules) just not inside room which is what people think the rule says.

Case #4
Is a helm who doesn’t know the rules allowed to race?
No. They don’t comply with Rule 3 which says “By participating in a race … each competitor … agrees … to be governed by the rules”
In practice considerable leeway (and a deal of help and training) is offered to those wanting to learn.
Which might be fine if nobody ever collides. But accidents happen, and it’s a sickening feeling to damage an opponent or their boat knowing or finding you’re at fault. I know. I’ve done it.
Racing without knowing the most rudimentary rules is rather like having unaccompanied learners on the M25
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