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TOPIC: Open Hearing Outcome #5 and 1 other rule

Open Hearing Outcome #5 and 1 other rule 1 year 8 months ago #121

  • Bill Brockbank
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Open Hearing #5
The course was Start, X (near 3), 7, Z (near 4), 9, gate
One boat saw another hit Bittern while sailing from Z to 9. Although no protest was made we’re grateful to both parties for agreeing to a ‘no fault’ public hearing
The facts were agreed, so witnesses would add nothing.
Q: Was there an infringement?
A: No. RRS31 is broken if a boat hits a mark which begins, bounds or ends the leg of the course she was sailing. Bittern was on the next leg of the course not the leg being sailed.

2 supplementary questions emerged as people pondered the implications. They may help others so appear here.

Supplementary Q1: 2 boats collided (one of them Bittern), shouldn't the racing boat have avoided the collision?
A: No. The requirement to avert or avoid collisions (RRS14) applies between boats which are racing. Bittern wasn’t. The preamble to Part 2 says all its rules (of which RRS14 is one) apply only to boats which are racing.

Supplementary Q2: With the gate signalled vs not, which marks must I not touch?
Imagine 4 marks, L(eeward), G(ate)L(eft), G(ate)R(ight) and W(indward)
A1: With the gate:
Before and at the start, GL, GR
First beat only, GL, GR and W.
Subsequent beats, L , GL, GR and W. (L remains in play even after passing the gate because it still 'starts the leg')
Approaching the finish, L, GL, GR
After the finish, GL and GR - a rare example of a racing rule which can be broken when not racing. The other main one being interfering with another fleet's start.
A2: Without the gate the only change is to subsequent beats. L and W must be avoided. You can hit GR and/or GL as well as passing them on either side.

A widely misunderstood rule
The next incident didn’t make it to a hearing. It's still worth exploring, even with only supposed facts.
Approaching a windward mark (to be left to port) P, on port, must tack to round the mark. S, on starboard, can and does lay the mark without tacking.
P tacks right at the mark, the tack itself keeping clear of S. S is now clear astern of P
P feels S can’t claim water since S wasn’t overlapped at the zone. S believes she is entitled to room, and collides (lightly) with both P and the mark.
The parties don’t reach on-water agreement or agree to an Open Hearing.
Q. Who is right?
A. S, under RRS 18.3(b)
P is free to tack in the zone but since S didn’t tack in the zone RRS18.3 lists three things P mustn’t then do to S.
They are:-
(a.part 1) Cause (which really means ‘force’) S to sail above close hauled.
(a.part 2) Prevent (which means ‘block’) S from passing the mark. But you very rarely see it.
(b) Deprive S of mark-room (‘water’) if S gains an inside overlap
All 3 obligations on P expire as the boats leave the mark
Using the supposed facts, P broke RRS 18.3(b) by depriving S of sufficient mark-room. She could have exonerated by promptly sailing clear and doing 2 turns
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