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post #27 of Old 09-28-2013
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Location: Oceanside CA
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Re: Americas cup triple touch penalty to Kiwi's

I don't believe the rules of the road are much different when racing over “normal sailing” they are applied differently though. In the normal world the rules are there to keep traffic safe and hoped to be applied with a bit of common courtesy. While racing the rules of the road are used as a weapon and knowing them and using them to your advantage is almost as important as boat speed while competing, much like lawyers in a court battle, where some of these battles can end up. This is even more so in match racing where tactical battles are a major part of the competition. Except in rare occasions in fleet racing you wouldn’t sacrifice speed to tack and cover your opponent throughout race as this would cause you to lose time against the rest of the fleet.

The AC was unique in terms of instant protest followed by a quick decision by the judges. In the real world or at least my real world as far as racing is concerned. If a foul occurs and is protested it is up the boat that fouled to assess whether they fouled and take the penalty usually sailing a 360 or 720, or face being disqualified by the race committee after 2 hours of backroom litigation after the race. In an offshore race earlier this summer my boat’s (the one I race on) neighbor who rarely races had a fine race from Mission Bay to Oceanside and would have come in 2nd if not for the foul at the one pin to round. After 2 hours of race committee back room arguments in front of the protest committee was disqualified, after 7 hours of racing. He said next time he’ll just do a 360.

While a boat just sailing would not consider themselves the stand-on boat while passing until well clear of the other boat. While racing the moment the leward boat gets an overlap they are now using this advantage to try to control the other boat, as happened in this incident. As I remember this incident the kiwi skipper pointed up to avoid but anticipating Oracles move to return back on course and wanting to follow turned the wheel back to the left for a moment. I believe if the Kiwis had cranked the wheel hard right to avoid and still hit it would have been a penalty on Oracle for not giving room to maneuver.


When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear, unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat’s actions.

I remember at least once when Oracle protested and the commentators were wondering why the Kiwis weren’t as they felt the Kiwis had a better case as result of the incident.

West Wight Potter 14 "Lemon Drop"
Oceanside CA
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