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post #8 of Old 08-17-2004
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Another proper course question


Rule 17 actually places an additional restriction on the leeward boat that establishes an overlap from behind that wouldn''t be there under rule 11. Under rule 11, leeward can luff up to head to wind.

Nor does rule 17 nor any other rule give a boat "ramming rights". No priveleged boat (such as leeward boat in a leeward/windward same tack situation) may change course without giving the other boat room and opportunity to keep clear in a seamanlike manner (rule 16.1. Think of a buffer of a few inches surrounding windward boat; leeward cannot simply break into this zone without breaking rule 16.1. Of course, the "keep clear" windward boat is obligated to maintain this buffer zone; that''s what "keep clear" means.

These rules are an imperfect attempt to prevent collisions and ensure fairness in competition. They aren''t designed to give one group of competitors, or any particular individual, an unfair advantage over others.

The main point that hasn''t been made yet is, if you are racing other boats, particularly in one design dinghies, you have to ask how it is that another boat is able to point noticeably higher than you, especially if they are sailing as fast as you or faster. This situation could come up if one boat overstands the layline, but presumably the boat that has overstood should be reaching faster by sailing lower and should be able to roll the higher pointing boat.

Allen Flanigan
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