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post #52 of Old 08-24-2012
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

This rules discussion is intriguing for its lack of reference to any actual rules. What rule requires a boat to duck another, instead of tacking below them? This is apparently the rule that the "committee" is using to penalize Red, the Original Poster, advising him that he should not have tacked below Blue, but should have ducked him mid-channel. When Blue reaches out to leeward and pushes Red into the reeds, (even while Red is calling for obstruction room) isn't that a breech of rule 11? No one seems to be following (or mentioning) the actual rules here very much.

Based on the original post, it would appear that Red is entitled to obstruction room under rule 19.2.b: Red, to leeward of Blue, was almost touching the reeds. (Please note these are reeds - indicating unnavigable areas and thus an obstruction, not weeds like seaweed that grow in deep water which would be an annoyance, but not necessarily an obstruction. Some posters appear to be confused about this.) Did Blue not have steerage, and was therefore unable to provide room? In any case, rule 20 comes into play. Rule 20 says you have to hail for room, which Red did. Red then has to give Blue time to respond. (rule 20.1(b)). It seems Red did give Blue time to respond. Blue's response seems to have been to push Red into the obstruction. As mentioned above, this is a breech of rule 11. After being hailed, rule 20.1(b) requires Blue to either tack herself as soon as possible (to get out of the way) or to tell Red to tack and then stay out of Red's way. After Blue responds, Red has to tack as soon as possible (rule 20.1(c). If Blue doesn't respond quickly enough, rule 20.2 exonerates Red if she "breaks a rule of section A, or rule 15 or 16." This means that Red, coming up to an obstruction, can essentially hail for room and after waiting (a reasonable period, eh?) for a response, tack to avoid the obstruction, regardless of where Blue happens to be.
Red is entitled to avoid the obstruction, and can tack. If she is "tacking too close" - that is a Right of Way rule (rules 10, 11, 12, & 13) from Section A, and Red is exonerated; there is no penalty on Red. Rule 15 does not apply here, since Red was tacking onto Port. Rule 20.2 says that Red does not have to worry about giving Blue room to keep clear (rule 16) either; Red is exonerated because of her need to tack due to the obstruction. If Red HITS Blue when tacking to avoid the obstruction, rule 14 states that Red SHALL NOT be penalized unless there is contact that causes damage or injury. The light conditions suggest no damage, and the only injury appears to have been to Blue's pride.
All this makes me think that the rules may have changed a good deal since Blue sat on an actual Protest Committee. What was the actual outcome of the protest? The posts state that Red "shouldn't have tacked" mid-channel. Was he scored DSQ? Was the protest disallowed? Did the gentlemen sweep it under the rug with tacit nods & wags? What appears to be happening does not seem to be paying any attention to the rules. Read rules 2 and 69. I know of sailors who have been tossed from a series for swearing at fellow competitors. Ben Ainslie is a good example of what should happen when you lay hands on another's boat.

Last edited by paulk; 08-24-2012 at 12:25 AM.
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