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post #1 of 8 Old 09-21-2004 Thread Starter
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yet more proper course questions

First, the rule:
17 ON THE SAME TACK; PROPER COURSE
17.1 If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths
to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper
course while they remain overlapped within that distance, unless in
doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat.

The situation:
On a broad reach, starboard jibe, we (a Santana3030) caught up to another boat (a Santana 35) going the same direction. As we approached from astern of him, he grabbed a bunch of main and headed up, to prevent us from rolling over the top. We dived low, establishing a leeward overlap from astern within two boatlengths. Clearly, we could not luff him up beyond our proper course, but because he was a bigger boat going a similar speed to us, we couldn''t break through his wind shadow. So we tried to go lower, while maintaining some speed, and eventually got two boatlengths of seperation, although we never broke the overlap. Some conversation ensued, and he mentioned that since I hadn''t broken the overlap, I couldn''t come up beyond proper course and luff him to clear my wind. That sounded reasonable, so I didn''t, and a while later we broke through and passed through his exhaust. Rereading 17.1, it sounds like I could have come back at him after breaking the two-boat distance, no? Has anyone seen that happen?

Thanks!
Chad
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-22-2004
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yet more proper course questions

It is not all that unusual in variable conditions for a boat to come from astern and pass another boat getting clear ahead or to leeward by more than 2 boat lengths and then hardens up again or later after the two boat length cicle has been broken, to have the boat that was passed catch up and no longer have rights not to be luffed.

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post #3 of 8 Old 09-23-2004
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yet more proper course questions

There are two determining factors involved: becoming overlapped within two boatlengths of the windward boat, and "while they remain overlapped within that distance." As Jeff suggests, if you BREAK the overlap by sailing clear ahead or clear astern, you''re free to head up. As your Santana 35 pointed out, unless you break the overlap, you''re limited. On the other hand, if you''re further than 2 boatlengths to leeward of W, you can also head up as much as you like (it''s not until you''re within 2 boatlengths of him again that you have to resume proper course.) The easiest thing to do is to try getting as far forward of him as you can and then head off, to break the overlap. Then you can take him up as far as you''d like. This is not a very fast way to sail a race, however, and you may both get passed while you take him to the moon. I''ve found that heading higher and therefore going faster enables me to pass boats to windward of me. Despite their shrieking for me to "return" to my proper course, the fact that I''m passing them indicates that the course I''m on IS my proper course, and W has no grounds for protest.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-24-2004
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yet more proper course questions

I believe there are a couple of other ways for the leeward boat trapped by 17.1 to break the overlap and gain luffing rights. If on a reach, bear off more than two boat lengths then luff back up with luffing rights. If on a run, break the overlap with two quick jibes, main only, to regain your luffing rights. I agree with Paulk and Jeff that luffing matches are a bad idea in 99% of the cases. My feeling is that if you aren''t match racing, team racing or one design racing, tactics should only be a defensive action and that they are generally bad strategy in mixed fleet racing. Just my opinion.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-24-2004
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yet more proper course questions

I think that you need to do more than just shift more than two boatlengths to leeward in order to get back full luffing rights --- you have to BREAK the overlap. The rule says that after creating an overlap within 2 boatlenths of W, you can''t head above your proper course if you are within 2 boatlengths of W. If you shift way to leeward, (say 10 boatlenghts, to exaggerate), but DON''T BREAK the overlap, you can head up as high as you like -- until you come back within 2 boatlengths of W. Then you have to maintain your proper course. If you''re able to BREAK the overlap at any point (it doesn''t matter how far apart you are) the limitation on luffing is removed.
Of course, chances are that when you head up, you''ll get overlapped again, and you''ll have to note how far apart (within 2 boatlengths?) you are when that happens. Instead of arguing what-ifs,
let''s go sailing!
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-25-2004 Thread Starter
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yet more proper course questions

Paulk,
In my case, it wasn''t a "what if" argument, but a real situation that I had found no answer to in the time since it happened. Clearly, the other boat thought as you do, that the overlap needed to be broken for 17.1 to cease to apply. It seems that Jeff and Geohan read the rule the way I did, that the rule ceased to apply when the overlap was no longer (didn''t "remain") within two boatlengths.

Interestingly, I''ve searched the ISAF animated casebook and the UK sails rules quizzes for an applicable clarification, and found nothing.

Thanks to all for your thoughts,
Chad
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-28-2004
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yet more proper course questions

Had an interesting twist on this queston last Saturday. A boat trying to pass me within two boatlengths to WINDWARD of me (not leeward) called for me to maintain my "proper course" . If the rule quote above is correct, it only applies to the boat coming from behind and if THEY are the leeward boat. I guess it''s a good thing they simplified the rules, because imagine if they hadn''t.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-29-2004
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yet more proper course questions

This boat "rolled" you (passed you from clear astern on the windward side) and had no rights. You were free to luff up to head to wind; you were not obliged to maintain "proper course". Luffing is certainly a technique you can consider to try and keep a boat from rolling you and get your clear air back if you can fall off quickly.

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