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Old 08-05-2012
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racing rules question narrow channel

I was sailing in the weekly competition in very light wind bf 1/2. The most favourable course to the first upwind mark was to sail between 2 reed islands. I was leading as I entered the narrow channel on starboard tack. The second place boat dipped under me slightly and we both sailed to use the full width of the channel before tacking again. I tacked onto port tack the second place boat onto starboard tack and we approached each other in the middle of the narrow channel. I knew I eyed the boat up and concluded i woud not get passed the starboard tack boat without him clipping the stern of my boat so I tacked under him. So we were in a situation in the middle of the narrow channel where I had tacked and need to gain moment as he began to pass me to windward. AS he began to pass, I said I'll need room shortly. To my astonishment he replied "no, you should've dipped me". As we both started to approach the reeds, both on the same tack just about level with each other, I requested room to tack. He repeated you should've dipped under me. I began my tack slowly as my bow touched the first reeds, repeating I need room. Incredibly, the guy left his tiller and pushed my boat away into the reeds with my hands and then tacked away. I protested. A witness stated that when I tacked I was in the middle of the narrow channel, of equal distance from either reed island. The other boat argued that I tacked myself into the problem and was too close to the reeds to tack. I argued dipping was out of the question as I was too far ahead and would've had to fall away drastically. I would've headed half-wind towards the reeds the other side, which was far worse than taking the moment out of the boat and heading to the other reeds at less speed. I argued tacking was not only a legal option but it was also the safest option.

The jury disagreed, they said I should not have tacked, but should've fallen off.

Funny thing, is the guy in that boat is a national official and protest room jury member for many many years. I feel this is the reason why the less experience jury sided with his take on the situation.

I'd like to know the thoughts of the sailnet racing community on this situation.

Last edited by bobbylockes; 08-05-2012 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 08-05-2012
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racing rules question narrow channel

I think he's right. And I'm no sure why you would decide to tack into a position where you're covered by another boat, instead of dipping behind him and staying in clean air?
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

I completed the tack in clean air and was accelerting in clean air . At which point he got the overlap on my stern. As I accelerated he caught me up further, then we were quite parallel but on the same tack and course but I was about 1 metre in front. I asked for room. When he refused my bow touched the first reed and I slowly started my tack (tacking with this big heavy open dinghy is slow!). At which point he stood up and pushed my boat into the reeds and made his tack off the momentum the push gave him.

The alterantive of falling away was risky because I would've sailed half-wind towards the oncoming boat (hard rudder would've been necessry to fall away from the lead position) I was sailing lone an he was with a partner. The dinghy has a 2 sails. Falling away and accelerating towards the other boat and the reed island to starboard and not knowing whether I'd still have the room to tack after he had sailed passed was not an attractive option. Too many unknowns.
However tacking the only problem was that he'd have to give me room and I had the right to tack.

The judgement of the "commitee"essentially says I had no right to tack, despite having the room to tack easily, and had to fall away.

I cannot believe a normal commitee would come to such a decision based on the ituation confirmed by the witness.

I simply saw it as a question of which reed island is it best to sail towards, quickly towards the reed island to starboard, risking a collision with the right of way boat and risking getting stuck in the reeds at speed. Or tacking towards the reed island to port which I might even be able to avoid as the island was ending. If I was on the other boat I would've expected the lead boat to tack and I would've duly given room.

I try to stay away from this sailor as much as possible when on the water as he is so reckless - then hides behind his reputation as a national sailing referee.
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

I think your opponent and the protest committee were wrong.
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

Ultimately, we weren't there, and we are only hearing your position without having an opportunity to hear the other person explain his own position. When you protested him, it became your obligation to prove that he violated a rule. In a case like this, timing and distances are crucial. It sounds like some witnesses might have supported your claim, and others might have seen it differently. If the testimony of witnesses was conflicting, then the committee probably concluded that you didn't meet your burden of proving the existence of the violation. When the two of you were present and couldn't agree on the facts, and on the application of the rules, and the witnesses are ambiguous, how can you expect the committee to DSQ the other boat?

Personally, I avoid protests like the plague. For a yacht racer, being on the losing end of a protest is like receiving the death penalty. Race committees won't impose the "death penalty" absent clear proof that it is warranted.
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

When crossing, you were the give-way vessel, by tacking to the leeward same tack are you allowed to then claim room? Don't you have to allow the windward boat to sail it's normal course as if you weren't there? Meaning you can't force them to head up or tack from it's normal heading, but rather in this situation you needed to leave room for yourself to tack under them if necessary?
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

My protest was about the pushing of my boat and them not giving me room (and worse still pushing my boat into the reeds with their hands). This was not desputed by the other boat. The committee agreed that the other boat was wrong in doing that.

However, the "committee" also agreed I tacked in the middle of the narrow channel, ahead and beneath the starboard tack boat, but they decided I should not have done this.

"You broke the rules and he broke the rules so no-one gets DSQ."

I'm wondering which rule they are refering to. Any ideas ?
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

tempest, I tacked ahead of them and under them, they did not need to change course and they did not change course.
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

the "committee" and the sole witness were one of the same.
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: racing rules question narrow channel

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbylockes View Post
My protest was about the pushing of my boat and them not giving me room (and worse still pushing my boat into the reeds with their hands). This was not desputed by the other boat. The committee agreed that the other boat was wrong in doing that.

However, the "committee" also agreed I tacked in the middle of the narrow channel, ahead and beneath the starboard tack boat, but they decided I should not have done this.

"You broke the rules and he broke the rules so no-one gets DSQ."

I'm wondering which rule they are refering to. Any ideas ?
If I had been you, I would have argued that the only question before them for decision was not whether I committed a violation, but whether he committed one. I would have said, "...even he knows I didn't commit a violation. He's an acknowledged rules expert, and if he thought I violated a rule, he would have protested me. Since the only protest before the committee is mine, the only question for the committee to decide is whether my protest is valid. Since he admits the violation, it seems to me that the answer, and the committee's duty, is clear."

That having been said, I still think there was enough ambiguity in the facts that we have been provided so that we can't fairly say that the committee made an incorrect decision.
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