Rules - Luffing v Sailing above proper course - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-23-2005 Thread Starter
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Rules - Luffing v Sailing above proper course

OK - so here''s an issue I came across at the weekend...

3 boats: L to leaward of C (central) who was leaward of W.

I was in W. C saw a gap between W and L and went for it. She obtained an overlap on W within two boat lengths to leward of her - consequently, she had no luffing rights on W and could not sail above her proper course.

L did have luffing rights and squeezed C up onto W. Was C sailing above her proper course as a result of being luffed by L? C gave W enough room to respond but W did not want to respond as C had no luffing rights. Should C have responded to L''s luff by saying that she could go no further as W was an obstruction?

Any thoughts would be gratefully received!

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post #2 of 3 Old 08-23-2005
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Rules - Luffing v Sailing above proper course

Bootydawg.....First let me say I''m no expert but it seems to me that RRS18.5 Passing a Continuing Obstruction, applies because it is in Section C which takes precedence over Sections A and B. Therefore if C obtained the overlap from clear astern and if at the time there was room to do so, W is obligated to give her room as long as C''s obstruction, L, remains. This is not to say that C can luff W unless forced up by L. That''s just the way it looks from here.

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Rules - Luffing v Sailing above proper course

Very interesting scenario. You can look at this from lots of different ways.

Geohan cites rule 18.5, but this rule only says that in passing a continuing obstruction (a seawall? An overlapped boat one is obligated to give room to/keep clear of?) rules 18.2(b) and (c) don''t apply. Presumably, 18.2(a) still applies, and might be controlling. But which boat constitutes the obstruction? L? C, based on how W obtained overlap?

Based on pure fair play principles, I''d have to say we need one more piece of information: Were W and L overlapped prior to C squeezing between them? If so, L had luffing rights over W, and C''s intervention should not change the fact. Conversely, if W was clear ahead, C''s intervention should not grant rights to L over W that it otherwise would not have but for the presence of C.

The other interesting aspect of this is when you see this situation prior to the start. I think the answer in this case is straightforward; before the start there is no "proper course" so L can take up any number of boats to windward regardless of how the overlaps are established.

Allen Flanigan
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