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Not Giving Mark Room?


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One of the problems of the racing rules as applied to our sport is we do not have the benefits of vision / perspective of crewed boats. This a question which often causes some discussion. Sailing downwind to the leward mark, located so there it little depth perspective, a single boat misses or hits the mark, mutters a few choice words, goes back and around it again. Now, two or more boats approaching the same mark, overlapped so the inside one is entitled to Mark Room, the inside boat misses or hits the mark, despite keeping clear of the inside boat, are the outer ones protested for not giving Mark Room?

Thanks,

John.

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There is no quick answer to the question except - yes, any of the boats may protest another boat or boats in the incident - but who is going to be found 'at fault' - a protest hearing would try to establish several things

1. which boats entered the zone and when, and at those moments, which boats were clear ahead/astern or overlapped with each other ie who is entitled to mark room and who must give mark room and to whom.

2. what was the amount of room between the mark and the inside boat and between that boat and the two later arrivals.

Also remember that when the ahead boat bore away and gybed and then tacked (in the zone) - by tacking in the zone, they lose mark room rights and become subject to R 18.3. At this point the two outside boats are overlapped to weather and are subject to R 11 relative to the lead boat, but that 'lead boat' cannot make them sail above close hauled or breaks R 18.3.

Without some 'facts' or a clear diagram, there is no way to answer. It could be that the two outside boats gave enough room, and the inside boat again misjudged the distance. For the two later arrivals, were they overlapped with each other when the first one of the two reached the zone? If yes, then the outside boat has to give room for both inside boats to round. So it could be that the outside boat did not give room, But is could be that the middle boat established a late overlap from astern, inside the zone and was not entitled to mark room from the outer boat and that was the cause of the contact(s) .

So several ways this could play out.

John

John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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Here is one possible diagram for this incident.

Some of the important facts to be established are:

1. was this a gate and if so which end - this shows the port rounding.

2. which gybe is Yellow on at pos 5 and which gybe are Green and Red?

3. if Yellow gains ROW after her tack, does she provide room for the other boats under R 15?

4. Which gybe are Green and Red on.

5. When Green and Red reach the zone are they overlapped

When Yellow tacks in the zone, she loses mark room, but may become ROW boat under R 10 or R 11, depending on port or stbd rounding and the gybe of the other boats.

John

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John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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Thanks John, I think your replies confirm my problem with this situation," Without some 'facts' or a clear diagram, there is no way to answer", to clarify some Items, I was considering a single mark with all boats on the same gybe and overlapped at the 4 boat circle, inside one perhaps slighly ahead of the outside ones. The inside boat would not be starting to turn until they saw the mark going behind the hull and because of the view although clear of each other no one really knows how much room there is between them. Until the inside one misses or hits the mark no-one knows there is a problem, so is the only answer in this situation to give the inside boat an exceptional amount of room when of course there might be complaints of taking too much space.

Best Wishes,

John.

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Hi John,

Now I see what you are describing and it is different from my first impression.

If several boats are overlapped approaching the downwind mark, and the inside boat turns first and hits the mark, or turns inside the mark, then they caused the problem themselves and no other boats have broken any rules.

Frequently we see the outside boat start to turn first and the inside boats respond, and the boat closest to the mark hits it. Now the outside boat has failed to give mark room and breaks R 18.2. The middle boat gets exonerated under R 21 and the boat that hits the mark and breaks R 31 is also exonerated under R 21. However if the inside boat is on the wrong side of the mark, they still have to round the mark correctly to comply with R 28, the 'string' rule.

Although we do not see it practiced often, if one or more boats are affected by the action of the outside boat,such that the outside boat gains several places, she could be considered to have gained 'significant' advantage, and be required to do several penalty turns until the gain is eliminated.

The other factor to consider is which boat has ROW. If the overlapped boats are on port gybe and the mark is to be rounded to port, then the outside boat has ROW as leeward under R 11 and the windward boats have to keep clear. So the inside boat cannot push outward to gain more room - cannot do a tactical rounding. The outside boat had to give mark room , but no more - how much is enough? If they did not touch each other or the mark, then 'enough' was provided.

But if the boats are approaching the same mark (rounded to port) and are on stbd gybe, the inside boat is ROW under R 11, and can push the other boats out a bit wider to go in wide and out close - just be careful not to break R 18.4 by going further from the mark.

John

John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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Port hand rounding, boats approaching on a run on port.

Inside boat is windward keep clear boat entitled to room to sail to the mark. How much room is she entitled to? Room to sail from where she enters the zone to a position alongside he mark where, in a seamanlike manoeuvre she would begin turning to round the mark. If boats are overlapped then the width of this "corridor' would be the distance from the windward side of the hull, or the forestay on a swing rig, to the leeward end of the boom when the sail is trimmed in a seamanlike way . This may seem like a lot of space!

If in order to keep clear of a leeward boat the boat entitled to room is obliged to sail outside this 'corridor' then she has not been given mark room. If, in the course of keeping clear she is obliged to touch the mark she would be exonerated under rule 21, and can sail on without taking a penalty.

In the case of the outside boat, she was behind all the boats inside her. If she breaks a rule she should take a penalty that restores her to that same position after the penalty. With the proviso that whilst she is taking her penalty the other boats are being manoeuvred in a seamanlike way. If the other boats are unable to continue in the race, then the outside boat's penalty may be to retire.

Gordon

Gordon

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Thanks John / Gordon,

so if as above, Port Hand Rounding, Boats on Port, the Outside Boat is ROW and is responsible if he makes the wrong approach and the inside boats hits / misses the mark but if approaching the same situation, Boats on Starboard, the inside boat is ROW and, as long as outside has kept clear, is responsible for hitting/missing the mark themselves. It is always the ROW boat which needs second sight in judging the distance. It's hard enough getting myself round such a mark!

Happy New Year,

John

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