February 2010 - A Few Minor New Rule Changes I

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February 2010 - A Few Minor New Rule Changes I

Every four years after the Olympics ISAF issues a new rule book with rule changes. They try not change them in between but often after major changes (as we had last year) there are a few loopholes to plug.   That is the case this year. I often find these changes to be hard to write about. The loopholes are often pretty obscure and since they are fixed it means I would have to explain a loophole that isn’t there anymore.   What I am going to do is show you situations and show how the fixed rule works. If you want to understand the loophole you will have to either figure it out or attend a seminar where I am willing to explain it.   Three rules were fixed this year, 18.2(c), the definition of Obstruction and the definition of Party.   There was also a fix within the match racing appendix which I won’t cover here. All of these changes take effect January 1, 2010. 
Definition Obstruction:

An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it. An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an area so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions. However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her, give her room or mark-room or, if rule 22 applies, avoid her. A vessel under way, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.

(click on the diagram to see a larger cleaner version)

The situation is demonstrated in the first diagram. The blue, green and yellow boats are approaching a leeward mark. Yellow is clear ahead of both boats as she gets to the three length zone (position 1).   Blue and green are overlapped as they get to the zone (at position 2). Blue and green are therefore required to give yellow mark-room and blue must also give green mark-room. When they get to position 3 blue chooses to try to go inside yellow. There might be space for one boat but certainly not two. Blue has to give green mark-room under rule 18.2(b) but she tries to claim that green should give her room to keep clear of yellow since she believes that yellow is an obstruction. Blue and green both have to give mark-room to yellow but they are not required to keep clear of her. In fact they are the leeward boats so according to rule 11 yellow has to keep clear of them.

Therefore according to the new definition of obstruction yellow is not an obstruction. If yellow is not an obstruction we don’t have to worry about rule 19 (Room to pass an obstruction). Blue is therefore not entitled claim room from green to allow her to avoid yellow.   Blue should have gone outside of yellow.   Green probably would have had to go outside yellow as well. In the case as shown, green should probably miss the mark to avoid a collision and then protest blue.
Definition Party:

A party to a hearing: a protestor; a protestee; a boat requesting redress or for which redress is requested by the race committee or considered by the protest committee under rule 60.3(b); a race committee acting under rule 60.2(b); a boat or competitor that may be penalized under rule 69.1; a race committee or an organizing authority in a hearing under rule 62.1(a).

The next change is affects the redress process. Right now if a boat believes that she deserves redress because her score has through no fault of her own been made significantly worse by an improper action or omission of the race committee, she can file for redress. She will be entitled at attend the hearing, hear the testimony and appeal if she believes the protest committee improperly interprets the rules. If on the other hand the race committee decides on its own that it has made a mistake it can request redress for the boat (rule 60.2(b)) or if the protest committee discovers about the mistake they can call a hearing to consider redress (rule 60.3(b)). This rule change makes it clear that the competitor is a party to the hearings in these cases so that the competitor can again hear the testimony and appeal.

The final change was in rule 18.2(c). The change here only applies in a circumstance that is now very unlikely to happen. It had started to show up in early 2009 in college team racing because of the loophole that is now blocked. I may cover it next month.
Rule 18.2(c):

(c) When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 18.2(b), she shall continue to do so even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins. However, if either boat passes head to wind or if the boat entitled to mark-room passes head to wind or leaves the zone, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply.

For all quoted rules, the underlined words are new for 2010. The struck through words were part of the rule in 2009 and are now deleted.

© Copyright 2010 Andrew Alberti
Posted: 2/1/2010 3:06:22 PM by Andrew Alberti

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This page provides links to a set of articles original published in Kwasind magazine. The versions here include animated diagrams. The original articles can be found within the original magazines which are available online back to January 2007. 

Articles before December 2020 are based on the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-12 or 2013-2016 or 2017-2020 and have not been updated to reflect the changes that apply as of January 2021 with the publication of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-24. A copy of the new rules can be found on sailing.org.
Andrew Alberti has been writing these monthly articles in the Kwasind since early 1997.  They explain the Racing Rules of Sailing. Andrew is an International Judge and National Umpire. He is a member of the Sail Canada Rules and Appeals Committees. The interpretation of the rules contained in the articles is Andrew's and not that of the RCYC or any of the committees he sits on. 

Send your questions to Andrew at kyrules@alberti.ca.


166 Years of Tradition | World-Class Sailing | Toronto Island & City Clubhouse
Penalties and Sportsmanship
Sailing Rules: Mark Room - When Can You Gybe?
Mark Room at a Gybe Mark
Penalties – When and How to Take Them
New Rule Changes III
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