July 2014 - Unusual Finishing Lines

placeholder image

July 2014 - Unusual Finishing Lines

Last summer I wrote an article about a situation when one boat was rounding a mark and another is finishing at the same mark. This month I would like to discuss a different unusual finishing line situation that I observed on a recent Tuesday night. I am not sure that I agree with the way several boats “finished” that race, but I’m confident I’m not opening a hornets’ nest – by the time this is published, the time limit for a protest and request for redress will be long expired.

The wind was light so the race committee shortened the course at the gybe mark. Normally this should be simple, but complications arose because Tuesday night races have two gybe marks – a green one for some fleets and an orange one for others. 
28.2 A string representing a boat’s track from the time she begins to approach the starting line from its pre-start side to start until she finishes shall, when drawn taut,

(a) pass each mark on the required side and in the correct order,
(b) touch each rounding mark, and
(c) pass between the marks of a gate from the direction of the previous mark.

She may correct any errors to comply with this rule, provided she has not finished.


32.1 After the starting signal, the race committee may shorten the course (display flag S with two sounds) or abandon the race (display flag N, N over H, or N over A, with three sounds), as appropriate,
(a) because of an error in the starting procedure,
(b) because of foul weather,
(c) because of insufficient wind making it unlikely that any boat will finish within the time limit,
(d) because a mark is missing or out of position, or
(e) for any other reason directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition, or may shorten the course so that other scheduled races can be sailed. However, after one boat has sailed the course and finished within the time limit, if any, the race committee shall not abandon the race without considering the consequences for all boats in the race or series.

32.2 If the race committee signals a shortened course (displays flag S with two sounds), the finishing line shall be,
(a) at a rounding mark, between the mark and a staff displaying flag S;
(b) at a line boats are required to cross at the end of each lap, that line;
(c) at a gate, between the gate marks.
The shortened course shall be signalled before the first boat crosses the finishing line.

Excerpt from Midweek Sailing Instructions:
10.3 For J105’s, 8 meters, Div. 1A and PHRF I there may be a separate gybe mark and windward mark which will be green in color. If either green mark is not in place the fleet will use the appropriate orange mark. The orange gybe mark is still a mark of the course and must be left to port. If the green windward mark is in place, the orange windward mark is not a mark of the course for those fleets and they may pass it on either side.

For the fleet rounding the orange mark, the green mark is not a mark of the course, so the finishing line is pretty clear. According to rule 32.2(a), it is between the rounding mark (orange) and the S flag. The Blue boat finishes at position 4.

According to the Sailing Instructions, the fleet sailing around the green marks must also leave the orange marks to port. Without question, this makes the orange marks, marks of their course, but are they also rounding marks for this fleet? It depends. If the mark is in position A, as shown in the second diagram, and if a string representing the wake of the boats rounding the entire course were pulled taut (as described in rule 28.2), it would not touch the orange mark so it can’t be a rounding mark (as described in 28.2(b)). However, if the orange mark were more to the left in the diagram, as shown in position B, it might become a rounding mark for the leg from the gybe mark to the leeward mark.

Why is this important? Because one end of a finish line must end on a rounding mark, so the question of which marks are rounding marks also determines where the finish lies, and thus, who has finished and who has not.

The Yellow boat and the White boat differ on where the finish line lies. Yellow assumes that the committee boat is nearer the green mark and – correctly, I think – that the line is between the two. White, however, decides that the committee boat is nearer the orange mark, so the line lies between the boat and the orange mark. Implicitly acknowledging that the orange mark is not a rounding mark on the leg from the windward mark (and therefore cannot form part of a finish line as described in rule 32.2 (a)), White rounds the green mark and sails what he assumes is the shortened course leg toward a line between the orange mark and the boat. Which interpretation is correct depends on the position of the orange mark relative to the course.  As noted above, if the orange mark is not a rounding mark for this fleet on this leg, 32.2(a) doesn’t apply between the orange mark and the committee boat.

To sum up, a boat sailing Blue’s course who is in the fleet that is supposed to sail around the green mark has not finished (and this is what I think I saw most boats do that night). If Blue is in a fleet that only has to round the orange mark, she has without argument finished.  Yellow has also finished by passing between her fleet’s rounding mark and the boat. Whether White has finished depends on the layout of the course. 
© Copyright 2014 Andrew Alberti
Posted: 7/1/2014 10:54:44 AM by Andrew Alberti

Trackback URL: https://rcyc.ca/trackback/9f5ba406-cece-48a5-b5a8-a91aa87f8b04/July_2014_-_Unusual_Finishing_Lines.aspx?culture=en-US

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
Post Archive
January 2023(1)
April 2022(1)
December 2021(1)
October 2021(1)
August 2021(2)
March/April 2021(1)
January/February 2021(1)
December 2020(1)
November 2020(1)
September 2020(1)
July 2020(1)
June 2020(1)
May 2020(1)
March/April 2020(1)
January/February 2020(1)
November/December 2019(1)
September/October 2019(1)
July/August 2019(1)
May/June 2019(1)
March/April 2019(1)
January/February 2019(1)
November/December 2018(1)
September/October 2018(1)
July/August 2018(1)
May/June 2018(1)
March/April 2018(1)
January/February 2018(1)
November/December 2017(1)
October 2017(1)
September 2017(1)
August 2017(1)
July 2017(1)
June 2017(1)
May 2017(1)
April 2017(1)
March 2017(1)
January/February 2017(1)
December 2016(1)
November 2016(1)
October 2016(1)
September 2016(1)
August 2016(1)
July 2016(1)
June 2016(1)
May 2016(1)
April 2016(1)
March 2016(1)
January/February 2016(1)
December 2015(1)
November 2015(1)
October 2015(1)
September 2015(1)
August 2015(1)
July 2015(1)
June 2015(1)
May 2015(1)
April 2015(1)
March 2015(1)
January 2015(1)
December 2014(1)
November 2014(1)
October 2014(1)
September 2014(1)
August 2014(1)
July 2014(1)
June 2014(1)
May 2014(1)
April 2014(1)
March 2014(1)
January 2014(1)
December 2013(1)
November 2013(1)
October 2013(1)
September 2013(1)
August 2013(1)
July 2013(1)
June 2013(1)
May 2013(1)
April 2013(1)
March 2013(1)
January 2013(1)
December 2012(1)
November 2012(1)
October 2012(1)
September 2012(1)
August 2012(1)
July 2012(1)
June 2012(1)
May 2012(1)
April 2012(1)
March 2012(1)
February 2012(1)
January 2012(1)
December 2011(1)
November 2011(1)
October 2011(1)
September 2011(1)
August 2011(1)
July 2011(1)
June 2011(1)
May 2011(1)
April 2011(1)
March 2011(1)
February 2011(1)
January 2011(1)
November 2010(1)
October 2010(1)
September 2010(1)
August 2010(1)
July 2010(1)
June 2010(1)
May 2010(1)
April 2010(1)
March 2010(1)
February 2010(1)
January 2010(1)