July 2016 - Rounding Marks To Starboard

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July 2016 - Rounding Marks To Starboard

This month is a very busy month for match racing at RCYC. As well as the usual weekly program, the Canada’s Cup Defender Trials will be held July 1-3 and July 15-17 in Modern 8 Metres and the York Cup will be held July 9-10 in Sonars. If you go out to watch any of these races, you will notice is that they round the marks to starboard. 

Although there is nothing in the rules that says that you can’t, fleet races are almost never raced with buoys to starboard. Races run around fixed marks may require rounding that way, but races run in open water with marks set for the race are almost always buoys-to-port. I hope the explanation here will show you what happens under the rules if you do have to race that way. I need to mention that match racing uses slightly different rules so the explanation below does not apply completely to match racing. 
In a buoys-to-port fleet race, the boats that approach on the starboard-tack layline are pretty safe. They can sail in to the mark, concentrating preparing the spinnaker or on easing sheets. Anyone approaching on the opposite tack will have to avoid them.

In the buoys-to-starboard situation shown in the diagram, Red is on port tack, preparing to ease off. Green, approaching on starboard, crosses her at position 4 and tacks in front of and slightly to weather of Red. Rule 13 requires Green to keep clear while she is tacking. Once Green has finished her tack – which is within three boat lengths of the mark – rule 18.3(b) requires her to give mark-room to Red. Red ends up inside and slightly ahead of Green. If Green had tried to tack a little earlier, then she might have forced Red to sail above close-hauled and Green would have broken rule 18.3(a). Either way Green does not do very well. 

In the second diagram, Yellow and Blue start in the same relative positions as Green and Red in the previous diagram. This time though, Yellow slows down a little but does not tack at position 4. She keeps sailing on starboard tack. Since Blue is on port tack, she is required to keep clear. Since Yellow slowed down, Blue is not able to go behind her and if she did, she would probably not lay the mark so Blue is forced to tack. Soon after Blue tacks to starboard, Yellow tacks to port. Blue follows. Blue has now done two tacks and so is slower than Yellow, who has done only one. Blue is also behind Yellow. This all works fairly well with only two boats. If there are other boats on either layline, this can become very chaotic and keep the protest committees very busy. 

It’s imperative to recognize that rule 10, port-starboard, is the governing rule here. Although we are within the three-boatlength circle, rule 18, the mark-room rule does not apply at a weather mark between boats on opposite tacks, so it does not come into play in this meeting.  If you do find yourself in a race involving starboard-hand roundings, keep this page in mind – and watch out for those who think they know better.

Incidentally, you won’t see starboard roundings in our midweek races. Many years ago, our midweek sailing instructions used to have a description of a green flag which indicated that the race was to be run buoys-to-starboard. It had not been used for quite a long time. I had it removed from the instructions since I didn’t want someone to try it one day “just for fun.”
When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.

After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course. During that time rules 10, 11 and 12 do not apply. If two boats are subject to this rule at the same time, the one on the other’s port side or the one astern shall keep clear.

18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If a boat in the zone passes head to wind and is then on the same tack as a boat that is fetching the mark, rule

18.2 does not thereafter apply between them. The boat that changed tack

© Copyright 2016 Andrew Alberti
Posted: 7/1/2016 1:27:48 PM by Andrew Alberti

Trackback URL: https://rcyc.ca/trackback/d984961d-7a47-485d-86c2-908c1d841435/July_2016_-_Rounding_Marks_To_Starboard.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 [email protected].


166 Years of Tradition | World-Class Sailing | Toronto Island & City Clubhouse
After You Cross the Finishing Line II
After You Cross The Finishing Line I
Tacking III
Tacking II
Publication Changes and Tacking
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