March/April 2020 - A Three-Boat Finish

placeholder image

March/April 2020 - A Three-Boat Finish

Before I start, I want to offer my congratulations to Tom Clarke, son of Robin and the late Nicki Clarke and brother of Kirsty, Magnus and Zoe, who are all, I think, still members of the club. Tom was also my skipper for two years in the racing division of the RCYC Junior Club. Tom now lives in Bermuda, where he is a member of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. At the World Sailing meeting in November, he was certified as an International Race Officer (IRO). To put it in perspective, Canada administers four levels of race officers, Assistant, Club, Regional and National. International is the level above that. There are 212 in the world, 6 in Canada, and Tom is the only one in Bermuda. This is quite an accomplishment and we should all be proud of him. 

This month, I would like to talk about a real-life situation that took place in the quarter-final race of the Star Sailors League Finals in December 2019. If you want to watch it, go to and advance to 2 hrs and 30 minutes.

The diagram is a little compressed from the real-life situation, but I think that it illustrates the rules situation. In the diagram, Blue (Paul Cayard) is sailing slightly ahead and to windward of Green (Henrique Haddad), both on starboard tack. Further to leeward is White (Oskari Muhonen), also on starboard. Four other boats have already finished and only the top five advance to the semi-finals, so these three boats are racing for the final spot. Blue gybes onto port at position 2, and now must keep clear of Green (rule 10). Green also gybes onto port at position 3, and now must keep clear of Blue (rule 11). Since the overlap was not established from clear astern, Blue is not limited to her proper course (rule 17), so she can luff Green. Just after position 3, Blue and Green enter the zone around the finish boat. Blue is entitled to mark-room from Green (rule 18.2b) but is still entitled to luff her. White is still on starboard tack, so has right-of-way over Green and Blue (rule 10), but White must give mark-room to both Blue and Green (rule 18.2b). White has to give the two boats room to leave the mark on the required side (definition of Mark-Room). White does not have to let Blue continue to sail her higher course. Green squeezes through ahead of Blue and White, and claims the final place in the semi-finals. 

I used this situation to illustrate how multiple rules come together on the course.  The sailors have to consider, not only what rule applies at the time, but what rules will apply going forward, and particularly at the finish line.  The Brazilian (Green), knew that the  Finn (White) was there, and that this would require and therefore give him the opportunity to bear away and stay ahead of the American (Blue). These were star sailors (in both senses of the word). 

While you have the video open, you may want to see the finish of the final race at 5 hours and 20 minutes. It is very close. Keep in mind that the finishing line is from the blue flag, not in line with the camera. I won’t spoil it by telling you who actually won.

Mark-Room Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also,
(a)    room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
(b)    room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
However, mark-room for a boat does not include room to tack unless she is overlapped inside and to windward of the boat required to give mark-room and she would be fetching the mark after her tack.

When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.

When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain on the same tack and overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

18.2    Giving Mark-Room
 (b)    If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone, the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter give the inside boat mark-room. If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the zone, the boat clear astern at that moment shall thereafter give her mark-room.



Posted: 5/19/2020 1:15:54 PM by Andrew Alberti | with 0 comments

Trackback URL:

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
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 I
Tacking III
Tacking II
Publication Changes and Tacking
How to Finish
Post Archive
May 2024(0)
May 2024(2)
March 2024(1)
February 2024(1)
May 2023(1)
September 2023(1)
September 2023(0)
May 2023(0)
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)