October 2013 - Rules Changes VII

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October 2013 - Rules Changes VII

Last month, we talked about some of the changes to the finishing rule. Just after I wrote the article but before it was published, I was asked some questions about penalties near the finishing line. This month I will look at some situations related to penalties and error corrections near the finish.

In the diagram, we see two boats that have problems near the finish. There are probably other boats involved in the situation, but they are not shown to avoid cluttering the diagram. The blue boat is approaching the finish mark. At about the same time (position 2) that Blue crosses the finishing line for the first time, she hits the mark. She crosses the line from the course side, so according to the definition of the finish she “finishes”. She realizes that she has hit the mark and elects to take a penalty. Hitting a mark breaks rule 31, so for most races rule 44.1 offers a One-Turn Penalty. One-Turn Penalties are described in rule 44.2. The definition of the finish says that Blue has not finished if after crossing the line, she takes a penalty under rule 44.2, so now she has not finished.

A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side.

However, she has not finished if after crossing the finishing line she
(a) takes a penalty under rule 44.2,
(b) corrects an error under rule 28.2 made at the line, or
(c) continues to sail the course.

44.1 Taking a Penalty
A boat may take a Two-Turns Penalty when she may have broken a rule one or more rules of Part 2 in an incident while racing or. She may take a One-Turn Penalty when she may have broken rule 31. Alternatively, sailing instructions may specify the use of the Scoring Penalty or some other penalty, in which case the specified penalty shall replace the One-Turn and the Two-Turns Penalty. However,
(a) when a boat may have broken a rule of Part 2 and rule 31 in the same incident she need not take the penalty for breaking rule 31;
(b) if the boat caused injury or serious damage or, despite taking a penalty, gained a significant advantage in the race or series by her breach her penalty shall be to retire.

44.2 One-Turn and Two-Turns Penalties
After getting well clear of other boats as soon after the incident as possible, a boat takes a One-Turn or Two-Turns Penalty by promptly making the required number of turns in the same direction, each turn including one tack and one gybe. When a boat takes the penalty at or near the finishing line, she shall sail completely to the course side of the line before finishing.

A boat is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes and clears the finishing line and marks or retires, or until the race committee signals a general recall, postponement or abandonment.

As described in rule 44.2, Blue does a turn including one tack (position 5) and one gybe (between position 2 and 3). After position 5, she is completely on the course side of the line; she then crosses the line from the course side and so finishes at position 7. Some people may be concerned that by doing a full turn around the mark, she has not sailed the course properly. I will cover this in another article, but for the moment I will just say that this is okay. Blue has now finished and properly sailed the course.

The situation that I just described had the same conclusion with the 2009-2012 rules. I never heard the argument made at the time, but there are people who now believe that under those rules having completed her penalty and crossed the finish line the second time, Blue should be allowed to count her first crossing as her finishing time. The current rules clarify the result in favour of the second crossing.

The Yellow boat has a very similar situation at the other end of line. She finishes at position 2 when her bow crosses the line from the course side. She has finished, but she is still racing. She then hits the committee boat at position 3. Since she is still racing, she is still subject to rule 31 (hitting marks) and decides to do a One-Turn Penalty. When she takes her penalty, she has not finished. She does a tack at position 6 and a gybe between position 9 and 10. She then finishes just before position 11.  It is important that she completes her gybe while she is still completely on the course side of the line. This is easy to be sure of when rounding the pin; it is harder to be certain if you do the penalty in the middle of the line.

There is one caveat about the situations described here. The answer I’m giving you here applies to most races around the world that use the turns penalties. However, I was originally asked the question about an RCYC Tuesday night race and these races use a scoring penalty  instead of turns penalties. If there is a scoring penalty, then Blue and Yellow would both have finished at about position 2 and then taken a scoring penalty afterwards.

It is not clear, given the wording in our 2013 Sailing Instructions whether the one-turn penalty or the scoring penalty applies to breaches of rule 31. In 2014, I will try to make it clear.
© Copyright 2013 Andrew Alberti
Posted: 10/1/2013 4:13:21 PM by Andrew Alberti

Trackback URL: https://rcyc.ca/trackback/b0b3f303-24ff-4355-b66a-16880456b02b/October_2013_-_Rules_Changes_VII.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 I
Tacking III
Tacking II
Publication Changes and Tacking
How to Finish
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