October 2016 - Luffing Over The Start Line

placeholder image

October 2016 - Luffing Over The Start Line

Two months ago I talked about barging. This month, I want to compare the situation of barging at the committee boat with a luffing situation further down the line. Before I do this, I need to provide some context. In races with a large number of boats on the starting line, such as Optimists, Lasers, 420’s and even J/105’s, it is quite common to have so many boats over the line that the race committee has to use a general recall. In these circumstances, special starting flags such as the black flag (rule 30.3) are used. When the black flag goes up four minutes before the start and then comes down one minute before the start, any boat over the line during the last minute before the start is disqualified. This provides a very strong incentive not to be over in the last minute. The incentive may be so strong that boats are tempted to break other rules.



In the diagram, we see Yellow, Blue, Grey and White approaching the starting line with less than a minute to go. It is a black flag start, so if any boat (or boats) were to be over the line in the last minute, they would be disqualified. The starting signal has not yet gone. White is to leeward of Grey, so White has right-of-way over Grey based on rule 11. Yellow is to leeward of Blue, so Yellow has right-of-way over Blue. At position 2, Yellow and White both luff up, causing Blue and Grey to have to luff to avoid them. Yellow and White are both right-of-way boats and when they alter course, rule 16 says that they have to allow the give-way (windward) boats room to keep clear. 

At about position 2, Grey complains that if she goes up any higher she will hit the committee boat. Blue complains that if she goes up any higher she will be over the line, and therefore disqualified. The definition of room is “space … while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way”. It is not seamanlike to hit a committee boat (or even an inflatable mark) so Grey is correct and White must give her space to keep clear. White could legitimately have closed the door on Grey before position 1, but having left it open, White cannot now close it at position 2 when the only way for Grey to keep clear is to hit the committee boat. Once they are past the committee boat, at position 4, White can luff more.

Blue, on the other hand, is only trying to avoid being over the line early (and consequently disqualified, but that’s not a seamanship issue). Yellow has given her room to keep clear – Blue therefore has to take that room and go over the line. 

Responding to Yellow’s luff is not optional, no matter what the penalty for going over. If Blue does not keep clear, then not only has she broken rule 11, but she cannot exonerate herself by doing a two-turns penalty afterwards. Rule 44.1, which describes the two-turns penalty, says that if the boat “gains significant advantage in the race … by her breach her penalty shall be to retire”. If Blue avoids the disqualification for being over the line, then she has gained a significant advantage, so she has to retire. If she doesn’t retire, she could be disqualified in a protest. If it is clear that her actions were deliberate, she might be disqualified under rule 2 and not allowed to drop that race in the series score.
 
2 FAIR SAILING
A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalized under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. A disqualification under this rule shall not be excluded from the boat’s series score.

11 ON THE SAME TACK, OVERLAPPED
When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

16 CHANGING COURSE

16.1 When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.

30.3 Black Flag Rule
If a black flag has been displayed, no part of a boat’s hull, crew or equipment shall be in the triangle formed by the ends of the starting line and the first mark during the last minute before her starting signal. If a boat breaks this rule and is identified, she shall be disqualified without a hearing, even if the race is restarted or resailed, but not if it is postponed or abandoned before the starting signal. If a general recall is signalled or the race is abandoned after the starting signal, the race committee shall display her sail number before the next warning signal for that race, and if the race is restarted or resailed she shall not sail in it. If she does so, her disqualification shall not be excluded in calculating her series score.

44.1 Taking a Penalty
A boat may take a Two-Turns Penalty when she may have broken one or more rules of Part 2 in an incident while racing. 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.

© Copyright 2016 Andrew Alberti
Posted: 10/1/2016 1:38:33 PM by Andrew Alberti


Trackback URL: https://rcyc.ca/trackback/33f59506-e0c1-4f37-bf3b-685badd5e99c/October_2016_-_Luffing_Over_The_Start_Line.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 2016 are based on the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-12 or 2013-2016 and have not been updated to reflect the changes that apply as of January 2017 with the publication of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2017-20. A copy of the new rules can be found on sailing.org.
ABOUT ANDREW ALBERTI
Andrew Alberti has been writing these monthly articles in the Kwasind since early 1997.  They explain the Racing Rules of Sailing. Andrew is a National 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. 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Send your questions to Andrew at kyrules@alberti.ca.

 

ABOUT RCYC: 
166 Years of Tradition | World-Class Sailing | Toronto Island & City Clubhouse
 
Penalties – When and How to Take Them
New Rule Changes III
Mark Room at a Gybe Mark
March/April 2021 - New Rule Changes II
January/February 2021 - New Rule Changes
Post Archive
October 2021(0)
October 2021(1)
August 2021(2)
May/June 2021(0)
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)
RSS