Sunday, April 17, 2011

Interesting scenario at Mark 1

This one comes to me from an umpire at the ICSA Pacific Coast Team Racing Championship.

Approaching mark 1 (to be left to starboard), Dark Blue is nearly stationary. Her teammate, Light Blue, is approaching from behind with an opponent, Yellow, to windward. As they approach Dark Blue, Yellow hails for room. Light blue continues to point directly at Dark Blue's transom until Yellow is "hooked" to windward. Light Blue then bears down below Dark Blue, and Yellow is trapped to windward. Yellow protests. What should the call be?

I'll post my answer in a few days.


  1. Dark blue is an obstruction. Light blue has ROW over yellow (R11) and gets to choose which side of Dark blue to pass (R19.2.a). She chose to pass to leeward and became outside boat to Yellow and so she is required to give room to Yellow under R19.2.b.

    Light Blue is DQ under R19.2.b.

  2. Dark blue is clear ahead of Y and LB.
    DB is therefore an obstruction to Y and LB.
    LB did not give Y room to pass the obstruction on the same side.

    The mark and the zone is not relevant.

    Penalise LB.

  3. Green flag, LB was never sailing a course to pass to leeward of DkB and while LB owes mark-room to yellow, yellow never attempts to take that mark-room. So, in trying to find which rules any of the boats could have broken...LB never breaks a rule, DkB never breaks a rule, Y never breaks a rule. Good mark-trap.

  4. Penalize Light Blue for breaking RRS 19.2 (b)

    -DB enters zone clear ahead of LB and Y.
    -Y, overlapped to LB has water rights on LB (If DB was not their).
    -DB is now and obstruction. Y and LB's proper course is now to leeward around DB.
    -Y cannot sail her proper course after becoming overlapped with DB.

  5. If this were a fleet race, and not a team race, would the outcome of the decision be any different?


  6. "If this were a fleet race, and not a team race, would the outcome of the decision be any different?"

    Perhaps; the zone would be larger, which could well change things if you think rule 18 is relevant to this analysis.

  7. Are there any possible ways for Y to counter such a move? If I understand the call correctly there would be nothing Y could do to ensure she would get room to pass behind B.

  8. CALL E9
    Rule 18.2 Giving Mark-Room Definitions Mark-Room
    Boats A, X and B are approaching a mark overlapped, with A required to give mark- room to X and X required to give mark-room to B. Does rule 18.2 require A to give enough room to X to enable her to give mark-room to B before B is at the mark?
    Y es.
    Mark-room includes room to sail to the mark and, for X, sailing to the mark includes giving B mark-room. Therefore, rule 18.2 requires A to give X room to give B mark- room.
    Room to sail to a mark includes room to give room to or keep clear of other boats if required by the rules to do so

  9. The last post I think nailed the main issue here. While rule 19 does not apply, rule 18 does. We're then left with two (I think) questions:

    1. LB must give Y room to give DB mark-room. Does that mean LB must allow Y to leeward of DB? Or does Y give DB mark-room by simply going above her? I think the better answer is that LB does not meet her obligations under rule 18.2(b); because of LB's actions, and give Y's obligation to DB, it seems that Y isn't given room to sail to the mark when read in light of Call E9.

    2. Even given the above, remember that the mark-room obligation between Y and LB doesn't begin until one of them is in the zone. Per call A6, Y "is [only] required to bear away promptly when the first of the boats enters the zone." In other words, she's not required to act before either of them is in the zone in anticipation of the future obligation. From the time Y enters the zone, is there enough time for LB to bear down such that Y can make it to leeward of DB? I'm not sure this is the case. Where does that leave us?

  10. I don't think E9 affects this case...if we follow the logic of E9, it doesn't really apply:

    LB owes room to Y and DB
    Y owes room to DB
    DB owes room to no one

    In order to Y to have a case, IMO, they would have to try to get to leeward of DB--they never do. Essentially, at what point did LB not provide room?

    The play for Y is to slow down, prevent the overlap with DB, and sail to leeward forcing LB to provide room...they do not do this--instead, they hook themselves on DB..LB is not responsible for that hooking, the vanishing obstruction is.

    Put another way: Y is entitled to sail to leeward of DB once in the zone--however, LB is only obligated to provide the room Y tries to take: if Y turns down, LB can turn down to provide room--Y never does, so LB doesn't break a rule. The basic principal of Case 63 applies I think: LB owed Y room...Y never took the room, so LB sailed on without Y being able to stop them.

  11. The Team Case call F2 does not apply to this situation. In that case, X bore off to force B to go below A. But it is B, as ROW that gets to choose which side of the obstruction to pass. As A was not an obstruction to X, X did not need to bare off.

    In this case, Y has not made LB chose which side of DB to pass. LB makes her own choice. If LB chooses to pass to leeward (outside) then R 19 says she must give room to Y too.

    In this case, it is a combination of R 18 and R 19 (not either or). Y's bow touches the zone. Now LB must give her mark room. LB must bare off to pass outside DB and must leave room for Yellow too. 18.2.b and 19.2.b


  12. "The Team Case call F2 does not apply to this situation. In that case, X bore off to force B to go below A. But it is B, as ROW that gets to choose which side of the obstruction to pass. As A was not an obstruction to X, X did not need to bare off."

    Question 4 of F2 applies. In fact, this is the same diagram -- just flipped around with the boats on a close hauled course rather than reach. I'm not sure which boat you mean by B, as F2 has boats A, X, and Y. But the point of Q4 is that until there is an inside and outside boat with respect to the obstruction, the rule doesn't apply, and here, there is no inside and outside boat until Y is hooked to windward of DB.

  13. Very tricky but I do not believe there is a penalty here. At the point where the first of Yellow/Light Blue reached the zone I don't believe LB could have given Y room due to DB.

    Also, LB was not steering a course to leeward of DB and once the overlap occurred between DB and Yellow and soon after with LB to leeward, DB is no longer an obstruction for Y as Y is now the ROW boat. Clever but tricky.

    I think it imperative that the LB boat makes clear to the umpires what they are doing to keep them on the same page, otherwise this could easily go against them if certain points are not known or overlooked. Umpires' last point of certainty would play a large role in a case like this.

  14. Good point about last point of certainty. Here, the last point of certainty is that LB and Y are not in the zone until the umpires are certain they are. By the time the umpires are certain of that, it is almost definitely too late for LB to head down enough to let Y to leeward of DB. And given that we have a call explicitly saying that a boat doesn't need to bear down to give mark-room until either she or the boat to whom she owes room is in the zone, I don't think you can penalize LB here.

  15. My opinion: Penalize light blue for not giving yellow room to round the mark.

    Per ISAF Case 114 (published by ISAF in 2010) "When a boat is entitled to room, the space she is entitled to includes space for her to keep clear of or give room to other boats when required to do so by the rules."

    In the scenario above, as soon as yellow enters the zone, she's entitled to room to round the mark (which includes space for her to give room to dark blue). In position 2, light blue, the outside boat, has still not born away to give yellow room (TR Call J1 corroborates "A boat required to give mark-room is required to do so from the time rule 18 starts to apply.")

    I believe rule 19 is moot for this interesting scenario. Rule 19.2(b) does not apply in positions 1 and 2 per question 4 of the Team Race Call Book as light blue is pointing directly at dark blue's transom and neither light blue or yellow are inside or outside.

  16. Bry, are you saying that LB would have to start giving Y room before the zone if DB is in the way? Simply from the diagram it seems that would be quite difficult and in some conditions maybe unseamanlike. If so, how might you plan this out better as DB, LB?

  17. I think lb can play with yellow before they reach the zone. When they hit the zone, case 114 and call j2 kick in and lb needs to give yellow room.

  18. I meant J1 in my last post, not J2

  19. To respond to Matt's 2nd question above "Where does that leave us?".

    Up until Y first enters the zone she is the keep-clear boat. If we agree that when Y first enters the zone she is entitled to mark-room from LB, do we take this also to mean that she is now the ROW boat? Wouldn't that mean Rule 15 and 16 come into play affecting how quickly Y can bear away? If Y bore away hard as ROW boat, and somehow managed to miss DB, would LB have room to keep clear "promptly and in a seaman-like manner"?

  20. Y does not have Right of Way and is not subject to rules 15 or 16.1.

    The hard question, I think, comes down to when LB must act to give Y mark-room.

    Bry cites to call J1, which says "A boat required to give mark-room is required to do so from the time rule 18 starts to apply." But this doesn't say she has to act before rule 18 starts to apply. Indeed, call A6 (q.2) says just the opposite: She need not head down to give mark-room until at least one of them is in the zone.

    Thus, I think the call is no penalty here. Were the zone bigger or the boats moving more slowly, I would probably penalize LB.

  21. If the umpires decide that lb did not give room to yellow AFTER yellow entered the zone (clearly when rule 18 starts to apply), penalize lb.

    If the umpires feel lb could not give room due to the proximity of dark blue, green flag.

    If you open the gif in preview on a mac, one can see the frame by frame. There are 51 frames in the animation. Yellow enters the zone in frame 12. Lb does not begin to bear away until frame 29. I think call J1 says lb is breaking rule 18 by not bearing away from frame 12 to 29.

    I could understand how a rookie umpire could miss this :)

  22. Call A6 does not convince me that LB need take no action outside the zone.

    In the situation of Call A6, bearing away at the zone edge was enough to satisfy rule 18.2.

    In the situation drawn here, LB needs to plan ahead so that it is physically possible for her to give mark-room at the instant she enters the zone, due to the third boat DB and the requirements that E9 and Case 114 make clear.

    Rule 18 requires planning and possibly early action, otherwise it would not have the extra words in 18.2e, limititing the exception to boats unable to give mark-room "from the time overlap began".

    The diagram is still a difficult call. If LB had borne away a bit earlier, by position 2, she would probably comply with the letter of 18.2b, even if Y was unable to take the room given.