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Solo News 18 Jul



    We’ve finally had some windy races – the Anniversary series on Sunday was a decent blow although it didn’t stay full on all race. Credit to Dave Clarke who braved the elemants in what was probably a bit over his comfort zone.


    Sundays results showed:


    Peter H




    CJ Cavallari

    Dave C


    Nice to see that I’m not the only person who can lose track of a course after several laps... several Solos were observed close to 7 when they should have been beating to 6...


    On Tuesday we had all FOUR club solos on the water for the try sailors together with my boat so people could try different boats. Hope to see some of the try sailors on Saturdays soon.


    I’ve seen several incidents close to marks both at the Open and in recent club races so I think a rules clinic on windward mark rights would be useful. Maybe we’ll follow with one at the leeward mark – these are the trickier parts of the rules.



    First let’s just think about general beating to windward – until we enter ‘the zone’ – three lengths from the mark we are on standard rules. Port tack has to keep clear of starboard tack, but what happens when someone tacks. The most common case is a port tack boat which cannot quite cross ahead of a starboard tack, so chooses to make a ‘lee bow tack’. That means the port tack boat chooses to tack as the starboard boat approaches – she must keep clear as she tacks, but she ends up slightly ahead but to leeward of the starboard tack. Now we have two boats on the same tack so the basic windward boat keeps clear applies. In this situation the leeward boat tends to be lifted and finds it can point slightly higher (due to the deflection of wind round the windward boats sails).



    Rule 15 applies to start with:

    When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear, unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat's actions.


    Also obviously the port tack boat does not acquire rights until she COMPLETS her tack onto starboard. Note that is when she is on a close hauled course (not once the sails are drawing etc). Once she is on a close hauled course on starboard (even though the main hasn’t been sheeted back in and the boat isn’t back up to speed) her new rights as a leeward boat start.


    Once both boats are on starboard and the new leeward boat has initially kept clear, she can now point up as she wishes.


    A leeward boat can luff up to head to wind (beyond that she would be tacking) but she must do so in a manner that alo9ows the other boat to keep clear. Luffing beyond close hauled rarely pays but you can choose to sail as high as possible and the windward boat must keep clear.


    If you NOW enter the zone (three boat lengths from the mark) the leeward boat may need to briefly luff above close hauled to make the mark – she is entitled to do this, she can certainly push the windward boat to sail above close hauled to miss her and give mark room. I’m assuming the mark is being left to port so the leeward boat is inside and has rights. She may not go beyond head to wind (or she is tacking) but she can luff to clear the mark.




    Next we come to the case where the port tacker will meet the starboard tacker INSIDE the zone. Now it is different because we are in rule 18 territory on mark rounding.


    18.3 Tacking when Approaching a Mark

    If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them changes tack, and as a result is subject to rule 13 (keep clear while tacking) in the zone when the other is fetching  the mark, rule 18.2 (overlapped boats outside boat must give inside boat room) does not thereafter apply. The boat that changed tack

    (a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid her or prevent the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and

    (b) shall give mark-room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her

    You can still make the lee bow tack, but you may NOT make the windward boat sail above close hauled. So you can only do this if the starboard tack boat has slightly overstood the mark so you can make the mark without forcing the windward boat above close hauled – now it is THEIR close hauled course that matters – if you can point higher that doesn’t matter, they can sail their close hauled course. – You definitely can’t squeeze up to clear the mark if that forces them above close hauled.


    Generally it is a dangerous move to try and approach on port and tack ahead and to leeward INSIDE the zone because you may not (make others) sail above close hauled, and if the other boat dives behind and inside you must give room (part (b) above. (They still have to give you a chance to keep clear when they acquire right of way under rule 15 but it can get tricky if you do not see it coming)  If you tack ahead of someone watch out for them diving inside you – THEY CAN, you tacked inside the zone so the usual limits do not apply! If you tack to leeward it is only OK if they can clear you without sailing above close hauled.


    Make the leebow tack OUTSIDE the zone though and you can squeeze up as much as you like once you initially give them room after your tack.


    Finally if you are forced to hit the mark because another boat who should given you room failed to do so you can protest and be exonerated under rule 64. There is an appeals case that covers this, but you will probably need to read the case decision several times to get it all clear!

    However if there is no protest you are still wrong. if you protest the other boat you can be exonerated. Now we prefer not to have the formality of protests but to agree things on the water or in the bar afterwards but if there is doubt over an incident a protest should not be seen as a personal attack, but an investigation into the rules that apply.  I’m happy for this blog to cover my take on incidents so we all learn.  If you disagree let me know – I still sometimes get questions wrong in the rules quiz!


    If you haven’t looked at it the site

    is great fun. You can do the rules quiz, but if you click on the Racing Rules of Sailing (inside the book icon) it shows you all the rules and useful appeals cases. Very easy to read because all the definitions are links so you quickly move around related rules and definitions.


    I will be there this weekend but then I’m on vacation for a couple of week – happy holidays to anyone else going away. Normal news service will resume when I get back (as will the results on the web site!)





    Club Open with Stage 3 Restrictions    find out more