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Solo News 14 Nov 2010

  • As I wasn’t there results and race write-up courtesy of Eddie...


    Results as follows.


    5071    Malcolm Barnes

    3174    Roy Poole

    4173    Dave Lawton

    3457    Mervyn Cinnamond

    4073    Peter Cottrell

    3861    Dave Clarke

    3854    Martin Mitchell

    3142    Peter Renn


    Total 8

    A surprising turnout despite the awful weather conditions. The weather was appalling. Dank, cold, misty with a fine drizzle all day.  Add to the brew an almost total vacuum of still air gently stirred by the occasional zephyr, patients and stamina tested to the limit.  I can only marvel at your dedication to the Solo cause , team spirit and iron concentration. Tactics and strategy counted for nothing on such a day, persistence did.  I salute you all.



    I’d like to continue the rules tutorials with a few more common situations in particular the windward/leeward rule both before the start and once we are in the race.


    What’s different before the start is that there is no such thing as a proper course. We haven’t started so there is no course yet.


    Basic rule:



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

    This (Rule 11) is the basic rule we’ll cover this week. However we will need to consider how this is limited by a few later rules. Some of these we considered last week as they apply in lots of situations


    When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.


    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


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

    16.2 In addition, when after the starting signal a port-tack boat is keeping clear by sailing to pass astern of a starboard-tack boat, the starboard-tack boat shall not change course if as a result the port-tack boat would immediately need to change course to continue keeping clear.


    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.

    OK that’s more than enough rules to think about. Let’s instead consider some common occurrences.


    Here there is no proper course so rule 17 never applies. A leeward boat can always luff a windward boat but she is still subject to rule 16. You can’t make it impossible for the windward boat, but equally the windward boat must try as hard as she can to keep clear. You will generally hear people shouting ‘Windward boat’ or ‘Up’ The shouts are not important – note that you absolutely can luff someone and make them sail over the start line.  Obviously you can’t luff so quickly that the windward boat can’t keep clear (rule 16)  but you can gently and persistently push them up.

    Also note that rule 18 (mark room) DOES NOT APPLY at a start mark.


    Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them

    This used to be called the ‘anti-barging rule’. There is no inside at the mark as you approach the start line. A leeward boat can (and probably should) shut you out. Aiming to start right at the starboard end is hard because if you don’t approach close hauled you can be shut out by a boat below you. Even close hauled if a boat below has speed they can luff up to head to wind to shut you out. If you find yourself in the impossible situation trying to barge but with no room the only correct action is to spin round before you get to the committee boat (generally tack to get out of the way) and come in slightly late.


    When do you need to respond – As soon as a boat below starts to luff you must start to respond. Note that if you are stopped this means you must sheet in to gather way and then respond. If the boat to leeward is approaching without luffing (just closing from below) you must anticipate and keep clear. They had right of way and you should have seen them coming.


    How far can you luff – In theory up to head to wind. At that point you start tacking and lose rights. Generally it doesn’t pay to go that far because you lose too much ground on everyone else.


    There is a common miss-conception that ‘Overtaking boat keeps clear’. THERE IS NO SUCH RULE. It is true that a boat clear astern must keep clear of a boat clear ahead, but there is no rule that says overtaking boat keeps clear. There are constraints on an overtaking boat (Rule 17) but it doesn’t say overtaking keeps clear. So read rule 17 carefully and then let’s think about overtaking probably on a run or a reach. If we try to overtake to windward clearly rule 11 (windward boat keeps clear) applies so in this case it is true that the overtaking boat must keep clear. Also for the old-timers (me included) note that there is no ‘mast-abeam’ any more. The leeward boat may luff you and continue to luff constrained only by rule 16.


    What about overtaking to leeward – here again the rules changed fairly recently – note rule 17 says the leeward boat may not sail above her proper course. (Older rules when we had mast abeam etc. made the windward boat not sail below her proper course). That means that the windward boat must still keep clear, but the leeward boat can point where she would in the absence of the windward boat – for example straight at the mark. That might force the windward boat slightly above the mark to keep clear. It certainly means the windward boat can’t bear away onto the leeward boat. The leeward boat mustn’t luff above her proper course but she can point at the mark (that might mean she starts below the mark, establishes an overlap and then slowly luffs until pointing at the mark).  However note the other limitations in the constraints of rule 17 – if the leeward boat gybes and gybes back while still overlapped she is no longer constrained by rule 17 – she had not ‘remained on the same tack’. Similarly if she gets more than two lengths to leeward and then luffs she is not constrained because she has now not approached from astern. 


    Hope this didn’t get too technical, but it is a really good idea to think through these situations before you meet them!


    See you Sunday





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