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18-3 Interpretation

Aug 2, 2010
352
J-Boat J/88 Cobourg
During a recent race we watched a scene unfold that resulted in a disqualification for one of the boats and it highlighted my weakness in knowing all the rules inside-out. We watched a port tack Boat (A) approach the windward mark as a starboard tack boat (B)in front of us came into the mark reasonably concurrently. It seemed B was quite close to the mark possibly in the 2 length zone when they started yelling starboard and then immediately A called for mark room. This went on a couple of times before B had to turn hard upwind into irons to avoid a collision where they languished for some time before they got turned around and back under way. A clearly tacked in the zone tightly around the mark.
As I was anticipating the event I thought that B should be turning up to provide room because I did not understand 18-3 correctly and thought they owed mark room to A. Though it was just my impression, I thought B could sail a higher course earlier and I did not get the impression that they turned down to cut A off. B claimed A could given room but did not and even that B dramatized the situation by turning up into irons rather than just moving up to close-hauled and letting them in.
Finally, my question: Was B under any obligation to sail higher before the zone to create mark room for A. Assuming the answer is no because the rule only applies inside the zone, how would B decide what to do as they approach the mark unsure if there is room and or if there is room for B to sail higher?
Dan
 
May 17, 2004
2,100
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
As far as I can tell A has no rights at all in this situation, for numerous reasons:
1) Per rule 18.1(a), Rule 18 (Mark Room) does not apply between boats on opposite tacks on a beat to windward
2) Per rule 18.1(b), Rule 18 (Mark Room) does not apply between boats on opposite tacks when the proper course at the mark for one but not the other is to tack

From your description it sounds like both of the above are true, so the meeting is strictly port/starboard, and A has no right to call for room. The above (especially 18.1(b)) don't require that B sail close hauled. He's on starboard so he's right, as long as he doesn't alter course in a way that doesn't give A room to keep clear.

3) Even if the above weren't the case, 18.3 says that once A tacks she can't force B above close hauled anyway. If B had to turn up to avoid collision then not only did B not foul A, but A did foul B.
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,412
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
Tough protest to win. Obviously A has no rights but by screaming at B caused B to luff up. Back in the day were we B I would have stood on until close to a collision before putting the helm down, just as you described B's behavior. B could be in a bit of trouble if they headed off below the "proper course to the mark" to force A to bear off. With no collision unless there are witnesses willing to testify at the hearing, they would have trouble trying to sort this one. Of course with cruising class boats, collisions are to be avoided.
 
Aug 2, 2010
352
J-Boat J/88 Cobourg
One of the Guys on our boat is certain that B had room and was sailing below close-hauled, but I wasn't so sure. I so wish I had known the rule correctly because I am sure I would have noted B's course and how far they were below close hauled as they approached and entered the zone.
 
May 17, 2004
2,100
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Of course with cruising class boats, collisions are to be avoided.
Well that's true with any class. See rule 14 (Avoiding Contact). B had to avoid contact with A as long as it's reasonably possible, once it was clear that A wasn't keeping clear. Only exception is that if B did make contact, they'd be exonerated for breaking rule 14 if there was no damage or injury.
 
May 17, 2004
2,100
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
One of the Guys on our boat is certain that B had room and was sailing below close-hauled, but I wasn't so sure. I so wish I had known the rule correctly because I am sure I would have noted B's course and how far they were below close hauled as they approached and entered the zone.
I don't think it matters. They were on starboard and had no obligation to be close hauled. A had to tack at the mark and B didn't, so just like any other crossing B can be on whatever course they like and not owe A room.
 
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Oct 1, 2007
1,412
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
One of the Guys on our boat is certain that B had room and was sailing below close-hauled, but I wasn't so sure. I so wish I had known the rule correctly because I am sure I would have noted B's course and how far they were below close hauled as they approached and entered the zone.
My understanding of the rule is that close hauled is not as important as "proper course to the mark". So, if proper course to the mark is a reach, then B over stood the mark and the proper course is a reach.
 
Aug 2, 2010
352
J-Boat J/88 Cobourg
I don't think it matters. They were on starboard and had no obligation to be close hauled. A had to tack at the mark and B didn't, so just like any other crossing B can be on whatever course they like and not owe A room.
David, I read the rule to say that B could not sail below close hauled to prevent A from having mark room based on the sentence in italics:
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 in the zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 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.
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,412
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
I don't think it matters. They were on starboard and had no obligation to be close hauled. A had to tack at the mark and B didn't, so just like any other crossing B can be on whatever course they like and not owe A room.
..Except they cannot be on a course below the proper course to the mark. This is part of why this is such a difficult protest to win.
 
May 17, 2004
2,100
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
David, I read the rule to say that B could not sail below close hauled to prevent A from having mark room based on the sentence in italics:
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 in the zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 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.
Are you sure you're looking at the 2017-2020 rules? 18-3 was updated in that version. It now reads:

18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If a boat in the zone of a mark to be left to port passes head to wind from port to starboard tack and is then fetching the mark, she shall not cause a boat that has been on starboard tack since entering the zone to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact and she shall give mark-room if that boat becomes overlapped inside her. When this rule applies between boats, rule 18.2 does not apply between them
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,737
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I didn't read all this.

You come to the WINDWARD mark on port you have ZERO rights.

You are on PORT vs starboard boats
You have no mark room.
If you tack in the zone (even if you finish your tack) and get clear ahead you cannot force any starboard boat above close hauled.

Its dangerous and stupid to come into a crowded windward zone on port. Calling for 'mark room' is a public display of your stupidity.
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,737
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
There is a interesting wrinkle to this rule that some have pointed out. If a starboard boat has over-stood and is REACHING in, a port tacker in the zone can finish their tack and can legally have them have turn up, as long as they do not force them to go past close hauled. This is pretty common in less skilled fleets where boats over-stand.

A good (but risky/skilled) trick is to put your nose UNDER them if you have speed and can make the mark. Then THEY have to keep clear and owe you mark room.
 
Aug 9, 2011
1,076
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
There is a interesting wrinkle to this rule that some have pointed out. If a starboard boat has over-stood and is REACHING in, a port tacker in the zone can finish their tack and can legally have them have turn up, as long as they do not force them to go past close hauled. This is pretty common in less skilled fleets where boats over-stand.

A good (but risky/skilled) trick is to put your nose UNDER them if you have speed and can make the mark. Then THEY have to keep clear and owe you mark room.
And, you better have the GoPro recording it all!
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,737
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Another rule to fully understand in mark room calls is Rule #13.

Rule 13 says that WHILE TACKING, a boat has no rights, UNTIL she comes to her new close hauled course.

Many boats think that once they pass thru the eye of the wind they are on starboard. Not true. The boat has to settle down to the new close hauled angle before they are granted the rights of the tack they are on. Note that the sails to not need to be trimmed to that angle. The boat just has to be pointing there.
 
May 17, 2004
2,100
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
There is a interesting wrinkle to this rule that some have pointed out. If a starboard boat has over-stood and is REACHING in, a port tacker in the zone can finish their tack and can legally have them have turn up, as long as they do not force them to go past close hauled. This is pretty common in less skilled fleets where boats over-stand.

A good (but risky/skilled) trick is to put your nose UNDER them if you have speed and can make the mark. Then THEY have to keep clear and owe you mark room.
Just to make sure I understand (because I think I had forgotten this part up thread) - that's just because of windward/leeward, right? There's nothing special about the writing of rule 18 that applies there, or is there?
 
Aug 2, 2010
352
J-Boat J/88 Cobourg
There is a interesting wrinkle to this rule that some have pointed out. If a starboard boat has over-stood and is REACHING in, a port tacker in the zone can finish their tack and can legally have them have turn up, as long as they do not force them to go past close hauled. This is pretty common in less skilled fleets where boats over-stand.

A good (but risky/skilled) trick is to put your nose UNDER them if you have speed and can make the mark. Then THEY have to keep clear and owe you mark room.
This wrinkle is the basis for the defence in this case with the boat who came in on port claiming the starboard boat had turned down to cut them off and on close hauled would have given them room. Very tough call and I was there!
 
May 17, 2004
2,100
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
This wrinkle is the basis for the defence in this case with the boat who came in on port claiming the starboard boat had turned down to cut them off and on close hauled would have given them room. Very tough call and I was there!
My interpretation from your initial post was that B headed up before A had even tacked. If that's the case then I don't think A had any right to force B up (still port/starboard). If A cleanly tacked and then forced B to turn up to close hauled I agree A could be OK.
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,737
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Just to make sure I understand (because I think I had forgotten this part up thread) - that's just because of windward/leeward, right? There's nothing special about the writing of rule 18 that applies there, or is there?
If you finish a tack in front of someone, normally you are clear ahead and are ROW, even if they have luff or tack to avoid you. 18 says in the zone you cannot do this.