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Room at the start?

Sep 15, 2016
612
Catalina 22 Minnesota
ok so time for a racing question now that the boat is tucked away for the long minnesota winter :( So I raced nationals this year in my C22 and had an interesting occurrence at one of the starts. There were 3 other boats (4 with me) approaching the start right on time as the gun was about to sound. All were on Starboard and we were all very close to the committee boat as it was the favored line. As we got to the start the "conversations" started and one of the other racers started yelling "No room" We were in the lead just slightly but they had better boat speed and would pass us before the start line. Not being fully aware of what rule he was citing I quickly turned up to loose speed and then fell right back off to join in right behind them (missed the motor on the committee boat by inches). All boats were within a few feet of one another and I was the outside boat. I asked later at the wrap up for someone to explain but never really understood the answer, though they were impressed how fast we recovered and were right on their stern again. So can one of your more well versed race aficionados help me understand why I needed to give room when we were all on starboard and I was the outside boat? Picture is not my start but the Gold fleet and the same start line for reference. IMG_5770.JPG
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,193
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
If the boat to leeward of you were to round up, and you didn't have room to come head to wind "while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way" then you did not have rights to be there. Now if you were clear ahead and the boat to leeward developed an overlap from astern, you may have rights.
 
Sep 15, 2016
612
Catalina 22 Minnesota
@JRacer what a wealth of information. So Page 11 is almost exactly the senario the only difference is that neither of us needed to "change course" so me being the Windward (orange) boat needed to give room. Now to expand on this is there a distance from the start in which these rules apply? Since the leeward boat started clear astern of me, overlapped and then would have been abeam if we maintained course is it always the leeward that has the starting rights and why? Also is there a "Time" where the leeward boat must give room to avoid collision with the windward boat and the committee boat? As i said we gave way (which it appears was right to do) but it was close as I had one crew on deck ready to fend off the committee boat if need be as we were within a foot of the outboard of the boat as we fell back off (wind 15kts+). No matter the situation I can say as @DArcy - Islay Mist put it "I maneuvered in a prompt and seaman like way". Not bad for a boat that was crewed by my wife and 3 kids in our first nationals.
 

JRacer

.
Aug 9, 2011
1,233
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
Before the start signal, the leeward boat can come up to head to wind. After the start signal they must fall off to "proper course" (generally close hauled). Throughout the maneuvering, they must give the obligated boat (you in this case) room and opportunity to fulfil your obligation the stay clear. You are, as the windward boat obligated to keep clear of leeward. If they cannot exercise their rights completely (i.e. your presence prevents it), you will have fouled them and they can protest you (versus come up and hit you to prove the point). Start signal, not the starting line, is the trigger that puts the obligation for leeward to fall off to proper course. Trying to squeeze between a leeward boat and the committee boat (or a windward boat) is a recipe for disaster. If you find yourself (planning ahead) heading for that position, bail out early and if there are boats to windward of you, take them up but you too must give them "room and opportunity' to respond.

The leeward boat needs to give you room to avoid hitting the committee boat but when they do that you are the one that has fouled them.
 
May 17, 2004
3,420
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Since the leeward boat started clear astern of me, overlapped and then would have been abeam if we maintained course is it always the leeward that has the starting rights and why?
Yes, until the starting signal leeward always has rights to come up, as long as they give you room to keep clear.
Also is there a "Time" where the leeward boat must give room to avoid collision with the windward boat and the committee boat?
For that decision Leeward is only bound by rule 14 (Avoiding Contact). Basically as long as they give way before Windward runs into them they are fine. Even if Windward does run into Leeward, Leeward is still exonerated for breaking rule 14 unless there is damage or injury.


Now if you were clear ahead and the boat to leeward developed an overlap from astern, you may have rights.
Only if it’s after the starting signal, and the leeward boat is going above their “proper course”. Usually in a situation like this the windward boat is not close hauled, so leeward can come up to close hauled and force windward into trouble, without ever being above proper course.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I'm assuming that "outside" meant that you were to windward of the other 3 boats. It sounds like you had room to avoid the committee boat when the leeward boat overlapped you and started calling "no room". Instead of doing a circle, it sounds like you luffed to slow down and then you fell in behind the leeward boat, so you definitely had space to keep clear. If the leeward boat started pinching and forcing you up when you were close enough that you couldn't avoid the committee boat, then I'd say they were too late - the leeward boat has to shut the door before you are trapped by the committee boat. But they weren't so you did what you needed to do. Sounds like no harm, no foul.

It's interesting that after the start horn, then the leeward boat would have to sail proper course and no longer can force you to windward of the committee boat. But it sounds like they were on proper course as they approached the line so it wouldn't matter, I think, if some of this occurred after the start horn.

But all of this is just my interpretation, and I would not claim to be anywhere close to an authority. I'm just willing to chime in! :)
 

JRacer

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Aug 9, 2011
1,233
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
If they cannot exercise their rights completely (i.e. your presence prevents it), you will have fouled them and they can protest you (versus come up and hit you to prove the point).
I stand corrected: See Appeal 117
appeal 117— When boats are passing a race committee boat and a leeward boat luffs, rule 16.1
requires her to give the windward boat room to keep clear, which includes room to avoid touching
the committee boat or breaking a rule of Part 2.

Also see Case 114:
 

Attachments

Last edited:
May 17, 2004
3,420
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I stand corrected: See Appeal 117
appeal 117— When boats are passing a race committee boat and a leeward boat luffs, rule 16.1
requires her to give the windward boat room to keep clear, which includes room to avoid touching
the committee boat or breaking a rule of Part 2.

Also see Case 114:
Appeal 117 is one of my favorites for thinking through pre-start rules.
 
Jun 2, 2007
381
Beneteau First 375 Slidell, LA
A minor point here, but it's important for all racers to be familiar with the rules - the limitation on the leeward boat not sailing above proper course only applies if she achieved her overlap on the windward boat from astern, and within two boat lengths laterally (which seems to be the case in this instance.) It would not apply if the windward boat overlapped the leeward from astern, or if the windward boat came reaching in and headed up to a course parallel to, and overlapped with, the leeward boat. There is also a specific exclusion for the situation where a boat crosses another one on the opposite tack, then tacks to windward of her, allowing the other boat to overlap her to leeward. See Rule 17. Note that the situation remains the same for as long as the boats are overlapped, whether the overlap began before the start or not; the difference is that there is no proper course before the start signal.
 
Sep 15, 2016
612
Catalina 22 Minnesota
Wow thanks everyone for explaining this is detail for me. This was indeed a learning year for me and I had decided before we even went that if one of the more experienced racers said I needed to do X then I would follow suit and learn the right and wrong of it later. Indeed there was enough room for us (just barely) as the racers are in tight quarters on the start. So now that I understand the overlap, start timing, and which boat gives way can anyone help my understand the logic behind the rule?

It would appear that the leeward boat has more menuraveribility than the windward boat in that windward can only go into irons or tack to avoid collision. Lewardward has more usable wind / water in that they can fall off without tacking or jibing. So why are the rights given to the leeward boat?

By the way all of this is just for my knowledge. The racers were great and I appreciate all I learned from the week of racing. There were no hard feelings and not a single protest in either fleet despite a collision, demasting, and the loss of a crew member on other boats. The Catalina 22 group is a great and friendly group of sailors that feels more like family.
 
Aug 2, 2010
438
J-Boat J/88 Cobourg
I stand corrected: See Appeal 117
appeal 117— When boats are passing a race committee boat and a leeward boat luffs, rule 16.1
requires her to give the windward boat room to keep clear, which includes room to avoid touching
the committee boat or breaking a rule of Part 2.

Also see Case 114:
Really??? I have not yet read the decision you list, but what the hell do you do about bargers? We have one Guy in our club who does it about every other race and always says "sorry I am here" but he still gains an advantage....
 
May 17, 2004
3,420
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
It would appear that the leeward boat has more menuraveribility than the windward boat in that windward can only go into irons or tack to avoid collision. Lewardward has more usable wind / water in that they can fall off without tacking or jibing. So why are the rights given to the leeward boat?
I’ve never seen anything authoritative on the origin of the rule, but I always assumed it had to do with favoring the more encumbered boat on a run. Going downwind the leeward boat may be in a wind shadow, and forcing her to turn down may lead to a dangerous accidental gybe. Upwind the windward boat might be forced into irons or a tack, but they have clear wind to work with and a quick tack is less dangerous than a gybe.
Really??? I have not yet read the decision you list, but what the hell do you do about bargers? We have one Guy in our club who does it about every other race and always says "sorry I am here" but he still gains an advantage....
Someone should be pointing up and forcing him out before he gets to the RC boat. If he doesn’t move then he should get protested, for everyone’s education and safety. If you wait until he’s overlapped with the RC boat before bringing him up it’s too late. One other condition is that you can still protest him when he’s overlapped with the RC, as long as you’re coming in on a constant course. You just can’t change course in an effort to run him into the boat.
 
Aug 2, 2010
438
J-Boat J/88 Cobourg
I’ve never seen anything authoritative on the origin of the rule, but I always assumed it had to do with favoring the more encumbered boat on a run.
While I don't see it now I vividly remember raising that same point about leeward seeming to have more options than windward and I know Jackdaw came up with a perfectly sensible explanation. Perhaps he will see this and respond.
Dan
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Really??? I have not yet read the decision you list, but what the hell do you do about bargers? We have one Guy in our club who does it about every other race and always says "sorry I am here" but he still gains an advantage....
You have to close him out earlier. If you have a guy who does this consistently, I'd say that he's just better at the start than everybody else whom can't close him out. If he is actually forcing you down, why don't you protest?

In regard to windward / leeward rights … I think that if windward had rights over leeward, there is far more potential for chaos. Think of a windward boat chasing a leeward boat clear off the course just because there is no limitation on where he/she can chase them.

A leeward boat is very limited in what they can do without penalizing themselves. You can only luff up so far before you come to a standstill. If it were the other way around, a windward boat could chase a leeward boat off the finish line on a windward finish. With rights given to the leeward boat, the purposeful abuse against a windward boat is extremely limited by the wind direction. This is true anywhere on the course.

As it stands, the only place where a leeward boat gains a slight advantage over a windward boat is at the right side of the start line just before the start. It seems like a relatively small consideration when you consider the chaos that would be created if it were the other way.
 
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Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Even at the start, just think of the chaos that could be caused by one boat running down the length of the start line, chasing a multiple of leeward boats into gybes or other diversionary tactics. With leeward rights, it is far more orderly. There is a significant limitation caused by the wind. You can't simply chase an opposing boat upwind and leave yourself room for timing the start and there is always the penalty of luffing to a standstill that makes it impossible to chase other boats wholesale off the line. Your impact is limited by the wind direction.
 
Jun 2, 2007
381
Beneteau First 375 Slidell, LA
I agree with all the foregoing; I think a big part of the original intent was to allow a leeward boat to defend herself from being rolled over by a windward boat.
 

JRacer

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Aug 9, 2011
1,233
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
Someone should be pointing up and forcing him out before he gets to the RC boat. If he doesn’t move then he should get protested, for everyone’s education and safety. If you wait until he’s overlapped with the RC boat before bringing him up it’s too late. One other condition is that you can still protest him when he’s overlapped with the RC, as long as you’re coming in on a constant course. You just can’t change course in an effort to run him into the boat.
Precisely. Once he's between you and the boat (RC or otherwise) you (leeward) are limited in what you can do to defend. If you see someone headed for that hole, stick it up and close the door before the boat.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
While I don't see it now I vividly remember raising that same point about leeward seeming to have more options than windward and I know Jackdaw came up with a perfectly sensible explanation. Perhaps he will see this and respond.
Dan
Its really designed to create an as close-to-fair situation as possible. A windward boat has a natural advantage having by having gauge. They can do pretty much whatever they want with respect to leeward if it were not for rules. A boat-on-boat rule in their favor would be a disaster.
 
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DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,193
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
It would appear that the leeward boat has more menuraveribility than the windward boat in that windward can only go into irons or tack to avoid collision. Lewardward has more usable wind / water in that they can fall off without tacking or jibing. So why are the rights given to the leeward boat?
You can't always turn down but you can (almost) always round up. The leeward boat may have less ability to maneuver. Most boats are designed with some weather helm and as the wind builds, the boat heels and the weather helm increases. It is not uncommon for a boat to have limited ability to turn down but can almost always round up.