Jump to content

Rules: room to tack?

Recommended Posts

With the Paper Tiger NSW State Titles coming up at Wagga, Oct 1-2, I wondering about Rule 20:

- imagine starting at the Port end of the line, then coming towards the lake's shore

- the entire fleet of 25 boats is on starboard and to windward

- you hail for room and tack close to the shore

- you are now on port and everyone else remains on starboard, and can go further before they need to tack

How long can you continue on port?

Would you have to keep tacking back to starboard, then calling for room, going back onto port, then....etc?

How close to the shore would you need to get before calling for room and tacking?

Imagine the shore gently slopes into the lake, so it gradually gets deeper and centreboard depth may be 10 - 20m from shore...

A picture of a similar situation:


*from a Rules of Sailing website which FAILS to provide any info on how the situation was ruled

Link to post
Share on other sites

Based purely on your graphic, I'd say that the Yellow boat had the right to call for water, the blue & green boats obliged appropriately.

When they then meet the Starboard tacked Red boat, yellow, green & blue would all have to either tack or duck based on the normal port starboard rule.

If they tack you'll then likely get the same scenario that started it all in that the yellow boat would call for room forcing the other 3 boats to oblige and give room.

Now as for your question of how long can you continue on port? As long as you want provided you keep clear of starboard tacked boats.

There is no limit as to how far you can go on the new tack after you have called for water.

My 2 cents.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be seeking clarification from the race committee about agreed distance off the shore that constitutes "the shore"- so no-one ends up in the mud.

They can add this to their sailing instructions course areas appendix.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, great replies thanks. Especially like the link to the sailing quiz.

Clarification: "How long can you continue on port?"

If the rule allows calling for room to tack onto port, surely one cannot be required to immediately tack back into the shore. If red called "starboard" on yellow, could yellow respond "No room" ? What are the limits in this situation?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only way Yellow could respond No room would be, if they were going to end up in a situation they could not avoid ie, they'd be taking onto rocks or a reef.

Take sow & pigs reef in sydney harbour. Say you were on the hard against southern cardinal marks of it heading east on port and a starboard tacker was heading north at sow & pigs. The starboard tacker couldn't force you to tack, because you'd then end up inside the cardinal marks marking the reef and in doing so put the boat and crew in imminent danger. What you would be required to do as the port tack boat would be the bear away and take the stern of the starboard tacker.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We get this kind of thing a lot racing Yachts in Sydney Harbour. There is always someone that wants to push the envelope on water.

We even had one the other week where we were approaching a mark to the south of Shark Is. in Rose Bay, with about 4knts of breeze. We were to windward of about 3 boats (non of the 3 were in our division, they all drafted around 2m, we draft 3m) and approaching the cardinal marks, marking the rocky outcrops of Shark Is., we called for room and the 3 boats inside us either made room for us to jibe or jibed. We ended up not jibing because as we were about to jib the wind swung 25-30degrees which allowed us to skirt down the perimeter of the cardinals and make the mark. Needless to say those that jibed weren't happy but it really wasn't in our control. When we called for water we were on a collision course in 10 boat lengths with submerged rocks, the breeze swung after we called for water and we reassessed the situation and changed course to the mark.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tony, in yellows situation he may well have to tack every 30m or as soon as he is back in deeper water and keep calling for room each time his stbd tack nears the shallows. it is better to duck 5 or 6 boats than to get caught in this situation and have to keep tacking. In the diagram shown if green and blue both tack in response to your hail all would then have to avoid red by tacking or ducking. If green and blue decide to duck they must allow you room to duck also, if green decides to tack he must call blue and yellow for room to tack early enough for all to tack and keep clear of red and they must respond. Make sure your calls are LOUD and early enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to disagree a bit with you on that Darcy.

If green ducks red, he does not need to leave room for blue to duck. Blue would need to tack, blue would also need to have got onto a close hauled course before he/she could call yellow for starboard.

If green decides to tack, he would need to ensure sufficient room to alter course without causing a collision with blue and would need to get onto a close hauled course before he/she could call starboard on blue.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies; I have a much more thorough understanding now.

In the Shark Island example "we called for room and the 3 boats inside us either made room for us to jibe or jibed. We ended up not jibing..."

Rule 20.1© says "when the hailed boat responds, the hailing boat shall tack as soon as possible". This rule specifically refers to sailing close-hauled and tacking, so I guess you can argue doesn't apply to gybing?

Rule 20.3 says "a boat shall not hail unless safety requires her to make a substantial course change...", which would imply that a course change should be made after hailing, or this rule has been broken by hailing without reason.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rule 20.1© did not apply as we were not close hauled.

Rule 20.3 did apply and we were at the time of hailing in a position that safety (running aground on rocks) required us too. we did make a substantial course change after hailing, just not as substantial (30 degrees) as it was looking like it would need to be.

Our take was no infringement of Rule 20.3 because we hailed in a position of danger that required us to and we made a a substantial course change to avoid the obstruction.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Case 11 in the rule book provides an interesting slant on things. Red is an obstruction that green, blue and yellow are obliged to pass beneath.

Rule 14, Avoiding Contact

Rule 19.2(b), Room to Pass an Obstruction: Giving Room at an Obstruction

Rule 20.1, Room to Tack at an Obstruction: Hailing and Responding

Rule 20.3, Room to Tack at an Obstruction: When Not to Hail

Rule 64.1©, Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration

When boats are overlapped at an obstruction, including an obstruction that is a right-of-way boat, the outside boat must give the inside boat room to pass between her and the obstruction.



Link to post
Share on other sites

It is my opinion that at the race briefing the Commodore or race coordinator draw attention to the case and the ruling. It would avoid any unnecessary collisions, cusses, frustrations and protests which could have been avoided. Better have a good titles that is supportive and enjoyable than a festival of protests and splintered hulls.

I would make special note of the fact that the first point of the ruling applies to overlapped boats.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...