Gybing Inside the Zone

Published on November 14th, 2017

RacingRulesOfSailing.org is an online platform that assists in the understanding of the racing rules and provides answers to rules questions.

Question:

In a recent race three boats (1,2, and 3 – I was number 3) were reaching out towards a mark under spinnaker on starboard tack. At the mark all three boats would pass it to starboard and then head up just a bit, reaching somewhat higher than before while still flying their spinnakers.

The boats were in single file, one behind the other, and very close. As the three continued to sail towards the mark, they were sailing at a high angle taking them above the mark. Just before the mark, Boat 1 decided instead of falling off to nearly dead downwind to pass the mark, they would gybe over onto port and then gybe back onto starboard to pass the mark.

Boat 1 announced their intention to gybe to Boat 2 who announced the intent to me (Boat 3). I barely heard it when all at once, both boats in front of me gybed over onto port. I was still on starboard but we did a crash gybe onto port to avoid them. All three boats were in the zone and there were no overlaps.

Did I have to gybe? Did Boat 2 foul me when he became a port tack boat and required me to change course? I can’t really find anything in the rules that talks to this. Any help anyone has would be GREAT!

For the answer… click here.

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