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Understanding When a Boat has Completed a Race

Published on January 16th, 2014

The 2014 supplement to the ISAF 2013-2016 Case Book, which provides interpretations of the Racing Rules of Sailing, contains new cases that were approved at the ISAF Annual Conference in November 2013. Here is one of them…

Question: The definition Racing states that a boat that ‘Finishes and clears the finishing line and marks’ is no longer racing. When does a boat ‘clear’ the finishing line and marks?

Answer: A boat clears the finishing line and marks when the following two conditions are met: no part of her hull, crew or equipment is on the line, and no finishing mark is influencing her choice of course. For example, a boat that clears the finishing line and then continues to sail toward a finishing mark, where current sets her into the mark, is still racing and has broken Rule 31 (Touching A Mark). However, a boat that crosses the finishing line, and sails to a position at which no finishing mark is influencing her choice of course, is no longer racing. If, later, she hits a finishing mark, she does not break Rule 31.

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