Dave Perry’s Racing Rules Quiz

Published on September 18th, 2014

With 30 seconds to go before the starting signal, Boat P (on port tack) on a beam reach is approaching Boat S (on starboard tack) who is on a close-hauled course. P proceeds to luff and then cross head to wind all in one motion, ending up to leeward of S.

Just after P passes head to wind she holds her course, telling S to keep clear because she is on starboard tack and a leeward boat. S luffs to avoid contact with P and protests.

You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?

Rule 14 quiz diagram

Answer
Boat P is penalized under rule 13, While Tacking. When P passes head to wind, she changes tack from port tack to starboard tack. However, rule 13 states that after a boat passes head to wind, she must keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course; and before she gets to close-hauled, rules 10, 11 and 12 do not apply.

Rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped, is the windward/leeward rule. P has not borne away to a close-hauled course when S has to change course to avoid contact; therefore P breaks rule 13.

Source: US Sailing blog

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