Questioning starting line protocol

Published on November 23rd, 2020

The World Sailing Racing Rules Question and Answer Service is to support Race Officials, Member National Authorities and World Sailing Class Associations whereby they may submit questions through World Sailing concerning the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). This inquiry concerns the starting line:

Situation
The sailing instructions state that ‘the starting line will be between a staff displaying an orange flag on the race committee vessel and the course side of the starting mark, which will be a yellow inflatable buoy’. The race committee anchored a boat at the port end of the starting line and attached the yellow inflatable buoy to its starboard side.

Question 1
Does a boat that touches the anchored vessel but not the yellow inflatable buoy, break rule 31?

Answer 1
Yes. The race committee vessel became part of the mark when the race committee intentionally attached the vessel to the mark, therefore, a boat racing that touches the race committee vessel breaks rule 31.

Question 2
Would the answer to Question 1 be different if the anchor was attached to the yellow inflatable buoy and not the race committee vessel?

Answer 2
No.

Question 3
Would the answer to Question 1 be different if the race committee vessel and the yellow inflatable buoy were both anchored and in contact with each other?

Answer 3
No.

Question 4
Would the answer to Question 1 be different if the yellow inflatable buoy was on board the race committee vessel?

Answer 4
No.

Question 5
Is it an improper action of the race committee to anchor a boat at the port end of the starting line and attach the yellow inflatable buoy to its starboard side when the sailing instructions state that the port end starting mark will be a yellow inflatable buoy?

Answer 5
No.

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