Boston Harbor Sailing Club...More Time on the Water...

Protests, July 9th, 2003


There is another set of rules involved in last nightís protests, so in the spirit of education, I will share my thoughts on the situation with everyone.

Full set of rules available on line at These are the rules which seem to bear on last nightís protests: 12 ON THE SAME TACK, NOT OVERLAPPED When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.


A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room.

(a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room, and

(b) shall not be penalized under this rule unless there is contact that causes damage.


When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear, unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat's actions.


16.1 When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.


17.1 If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

Protest Number One :

In the first protest (from a time of race situation) before the start, Three boats are roughly parallel on starboard tack; Team O called for Team C to head up, and Team C was unable to respond because Team S above them did not respond. Team C protested Team S who withdrew from the race. Hence Team C is exonerated, and Team S scores WD.

After the starting signal, there was another situation of parallel boats luffing in the middle of the starting line.

Remember, after the start boats are presumed to have a proper course, while before the start they do not.

Protest Number Two :

Team O called for Team C to luff up, and Team C called for Team Z above her to luff up. Team Z was already nearly head to wind preventing Team C from luffing further. (It is unclear whether this was in response to a luff or hail from Team C, or Team Z was merely changing course.) Team C replied to Team O that she could not sail higher without swinging her stern into Team O. Team O persisted and there was contact between Team Oís starboard bow and Team Cís port quarter.

The question here is why Team O chose to luff at all.

Team O had been OCS at one minute and had to sail around the end of the Committee Boat, arriving late to the line. For some reason, Team O chose to sail below the layline to the Committee Boat, and even below Team C to begin this encounter.

Team O overtook Team C from astern So had obligations under Rule 12.

Establishing an overlap from astern, she had no rights to sail above her proper course under Rule 17. (Remember, the starting gun had sounded.)

There is no question here of barging the start, as Team O, returning around the end of the line to restart, had room to sail above Team C, between her and the Committee Boat.

There is also the question of whether Team O properly avoided the collision in these circumstances.

The ruling here is that Team O was in violation of Rule 12 and Rule 17, her protest is disallowed, and the protest of Team C and Team Z are sustained. Team O is DSQ for the race and Teams C and Z are exonerated, scoring their finishing places in the race.

Captain Herb Motley, BHSC


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