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Tacking onto starboard at the windward mark

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wobble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tacking onto starboard at the windward mark
    Posted: 07 Aug 15 at 5:26pm
Approaching a port-rounding windward mark in a tight fleet, with wind dying and the tide pushing everyone under, a lot of people are putting in late tacks onto starboard.  Mayhem, sorta.

I tack onto starboard six or seven boat lengths out, under the oncoming train and in good shape to make the mark. Shortly after I complete the tack, a port tacker who I considered had been about four boat lengths above me on port and sailing behind - I don't think he was overlapped -- comes through, ignores my call of starboard, forces me to to dip, and I miss the mark. I growled but didn't protest. 

He said that I had to allow him room to keep clear, that he had nowhere to go, and that he had no obligation to anticipate that I was going to tack onto starboard. All of this depends on a different telling of the facts-, i.e. that we were much closer than I had estimated. He did not dispute that my tack was complete. He might have been inside the zone, but didn't claim this, and I'm not sure that  would change things.

My case if I had protested is that this is a simple Rule 10 situation and that he could have tacked back to starboard before putting himself in that position. Witnesses said I should have protested.

How would this play in the protest room? Would the difference as to facts change the outcome? 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Presuming Ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 15 at 5:43pm
Assuming you tack is outside the zone. (Not that it actually makes a difference). 

You are clear ahead and leeward, so right of way (11 and 12).  You luff and tack. 13 then applies. 
13 WHILE TACKING After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course. During that time rules 10, 11 and 12 do not apply. If two boats are subject to this rule at the same time, the one on the other’s port side or the one astern shall keep clear
Between head to wind and your close hauled course, you have to keep clear.  Once you're on your starboard close hauled course, you are RoW as a starboard boat (he's still on port). You have acquired RoW through your own actions, so 15 applies. 
15 ACQUIRING RIGHT OF WAY 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.
Room to keep clear is defined: 
Room The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.

Keep Clear A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat (a) if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and, (b) when the boats are overlapped, if the right-of-way boat can also change course in both directions without immediately making contact.
 
So after you have acquired RoW, by completing your tack to starboard you initially have to give him the space to keep clear while manoeuvering promptly in a seamanlike way. Did he have time for a tack or duck? 

He doesn't have to anticipate that you're going to tack. RYA appeal 1993/5 illustrates. 



Edited by Presuming Ed - 07 Aug 15 at 5:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 15 at 5:57pm
Different facts always change the outcome.

If I were on the PC I would be interested in exact sequence of events. If all agreed that you completed the tack, then hailed, then when you realised he wasn't going to tack had time to duck, then if you were in fast tacking dinghies I'd strongly suspect he had time to tack and you'd given him enough room. The hail is irrelevant rules wise, but it does give an idea of the timing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wobble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 15 at 6:07pm
I tacked and expected him to tack too. When he didn't, I hailed. It was all in slow motion, with no wind. 

Edit: my tack is definitely outside the zone. Our encounter is possibly at the zone, but not sure. Also don't know if it matters...

In my opinion he had time to tack, but didn't want to because that would have seen him squeezed out and buried. It seems to me that it all hinges on whether he had time to keep clear: I say he had, he says he hadn't. Who is the onus on, I wonder, to establish this? I would be relying on the witness to back my version of the truth.


Edited by Wobble - 07 Aug 15 at 6:09pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Presuming Ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 15 at 6:28pm
There is no onus. From the judge's manual. 

K.18 Hearing Procedure: Finding the Facts

In almost all cases the differences of opinion are settled by the quality of the evidence. The racing rules do not give the onus of proof to one boat or the other. Port is not required to prove she kept clear of starboard. A protest committee is required to consider all the evidence, consider who was in the best position to determine what happened, determine which evidence is more credible, then decide the facts of the incident.

It is an unalterable responsibility of the protest committee to establish the “facts” that the decision will be based upon, even when the parties present widely differing testimony. If one party says the boats were one metre apart while the other says ten boat lengths, the protest committee must decide which opinion is more creditable. Varying testimony is common and does not necessarily mean that someone is lying. It may reflect different perspectives or feelings at the time of or after the incident. ....


Edited by Presuming Ed - 07 Aug 15 at 6:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 15 at 6:34pm
There's no onus as such on one or the other. The PC has to listen to the evidence and work out what they think is the most likely sequence of events. Most likely it would differ from both parties version!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 15 at 8:37pm
There is no onus,as stated above, but I bet (with no evidence at all, really) that more decisions go in favour of RoW boat.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 15 at 10:28pm
Originally posted by Rupert

I bet ... that more decisions go in favour of RoW boat.

Well, in those circumstances you'd expect the ROW boat to be in the right more often than not.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 15 at 2:20am
Originally posted by Wobble

Approaching a port-rounding windward mark in a tight fleet, with wind dying and the tide pushing everyone under, a lot of people are putting in late tacks onto starboard.  Mayhem, sorta.

I tack onto starboard six or seven boat lengths out, under the oncoming train and in good shape to make the mark. Shortly after I complete the tack, a port tacker who I considered had been about four boat lengths above me on port and sailing behind - I don't think he was overlapped -- comes through, ignores my call of starboard, forces me to to dip, and I miss the mark. I growled but didn't protest. 

Key question would be 'How long had you been sailing on starboard no higher than your close hauled course when you began to bear away to pass astern of P?'

This sounds like he's just throwing 'rules phrases' around, without really knowing what rule or what action in breach of a rule he's relying on.

First and foremost, if you, having reached a starboard tack course no higher than close hauled, needed to take avoiding action because you had a reasonable apprehension that there would be a collision if you did not, then P has broke rule 10 (Case 50).

He said that I had to allow him room to keep clear,

Precisely when did he think this obligation occurred, one wonders:
  • While you were still on port, and overlapped to leeward or clear ahead, you, as right of way boat changing course were required to give P room to keep clear:  on your story he was four boat lengths away at this time:  that's plenty of room.
  • From the time you were head to wind until you reached your close hauled course on starboard, you were required to keep clear (rule 13), and therefore no giving room rule applied to you.
  • Once you reached your close hauled course on starboard tack, you acquired right of way and were required initially to give P room to keep clear.
Hence the question:  how long were you on starboard tack before you had to bear away, then the issue would be, did that time allow sufficient room for P to keep clear of you?

that he had nowhere to go,

Well, that's a matter for evidence about distances, times and speeds.

and that he had no obligation to anticipate that I was going to tack onto starboard.

Quite right, neither he did.  All he had to do was:
  1. keep clear of you while you were on port tack, clear ahead or overlapped to leeward;
  2. keep clear once you reached your close hauled course on starboard.
True, he did not need to do anything between when you passed head to wind until you reached your close hauled course on starboard, because he was right of way boat, but he's not disputing that your tack was complete:  he's talking about room to keep clear after that.

All of this depends on a different telling of the facts-, i.e. that we were much closer than I had estimated. He  He might have been inside the zone, but didn't claim this, and I'm not sure that  would change things.

My case if I had protested is that this is a simple Rule 10 situation and that he could have tacked back to starboard before putting himself in that position. Witnesses said I should have protested.

How would this play in the protest room? Would the difference as to facts change the outcome?

All depends on speeds and distances from the time your reached your close hauled course.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wobble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 15 at 11:55am
Thanks for these responses. It does seem to be down to establishing the facts -- and of course I've had innumerable incidents where it's precisely the facts that are in dispute. 

Interesting that there is no onus presumed on either party. I suppose one has to accept that life isn't perfect and trust that the protest committee is doing its best.

I'm solid in saying that there was a minimum 10 seconds between my being close-hauled on starboard and then having to bear away to avoid him. He inevitably would dispute this: he says he was 'amazed' to see me tack back onto starboard; I was pretty amazed to see him attempt to cross on port.

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