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Luffing before the start

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Winner26 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Aug 16 at 5:21am
I have a rules question for a pre-start sequence issue that occurred in a mixed PHRF fleet.

With about 45 seconds to the start, I hooked around the stern of another boat (both boats on starboard tack) and attempted to force him up.  I do so rather rapidly but did hail the other boat to move up.  They did not and I was forced to bear back off to avoid collision.

At this stage I had lost my way-on and both I and the second boat were luffing our sails, moving forward) albeit slowly) while we waited for the gun.

Meanwhile a third boat established overlap to leeward of me and began calling for me to head up; however I was unable to do so as for me to head up further would have pushed me past head to wind and most likely caused a collision with the boat to windward of me.  The third boat was forced to bear away from me to avoid collision.

I protested the boat to windward of me for violating rule 11. The boat to leeward of me did not protest, although he probably could (and should) have.

The protest hearing has yet to happen.  I'm wondering if I was overly aggressive in my attempt to hook the other boat and may not have given him sufficient time to keep clear prior to me bearing away.  On the other hand, the rules do stipulate that if a middle boat (me) is overlapped with a windward and a leeward boat, then by definition the two outside boats are also overlapped, in which case the windward boat (the one I protested) may have violated rule 11, albeit the aggrieved boat would be the one to leeward of me and not myself.

Thoughts?
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Brass View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 16 at 7:10am
Originally posted by Winner26

I have a rules question for a pre-start sequence issue that occurred in a mixed PHRF fleet.

With about 45 seconds to the start, I hooked around the stern of another boat (both boats on starboard tack) and attempted to force him up.  I do so rather rapidly but did hail the other boat to move up.  They did not and I was forced to bear back off to avoid collision.

When you (M) first became overlapped on the windward boat (W), you became the right of way boat (rule 11), and, were initially required to give W room to keep clear (rule 15).

You say 'I attempted to force him up'.  If you did that by changing course towards W, then you were also required to give W room to keep clear under rule 16.

You bore away to avoid contact, there was no contact, therefore you gave W room to keep clear.

W broke rule 11 and on valid protest should be penalised.

At this stage I had lost my way-on and both I and the second boat were luffing our sails, moving forward) albeit slowly) while we waited for the gun.

Meanwhile a third boat established overlap to leeward of me and began calling for me to head up; however I was unable to do so as for me to head up further would have pushed me past head to wind and most likely caused a collision with the boat to windward of me.  The third boat was forced to bear away from me to avoid collision.

This is a second incident.

As before the third boat to leeward (L) gained right of way and was initially required to give you room to keep clear (rule 15).

That room to keep clear included room for you, changing course to windward to keep clear of L, to give room for W to keep clear, again under rule 16 (Definitions:  Room).

If the reason you were unable to head up further had been that you would have hit W, who was not responding and going up herself, then W's failure to keep clear would have compelled you to not keep clear of L and you would be exonerated for breaking rule 11.  There was no contact, so arguably L gave you room, and did not break rule 16.

BUT, you say the reason you did not keep clear was that 'to head up further would have pushed me past head to wind':  Only secondarily do you suggest that you might have contacted W.

Luffing past head to wind, with the consequence of losing right of way etc etc, is not a sufficient reason for not keeping clear of a leeward boat.

If you give evidence in a protest hearing that you did not luff up to keep clear because you would have passed head to wind, and leave it open for the protest committee to draw the inference that there was space for you to have passed head to wind, then you may very well be penalised.

I protested the boat to windward of me for violating rule 11. The boat to leeward of me did not protest, although he probably could (and should) have.

Not clear which of the two incidents you are protesting.

If it's the first incident, this is a win/don't win protest:  even if the protest committee does not conclude that W broke rule 11, they are unlikely to conclude that you broke rule 15/16, so either W is penalised or not, but you are not exposed to penalty.

If you are protesting the second incident, that could be a win/lose protest:  If the protest committee concluded that W did not break rule 11, then they may very well conclude that you did break rule 11 with respect to L and penalise you.

The protest hearing has yet to happen.  I'm wondering if I was overly aggressive in my attempt to hook the other boat and may not have given him sufficient time to keep clear prior to me bearing away.

That's the first incident.  You hooked him, then bore away and give room to keep clear.  To me that 's quite OK, but some UK judges and umpires might take a more stringent view.

On the other hand, the rules do stipulate that if a middle boat (me) is overlapped with a windward and a leeward boat, then by definition the two outside boats are also overlapped,

Correct

 in which case the windward boat (the one I protested) may have violated rule 11,

Well, if W didn't break rule 11 with respect to you (M), that is W kept clear of M, you can hardly say W didn't keep clear of L, which was further away to leeward of M.

 albeit the aggrieved boat would be the one to leeward of me and not myself.

Thoughts?

If you are protesting the first incident, then fine, go ahead:  that's a low risk for you.

If you are protesting the second incident, you're more exposed.

You don't need to bring up the fact of L bearing away to avoid contact (which is why you did not keep clear of L), and unless you bring L in as a witness, or unless W had an unusually good view of a boat on the other side of the sandwich.

You need to be very clear about which incident you are protesting, and careful about your evidence.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Winner26 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 16 at 2:43am
Thanks for the comments.

It is the first incident that I am protesting, which seems clear cut by your interpretation.  It seems that to bring up any factors pertaining to the addition of the boat to leeward to me may not only add confusion to the matter, but open me up to a penalty myself.  It would appear therefore that the best thing to do would be to approach this protest hearing as though the third boat (the one to leeward of me) did not exist at all, since they did not protest.

One hiccup is that the helmsman of that third boat is one of my witnesses, who can attest to the fact that boat W was not altering course for me, the middle boat.  However if this person begins talking about his boat and how I was not keeping clear of him, this may add confusion to the situation unnecessarily.

Although I was virtually head to wind by the end of all this, there most certainly was not room for me to tack over without hitting the boat to windward of me.  We were close enough that I could have handed a can of beer to the helmsman of the boat to windward of me.


Edited by Winner26 - 14 Aug 16 at 2:44am
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Brass View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 16 at 4:14am
Originally posted by Winner26

Thanks for the comments.

It is the first incident that I am protesting, which seems clear cut by your interpretation.

It looks that way.

It might be argued that your bearing away was not action to avoid contact, but action to give room to keep clear in compliance with rules 15/16.  To defeat this your evidence has to show:
  • either when you became overlapped, you were initially far enough away from W, that she had room to keep clear, or you bore away a little to give W room to keep clear as required by rule 15;  and
  • you then changed course towards W, then stopped changing course and held a steady course, during which time W took no action to keep clear of you;
  • then you bore away to avoid contact.
If you continuously changed course up then down, then you can't expect to win against rule 16.

 It seems that to bring up any factors pertaining to the addition of the boat to leeward to me may not only add confusion to the matter, but open me up to a penalty myself.

Yes, exactly.

It would appear therefore that the best thing to do would be to approach this protest hearing as though the third boat (the one to leeward of me) did not exist at all, since they did not protest.

Yes.

One hiccup is that the helmsman of that third boat is one of my witnesses, who can attest to the fact that boat W was not altering course for me, the middle boat.  However if this person begins talking about his boat and how I was not keeping clear of him, this may add confusion to the situation unnecessarily.

It may.

If, in W's description of the incident, and you questions, W admits that she did not take action to keep clear of you, then you might decide not to call L as a witness at all.

Heaven forbid you should 'school' or 'coach' your witness, but I don't think there's anything wrong with having a conversation with your witness, and saying

"There were two incidents, the first when I initially became overlapped on W and W did not keep clear and a second incident when you called me up and W again didn't keep clear.  My protest is about the first incident only.  It may confuse the protest committee if you describe things after I first had to bear away to avoid contact with W and I would prefer that you didn't offer any evidence about what may have happened after I first bore away."

If the witnesses evidence in the hearing (whether offered, or in response to questions) gets into things that happened after you bore away the first time, you could, very gently and politely say to the Chair "Excuse me, this seems to be getting into evidence about something other than the incident I protested about.  Could we keep to the issues in the protest please?"

Be very gentle and polite.  You have no rights to curtail the evidence of a witness or the questions asked by the protest committee, and conceivably the protest committee might suddenly take an acute interest in the second incident, but it's worth giving it a try.

Although I was virtually head to wind by the end of all this, there most certainly was not room for me to tack over without hitting the boat to windward of me.  We were close enough that I could have handed a can of beer to the helmsman of the boat to windward of me.

OK.  This issue won't arise unless the hearing extends into the second incident (which, technically, it shouldn't).

If it does, just be careful that evidence you give is that you couldn't change course to keep clear of L because W was very close to you, and not keeping clear of you.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Winner26 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 16 at 8:21pm
As an update, my protest was upheld.  Thanks for the help Brass.
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