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Obstruction or not?

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craiggo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote craiggo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Obstruction or not?
    Posted: 30 Aug 16 at 9:35am
Had an interesting pursuit race last night where an incident took place just after rounding a mark.
The scenario is:
White approaches a mark of the course positioned just in the mouth of an inlet into the main estuary on a stand tight reach. Blue (a significantly quicker boat) overstood significantly and approached the mark on a beam reach, with no overlap.
At the mark white hardened up to a close hauled course at which point blue gained an overlap to leeward. Almost immediately blue hailed for water to tack. White continued as the far bank of the inlet was still at least 10 boat lengths away. Blue bore away slightly before luffing into the tack during which time white kept clear. As blue went beyond close hauled white was still continuing on stbd and no contact occurred. Blue then hailed protest.

So the rules are reasonably clear at a continuing obstruction, but I now that their is no zone for obstructions, but surely there has to be some limit to prevent people calling for water when not necessary.

Blue was clearly right of way boat and therefore entitled to luff white but didn't do so.

White did not tack should she have?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 16 at 10:05am
When hailed for room for an obstruction the hailed boat is required to respond by either hailing 'you tack' or by tacking herself.

Relevant rules 20.1 and 20.2.

The only question mark I can think of is that white was of the opinion that she could not give room so was not required to do so (19.2c). As both boats have to tack it is clear (from your drawing) that a course change is required.

Blue was also only entitled to sail her proper course and not above it as the overlap was established to leeward from astern (luffing rights do not exist per se in the current rules it is a restriction on whether or not you are allowed to sail above your proper course which is controlled by how the overlap was established.

IMO what blue should have done is slow sufficiently to either tack immediately at the mark behind white or get up to windward of her if she was that much quicker.

It is clearly an obstruction too as per the definitions in the rules:

Obstruction An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it. An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an area so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions. However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her or, if rule 23 applies, avoid her. A vessel under way, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.
 


Edited by jeffers - 30 Aug 16 at 10:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 16 at 10:54am
Originally posted by craiggo

Had an interesting pursuit race last night where an incident took place just after rounding a mark.
The scenario is:
White approaches a mark of the course positioned just in the mouth of an inlet into the main estuary on a stand tight reach. Blue (a significantly quicker boat) overstood significantly and approached the mark on a beam reach, with no overlap.
At the mark white hardened up to a close hauled course at which point blue gained an overlap to leeward. Almost immediately blue hailed for water to tack. White continued as the far bank of the inlet was still at least 10 boat lengths away. Blue bore away slightly before luffing into the tack during which time white kept clear. As blue went beyond close hauled white was still continuing on stbd and no contact occurred. Blue then hailed protest.

So the rules are reasonably clear at a continuing obstruction, but I now that their is no zone for obstructions, but surely there has to be some limit to prevent people calling for water when not necessary.

Blue was clearly right of way boat and therefore entitled to luff white but didn't do so.

White did not tack should she have?
Firstly, thanks for a clearly described and diagrammed scenario.

You say 'surely there has to be some limit to prevent people calling for water when not necessary'.

RYA has recently published Appeals 2016/1 (quoted below) that makes it clear that this  is not so.  The rationale for this is that a situation may arise where an obstruction may be perceptible to the hailing boat (say a submerged rock or, say, at sea, a container), which may not be perceptible to the hailed boat.  The desire is that the hailed boat should respond first and ask questions afterwards.

Same reasoning applies if W thinks that B was not close hauled or above when she hailed, see Appeal 2016/1 Answer 2.

If W doesn't like it, her remedy is to respond in accordance with rule 20.2 than protest B.

When B hailed for room to tack, W was required, in accordance with rule 20.2, to respond, either by immediately hailing 'you tack' and giving B room to tack and avoid her, or to tack as soon as possible.

As you described the situation, W did not respond as required and thus broke rule 20.2.  B should expect to win the protest.

As to rule 17, W would have a very hard time persuading a protest committee that B's proper course was not to tack away from the obstruction, and that luffing into a tack was not part of that proper course.

RYA 2016/1
Rule 20, Room to Tack at an Obstruction
When a boat hails for room to tack and she is neither approaching an obstruction nor sailing closehauled or above, she breaks rule 20.1. The hailed boat is required to respond even if the hail breaks rule 20.1. 


Edited by Brass - 30 Aug 16 at 11:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Presuming Ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 16 at 10:56am
20.1 Hailing When approaching an obstruction, a boat may hail for room to tack and avoid a boat on the same tack. ...
Question is, was blue approaching the obstruction when she hailed. RYA appeal 2016/2 touches on this point: 
Question 3
As A is approaching the obstruction, how soon is she entitled to hail for room to tack? 

Answer 3 
A may hail for room to tack at the time that, to avoid the obstruction safely, she needs to begin the process described in rule 20. She may hail at the moment that allows her sufficient time, in the prevailing conditions, to 
1) hail B for room to tack; 
2) give B time to respond (see Answer 1, above);
3) give time for any third boat that must respond for A to have room to tack (see case 113); 
4) tack herself, as soon as possible thereafter, in a seamanlike manner and avoid the obstruction.

A larger boat may well need to tack before a smaller one - deeper draft, slower to tack etc. Did any factor such as this apply?

 As mentioned, the only response that can be made to a hail for room to tack is either to tack or hail "you tack". If the hailed boat believes that the hail was premature (etc), she should respond properly and then protest. 


Edited by Presuming Ed - 30 Aug 16 at 11:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote craiggo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 16 at 11:31am
Thanks for that.

I believe white assumed that as there was navigable water to leeward, that blue could bear away to get enough separation to tack and then duck white, and therefore the request was made prematurely.

What white didn't anticipate was the requirement to tack or hail "you tack" so far from the obstruction then protest for making an early call.
The latter would surely be hard to prove in a protest and therefore highlights a potential issue with the rules whereby a leeward overlapping boat can hail to avoid an obstruction which is still a long way away in order to tactically gain from tacking away, with little fear that the other boat will win the protest on whether they were close to the obstruction or not.

Anyway, many thanks for the responses.

Hopefully it will clear things up a touch!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 16 at 11:56am
Originally posted by Presuming Ed

20.1 Hailing When approaching an obstruction, a boat may hail for room to tack and avoid a boat on the same tack. ...
Question is, was blue approaching the obstruction when she hailed. RYA appeal 2016/2 touches on this point: 
Question 3
As A is approaching the obstruction, how soon is she entitled to hail for room to tack? 

Answer 3 
A may hail for room to tack at the time that, to avoid the obstruction safely, she needs to begin the process described in rule 20. She may hail at the moment that allows her sufficient time, in the prevailing conditions, to 
1) hail B for room to tack; 
2) give B time to respond (see Answer 1, above);
3) give time for any third boat that must respond for A to have room to tack (see case 113); 
4) tack herself, as soon as possible thereafter, in a seamanlike manner and avoid the obstruction.

A larger boat may well need to tack before a smaller one - deeper draft, slower to tack etc. Did any factor such as this apply?

 As mentioned, the only response that can be made to a hail for room to tack is either to tack or hail "you tack". If the hailed boat believes that the hail was premature (etc), she should respond properly and then protest. 

Plus if blue was significantly faster than W she was approaching faster and needed to call earlier to ensure that she could start her tack safely. Blue may also not know the layout of the seabed in that area so was erring on the side of caution.

Bottom line is W was required to respond and did not do so.
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