Latest News: Forums Racing Rule 18.4 and Gate marks

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  • #3904

    In the latest Wayfarer News Al Schonborn wrote an excellent article on the new rules. However I would like to raise a couple of points.

    Rule 18.4 obliges an inside overlapped right of way boat who must gybe at a mark to sail her proper course to sail no further from the mark than needed to sail that course until she gybes. Al does not understand why this does not apply at a gate.

    If I have followed the instructions right you should see a diagram that illustrates why this rule 18.4 does not apply at a gate.

    A leeward right of way boat approaching the gate on a starboard run has a boat to windward. The leeward boat may not want to gybe and round the porthand gate mark, but may choose to go for the starboard hand mark at the other end, even though she then becomes outside boat and must give mark room to the windard boat. If 18.4 applied the keep clear boat could insist on the right of way boat gybing and sailng to th port hand gate mark. This would be inconsistent with the basic principle of the new rules that the rules applying at marks should not modify the section A rules (rules 10-13).

    On another point I am not sure that the introduction of a definition stating that a vessel under way will never be a continuing obstruction , will cause any problem. In fact it simplifes the situation in that, between boats and vessels under way only one rule (19.2(a)) concerning obstructions ever applies. A late comer approaching boats parked below the start line may only claim room if the outside boat was unable to do so from the time the overlap began. This was the situation under the old rule.

    The game change in this situation is that, under the previous rules any obstruction had a 2 boat length zone around it, in the same way as marks. However, this was widely ignored, except by rules nerds and some judges and umpires. There is now no zone at obstructions, the only limit on gaining an entitlment to room is the proviso that the boat required to give room must be able to do so from the time that the overlap began. There has been no problem with this at the team and match racing events that I have umpired this year.



    Hi, Gordon:

    Thank you for the enlightenment. Perhaps the editor can add your explanations in the next issue? Meanwhile, I will add a link to your fine explanation to my posted version of the article at

    Best wishes for happy, exciting sailing in 2009!

    Uncle Al (W3854)

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