Latest News: Forums Racing Rules Clinic 2 Overlap Zone

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    The new Racing Rules of Sailing give clubs the option of extending the overlap zone from two boat lengths, to three or four boat lengths in their sailing instructions. The suggestion is that modern boats are sailing faster and need more room at marks.

    What overlap zone should your Racing Secretaries recommend to clubs for National Circuit Series event and the National Championships? Please vote in the poll, and add your comments here.



    Is it not more correct to say that the zone is now three boat lengths, but that this may be changed in the sailing instructions to 2 or 4 boat lengths……….?
    I would suggest that the rules are used as written i.e 3 boat lengths, as I would suspect that most clubs will not change the rule, particularly in mixed fleet racing. It may create confusion if folks get used to one size zone in club racing and another one at a limited number of circuit events and the nationals. However, if most clubs choose to change the zone to 2 or 4 boat lengths, then it would be sensible for the class to do the same for its flagship events……
    Just a thought……..



    Hi Steve,

    My understanding of the new rules is that the new ‘zone’ (previously known as a two length zone) is now defined as ‘the race around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it…’ so the standard, unless stated differently in the SIs is now 3 hull lengths.

    The organisers can choose to extend to 4 lengths or reduce to 2 lengths, but my view would be that, unless we can think of a good reason to change, we should stick with the standard



    At last weekends RYA Race Officials Conference I listened to one of the mebers of the ISAF group who drafted the new rules I now understand that there is a logic behind the change in the zone.

    Rule 18 now applies between boats when required to leave a mark on the same side and at least one of them is in the zone. This defines far more precisely when the rule applies. Under the previous edition rule 18 applied when boats where about to round a mark (which could start much further away from the mark than 2 boat lengths).

    Having decided to define precisely when the rule applies it was felt that it would be better to extend the size of the zone. It is hoped that the situation, especially at leeward marks, will be simpler to understand and apply. With a 3 boat zone it is to be hoped, in most conditions, that the decision on who has room at the mark will be sorted before boats start taking spinnakers down.

    The size of the zone can be changed – a 4 boat length zone would be suitable for faster classes, to give them more room to manouevre when the right to room has been sorted, whilst the 2 boat length zone will be used for match racing and team racing.

    However, Wayfarers often sail in handicap fleets, or in multi fleet events. In these events the default setting will be the 3 boat zone as rule 86.1(b) says that the zone may only be changed if the change applies at all marks and all boats using those marks.

    I would suggest that it woudl make life unnecessarily complicated if the class was to decide to adopt a 2 or 4 boat length zone for class racing. In application of the KISS principle stick wth 3



    My interpretation is it is very difficult to change it.
    As stated” it applies to all boats using those marks”, so all clubs in the area must agree to the change.
    Imagine the scene in Falmouth, where we may use buoys which may be also used by fast handicap and cruisers, even on different days.
    They would all have to agree on the change.

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