When a Foul Results From Another Boat’s Breach

While we don’t now have a Protest Committee, the issue could be raised should we? By not having a protest committee are we avoiding one of the important parts of the game, knowing and following the Racing Rules of Sailing? What’s your view on this issue? The comments and the forum are open. From the Look to Windward Blog that covers the racing rules.

Rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 64.1(c), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration

A protest committee must exonerate boats when, as a result of another boat’s breach of a rule, they are all compelled to break a rule.

Summary of the Facts

The diagram shows the tracks of four large boats from approximately thirty seconds before their starting signal until fifteen seconds before. At position 2, MW was forced to bear away to avoid collision with W, and almost immediately afterwards ML and L were also forced to bear away to avoid the boat to windward. There was no contact between any of the boats. Had W steered a course to keep clear, she would have crossed the starting line before her starting signal. Each boat to leeward hailed the boat to windward, and each protested the boat or boats to windward of her.

The protest committee disqualified W, MW, and ML and justified its action with respect to the middle boats by stating that ‘failure to do so would limit the effectiveness of rule 11 because all boats, except the most windward one, would be immune from disqualification.’ MW and ML both appealed.


Both appeals are upheld. MW and ML are to be reinstated. Both of them, by their hails, attempted to avoid having to bear away, and neither bore away before becoming obligated to do so to avoid contact with the boat immediately to windward. Rule 14 required them to avoid contact if it was ‘reasonably possible’ to do so, and they complied with the rule. Each of them broke rule 11, but each was compelled to do so because W broke rule 11. Therefore, each of them is entitled to exoneration under rule 64.1(c).

USSA 1950/37

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