Penalty Turns

PTSA races are run on the honor system.  We don’t have a protest room or a protest committee nor do we protest other boats durning a race.  However, boats are expected to abide by the Racing Rules of Sailing and when a rule is broken do the right thing.  “The right thing” usually means doing one or two penalty turns.

In case you have forgotten, you do one turn if you hit a mark.  You do two turns if you break a rule in an incident with another boat.  If you hit a mark while breaking a rule in an incident with another boat you still only have to do two turns.

Simple example: you are on port and another boat is on starboard – starboard has right of way – you are in a crossing situation and the starboard boat has to change course to avoid a collision, you have broken rule 10 and must do two penalty turns.

To take your turns you must get well clear of other boats and take them as soon after the incident as possible.  The turns must be made in the same direction, each turn including one tack and one gybe.

One more thing.  If you foul another boat and take your penalty turns but still end up with a significant advantage in the race or series you must retire from the race.  The principle being that you can never profit from breaking a rule.

In addition to the Racing Rules of Sailing there is a very interesting document called the CASE BOOK – INTERPRETATIONS OF THE RACING RULES OF SAILING.  It shows lots of examples, with diagrams, of real life racing protests and how they were resolved, and can be very helpful in learning the rules.

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