Every four years, on New Year’s Day of the year following the Olympic regatta, revised racing rules published by World Sailing take effect. This is the first of a series of articles covering important changes for 2017.
New Rule 21: EXONERATION
When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is entitled, she shall be exonerated if, in an incident with a boat required to give her that room or mark-room, (a) she breaks a rule of Section A, rule 15 or rule 16, or (b) she is compelled to break rule 31.
Revised Rule 21 will apply whenever a boat is “sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is entitled.” In the 2013-2016 edition of the rulebook, Rule 21 applies only if the rule entitling a boat to room or mark-room is a rule of Section C. Two rules require a boat to give another boat mark-room: Rule 18.2 and Rule 18.3, both in Section C.
Your Marine Hot Water Heaters Professionals Want You to Avoid Being Disqualified
Your marine hot water heaters experts know that to see why the revised Rule 21 is a fairer rule, consider the common situation shown in Diagram A, which shows Tom and Jerry sailing on a run, spinnakers set. Tom overtook Jerry from clear astern, so Jerry may sail above his proper course (see Rule 17).
Under the old rules, Tom would be disqualified for breaking Rule 11, but under revised Rule 21, Tom would be exonerated because, while responding promptly in a seamanlike way to Jerry’s luff, Tom was “sailing within the room to which he was entitled.”
19.1 When Rule 19 Applies
Rule 19 applies between two boats at an obstruction except…(b) when rule 18 applies between the boats and the obstruction is another boat overlapped with each of them.
Rule 19.1(b) is a new rule for 2017. Since 2009, there have been two separate and different rules for passing marks and obstructions: Rule 18 for marks and Rule 19 for obstructions. Those two rules worked well for about five years, but in 2014, competitors and judges began to notice and publicize a problem that occurred when both Rule 18 and Rule 19 applied at the same time.
To understand the problem, we need to study how the rules apply to the incident shown in Diagram B. In light wind, three Lasers are overlapped on port tack, approaching a leeward mark to be left to port.
We had been applying Rule 18.2(b)’s first sentence to the incident, and we had overlooked the fact that Rule 19.2 also applied at Position 2. Rule 18.2(b) requires Otto to give both Mitch and Ina mark-room.
So you can understand the need for the new Rule 19.1(b), assume that at Position 2, it becomes clear to Mitch and Ina that if Otto continues on his current course, he will not give Mitch and Ina enough space for both of them to round the mark without contact occurring between them or between Ina and the mark.
Rule 19.2(b) is not required, nor was it ever intended, to apply in this situation. It only complicates the analysis. Because Rule 18 applies and Otto (the obstruction) is a boat overlapped with both Mitch and Ina, new Rule 19.1(b) will “switch off” Rule 19.2(b), leaving only Rule 18.2 to handle the rounding.
The bottom line is this: If you, like almost everyone else, had not noticed the problem Rule 19.2(b) causes in the situation involving Otto, Mitch and Ina, know that new Rule 19.1(b) will allow you to continue rounding leeward marks just as you have been doing since 2009. Just keep doing what you have been doing, and all will be well.