Tuesday, December 09, 2008
OK. In More Wonky Stuff for the Freaks I promised to "demolish" the three sensible intelligent answers given by well-meaning and knowledgeable sailors to my Racing Rules question last week in Both Leeward and Both Starboard.
Maybe "demolish" was a bit harsh. I actually think that the answer given by several respected commenters that I summarized first in More Wonky Stuff for the Freaks was right on the money. In the example I gave last week it is true that Blue is the give way boat almost right up until the collision occurs. And even if the application of Rule 11 was a bit confusing at the point of contact, then there was no doubt that Blue was also initially obliged to keep clear under Rule 15 when she acquired right of way (if indeed she ever did), so she should probably be DSQ under that Rule.
However... that answer, while correct in that situation, is sorta kinda ducking the point I was trying raise, which is that there is a serious anomaly or paradox (call it what you will) in the Racing Rules of Sailing that applies when a boat sailing by the lee meets a boat on the same tack sailing close-hauled. In fact I would go so far as to say that it is an error in the Rules that ought to be corrected at some stage.
To illustrate my point more clearly let me change the facts slightly to create a more extreme situation. Take a look at this...
Basically same issue as before. Two boats, same tack, overlapped. And when contact occurs each is to leeward of the other (as leeward is defined in the Rules for each boat). But, as I've drawn the diagram now, I don't think you can avoid the issue by invoking Rule 15 because in every position in the diagram Red is to leeward of Blue (on the side of Blue on which she is carrying her sail) and Blue is to leeward of Red (on the side of Red away from the wind).
Of course, as a certain ex-president might have said, it all depends on the meaning of "side". Indeed it does and that will be explored in more depth in Demolition #2.