Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Demolition #1


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.

34 comments:

Derek said...

While I agree the rules should be clarified in this regard, I think any interpretation that makes blue the right of way boat is 100% illogical. Quite frankly, I would happily go into the protest room as the red boat.

Even if blue thought he was right, and on the off chance the jury agrees with this interpretation, I think there would be a disagreement on the position of the boats. Without a witness or two, which there was no mention of, who would you believe in the protest room?

BTW, how often does a Laser sail by the lee 135 degrees to the wind as diagramed? It is not something I normally think about when I am sailing, so I really cannot answer.

Tillerman said...

1. I agree Derek. Most racing sailors would assume that Blue should be the give way boat. The whole point of these posts is to prove my contention that there is a flaw in the way the Rules are currently written that makes the determination of who has right of way here unclear and ambiguous.

2. "Even if Blue thought he was right". In the real life scenario that I first outlined, Blue did not do a 720 so I can only assume that he thought he was right. Either that or he is a cheating scumbag.

3. Yes it would be hard to prove the position of the boats in real life. It often is. But does that invalidate any of my arguments?

4. It is true that a Laser doesn't often sail at such an extreme angle by the lee as diagrammed in my latest scenario. But it's possible isn't it?

Vigilante said...

If I'm in the red boat, I'll swagger into the Protest Room, and I'll take my well-thumbed copy of David Perry in with me, which states on pp. 96-7:

When boats are on much different angle of sail... as a good rule of thumb the boat that is on the point of sail closer to the wind is typically the leeward boat; i.e. between a boat sailing downwind and a boat sailing close-hauled, the close-hauled boat is usually the leeward boat.

Tillerman said...

"rule of thumb".... "usually"....

Perry is right of course. It is a good rule of thumb. It is usually right. My contention is that the situations I have been describing here (admittedly rare although one of them actually did happen to me) are exceptions to the "rule of thumb".

And why do you think Perry used those particular words? Why didn't he say "always" rather than "usually"?

Vigilante said...

I have a specific answer to your question, Sir, because I was unrightfully on the losing side of just such a protest years ago. The answer is that not all sailors are qualified to serve on protest committees.

David said...

This more extreme case brings into consideration the "intent of the law" (or 'definition' in this case), I believe. My understanding is that the 'by the lee' clause in the definition of windward/leeward was to resolve the dispute of exactly which side of the boat the wind was passing over when sailing "downwind." In your new, more extreme, case where Blue is clearly "reaching by the lee" I think it's pretty clear which side the wind is passing over. Using the technical definition of windward/leeward isn't likely to exonerate Blue in this case. (Yeah, I know, the protest committee is still going to have to say exactly which rule was broken. I'll leave that to them.)

Drwatershed said...

Wonky is a good word for it, while a blog called proper course should certainly describe these sorts of rule conflicts, there is a point in this discussion where you are pushing the physics of sailing beyond what is normal and feasible for most boats. In your current diagram it is very likely that either blue is about a split second away from jybing or red will go in irons. or both.... In which case six other boats will pass one or the other and the protest is moot. If blue is pushing the limits of his boat to stay on starboard he should realize something is wrong with his protest. But then I am a scientist and I usually sail for fun.

Tillerman said...

Drwatershed, I am surprised at your comments.

First of all, and just so we are all clear on the point, the convention in Racing Rules diagrams is that the wind is coming vertically down the page.

So the Red Laser is sailing at 45 degrees to the wind direction. This is perfectly normal (and in strong winds Lasers sail even closer to the wind.) So I don't understand why you say Red is "about to go into irons".

I would concede that Blue is sailing an extreme angle by the lee. Whether Blue is "a split second away from jibing" depends on whether her apparent wind will catch the other side of her sail. As we don't know her speed or the strength of the real wind, it's impossible to estimate the angle of her apparent wind. My guess is that in strong waves she might well jybe while surfing down a wave at this angle (as her apparent wind swings forward). But that in light winds on flat water, with the boom eased slightly forward of the mast, and the rig heeled to windward (all of which are perfectly normal in a Laser in light winds) then she is in no danger of jybing while sailing at this angle.

In summary, as an experienced Laser sailor and racer I would say that both boats are sailing "normal and feasible" courses and are not "pushing the physics" at all.

Greg and Kris said...

Where'd my pizza go?

Mal's Team Gherkin said...

Apples and oranges. Meh. Now I know why I only social sail. Shit like this takes all the fun out of it for me.

O Docker said...

Yo Greg, pssst, TM just posted, so he probably won't be back for a while.

Can you believe how anal these racing dudes can get about all of this stuff? Wow, TM just transforms into some kind of demon when he gets into it.

Oh, the pizza's still warm - the pepperoni's pretty good - and it's over here.

Uh-oh, here he come's again.

Ahem, uh, right, 27.2 clearly states windward-leeward definition from 16.7 must apply once an overlap is established unless at a start and within two boatlengths of the pin whereupon 27.6 (barging) takes precedence.

Tillerman said...

Hey, that's my pizza. Pass a slice to the demon please.

Tim said...

Wow T-man looks like you might just make the ton!

In regards to your rules brain teaser, I think that this one is really a no-brainer and you need to move on.

Tillerman said...

Move on!!! MOVE ON!!!

Anyone who thinks this is a no-brainer doesn't know how my brain works. I'm on a roll. I can milk this theme for at least three more posts, and that's not counting all the posts to argue against the counter-counter-arguments to my counter-arguments.

So Mr Tim or Other Tim or Timand or whoever you are, just remember that I'll be the one laughing last when the 2016 Rules come out with revised definitions of Overlap and Windward and Leeward. And the President of the ISAF Rules Committee makes a special award to Tillerman for his successful 8-year campaign to fix this gross oversight by the Holy Fathers of the Rules.

David said...

OK, Tillerman, I think you've made your point about sea lawyers. Don't you need to get back to working on two forty-three eight or something. You retired guys are killing me!

Umm . . . you were just trying to make a point, right? Or, was blue That Guy?

Vigilante said...

This just in from RRS (2009):

Rule 17.2 (On the Same Tack; Proper Course) has been deleted. This means that a windward boat or a boat clear astern no longer has a proper course limitation when sailing near other boats. She can sail below her proper course if she wishes, for instance to make it more difficult for a boat astern to pass or establish an inside overlap nearing a mark. Windward boats must still keep clear of leeward boats under rule 11 (On the Same Tack, Overlapped).

Vigilante said...

I welcome this change!

Mal's Team Gherkin said...

I think I'll move on for a bit :( Nothing here to interest me at the moment. Sorry. Tis just a personal thing.

Tillerman said...

Well spotted Vigilante. I will miss 17.2. It was an old friend, in spit of the fact that 90% of racing sailors were unaware of it.

Many is the time I would be ten to twenty lengths from a leeward mark (sailing by the lee on starboard of course) and would be trying to pass some kid ahead of me. Obviously I would try to pass to leeward of him to try and get an inside overlap at the leeward mark. And he would bear away to prevent me doing that.

And then I would shout, "Hey. Cut that out. Haven't you heard of Rule 17.2?" And the punk would just ignore the weird old guy in the blue Laser and keep on obliviously sailing below his proper course.

Aaaaah. Happpy Days.

Maybe I'll do a series of posts on Rule 17,2 situations after I've flogged this dead horse of Rule 11 a few more times?

Tillerman said...

David. I haven't even made half my point yet.

Blue was not That Guy or even The Other Guy.

It's raining today so I can't sail two forty three eight. May have to write some more Rules posts.

Tillerman said...

Mal. I'm sorry you're moving on. Have a good life. I will still visit your blog to see how things work out with your new room-mate.

Benny said...

I have visited your beautiful and stylish website..And I can suggest,

Lets exchange the links between our websites.. I couldn't find contact page, that's why I'm writing here:

My preferred link:
Yachts Reviews Boats Tests


Please put mine, and tell me your link, my e-mail is mceselko@gmail.com, I'll put it immediately...

Best Regards
Peacy Combson

Tillerman said...

Benny or Peacy or whatever your name is...

I have visited your beautiful and stylish website..And I can suggest,

Lets not exchange the links between our websites. If I put a link on my blogroll to another site it's because I find it interesting and think my readers might too. Not because someone suggests to "exchange the links".

Tim Timand said...

Mmm, pizza.

Tillerman said...

Mr Tim Timand, When I allowed my cursor to hover over your (may I say somewhat unusual) name in the preceding comment, my Computer Machine said that it was a link to a site named hotasianteens.com. Naturally I did not click on it as I am not at all interested in such topics. My heating system is set at 68 degrees and that is hot enough for me. I do not need any additional hotness from teens, Asian or otherwise.

So Mr Timand (what an unusual name) are you the author of the website about heating provided by young Oriental persons? Or were you just playing a joke on me?

Vigilante said...

Ditto, T-Man. I've had gazillions of un-learned on-the-water spats over 'proper course'. I was sorry to see mast-abeam' go, but in its absence, it's better to do without the 'proper course' fraud. It's all in the mind of the skippers.

What do you think will be the effect? Reduction of passing lanes on reaches? Fine with me: On my club's standard course, no boat can luff me on the reaching leg when they're under spinnaker. Now, I'll be able to defend down wind?

Christmas came early.

Tillerman said...

"Proper course fraud"??????

How dare you? This whole blog is predicated on the sacred meaning of "Proper Course". If the Holy Fathers of the Rules declare that it was all a fraud then.... then..... words fail me.

I feel a Rule 17.2 Rant coming on...

Vigilante said...

LOL!

Tim Timand said...

My url has been pirated! Dang it. Just how much ransom will have to pay those non-occidental little vixens to get it back?

Brass said...

I think you're getting tied up in knots trying to fit this situation to a concept that only one boat can be the keep clear boat in any situation. While this is logically satisfying, there is nothing in the rules that says it must be so. I am sure that I saw a post by John Doerr in Jos' blog that listed several examples. Maybe Jos could find it.

I think #3 in your earlier post was the correct answer. When the boats draw abeam on opposing courses, they are each required to keep clear of each other.

Take a ride on Blue: look under the boom: you can see Red under the boom throughout: Red is on Blue's leeward side throughout, therefore Blue must keep clear of Red all the time (rule 11).

Now transport yourself to Red, look out on your windward side: you can see Blue, so you expect that Blue must keep clear of you, and you know that you are not bound by rule 11 to keep clear of Blue. You sail along on Red a little way then you see Blue crossing ahead of you and appearing under your boom, so you know Blue has changed from your windward to your leeward side, so you must now keep clear of Blue.

If you are smart, you will also realise that when Blue crossed ahead of you and acquired right of way, she became obliged initially to give you room to keep clear of her.

And of course, both Red and Blue will always remember that this is a no contact sport, and they can both be disqualified under rule 14 if avoidable contact occurs.

Brass

Vigilante said...

Can't wait to get you in the protest room, Brass.

Brass said...

Thanks Vig.

Is that what passes for a warm and friendly 'Eff Off Newbie' in these parts?

Brass

Vigilante said...

Sorry. Bad day. Give me another chance.

Brass said...

Vig,

No worries. No offence taken. I guess I've been hanging around Sailing Anarchy so long that I automatically took your post as a normal welcome:)

Brass

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