Tuesday, December 09, 2008

More Wonky Stuff for the Freaks

I warned you that I would do it.

Yes. Thanks to the enormous response last week to my posts about the Racing Rules of Sailing, this week there will be another mind-numbing brain-teasing set of Tillerman 'ramblings on the rules' for all you Racing Rules Freaks out there.

My original post was about a real situation where there was contact between two boats on a race course where, at the time of contact, the boats were overlapped, both boats were on starboard tack and each was to the leeward of the other, at least according to how 'leeward' is defined in the Racing Rules.

Here was the situation...

Anyone who knows anything about the Racing Rules must concede that this is a seriously weird situation. It would appear that Rule 11 'On The Same Tack Overlapped' applies. But Rule 11, as written, seems to say that both boats are the right-of-way boat, or perhaps both are the give-way boat. Again, seriously weird.

There were a lot of intelligent and well-reasoned answers to this paradox from my commenters. Basically there were three solutions offered...

  1. The blue (running) boat is obliged to keep clear of the red (beating) boat under Rule 11 until a very short time just before the incident. So even if there is some confusion about how Rule 11 applies at the time of contact, even if the blue boat miraculously becomes the right-of-way boat just before the contact occurs, the blue boat is still obliged to keep clear of the red boat under Rule 15 'Acquiring Right of Way'. So Blue should be DSQ. But see Demolition #1.

  2. When two boats on the same tack meet, and one is running and the other is beating, the running boat is 'closer to the wind' and is always the give-way boat. That's the intent of the Rules. So Blue should be DSQ.

  3. Both boats are obliged to give way. That may sound paradoxical but really it's not. So both boats should be DSQ. Toss 'em both.

I have to confess that I have a liking for answers 1 and 2, if only because I was the Red boat in the real-life incident and was merrily sailing along assuming, as a starboard tack beating boat who was meeting boats that were on a run, that I would always be the right-of-way boat. But then, when a boat on the same tack as me touched the leeward side of my boat, my immediate instinct was that I must have violated Rule 11.

Until I started thinking. And thinking. 18 months later I'm still thinking about it. I think too much.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes. Possible answers to the paradox.

I will now proceed with razor sharp logic and devastating cunning to demolish all three answers offered by my erudite and experienced commenters.

Watch this space...


Greg and Kris said...

Somebody wake me up when the pizza gets here...

tillerman said...

Wake up Greg. Pizza is here.

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