Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Theorielezingen bij TEAM HEINER

Een bericht van TEAM HEINER

Zoals elk jaar organiseren wij traditiegetrouw theorielezingen in het vroege voorjaar.

Het programma is als volgt:
-          BOOTTRIM (27 februari): Over de krachten op een zeilend jacht; wat maakt het loef- of lijgierig? Waarom veranderen de krachten als de wind verandert en hoe zet je de mast recht?

-          ZEILVORM (6 maart): Hoe krijg je bolling in een zeil, welke trim mogelijkheden zijn er om de bolling te veranderen en hoe moet de zeilvorm er eigenlijk uit zien?

-          WEDSTRIJDTACTIEK (13 maart): Hoe ga je om met de tegenstanders op de wedstrijdbaan die allemaal hetzelfde willen bereiken en allen om dezelfde baan, boeien en tegenstanders moeten varen om hun doel te bereiken?

-          WEDSTRIJDSTRATEGIE (27 maart): Wedstrijdstrategie is het bepalen van je plan, er vanuit gaande dat er geen tegenstanders op het baan zijn. Met welke factoren moet je rekening mee houden en welke niet?

-          METEO door Guus da Graca (3 april): Kan je voorspellen wat de wind gaat doen, kan het zijn wat voor de ene zeiler als geluk overkomt, voor de ander kennis is?

De lezingen worden gegeven door Roy Heiner, met uitzondering van de lezing over meteo. Dit onderwerp neemt meteoroloog Guus da Graca voor zijn rekening. De avonden vinden plaats bij Team Heiner in Lelystad, en duren van 19.00 tot ca 21.30 uur. Kosten bedragen Eur 30,= pp per avond, incl BTW, een hand-out en een kopje koffie.

De geïnteresseerden kunnen zich bij mij aanmelden door een mail te sturen naar natasha ad teamheiner dot com.
Zij ontvangen dan dan een bevestiging en een routebeschrijving.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Umpire flags

After many months I'm now ready to offer all Umpires and /or Clubs the opportunity to order there own complete set of Umpire flags!

The flags are made of wind resist-end material and can be attached to wooden and or plastic sticks. All flags are 35 cm x 50 cm. A complete set consists of  two Blue, two Yellow, one Green/White, one Red, one Black and for team racing, one Black/White flag. The flags were developed in cooperation with the Dutch Team & Match Racing Association (DMTRA).

two blue, two yellow, black, red, green/white and black/white

A complete set is yours for € 49,50 (including VAT), that's $US 55,44. International shipping is about € 5,75, depending on the address.
If you want individual flags, the black/white on for instance to complete your own set, the price is
€ 8,- ($US 9,05) per flag.

Please contact me on ltw-regelservice ad home dot nl if you want more information or want to order a set.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

LTW Magnetic Protest Kits for Fleet and Match racing

In stock again!

Together with my fellow umpires and board members in the DMTRA we've managed to make a reasonable set of magnetic boats for the use as educational tools and also as models in the protest room. Without any moving parts, but still magnetic so they stick to a white board.

The ones we all use with the movable sails are just a little too expensive and the sails tend to get looser and looser all the time. They are also very hard to "move" on the white-board.

Our set has a "cut out" shape for the sail, just flip the model (it sticks on both sides) if you want to change tack. And the magnets are just a tad thicker than the boats, so you can get them of the board easy.

There are two different sets:


All parts spread out on the box.

The Matchrace set consists of:
  • three numbered blue boats (1, 2 and 3);
  • three numbered yellow boats (1, 2 and 3);
  • two RC-boats in red, for starting and/or finishing vessels;
  • two rubber boats in red, for umpire and/or wing;
  • four marks, also red;
  • two arrow indicators in red (wind, current, tide, or whatever);
  • all in a sturdy box, with room for more.


We wanted to keep the price as low as possible, but with all the materials and the starting up costs, it has become a little more than we had hoped. Nevertheless it is still a lot less than the traditional magnetic set.

The Fleetrace set consists of:
  • three numbered blue boats (1, 2 and 3);
  • three numbered yellow boats (1, 2 and 3);
  • three numbered green boats (1, 2 and 3);
  • three numbered red boats (1, 2 and 3);
  • one RC-boat in red, for starting and/or finishing vessels;
  • one rubber boats in red, for umpire and/or wing;
  • four marks, also red;
  • two arrow indicators in red (wind, current, tide, or whatever);
  • all in a sturdy box, with room for more.

Price for a Matchrace set is €48,- and for the Fleetrace set € 64,- (including VAT.)

(Since shipping/posting is so varied, that price is exclusive of shipping costs)
But the box fits (even with a padded envelope) in the mailbox, so it shouldn't be that expensive.
Somewhere around € 6,- depending on the weight.
Paypal seems to be the easiest and most economical way to pay. transaction cost are about 3.5%

In the box; ready for travel
Just send me an email with your wishes and shipping address, I will quote you a total price and we can work out the details. Please use ltw-regelservice at home dot nl, and I'll get back to you ASAP.


Magnetic Boats for on the white-board !
Complete situation clearly visible from across the room

Sunday, 1 June 2014

OCS; Are we missing something?

OCS; Are we missing something?
A guest post by Mike Butterfield (IRO, IU, IJ) GBR

Boats that are OCS are one of the big problems for race officers. We do have a number of tools at our disposal to deal with it but I wonder if we are missing a trick.

At the moment our first line of defense is the raise the “X” with it’s sound signal and as an alternative we can have a general recall with “1st Sub” and it’s two sounds. It just depends on how confident (and quick) we are in identifying the boats OCS before we make the decision.

We know with “X” we have about 5 seconds and this year I had one start where it stretched to 13 and Redress was given to the sailors. Incidentally as they did not return (which would have taken time) and they were given a 20% place penalty by the RYA Appeals panel.

In our race management training we accept we will not identify all boats OCS and ask our pin, what they have, and they reply with two numbers, those they have as over and those they can identify. From this and our observations we see if we have most boats and make our decision “X” or “1st” sub.
Now we know ISAF have Race Management policies for the Olympics and ISAF events which covers this point. In these guidelines we are told “When the race management team is satisfied that all boats over the line have been identified, an Individual Recall will be signalled.”

Now we have just noted we differ from the guidelines, by our two number system, to get a good percentage of boats identified before we call Individual Recall. What may be needed for the ISAF events is not what we necessarily need to worry about for fair day to day racing.

ISAF say in their Race Management Policies:
 “The Race Management Team will not signal an individual recall and then a general Recall.”
Now I have never seen it done, and nothing is said of it in training race officers, so it appears to be universally accepted – BUT WHY?!

To me within the time constraints we have (and put at 5 seconds) we have little enough time on the average start line to enable us to decide if we have identified all or most of the boats that are OCS.
What we do know is that we have OCS boats so it seems sensible to call for an “X” with its signal so we have this option available and we may see who starts to return relative to the numbers identified.

If after we have consulted our ARO (pin) and DRO (on committee boat) we are not satisfied we have identified enough boats what is unfair in going for the 1st Sub at this point. There does not appear to be an issue of fairness as we have called them all back.

I can see no real downside to this approach and would like to advocate we adopt this as a sound race management practice, or at least open a discussion on it. Anything that might save a good start is worth trying, and we know often if we go for general recalls we are rewarding those who pull the start over and force us to move to the Black Flag.

I think this new approach could assist in our race management practices and I ask you to consider it.
If there are comments please  use the comment box below.

Mike Butterfield

If any of you want to discuss this privately with Mike, send an Email to the blog email and I'll forward you Mike's email address.

Thursday, 29 May 2014


The use of the Answering Pennant?

In a couple events fairly recently I was confronted with the use of the answering pennant - AP in short - in combination with a numeral pennant;
AP over one and a bunch of class-flags
AP over four with another set of class-flags.

Here's a picture from the last event I was attending; The Delta Lloyd Regatta. We had a beautiful week with lots and lots of sunshine but, alas, also a couple of days with less than perfect wind. In fact, no wind. Hence the postponements.

During the day, when these combination of flags were used, I was confronted with a couple of discussions about the exact meaning. I though it was obvious and had not considered the arguments given.

In my understanding the numeral pennant under the AP gives you the number of hours the start is postponed from the ORIGINALLY scheduled time.
For example: The Finns were scheduled to start at 14:00 hours (2PM)
AP over numeral pennant three over the Finn-class flag would make that start time: (2+3=5) Five o'clock.

At half past four the signal flags are changed and now the same flagpole shows:
AP over numeral pennant four over the Finn-class flag. That would make the start-time in my opinion: (2+4=6) Six o'clock.

But then someone argued: With the hoisting of the first flags the scheduled time becomes 17:00 hours (5PM). If you then hoist the AP over four, the new starting time must be taken from that new time
i.e.: (5+4=9) Nine o'clock in the evening.

So it depends what is meant by "scheduled" starting time. I am always using the 'scheduled' time as (obligatory) printed in the SIs. But was confronted with a couple of knowledgeable sailors who used the second system.

In my opinion the signal should be clear, precise and not being subject to any other possible interpretation. Suppose you use the number one pennant repeatedly?
The first one makes the (printed) schedules time an hour later. But the second one, two hours, and the third one, three hours later!
If any sailor missed looking at the mast and noticing that the one was lowered and hoisted again, he would have a hard time figuring out at what time he was suppose to start. In contrary to always using the printed (SI) time. No matter how long you haven't looked, the pennant shown is always added to the printed time and that gives you the new time.

I would appreciate some feedback and/or comments.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Back to the Basics (Part 6); Room

A blog post in a series: Racing Rules for Novices*
(*I'm going to try to do one of these on Mondays)

In this series I would like to give you my insights into those issues in the Racing Rules for Sailing, that nine times out of ten are asked in one of my rules talks, I do for clubs, sailors and/or class organizations, during the winter season.

In a great many rules a boat is entitled to "room". Room to keep clear, room to sail a proper course, room to tack, etc. etc. Even the definition "Mark-room" starts by giving room to pass the mark on the required side.

Frequently I get questions about room involving a specific distance; "If I keep half a meter away from the other boat, do I give enough room?" or "10 centimetres was enough, wasn't it?"

Sometimes I feel almost guilty in having to answer: "It depends". The actual space and time a boat is entitled to when she's been given room under the rules is depending on a number of factors. These factors are all described in the definition of "ROOM";
Room: The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.
Let's go over these factors one by one:
Existing conditions; 
These include things like wind-strength, wave-height and all other environmental conditions. A boat needs more distance in high wave, hard wind conditions then in no waves and low wind. If there are rolling waves shifting the boat to one side, the distance it needs is bigger then when these waves are not there. But existing conditions also include the boat-type. You can imagine that a laser doesn't need as much room as say, a tornado, or a 12 meter yacht.

Manoeuvring promptly;
A boat is entitled to the room it needs to do the manoeuvre efficiently and promptly. But she does not get more room, if the crew are beginners who need more time and space to, for example hoist a spinnaker, or gybe or any other manoeuvre. The rules make no allowances for incompetent boat handling. If you are still learning you better make sure you do it away from other boats, because mistakes may result in being protested for taking too much room.

In a seamanlike way;
You are allowed to manoeuvre in a seamanlike way; that is to say with sufficient regard for the safety of the boat and crew. The room you are entitled to, is not so small that only, for instance, a crash-gybe, is possible. Especially rule 15 and 16 are interpreted that way. A keep-clear boat must do everything to keep clear, but not so that only an unsafe - "unseamanlike" - manoeuvre accomplishes that. Than the room provided is not enough.

Including space to comply with her obligations under rules of Part 2 and rule 31;
This addition is from the latest rulebook. But in fact it was already more or less done that way for a long time. The middle boat in a three boat overlapped mark rounding has to give mark-room to the inside boat and that means that the outside boat has to give that middle boat room to not only round the mark in the existing conditions, manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way, but also room to be able to give room to the inside boat, which is more room than the previous three conditions provided.

If you consider all these conditions, then you can make an educated guess on the distances involved. An experienced sailor can usually tell if a boat takes more room than the definition provides. As a jury-member I usually ask the sailors at the table, if I don't know the boat well enough. And also going out on the water observing the racing boats can tell you a lot.

And finally the principle of last certainty applies. Only when it is quite clear that a boat is taking more room than she is entitled to, can you start concluding that a rule might be broken.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Back to the Basics (Part 5); Barging II

A blog post in a series: Racing Rules for Novices*
(*I'm going to try to do one of these on Mondays)

In this series I would like to give you my insights into those issues in the Racing Rules for Sailing, that nine times out of ten are asked in one of my rules talks, I do for clubs, sailors and/or class organizations, during the winter season.

This post continues last week's post on barging. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you do so now, here's the link: Back to the Basics (Part 4); Barging I

Barging boats break rule 11 by not keeping clear of the leeward boat. As I said, take away the committee boat, and you see immediately what is what. But that committee boat is there and at the end, it does have an effect on the situation.

This is because of rule 16.1; the rule that puts a general limitation on the right-of-way boat, in our situation the leeward boat. Rule 16.1 says. When a right-of-way boat changes course, it shall give the other boat room to keep clear.

Please compare these three situations:

  situation A
Blue sails a straight course toward the stern of the committee boat 
situation B
Blue leaves a gab, but luffs before reaching the committee boa.

situation C
Blue leaves a gab, and luffs next to the committee boat.

In situation A, the leeward (right-of-way) boat never changes course. Therefore it never has a rule 16.1 limitation and all barging boats must keep clear, without Leeward having to give them room to do so. If the windward boat forces the issue and Leeward is forced to go down - she has to, in order to comply with rule 14 - the windward boat has committed a serious breach of the rules and may well be penalized for rule 11 AND rule 2.

In situation B, the right-of-way boat initially leaves a gap between its course and the stern of the committee boat. Windward, can go there and is able to keep clear of Leeward. As long as both these conditions exist, this is within the rules. However, before Leeward reaches the committee boat, she luffs, closing the gap. Because she's changing course she must give room to Windward to luff as well and keep clear.

In situation C initially the same thing happens. But the luff made by Leeward is at a moment that Windward cannot luff any more without hitting the committee boat. She has no safe (seamanlike) 'escape,' any more. Because of this, although Windward is not keeping clear, she's now 'protected' by the general limitation of rule 16.1. If Leeward luffs, she does NOT give room to Windward to keep clear and therefore she is breaking rule 16.1 and Windward is exonerated for breaking rule 11.

What you have to take away from these situations is that either you leave no gab between the course you are sailing and the committee boat from the beginning, and if you do, to close it before the windward boat cannot go anywhere else. Once Windward gets her bow next to the committee boat you cannot force the issue any longer, without breaking a rule yourself.
This last part is that much harder if there is not one, but several boats to windward, who all want to barge in. Under the general limitation rule 16.1 they ALL have to be given room to keep clear.
Sailing a straight course is you safest bet....


Haven't chosen next week's issue yet, but am sure to come up with something.

If you want to go back to previous posts in this series, here are the links:
Back to the Basics (Part 4); Barging I
Back to the Basics (Part 3): Sweet Seventeen
Back to the Basics (Part 2): Where's the referee?
Back to the Basics (Part 1): Keeping Clear

Monday, 17 March 2014

Back to the Basics (Part 4); Barging I

A blog post in a series: Racing Rules for Novices*
(*I'm going to try to do one of these on Mondays)

In this series I would like to give you my insights into those issues in the Racing Rules for Sailing, that nine times out of ten are asked in one of my rules talks, I do for clubs, sailors and/or class organizations, during the winter season.

This weeks issue is about Barging.
It looks like that I need more than one week to write this up, so next week I'll continue.

Two Traditional Thames Barges in the Lower Thames Estuary, 1935
The dictionary has a whole list of explanations when you type in the word "barging". What is most obvious when reading that list, is that "barging" is associated with rude behaviour, to barge in when not appropriate, aggressively and clumsily. In short; a foul nobody wants to make...... or is it?

Barging in sailing happens very early in the race, before the starting signal and is mostly done either by boats who have no clue about the rules or are especially inapt in timing there approach to the start. But wait, it is also done by people who think they can get away with it, because if successful, it has potentially great benefits. The boat that is most close to the committee boat gets free air and can tack as she pleases.

Let us first have a look at why this rule infringement - basically a very simple windward-leeward issue - is still misunderstood by so many.

It begins with that there is a mark involved; a mark of the starting line. That mark can be - and in many cases is - a committee boat. The committee boat at the end of the starting line - if so described in the sailing instructions - is a mark of the starting line, and boats must pass it on the correct side in order to sail the course.

That committee boat is also - by definition - an obstruction. When sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it, a boat must make a substantial course change to avoid it. The committee boat is big enough to fall into that category, hence it is "an obstruction"

These two facts about the committee boat - it being a mark and also an obstruction - leads by many to the assumption that the rules, governing mark rounding (RRS18) and passing obstructions (RRS19), apply. And that is - surprisingly - partly true.
But - and this is the part a lot of sailors have a hard time grasping - NOT when boats are approaching the committee boat to start, until they have passed it.

The preamble specifically switches off section C (all rules regarding marks and obstructions) during that very brief period. When boats are sailing around in the start area, a couple of minutes before the start and they happen to pass the committee-boat together, overlapped, rule 19 is applicable. Only during the short time approaching the startline these rules are switched off.

So, depending on the type of boat your are sailing, how good you are in slow speed and the angle of approach, that time may vary from a minute or two to 10 seconds before the starting signal.
During that time the rules that dictate the situation are only the rules in section A, B and D. With rule 11 (Windward must keep clear of Leeward) the main right-of-way rule. During that time, windward boats are not entitled to room from the leeward boats to pass the committee boat on the specified side. They are not allowed to barge in.
Both Red boats are "barging", trying to get to the starting line. This is not permitted.

Because of this, an accurate depiction of the situation would be to forget the committee boat and treat the situation as if it was not there. In open water, a windward boat would have no doubt that she could not come down. She would know she had to keep clear. (This is an oversimplification, but on that subject more next week)

To make things even more complicated, there is an exception. If the starting mark (i.e. the committee (boat) is for example on the end of a long pier and therefore NOT surrounded by navigable water, the preamble of Section C does not kick in and rule 19 is once more applicable. In other words, if barging boats have no water to escape on the outside of the starting mark, you have to let them in, you have to give them room. This is not something that happens in normal racing, but I have seen Extreme Sailing Series races, in very narrow and restricted waters, where the committee boat was so close to a harbour wall that, for all intends and purposes, it was no longer surrounded by navigable water. So it does happen, occasionally.

The leeward boat can sail is high as she wants, it does not have to be close-hauled. Even with a rule 17 restriction she may go up to head-to-wind. All windward boats have stop or tack or whatever it takes, to keep clear.

If you can't wait for next week, you can go back to one of my earlier posts on barging:

Otherwise, to be continued.

Next week: Barging II

Previous episodes in this series:
Back to the Basics (Part 3): Sweet Seventeen
I am a little disappointed that no courageous sailor, umpire or judge came up with an answer to my last question. Fear not, you can keep trying, I'm not going to tell you.
Back to the Basics (Part 2): Where's the referee?
An uniform is not required, but did you check if the B-flag was where it was suppose to be?
Back to the Basics (Part 1): Keeping Clear

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

ISAF Q&A's; Five new ones!

The panel has awakened from it's long winter-break, or so it looks. I received five new Q&A's in my mailbox. Some also very 'useful' for Race Committees.

Q&A 2014.002 B008
As the B indicates, this one is for boats; a clarification on a previous Q&A from 2013, number 017 B005 to be exact. In order to understand the question (and answers) you need at least this diagram:

Diagram from Q&A 2013.017 B005
Both Q&A's, the new one and the one from 2013, hinge on one issue: Has the Blue given mark-room (pas tense) or does she still have to. For (yellow) sailors: If you want to avoid this 'nitpicking' by the rules gurus: Don't go around the mark with so much leeway, stay close, gybe round it and you are covered.....

Q&A 2014.003 F002
Race committees, please pay attention. The Q&A Panel is putting the hammer down. Results are no longer provisional, final or any other adjective you care to give them: They are, from this day forward "RESULTS". Make it so!

Q&A 2014.004 L002
When it rains, it pours. Race Committee, you are again ordered to change your wicked ways. No more multi-discipline races with boards, boats and what not. They can be harmful to your health and create risk of collision, damage and injury.

Q&A 2014.005 F003
Will they never stop? Again and again the poor line-sighting volunteers get it wrong. Identifying wrong boats under the black flag. No wonder the Q&A-panel has to step in, to sort this mess.
No, wait.. at the end a sailor is also ....
Well, you should find out yourself, I can't bear this any more...

Q&A 2014.006 K002
I'm glad this is the last one. The RC has enough on their plate for now. At least this one is about ties in Match Racing. A favourite subject by far, among the scoring people who are volunteering to do it.

Perhaps a decent flow-chart would help. What do you think?


Ooh, I almost forgot: Here's the link to the updated booklet: ISAF Q&A Booklet
Put it in your library now, before you are caught, not having it.... and the Panel comes after YOU!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Back to the Basics (Part 3): Sweet Seventeen

A blog post in a series: Racing Rules for Novices*
(*I'm going to try to do one of these on Mondays)

In this series I would like to give you my insights into those issues in the Racing Rules for Sailing, that nine times out of ten are asked in one of my rules talks, I do for clubs, sailors and/or class organizations, during the winter season.

This weeks issue is about rule 17.
Why is rule 17 so difficult for many sailors? Or  - a better analysis - why is "Hé you, so and so [insert appropriate swearword], sail your proper course" so frequently heard on the racecourse, when it is, even without the swearword, completely inappropriate?

First of all, ask yourself, do I understand what "Proper Course" actually is?
If yes, skip one and go to two. If you're not sure, start with one.

Proper Course is defined in the rulebook.
A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal
"A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible...."?

We all know that when you are racing you want to finish as soon as possible - no wait, that's not correct - you want to finish before the other boats do! That means you sometimes want to sail a course that benefits that last goal, but is not the fastest way to finish. If you are the right-of-way boat, you will be able to sail any course you want - provided you don't break a rule. Well, nowhere in the whole rulebook is any rule that states you MUST sail your proper course. So, even when most times, most boats do sail to finish as fast as possible, there's no obligation to do so.

And to make things even more complicated, there might be more than one course that lets you get to the finish faster. Sometimes it is just choosing what you think is best.
There's a patch of wind 50 meters to the left; luff up, go there, and you might gain enough to compensate (and more) for the extra distance you sailed. Than that IS a proper course. As long there is a reasonable assumption that the course you are sailing, might get you to the finish faster, it is - by definition - a proper course.

".....in absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using that term" ?
Let us have a look at which rules are using the term:
Definition Mark-Room:  The other boat is the boat that must give you that Mark-Room
Rule 17: The other boat is the boat to windward you are making an overlap with.
Rule 18.1(b): The other boat is the boat on the opposite tack.
Rule 18.2(c)(2): The other boat is in fact your boat.
Rule 18.4: The other boats are any other boats. The rule actually has no other boat(s)
Rule 24.2: The other boat is the boat taking a penalty or sailing on another leg.
(there are a couple more in the appendixes, but those you can figure out yourself)

If you encounter a situation with multiple boats, the definition does NOT "take away" all those other boats to determine what the course would have been to finish as soon as possible, only the boats that I indicated in the list with rules.

Lets do an example:
Grey has a rule 17 limitation; Is she sailing above her proper course?
Green is taken out (of the picture). What is the answer now?

Two boats sailing on a beam reach encounter a third who luffs. Grey has a rule 17 limitation. She's shall not sail above her proper course. But because she has to keep clear of Blue, she has to luff and forces Green to go up with her. Now Grey is surely sailing above her proper course! Or is she?
The "other boat" referred to in rule 17 is Green. So take away Green.
Then you are left with Grey and Blue, and in absence of Green, Grey would also have luffed to keep clear. In order to finish as fast as possible (without breaking a rule) she must go up. Therefore she is still sailing her proper course. cah-PEESH?

"... A boat has no proper course before her starting signal"

That, as they say, is more or less self-explanatory. You can't sail a course to finish before the starting signal. Or, any course is good. Even head-to-wind.

So, finally we arrive at


Because most boats want to get to the finish as soon as possible, thinking that that is the whole ballgame - which it is, most of the time, but not always - they assume every other boats must do the same. So when they are held up, usually by a boat that luffs them, or sails a course they don't think is faster to the finish, they get frustrated and start yelling about "proper course".

It is only ever useful, when that other boat has a rule 17 limitation. If that other boat has not, she can sail any course she wants and boats that have to keep clear of her, must keep clear, Regardless if that forces them on a course away from the finish.....
Only a right-of-way boat can HAVE a rule 17 limitation. A keep clear boat never has. And that limitation under rule 17 can only happen to a right-of-way boat, when a set of four conditions are fulfilled. ALL of them. Not one, not two or three, all of them.
Those conditions are:
  • The boats are on the same tack
  • The boat comes from clear astern
  • She makes the overlap to leeward of the other boat
  • The distance between the boats is less than two hull lengths (with two different size boats, the hull length of the leeward boat)
If one of these conditions does not apply, or no longer applies, rule 17 does not apply, or no longer applies. The limitation is lifted, when a boat gybes. It is lifted when the distance becomes more than two hull lengths. It never applies when the overlap is to windward. It never applies when the boat is tacking into that leeward position.... etc. Remember? All of them.


I'm skipping three, four, five all the way to sixteen, so we finally can get to:


Under a rule 17 limitation a right-of-way boat SHALL not sail above her proper course.
(we used to have a rule restricting sailing below a proper course, but those days are over, forget that)

'Above her proper course'.... hmmm....
The keep-clear boat might have another idea about what a proper course is..... well, tough, she's not the one choosing. The right-of-way boat has that privilege.
The keep-clear boat might think the right-of-way boat IS sailing above her proper course. Again, tough luck, it does not mean she no longer has to keep clear.

I'm doing an animation again. In most rule-talks that seems to work best:

Course to the next mark (Finish) is downwind after the mark.
Two boats, approach a windward mark to be left to port, before going downwind toward the finish.

In position 1, Purple on starboard-tack, establishes an overlap from clear astern, with Grey on the same tack. The distance is less than two hull lengths, therefore from that moment on, Purple has a rule 17 limitation. Purple shall not sail above her proper course.

In position 4 Purple luffs head-to-wind. Is she sailing above her proper course?
According to the definition we first must take away the "other boat" mentioned in the rule. That is Grey in this case. Would Purple have headed up, to finish as soon as possible, in the absence of Grey?
Answer is yes, Purple would have done the same. Shooting the mark takes her to the finish sooner.
In position 4 Purple is NOT sailing above her proper course.

Now we look at positions 5 and 6. Is the rule 17 limitation lifted? Or, does one of the conditions no longer apply? Answer is no. She still has a rule 17 limitation.
Next, take away Grey. Would Purple sail the same course, to finish as soon as possible, if Grey was not there? Answer is NO!
Purple would have gone down toward the finish. So in positions 5 and 6 she IS sailing above her proper course and breaks rule 17. Note: Grey is keeping-clear. If she wouldn't, she also would break a rule (rule 11)

Sweet enough for you?

I'm leaving you with some "homework":
Please tell me what Purple has to do, in the same animation, so she can sail this course without breaking rule 17?


Next week: Barging

Previous episodes in this series:
Back to the Basics (Part 2): Where's the referee?

Back to the Basics (Part 1): Keeping Clear

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