Friday, October 31, 2014

Leeward Mark Rules Quiz

Here's a scenario that came up at an umpire debrief at the 2014 Hinman, which is the US Team Race National Championship.  Simple as it seems, it had the sailors and umpires discussing what rules applied for hours after the debrief.  And again the next morning.

Even after the event was over, several of the umpires, including some International Umpires and International Judges, continued to chew over the call via e-mail.  Finally, several of them wrote it up and submitted it to ISAF as a proposed Team Race Rapid Response Call.

X and Y were on the same team and A was on the opposing team. The incident happened at mark 3 of a digital N course, meaning that the next mark was off to the right, a little to windward of the direction X is headed at position 4.  X entered the zone clear ahead of A and Y, who were overlapped at the zone with Y inside A.  Boat A took a course to pass between X and the mark, and Y went in with her. There was contact between all three boats and Y hit the mark. There was a valid protest. What should the call have been?

This time, rather than giving my opinion I'm asking yours.  You can decide there was no foul, or that one or more boats should have taken a penalty.  The hard part is, you have to say why -- who, if anybody, broke what rules and who, if anybody, should have been exonerated under rules 21 or 64.1(a). 

In case you don't know much about team racing, I think it doesn't matter.  The only special team-race rule that might apply here is that in team racing, boats can break rules with respect to their own team-mates, but only if there is no contact and the incident didn't involve the other team.  In this case there was contact and the incident clearly involved both teams, so that rule didn't apply.  So the answer should be the same in fleet racing as in team racing.

I'll give you one hint:  It's more complicated than it might seem at first, and X is an obstruction to the other two boats (see the definition Obstruction). 

In my next post, I'll tell you what the august body of Hinman umpires finally decided!