Racing Rules Continued

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Over on Facebook, there has been a Sunday Racing Rules series. the first 4 episodes were added to our website and can be read HERE

Below are the next two episodes in the series…

Episode 4 of our Racing Rules: When Boats Meet at Marks – Definitions

It has taken 2 episodes to get through the right of way rules and general limitations. We now turn to the tricky subject of boats meeting at marks. This will also take 2 episodes. Firstly, we need to be clear of the definitions and that is what we will cover in this episode.

Mark room is room to:
• Leave a mark the required side
• Sail to the mark
• Round the mark

Mark room is room to sail to and round the mark

It is not room to tack round the mark or to sail wide round the mark.

The ‘zone’ is the area around a mark within 3 hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.

An ‘overlap’ between 2 boats is when any part of a boat’s hull / equipment is in front of a line abeam from the aftermost point of the other boat’s hull / equipment. In both cases the hull / equipment needs to be in its normal position.

(see image 2)

Yellow is clear ahead of all the others and is not overlapped. Green & Grey are overlapped. Grey & Blue are overlapped. Green & Blue are overlapped because Grey is between them. Green & Purple are not overlapped because Grey is not between them.

Those are the key definitions for when 2 boats meet at a mark.


Episode 5: When Boats Meet at Marks – Rules

Remembering the definitions from the last episode, we now get onto mark room (or ‘water’ as those of a certain age will remember it!) – refer to the last episode for the definition of ‘mark room’.

Mark room applies when 2 boats are required to leave a mark on the same side.

Blue is giving Yellow mark room.

However, mark room does not apply:
• At a starting mark

Mark room does not apply at a starting mark. Yellow cannot ask Blue for room to pass inside the committee boat.

• When on opposite tacks on a beat (this is often mistakenly thought to mean that mark room does not apply on a beat – it only doesn’t apply on a beat if you are on opposite tacks)
• When on opposite tacks when the proper course is for one boat, but not both, to tack
• Between a boat approaching the mark and one leaving it
• If you tack in the zone (check definition in last episode) to be on the same tack as a boat fetching the mark (see below)

Mark room (definition in last episode) is given:
• By the outside boat to the inside boat if they were overlapped (definition in last episode) when the first boat reaches the zone (definition in last episode)
• By the boat clear astern if the boat was clear aster when the first boat reaches the zone

There are, however, 2 limitations:
• You are not entitled to mark room if you got your inside overlap from clear astern or tacking to windward and the outside boat is unable to give mark room (you can’t just barge in there!)
• If you tack in the zone to be on the same tack as a boat fetching the mark (see above) you cannot luff above close-hauled or prevent the other boat from rounding the mark and you have to give the other boat mark room if it gets an inside overlap – so, if you tack in the zone, there’s a lot you must and cannot do – you should only do it if you know what you’re doing!

Blue has tacked in the zone. Blue cannot luff above close-hauled and must give Yellow mark room if Yellow gets an inside overlap. Don’t be Blue unless you really know what you are doing!

The next episode will look at 2 boats meeting at an obstruction.