Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Rule Interpretation by Dave Perry - Definition of Room

On  January 1, 2013, the new edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing go into effect. These rules are locked in through 2016. Dave Perry returns to the US Sailing Blog to explain some of the significant changes to the rules. Dave is a welcome authority on the rules, as chairman of the US Sailing Appeals Committee, Rules Advisor to the US Olympic Sailing Team and Artemis Racing, the Challenger for the America’s Cup, co-author of the North U Rules & Tactics seminar, and author of two books on the subject. Read Dave's interpretation on "the definition of Room":

1) The definition Room now includes space for a boat to comply with her obligations under the rules in Part 2 (When Boats Meet) and rule 31 (Touching a Mark). For example, if three boats on the same tack are near each other on the starting line and the leeward-most boat wants to luff (head up towards the wind), rule 16.1 (Changing Course) requires her to give the middle boat the time and space she needs to also comply with rule 16.1 relative to the windward-most boat.

Another example would be if three port-tack boats were sailing upwind and the leeward-most boat (L) tacked to starboard. Rule 15 (Acquiring Right of Way) requires L to give the middle boat (M) room to keep clear. If M needs to tack to keep clear, L has to give M enough time and space to similarly give the windward-most boat room to keep clear of her under rule 15 as well. Note, this is not a game change. It was considered by most that breaking a rule was "unseaman-like," therefore giving a boat space to maneuver in a seaman-like way, which rule 16.1 has always required, included giving the time and space needed to comply with the rules. The new definition Room simply builds that into the definition now.

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 maneuvering promptly in a seaman-like way.

For more on the rules, get Dave Perry’s two books Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing through 2016 (which includes the complete rule book) and Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes available at the US Sailing Store.

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