Boats S (on starboard tack) and P (on port tack), both close-hauled, are converging on a beat. P will safely cross S. However, when they are less than two lengths apart, the wind veers (shifts to the right) ten degrees. S luffs (changes her course) in response to the windshift, such that P is unable to keep clear. There is minor contact with no damage or injury, and both boats protest. You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?
Boat S is penalized under rule 16.1, Changing Course. Rule 16.1 states, “When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.” S changes course when so close to P that P is unable to keep clear and there is contact. Therefore, S failed to give P room to keep clear, thereby breaking rule 16.1. The fact that S’s change of course was in response to a windshift is not relevant to the application of rule 16.1.
P broke rule 10, On Opposite Tacks, but is exonerated (not penalized) under rule 64.1(a), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration, because she was compelled to
break rule 10 by S’s breach of rule 16.1.
S also broke rule 14, Avoiding Contact; but as the right-of-way boat, she is exonerated (not penalized) for breaking rule 14 as the contact did not cause damage or injury (see rule 14(b)). P did not break rule 14, because S changed course so close to P that it was not possible for P to avoid the contact.
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