Racing Rules Quiz

Copyright Speed & Smarts, used by permission

Courtesy of David Dellenbaugh's excellent Speed & Smarts newsletter on all things racing, here is a small extract from the latest issue. It is a rules quiz that has some surprising answers (at least, they were for me!). It covers many situations you will routinely encounter on the course. I encourage you to study it so you know the right thing to do!! I would also encourage you to subscribe to the bi-monthly newsletter - it is full of useful information and at about $6 an issue, great value!

Taking the appropriate penalty

Just because you break a rule every now and then doesn’t mean you aren’t sportsmanlike. All sailors make mistakes, and sometimes these errors include rule infringements. This is not a problem as long as you take an appropriate penalty for each breach. But do you know which penalty is appropriate? Below are 12 race-course scenarios where you (the Red boat) break a rule. In each situation, which penalty, if any, should you take to comply with the rulebook and be a good sport?

Your choices are: A) No penalty B) One-Turn Penalty C) Two-Turns Penalty D) Some other penalty E) Retire

In each scenario, you are the Red boat.

Scenario 1: A few seconds after the warning signal for your start, you fail to keep clear of a leeward boat. The resulting contact causes damage to the other boat in the form of a broken hiking stick.

1a: What if this happened just after the preparatory signal?

Scenario 2: You are racing upwind on port tack and a starboard tacker has to change course to avoid you. However, they do not hail ‘Protest’ and you know they were OCS at the start and didn’t go back.

Scenarios 3, 4, 5 You are sailing close hauled on starboard tack, but you haven’t been keeping a very good lookout. As a result, you run into a port tacker (P) that fails to keep clear of you. P does her penalty turns. What, if anything, must you do in each case?

Scenario 3: Your contact with P did not cause any damage or injury.

Scenario 4: Your collision with P caused damage that is not ‘serious.’

Scenario 5: Your collision caused serious damage to one of the boats.

Scenarios 6, 7, 8 You approach the windward mark on the port-tack layline and tack around the mark very close in front of a boat on starboard tack (S).

Scenario 6: You hit the mark without fouling the starboard tacker.

Scenario 7: You hit the mark and foul the starboard tacker at the same time.

Scenario 8: You hit the mark without fouling any boats, but this allows you to round ahead of 10 starboard tackers that were lined up on the layline. After taking your penalty you are still ahead of five of those boats.

Scenario 9: While rounding a mark with no other boats around, you touch it gently with your hull. You are the only one who sees this.

Scenario 10: At a leeward mark, you fail to provide mark-room to a boat overlapped inside of you (A). However, the reason was that a boat overlapped outside of you (C) did not give you mark-room.

Scenario 11: Just after you finish the race, you are talking with your crew and you inadvertently interfere with a boat in the class behind you that is still racing toward the finish.

Answers here