Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Definition of ‘Room’ in mixed fleet short handed racing

Matt Michel
Nationality: New Zealand
I have a question that occurred to me while reading through the cases, based on this definition (taken from case 103):

The phrase “seamanlike way” in the definition Room refers to boat-handling that can reasonably be expected from a competent, but not expert, crew of the appropriate number for the boat.

In a 2 handed mixed fleet race, does the ‘crew of the appropriate number for the boat’ change. 

Example: boat A is a 12m boat, normally crewed by 12 people. Boat B is a 6m boat, normally crewed by 3.

Would the rules allow boat A more room during a 2 handed race than a fully crewed race? Could that apply less so to boat B, say if 2 was considered to not be an inappropriate number? Or are both expected to be handled the same as if they had a full crew? What if boat B’s ‘appropriate number of crew’ was ‘2 or 3’?

Does ‘appropriate’ change if the SI’s only allow 2 crew is guess is the crux of my question. 

Appreciate any responses. 
Created: 20-Jul-21 10:37

Comments

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Matt, that's an interesting question.  Thinking with my fingers typing ....

When considering what is "appropriate" amount of crew, we might look to the several factors .. 
  1. boat size
  2. sail-plan,, running-rigging configuration, deck-layout
  3. boat performance
  4. boat handling characteristics
  5. weather conditions

If this an OD boat, then we'd consider .. 

6. customary crew compliment for the class
7. Class Rules crew limits

So, along with those CR/OD considerations, if SI's limit the crew, then we can add .. 

8. NOR/SI crew limits

So, if the NOR/SI's limit the crew to less than would be otherwise appropriate  (#1-#5) or less than the OD limits (#6, #7), then I could argue that this reduced number of crew has been defined as "appropriate" for the event .. and as such I can see a good argument that this limited, reduced crew could be taken into consideration when thinking about "seamanlike way".


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Created: 20-Jul-21 15:00
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
...provided that both boats are sailing the same event and each is aware that the other is sailing with the same two person limit.
Created: 20-Jul-21 20:36
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
Suppose an event has singlehanded, doublehanded and fully crewed classes sailing the same course (or at least in the same racing area and using the same marks).

Is a singlehanded or doublehanded boat entitled to more room than a fully crewed boat? Does the singlehanded get more than the doublehander? 

Would a boat in a doublehanded class be entitled to more room than a boat in the fully crewed class that chose to go doublehanded? Or a boat whose normal, appropriate crew size is 2?

I don't know the answers. 
Created: 20-Jul-21 22:22
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
"No" to all your questions, except the last one, to which I cannot attach that boat as the boat before "than" or after "than."
Sailors cannot be expected to divine an inappropriate crew make-up.
Created: 20-Jul-22 01:52
Chuck Bowers
Nationality: United States of America
0
My answer to this question will probably not be from a rules standpoint. But, as that of a Corinthian skipper who’s been forced by the present circumstances to be single handing a boat that I normally race with a crew of 7.

I would hope that coming up to a mark where it looks like we would be in tight quarters some discussion would be made to between boats assess if a boat is running with such a crew (or lack there of) and a “normal” seaman like rounding would be difficult. Much like looking at the sea state, tides and winds which is normally considered when assessing what would be expected for a seaman like rounding. I would think that crew size when you are aware that many competitors may be terribly short handed should be a factor looked at when considering what would constitute a seaman like rounding. 

While I can understand that “Sailors cannot be expected to divine an inappropriate crew make-up”. At least in the fleet I race in a friendly “you’re short handed aren’t you?” Would not be considered inappropriate and I have no such difficulty to give such a boat some extra room. I would expect that in the Corinthian spirit such a boat would do their best to make the rounding in the most seaman like way possible. 

From a personal standpoint I have not yet had a rounding even close what I would expect on my boat if I was fully crewed. My boat is by no means setup for single handed racing and I’ve been making what changes to my rigging that I can to make it easier. I have a long way to go before I would truly be set up for it and then many hours/days of getting used to it before I could hope to be as effective as when I have a full crew.  Just my 2¢ 

Chuck Bowers
Rhumb Runner J/29
Created: 20-Jul-23 03:32
Matt Michel
Nationality: New Zealand
0
Thanks Angelo, for your well thought out reply. I’d say your post would be sensible to follow. 

Tim - these are the type of questions I was wondering when I asked. This seems like a very plausible and likely commonly occurring issue. The rules do t normally leave too many grey areas. 

Chuck, yeah I think your thinking is why I’d like more of a guide from the rules.

Example: Boat A is 40’, heavy, cruiser/racer, poorly set up for short handed. Boat B is an 8m race boat, we’ll set up for short handed. Both boats are similar speed. At the bottom mark, both boats are even at the zone and still at the mark, boat A is inside and has mark room. When boat A turns, their sails are still out and their momentum becomes sideways while the crew finish grinding things in. 4 boat lengths after the mark, they are now on a close hauled course. Meanwhile, boat B are stuck sailing the long way around outside them, going deeper and deeper to avoid a collision. The course is then a short fetch to the finish. With B stuck below A, A finishes before B and is placed 3rd on handicap, a few seconds ahead of B. (This type of thing happens reasonably often where I sail). 

This seems unideal, and I’d expect B to win a protest against A Under rule 11. But what definitions would be used to determine a valid protest? What lines would be drawn as for times and distances that are acceptable under the room A was entitled, are they different tolerances than if it was a fully crewed race etc. Secondly, what rules or cases discourage A from doing this in the first place?

Personally, if I was boat A, and I knew I was unlikely to make a mark rounding in anything like a seaman like way, I’d be looking around all the time for such situations developing, and going out of my way to get out of the way, be the outside boat, take a wide rounding and let others through etc. By requiring an inside boat to make a seaman like rounding, this is basically what the rules require, to my interpretation. 


Follow up question: when considering how long it would take a ‘competent, but not expert’ crew to do something, is that considering the setup and condition of the boat? Would a different allowance be made for two class boats, if one has old deck gear, less purchase, old winches, and the other well setup, two speed winches and was therefore easier to sail?
Created: 20-Jul-23 04:35
Chuck Bowers
Nationality: United States of America
0
Matt,

I’ve run into your scenario out on the course many times even in fully crewed boats. As the outside boat I would have slowed just a tad and made sure I did a wide and tight rounding (Tactical) as opposed to the inside boats tight and wide (seaman like) rounding cutting inside as the other boat passes the mark and come out to windward of the inside boat.  It’s the smart move and not that difficult to pull off. As the outside boat coming out of a rounding to leeward of the inside boat and expecting to be able to sail through their lee is not a recipe for many wins. 

The requirement on the inside boats to seaman like (tight then wide) rounding is quite beneficial to a savvy outside boat who can take advantage of it by a pulling off a good Tactical (wide then tight) rounding... If the inside boat really tries button hook it to close the door on you they will usually have to come to a halt to do it. In that case you can foot off fo a moment and shoot by.  All this is tactics not rules though. 

In you last question... If I were on a PC when faced with such a question. It would probably take a lot of evidence that the lack of efficient rigging would keep a competent crew from being able to perform a maneuver in the same room as better equipped boat. With the assumption that these are similar boats in other respects. I read into you question say 2 OD boats of different vintages. The difference say on a tack with 2 speed winches vs singles would be minimal at most from my experience.
Created: 20-Jul-23 05:41
Greg Wilkins
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Club Judge
0
I note that for match racing, while several rules and definitions are changed, the definition of Room still includes the "seaman like way" phrase.  Yet this doesn't stop matcher racers luffing each other into irons or to invert kites or causse round ups.  So my take is that one should give a short handed boat a bit more consideration with regards to rule 14, but that even if they are given room to do a slow spinnaker drop (or similar), then I think they might still be protested for taking more room or should perhaps just do their turns if their short handedness caused another boat to give more room than otherwise would have been necessary.
Created: 20-Aug-03 19:35
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