Rule 16 Changes, World Sailing Streamlines The RRS
Okay, so the new edition of the Racing Rules Of Sailing (commonly abbreviated to RRS) is out. And although we are still going through all of the changes and the technical implications - coaches love to argue rule infractions - we've already noticed some changes that will be impacting Opti Team Racing especially, check it out below:
16. Changing CourseWhich basically kills off any hunting or pushoffs in Team Racing, and gives a port tack boat more protections around starboard tackers. This however, does not apply to Fleet Racing as Coach Arthur Blodgett from LYC explains in a great article: "One Word Changes Everything"
16.2 In addition, on a beat to windward when a port-tack boat is keeping
clear by sailing to pass to leeward of a starboard-tack boat, the
starboard-tack boat shall not bear away if as a result the port-tack boat
must change course immediately to continue keeping clear.
Here's two things we gleaned from a first pass through on the new rules:
1. A little detail for the coaches, they have added Victor flag (V) as a safety flag along with a new Rule 37:
37. Search And Rescue Instructions
When the race committee displays flag V with one sound, all boats and official and support vessels shall, if possible, monitor the race committee communication channel for search and rescue instructions2. An interesting little tidbit from Rule 14 -
NEW Rule 14:
A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat, or one sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is entitled, need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark-room.
OLD Rule 14:
A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room (a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark-room, and (b) shall be exonerated if she breaks this rule and the contact does not cause damage or injurySo, for you cowboys and cowgirls on the Optimist race course, that means that you don't get an automatic out if you foul someone because you had right-of-way and moved out of harms way.
There are tons more clarifications and as we read through the rules we will be sharing our thoughts and explanations, but from first readings this is what we've been finding. Best to use this time to study up and ask tons of questions to your Coach, because although there are not a lot of changes to the rules there are some rewordings and substitutions that can potentially trip you up at a protest hearing!