Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sailboat Racing Rules Discussion: "Bumper Boat Billy"

A discussion in Sailing Anarchy of bad behavior in sailing "beer can" races gave an example of terrible seamanship in the form of racers running into anchored or moored boats. Some discussion participants thought that the "Bumper Boat Billy" skippers couldn't be penalized for colliding with a boat that wasn't racing.

Interestingly, I think a competitor or RC COULD protest “bad seamanship” by “Captain Bumper Boat” under either the preamble to Part 2 or Rule 69. Collision is collision, whether it’s with another competitor, a spectator, a moored boat, or a pier.

Here's the chain of logic:

Definiton Rule
Rule (a) The rules in this book, including the Definitions, Race Signals, Introduction, preambles and the rules of relevant appendices, but not titles;

Basic Principle
Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce.

Part 2 Preamble
When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) or government right-of-way rules.

General prudential clauses from IRPCAS Part A….

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect … of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case
(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger

Common sense would say that a marginal, low-speed, unintentional collision with an anchored boat isn’t a RRS 69 violation.

But what about someone who is grossly reckless and who t-bones at high speed and then sinks an anchored boat and then doesn’t stop to render aid or admit responsibility? Or what about someone who, during regattas and while racing, habitually gets into scrapes with anchored boats and repeatedly ignores the rights of Colregs boats and violates government navigation rules and repeatedly enters restricted areas?

To me, such a person is very clearly exhibiting bad sportsmanship, bad manners, and bringing the sport into disrepute.

What do you think?


At 1:27 PM, July 13, 2010, Blogger Tillerman said...

I agree. One of the reasons that we have Rule 2 is so that a boat can be penalized for breaching "recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play" even if she has not specifically infringed any other Rule.

Also, in your example of a boat who sinks an anchored boat and doesn't stop to render aid she has also infringed Rule 1.1. "A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger."

At 1:18 AM, July 14, 2010, Blogger Pat said...

Even if the offending competitor argues that he made sure the vessel he hit was no longer in any danger by the time he was done sinking it? sigh.

At 4:55 AM, July 15, 2010, Blogger South Pacific said...

I respect all the rules posted here. All of them are necessary to follow fr everyone.


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