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Port Starboard crossing - how close is too close?

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I have been there before when it has all gone wrong. Had one this week that was SO close that it made me think:

Is there a rule regarding how close a crossing “Should” be regarding RRS?

Does it depend on boat / WX characteristics ?

flame on and

Sail Safe 

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No rule. Too close is only if you hit the boat on starboard tack.

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Or if you make the boat on the starboard tack alter course to avoid collision. 

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5 minutes ago, Misbehavin' said:

No rule. Too close is only if you hit the boat on starboard tack.

Not quite. If the right-of-way boat has a real apprehension that you are about to collide, and maneuvers to avoid a collision, that's too close.

It varies very much with boats and conditions. I've sailed Lightnings at full tilt an inch or less apart. You'd be an idiot to do that with J-class or even Ensigns. In nice breeze and flat water, you can cut it very close indeed; in waves then the boats are bouncing around then obviously more buffer space is needed and the risk of damage is much higher.

Years ago I had a protest against a boat that came up on our windward hip, just before the start. It was quite windy and the skipper was quite aggressize and even though I took avoiding action (and protested) he came within inches of us (this was in a medium-ish keelboat). With the wind and waves I saw that our rigs missed each other by inches also, a risk that enfuriated me at the time. His statements to the protest committee was basically that i was obviously scared of the weather and scared of getting hit by another boat, that missing by inches was common among good skippers. I said "Did you look up? " He said "Huh?" I said, "Your boat was heeling as you drove up to us, my boat was depowered and standing up. How close did our rigs come to locking? What would have happened if our rigs had crossed?" That was the end of the hearing (and he kept the fuck away from me after).

There's no rule saying "1 foot" or even "6 inches per 10 ft LOA" or such. It's the skippers' judgement.

FB- Doug

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4 minutes ago, Santana20AE said:

What he said (Lex you beat me to it)

Yep and all Starboard has to say in the room is, "I had to alter course."  Starboard could be 30' away from you, but unless you have a witness or video to prove you were NOT too close you'll be toast in the room.

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4 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Not quite. If the right-of-way boat has a real apprehension that you are about to collide, and maneuvers to avoid a collision, that's too close.

yes

the exact phrase (case 50) is "reasonable apprehension"

S dos not have to prove that there would have been contact, had they not altered course, in order for P to to be found to have not kept clear.

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Worst is when people who race encounter people who don't.

Racer - there is TONS of room! There is probably two whole FEET between us!

Cruiser - :o (expecting more like 100 feet than 24 inches)

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1 hour ago, Gorn FRANTIC!! said:

If there was no contact but you still shit your pants it was probably too close.

Our when you stand up and the seat cushion comes with you is another indicator...

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With some competitors one inch is enough. With other competitors you're rolling the dice at two boat lengths because they are looking for any reason to toss a flag. It pays to know who your friends are. 

 

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So post 5 was downvoted? with no explanation? Alternate planet? In OD have been hit and seen hits when windy and a wave or the mainsheet hangs and big hole and out of the regatta. One of those the guilty party gave his boat to the injured party to complete the weekend.  Inches or many feet depends on the conditions and skill of the crews.

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Unfortunately, other than contact or on water umpires, it’s a game of their opinion versus yours. Steam Flyer hit it pretty well. In a small OD, everyone seems comfortable with a few inches of room. As boats get bigger, and especially in mixed fleets is where it gets weird. 

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 especially in mixed fleets is where it gets weird.

We race a broad variety of boats from 5.5 Meter OD, Merit 25/J-24, and Lioness (40 LOA, 20,000 lbs, full keel)  all rating in the PHRF 168-177 band, and everything from J125 to Santana 22 on the same courses plus one trimaran...

If a Merit 25 tacks close under my bow, I literally can't see their hull and have to start taking reasonable avoidance well before than if I was another Merit.

Similarly the ability to keep clear is very much a matter of boat type, independent of skipper's feelings about the wind, the response to a maximum wheel/tiller input is vastly different depending on wind/boat speed for boats above. 

It takes some education on what various boats are able to do do, such that they are not intrinsically made unable to keep clear by the actions of the boat that is changing course. 

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Know your fleet, be respectful. Push when you can push and back off when you need too. If you cant tell or dont have the skill to know the difference you are a fucking menace. T-bones are expensive and can hurt people, a close cross makes you feel great, your choice.

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Dunno - it's a hard one. On the helm on a First 40.7 during this year's Sydney-Hobart, and trading tacks with a Sydney 38 about 1am off Tasman Island. Both crews knew each other so literally inches in it. No complaints from either side. Would probably have been different if we didn't know each other.

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2 hours ago, MalahideGreener said:

Dunno - it's a hard one. On the helm on a First 40.7 during this year's Sydney-Hobart, and trading tacks with a Sydney 38 about 1am off Tasman Island. Both crews knew each other so literally inches in it. No complaints from either side. Would probably have been different if we didn't know each other.

Mutual respect, knowing your opposition, skill: all these things go into it when you are experienced. Black and white rules like in most things are for complete squids

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How close is too close?, It depends in my opinion.

What I do not like at all are the few "protest-diggers" around here who alter slightly to port to make it look like you can cross ahead, only to come back to stbd and raise the flag.

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It's never too Close till you hit something...

 

 

IMG_20190808_154823_2.jpg

IMG_20190808_154622_1.jpg

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World Sailing Case 50

Quote

When a protest committee finds that in a port-starboard incident S did not change course and that there was not a genuine and reasonable apprehension of collision on the part of S, it should dismiss her protest. When the committee finds that S did change course and that there was reasonable doubt that P could have crossed ahead of S if S had not changed course, then P should be disqualified.

 

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On 8/9/2019 at 2:05 PM, kent_island_sailor said:

Worst is when people who race encounter people who don't.

Racer - there is TONS of room! There is probably two whole FEET between us!

Cruiser - :o (expecting more like 100 feet than 24 inches)

And of course the cruiser is correct, because IRPCAS imply more space than RRS.

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A miss is as good as a mile, as long as the starboard boat doesn't have to do anything to avoid contact.

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How about this. Boat S on starboard, boats P1 and P2 are crossing ahead P1 with good margin of 3-4 BL's. Boat S lets the boat P1 pass ahead and S alters course to port slightly to go astern of boat P1. After that boat S alters course back to starboard and calls for a too close cross, protest P2, and tacks under boats P1 & P2

P2 DSQ correct?

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The definition of keep clear includes room for both boats to change direction, in either direction, without immediately making contact. That has some relevance here. If there is 1mm between boats, you haven't kept clear. If your boat's steering and your skill doesn't lend itself to turning to close a 4" gap to a 1" gap, then you haven't kept clear. If you are racing a high performance boat in medium breeze, an inch might be enough because you can reasonably close that gap to 1/2". 

Dick Rose once said "thou shalt not scare" at a rules seminar I attended. His example was that in a Laser fleet on a lake, a clean cross might be 1", but in J105's in a San Francisco bay blow with opposing current, a boat length might not be enough. 

In racing scows at the front of fleets, we play with inches regularly. The point about knowing your opponent is very wise. In my fleet, I know the one guy who won't allow me to cross by 4" without being scared and bearing away. In college Laser racing at my first nationals in 2001, the crosses were well inside of an inch. All of this grey area is hard to quantify, which isn't ideal, but the advice to know the skill set around you and know the personalities in your fleet is the best advice I've seen. We are fortunate that the people on our courses generally don't "take a dive" to force a protest in a close call. I've had a legendary sailor tell me "I put the tiller extension on the deck, and if you cross, you cross." Maybe that doesn't meet the burden of rule 14, but it certainly gives you the fair shake to cross his bow when it is close and you know you will make it. 

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2 hours ago, Itsabimmerthing said:

How about this. Boat S on starboard, boats P1 and P2 are crossing ahead P1 with good margin of 3-4 BL's. Boat S lets the boat P1 pass ahead and S alters course to port slightly to go astern of boat P1. After that boat S alters course back to starboard and calls for a too close cross, protest P2, and tacks under boats P1 & P2

P2 DSQ correct?

Maybe, depends on how the story goes.

If S had reasonable apprehension of collision with both P1 and P2 and altered course then P1 and P2 both broke rule 10. If S thought P1 was crossing but had apprehension of collision with P2 and altered for that reason, then P1 is fine and P2 broke 10.

But in both cases (and almost all WS Case 50 instances, I would guess) the only sensible alteration by S is down to duck and avoid contact. S may come back up after initiating the duck, but if contact occurs because of that I think S breaks rule 16.1 - ROW boat altering course owes the other boat room to keep clear. And P probably still breaks 10 by causing S's initial turn down.

"S alters course to port slightly to go astern of P1" says to me that P1 broke 10, probably P2 as well. But there's nothing in the rules that says that S has to protest either or both boats. If P1 is a buddy and S has a hardon for P2, he's within his rights to protest one and not the other. But if P1 thinks he broke rule 10 he ought to take a penalty, and if S is obviously being selective in his protest I suppose someone could protest him about Fair Sailing.

 

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On 8/9/2019 at 10:42 PM, Steam Flyer said:

Not quite. If the right-of-way boat has a real apprehension that you are about to collide, and maneuvers to avoid a collision, that's too close.

It varies very much with boats and conditions. I've sailed Lightnings at full tilt an inch or less apart. You'd be an idiot to do that with J-class or even Ensigns. In nice breeze and flat water, you can cut it very close indeed; in waves then the boats are bouncing around then obviously more buffer space is needed and the risk of damage is much higher.

Years ago I had a protest against a boat that came up on our windward hip, just before the start. It was quite windy and the skipper was quite aggressize and even though I took avoiding action (and protested) he came within inches of us (this was in a medium-ish keelboat). With the wind and waves I saw that our rigs missed each other by inches also, a risk that enfuriated me at the time. His statements to the protest committee was basically that i was obviously scared of the weather and scared of getting hit by another boat, that missing by inches was common among good skippers. I said "Did you look up? " He said "Huh?" I said, "Your boat was heeling as you drove up to us, my boat was depowered and standing up. How close did our rigs come to locking? What would have happened if our rigs had crossed?" That was the end of the hearing (and he kept the fuck away from me after).

There's no rule saying "1 foot" or even "6 inches per 10 ft LOA" or such. It's the skippers' judgement.

^^^^^ This.

And I say it as one who has been twice on board ~ 40 ft yachts which have crosses rigs. Different boats and  years, same start line/race area. All it takes is a gust and different response times.

Both times the boat in the wrong retired immediately, but in the protest room, the ROW yacht was also blown out for failing to avoid contact.

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If you can hand the Grey Poupon to the other boat you are too close

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I've had "too close" backfire on me. Two weekends ago we were having a great start to a regatta. On the first beat of the second race, we knew we wanted the right side. Crossed 1 boat, then the next, then the next. At this point, one more boat to cross and we would have been a top 3 rounding in a very competitive (7) boat fleet. Our final score for the weekend was 4, 7, 6, 1. Wanna guess how the 7 happened?

The lesson for us was, if you REALLY wanna go right and you have to question whether or not you have them, take the f&*#ing transom! Bearing off 5 degrees early on a too close for comfort crossing would have been way faster than a crash tack followed by a penalty turn. At the end of the weekend, that incident alone cost us a place on the podium.

So to answer the question asked in the OP...

In our case, the reward of making the crossing was not worth the risk. There are certainly cases where the reward is much higher sure, but one has to always be aware of the risk! 

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2 hours ago, Sidecar said:

^^^^^ This.

And I say it as one who has been twice on board ~ 40 ft yachts which have crosses rigs. Different boats and  years, same start line/race area. All it takes is a gust and different response times.

Both times the boat in the wrong retired immediately, but in the protest room, the ROW yacht was also blown out for failing to avoid contact.

If the keep clear boat admitted fault and retired, how did the other boat wind up in the room? Who protested whom? 

Assume there was damage or injury, otherwise ROW boat should have been exonerated for breaking 14. 

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Both times, there was damage. In one instance, a broken spreader (they were both heavy Swan yachts, otherwise a mast would have come down) in the other, wiped out masthead electronics and windex.

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Horses for courses, as others have said.

Happy days 2-boat AC training on twelve metres "back in the day."  When crossing on port close behind the starboard tacker, our bow would ride right over the long sloped stern of the other boat, without touching the stern or snagging the topmast backstay.  That was about right.

As bowman, an added game was to hang onto a peeling strop hooked to the headstay just below the jib luff feeder, jam your feet in the spinnaker pole trough and reach out with a magic marker in your left hand as you crossed.  The person who got to tag the starboard boat's deck edge furthest forward that day got beers.

Do not try this with a weekend crew.  

But it was lots of fun, and made for excellent awareness training for everyone.

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45 minutes ago, P_Wop said:

Horses for courses, as others have said.

Happy days 2-boat AC training on twelve metres "back in the day."  When crossing on port close behind the starboard tacker, our bow would ride right over the long sloped stern of the other boat, without touching the stern or snagging the topmast backstay.  That was about right.

As bowman, an added game was to hang onto a peeling strop hooked to the headstay just below the jib luff feeder, jam your feet in the spinnaker pole trough and reach out with a magic marker in your left hand as you crossed.  The person who got to tag the starboard boat's deck edge furthest forward that day got beers.

Do not try this with a weekend crew.  

But it was lots of fun, and made for excellent awareness training for everyone.

+1

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Back in the day when the Citizen match racing was held in Stewart 34s, the invited skippers would partner up and go and practice. They would tape a piece of plastic conduit to the stb gunwale that extended beyond the transom by about 6'. When they would cross at full speed and touch the conduit they shortened it by a foot and kept practicing. About 2' was the minimum before the hulls were about to touch further down, but 2' is pretty close if the port boat is dipping at speed, and remember these are world class crews, Dickson, Bertrand, Holmberg etc. Talk of 1" p/s crossings in powered up keelboats is bar room bullshit. 

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Given the wake a powered up port tack boat would throw, the Starboard vessel will be pitching at the cross even on otherwise “flat” water  

Perhaps you guys can predict the 3D path of your gun whales in such circumstances, I sure can’t be better than about a half max beam, which is a bit less than a meter.

With 10k kg (20,000 lbs) at 3.3 m/sec (~6 kts) thats 100 kJ of kinetic energy, or for a 4k kg auto the equivalent of a 10 kt collision, which will total quite a few modern cars.  

If I am on Starboard, I’m bearing away if the cross looks to be < my beam in flat water and a boat length in seas big enough to be steered. 

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We had a club racer that had been the Port boat in three seperate port/starboard crosses at roundings that resulted in contact, never severe but... his won all  protests by asking the other boat "did you see me??" , then trotted out COL regs to say collision must be avoided if possible in two events, the third the Starboard boat called him many discriptive and profane names and got tossed for the foul language. 

Not all protest committees are equal and some times there are just win at all cost D-bags in your fleet. 

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23 minutes ago, crankcall said:

We had a club racer that had been the Port boat in three seperate port/starboard crosses at roundings that resulted in contact, never severe but... his won all  protests by asking the other boat "did you see me??" , then trotted out COL regs to say collision must be avoided if possible in two events, the third the Starboard boat called him many discriptive and profane names and got tossed for the foul language. 

Not all protest committees are equal and some times there are just win at all cost D-bags in your fleet. 

I want to say it should be impossible for the Port tacker to win such a protest. But who knows when you go to the room.

Yes, Starboard is tossed too if there is contact. but then 14(b) comes along and says the Starboard boat will be exonerated if there is no damage or injury

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an inch is a good as a mile.

I've held my course on STBD and missed by 6". Had a chat with the port skipper and  told them I did not alter or bear off in the slightest. You wanna see eyes go wide.

Sometimes it is beneficial to let the Port boat cross, especially if you are on the layline. Every boat length the keep going only puts you further ahead. We've won several races watching people over stand because they just barely crossed on port and kept going. Their crew probably said we were not making it.

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On 8/9/2019 at 5:42 AM, Steam Flyer said:

Not quite. If the right-of-way boat has a real apprehension that you are about to collide, and maneuvers to avoid a collision, that's too close.

It varies very much with boats and conditions. I've sailed Lightnings at full tilt an inch or less apart. You'd be an idiot to do that with J-class or even Ensigns. In nice breeze and flat water, you can cut it very close indeed; in waves then the boats are bouncing around then obviously more buffer space is needed and the risk of damage is much higher.

Years ago I had a protest against a boat that came up on our windward hip, just before the start. It was quite windy and the skipper was quite aggressize and even though I took avoiding action (and protested) he came within inches of us (this was in a medium-ish keelboat). With the wind and waves I saw that our rigs missed each other by inches also, a risk that enfuriated me at the time. His statements to the protest committee was basically that i was obviously scared of the weather and scared of getting hit by another boat, that missing by inches was common among good skippers. I said "Did you look up? " He said "Huh?" I said, "Your boat was heeling as you drove up to us, my boat was depowered and standing up. How close did our rigs come to locking? What would have happened if our rigs had crossed?" That was the end of the hearing (and he kept the fuck away from me after).

There's no rule saying "1 foot" or even "6 inches per 10 ft LOA" or such. It's the skippers' judgement.

FB- Doug

Lightnings, J-class and Ensigns?  What century are we talking about here?

 

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Lightnings, J-class and Ensigns?  What century are we talking about here?

Current century, the J class is quite active with > 5 boats in regattas, the Lightnings and Ensigns are still running Nationals. Note that the J & other superyachts have rangefinder determined proximity thresholds, to explicitly avoid contact.

From bucket regatta

"SY2.1 The definition Keep Clear is changed to: Keep Clear A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and with no less than 40 metres between the boats." 

 

SY2.5 The definition Room is changed to: Room The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while maneuvering promptly in a seamanlike way, with no less than 40 metres between the boats.

SY2.9 Rule 17 is changed to: 17 ON THE SAME TACK; PROPER COURSE 17.1 A leeward boat shall not sail above her proper course while she is within 80 meters of the windward boat. 17.2 When boats on the same tack are within 80 metres of each other, a boat beingcomply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while maneuvering promptly in a seamanlike way, with no less than 40 metres between the boats.

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Well aware of all those classes continuing on.  But if you are looking to define "how close is too close", referencing a 100-year old design, 130' yacht now sailed with rangefinders and professional crew using 40' meters as the stand-off distance and two +/- 70-year old 3.5 KSBs for which people are claiming "an inch or less" as reasonable, you really haven't proposed relevant points of reference for your discussion.

I've called and driven a LOT of crossings in one design dinghies and cats, and a lot of small and large monos (including Laser, J-24, Melges 24, Hobie 18 nationals and have done bow on 12 meters back in the day.)  1" crossing?  Bullshit.  1" rail to rail at a starting line?  Sure.  I've done that on 70'ers, where the water squirts up between the boat (Well, truthfully, about 4" - crew legs pulled up and out).  

But...If anybody here thinks they can tell a story in a bar about calling a safe port crossing to an inch or two, I'd love to have them tell me all about that famous jumping frog they have back home or  how they made a fortune selling the Brooklyn Bridge. 

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22 hours ago, P_Wop said:

Horses for courses, as others have said.

Happy days 2-boat AC training on twelve metres "back in the day."  When crossing on port close behind the starboard tacker, our bow would ride right over the long sloped stern of the other boat, without touching the stern or snagging the topmast backstay.  That was about right.

As bowman, an added game was to hang onto a peeling strop hooked to the headstay just below the jib luff feeder, jam your feet in the spinnaker pole trough and reach out with a magic marker in your left hand as you crossed.  The person who got to tag the starboard boat's deck edge furthest forward that day got beers.

Do not try this with a weekend crew.  

But it was lots of fun, and made for excellent awareness training for everyone.

Will always remember Harold Cudmore port tacking the fleet in the old Challenge 12 at the 12M Worlds in Fremantle.  The only reason we missed him was that our bow hadn't  dropped as he went through the at the bottom of the wave ahead.  Clearance was at least 3 feet,  but it was all vertical!

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