The 2017 version of rule 18.3 Tacking in the Zone has some significant changes in wording.
18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If a boat in the zone passes head to wind and is then on the same tack as a boat that is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply between them. The boat that changed tack
(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact or prevent the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and
( shall give mark-room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her.
18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If a boat in the zone of a mark to be left to port passes head to wind from port to starboard tack and is then fetching the mark:
· she shall not cause a boat that has been on starboard tack since entering the zone: to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact and
· she shall give mark-room if that boat becomes overlapped inside her.
When this rule applies between boats, rule 18.2 does not apply between them.
The reason for the changes stated in Submission 175-15 is:
Some complexity in the application of the current rule 18.3 was highlighted in Case 133. Rule 18.3's purpose is to help an orderly rounding of port-hand windward marks by limiting the rights of boats that approach on port and tack onto starboard in the zone. The rule should be restricted to this. The proposed amended rule:
1. Makes the rule (which is an exception to the normal 18.2) apply only when necessary:
· At windward marks to be left to port. It is unnecessary and has undesirable consequences at starboard marks.
· Between a boat that tacks in the zone and one that does not. This removes the complexity with two boats that tack in the zone shown in Case 133.
2. Includes only the tacking boat in the initial ‘when it applies’ clause to make the purpose and application clearer.
3. Is simpler. The statement about rule 18.2 not applying (necessary so that rule 18.2(e) does not apply) is moved to the end. The redundant phrase ‘or prevent her from rounding the mark’ is removed.
Restriction to Port Roundings.
The reason for this is clearly explained and no further comment is offered.
Under the 2013 version of rule 18.3, the only criteria for the rule to apply were:
1. Whether a boat (the tacking boat) passed head to wind in the zone; and
2. Whether another boat (the other boat) was fetching the mark[at the time the first boat passed head to wind]
Generally the evidence that the other boat was fetching the mark was that she actually did fetch the mark.
Alternatively, if the rarer case that other boat became overlapped inside, she would bring evidence about wind angle and distance.
Under the 2017 version the criteria that need to be decided for rule 18.3 to apply are:
1. Whether one boat (the tacking boat) passes head to wind in the zone;
2. Whether that boat (the tacking boat) is fetching the mark after she passes head to wind; and
3. Whether another boat (the other boat) passes head to wind before reaching the zone;
The first criterion is the same as in the 2013 version.
The second criterion shifts the test of fetching the mark from the other boat to the tacking boat, presumably on the assumption that if the tacking boat is fetching, the other boat also will be fetching.
The third criterion is a completely new criterion.
Effect of Criterion 2
The effect of the second criterion, shifting the fetching test to the tacking boat, is that, in the case of the tacking boat below the layline, if she causes the other boat to sail above close hauled, if she, herself sails below the mark, she can argue in a protest hearing that she was unable to fetch the mark, and thus that rule 18.3 did not apply, and she did not break rule 18.3.
It will be a difficult matter to obtain clear evidence whether it was possible for the tacking boat to have fetched the mark, and through choice or boat handling difficulty did not do so, or whether it was indeed not possible for her to fetch the mark.
Effect of Criterion 3
The effects of the third criterion are that there is now an additional fact that needs to be found by a protest committee, and that, if the other boat did, indeed pass head to wind in the zone, rule 18.3 will not apply, and rule 18.2 will continue to apply and the other boat, that was fetching the mark at the time the tacking boat passed head to wind, will now be required to give the inside tacking boat mark-room in accordance with rule 18.2.