Rule 16 has not been interpreted differently. The rule and its interpretation has been in existence for a long time.So I've been dwelling on the rule 16 interpretation by the umpires. I think I've switch back again to thinking it's not a great idea. So time to re litigate it
I watched Vittorio's counter argument and from what I understood of it (his accent is tough) he was concerned that this interpretation was changing the game, specifically it will prevent what he called "fishtailing". I've got to watch it a few more times to understand exactly what he's saying.....
But while thinking about it, i did come up with another way it is changing the game in a small but significant way.
In a close cross situation, there has always been an area of doubt where it wasn't humanly possible to tell if a boat was just crossing or just failing to cross. I think the way the game had been played is that the benefit of that doubt has always been given to the ROW boat. In real life if it was a very close call and S bore away at the last second to avoid , you are correct. BUT IRL, if the ROW boat altered course at the last second towards the boat on P that was just crossing or just failing to cross, then S will likely lose that benefit of doubt. If the ROW boat alters course in a way that prevented P from KC then rule 16 is turned on. If a judge sees S luff after it is too late for P to duck or tacks then S severally weakens his case,If it wasn't clear that the KC boat was keeping clear, then they will have been penalized regardless of any subsequent change of course by the ROW boat.
But now the technology has removed all but a few cm of that doubt. They can precisely tell if a boat is or isn't across and thus the benefit of that no longer doubtful period is now given 50:50 between the boats. Half to the ROW boat for the precisely determined just not crossing cases; and half to the KC boat for the just squeaking across cases.
So while it may be accurate and according to the rules, it is a shift of the balance the game away from the ROW boat to the KC boat.
So previously if a cross looked doubtful, a near certain penalty awaited any attempt to do so. Now a boat can think there is a 50:50 chance of getting away with a dubious manoeuvre. That can't encourage safe decision making. I do not think 16 changes this burden of proof at all. It merely puts an obligation on S to not make it impossible for P to keep clear.
Refer to the rule and various Rule 16 cases and also the definition of tacking. Its a well known and understood rule. Ineos is protected by rule 16 the moment Ineos reaches HTW. Prior to reaching HTW, Ineos is protected by rule 11.
One aspect of the rule is that if boat A A tacks in such a manner that she would be keeping clear of B provided that B does not alter course......B cannot alter course in such a manner that A has no way to keep clear. Its is simple and fair rule to prevent the ROW boat forcing a foul on a KC boat that is trying to keep clear.
Thus for example if I am on Port and see that I cannot cross S on starboard, I can tack into a leeward position, but while tacking, S cannot bear away into me sharply causing a collision that I cannot avoid. If S does this, then S breaks rule 16. I break rule 13 but then exonerated.
There is no shift in the balance of power. The change is having better tools to make the correct decision.
When watching live it looked like the right decision to these humble eyes. I laughed when Ken questioned it because he has always been a tad weak on rules 15 and 16 (another story). In real life with OTW judging, it would be hard to be 100% certain , but because Jimmy kept luffing after Ineos passed head to wind, then most OTW judges are going to give the benefit of the doubt to the tacking boat.
This is no different to a P/S crossing. If S luffs as P is crossing and then bears away theatricaly to miss P's transom, judges are likely to give rule 16 benefit of doubt to P. If S holds his course and then bears away to miss S's transom, then much more likely to succeed with the umpire.
S has to allow enough room for P to take the appropriate action to keep clear. S cannot force P to commit a foul when P was previously keeping clear!
I looked at the replay again, and I come to the same conclusion.
Ineos was clear ahead of LR. (Thus Ineos is ROW and LR KC)
Ineos luffs reaches HTW and then tacks onto port. (LR is keep clear boat until Ineos reaches HTW. Until that moment LR is KC boat. )
LR responds to Ineos maneuver by altering course to windward towards Ineos and maintaining speed. However LR is Keeping Clear of Ineos prior to Ineos reaching HTW.
At the time that Ineos reaches HTW, Ineos and LR are not on a collision course. If LR held her course at that moment, LR would have passed astern of Ineos (Freeze the frame and you can see this)
LR alters continues to alter course to windward threatening a colllision. There is no maneuver that Ineos can make to avoid LR
LR bears away to pass astern of Ineos. If LR had not altered course when Ineos was tacking she would have passed astern of Ineos.
Conclusion : No Rules were broken.
Two important points. During the first half of her luff, LR has to keep clear of Ineos because LR is keep clear boat under rule 11. During the second half of her luff LR has to give Ineos room to keep clear under rule 16. It was extremely unlikely that Ineos broke a rule in the sequence we saw.
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