Rules and protest question

allene222

Super Anarchist
3,962
58
SF Bay
I will be involved in a protest hearing. I protested a boat that hit me and destroyed my mast along with some other damage. I have been told the damage to my boat is $50,000 although I do not have an estimate yet. This was a race where my L-36 was on a course to Blackaller in SF Bay and the boat that hit me was going to Blossom Rock on a different course as they were in the Big Schooner class. The boat that hit me was 82 feet long and weighed 62 tons with a steel hull.

I have attached a GPS chart showing where we were hit and the straight line course to Blossom Rock as a proxy to their course. We were on our tack for just over one minute. They had gone around a different mark than us so had been on their course longer. I was tight on the wind which would put them 20 degrees off the wind to windward. Both boats were on starboard tack I would estimate they were going 11 knots and I was going 6 knots. They were clear astern. I did not see them until I heard yelling from their deck to their skipper to fall off. I turned around and saw their bow about a boat length from our stern. We were hit from behind a few seconds later.

Some people said they thought we were trying to cut in front of the big schooner. While I can understand that given the crossing courses, I was just sailing my proper course focusing on going fast. I never saw them so to whatever degree I was cutting in front of them, my intent was to race and nothing I was doing had anything to do with them. I had just a few seconds between being aware of them and being hit.

We here hit about 2 inches forward of the transom on the windward toe rail by their bobstay. Their bowsprit came inside our backstay. Our boat spun in a tight circle, I would estimate a 2 meter radius, and that caused their bowsprit to pull our backstay hard enough to explode our wood mast which mame down all around our crew. Nobody was seriously hurt. I have not found serious damage to the hull. I feel very lucky.

I should point out that there is a persistent shift that you can see in the track and is the reason we continued past LH for 6 minutes before tacking. I estimated that the port tack is 30 degrees favored at the north end of the bay compared to tacking and taking BH on port. Our plan was to go 3 minutes past LH (mark 1) before tacking for every 10 degrees the wind was south of west. The wind was 250 so we went 6 minutes and tacked. When we tacked, we saw Alma quite far in front of us and felt we would not tangle with that big schooner by tacking when we did. We never saw the boat that hit us. I am a very cautious sailor and started midline to avoid the 7 large boats that had the same start as the 3 L-36s. I was not happy with starting with such large boats but thought the right thing to do was just take a couple second hit on the start to avoid tangling with them. That said, I don't know what I would have done even if I had seem the boat that hit me as if I had changed course and we then had a collision, it would have been my fault. I guess had I seen them before I did, I could have fallen off and gone parallel until they passed. But it I had fallen off when I saw them, they would have sunk me. I almost passed to windward of them.

My question is, do they have any defence? Anything I should be ready for? I have never attended a protest hearing so don't know what to expect. What evidence should I bring or not bring? Any advice is appreciated.

Here is our GPS track. G1 is LH, the first mark. The second mark is C on a chart but is not on what I posted and if you look at it, you will see we were counting on making up a lot with the persistent shift as C is 35 degrees to weather of our GPS track.

track.png


 
2,689
0
Two boats on same tack, windward boat stays clear. It appears you did not abruptly alter your course. I would say all of the rest is irrelevant.

 

StumbleNola

Anarchist
620
1
New Orleans
Nope, they fucked up. My guess is you were just in their sail shadow the entire time until someone happen to see you poke out at the last second. The way I read this, the accident is entirely their fault.

I have been the regatta chair for a few accident like this, and we still went to the room. As a matter of law the protest hearing acts as an arbitration, which means that whoever is found at fault under the RSS will also be liable in court for damages. Technically the court has to determine the quantity of damages while the protest room determines who pays for it. In practice most insurance companies just pick up their pro-rate share as determined by the protest committee. I have never seen one require a trial on the quantum of damages involved so long as the work is done like for like repairs, and by a legitimate yard.

My hope is the owner of the other boat will walk into the room and say 'yup it was all our fault, we simply didn't see them until it was too late.' Which would be enough for the PC to find them at fault, and toss them.

I would seriously suggest contacting your insurance company now and letting them know what happened however. They may want to send an attorney with you. Though if they have any brains he will sit there and stay quiet.

 

allene222

Super Anarchist
3,962
58
SF Bay
My insurance company is Allstate. A couple of years ago our club had a boat dismasted and my crew said you better call your insurance company and make sure you have racing insurance. I called and was assured that Allstate covers racing for sailboats although not for powerboats. I found a confirmation of that on the web. When I called my agent on Tuesday, he said, "racing, no coverage". I said that was not what his people told me when I asked and he said that well, we will cross that bridge when we come to it if the other party is not at fault. Fucker.

I was unable to find again online where Allstate says they cover sailing racing. Anyone have a link? Now, I have been with them for 27 years. Where did I put that policy???

 

Irish River

Super Anarchist
1,203
131
BC
Wow our insurance covers racing, includes mast and sails. I wouldn't own a boat if I couldn't get insurance for racing.

 

nolatom

Super Anarchist
3,673
685
New Orleans
Colregs apply, windward has to give way. You didn't do anything to fake out or confuse the other boat, so it's pretty simple, you win, he loses.

Sorry about the big hassle but it'd be much worse if you'd been the give-way vessel. Which he was, and failed to do, probably through inattentive lookout.

 

Presuming Ed

Super Anarchist
11,050
219
London, UK
1)

US Sailing prescribes that:

(a) A boat that retires from a race or accept s a penalty does not, by that action alone, admit liability for damages.

( B) A protest committee shall find facts and make dec isions only i n compliance with the rules. No protest co mmittee or US Sailing appeal author ity shall adjudicate any claim for damages. Such a claim is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts.

© A basic purpose of the rules is to prevent contact between boats. By participating in an event governed by the rules, a boat agrees that responsibility for damages arising from any breach of the rules shall be ba sed on fault as determined by application of the rules, and that she shall not be governed by the legal doctrine of ‘assumption of risk’ for monetary damages resulting from co ntact with other boats.
2) Practice what you're going to say. Take notes into the room. Practice laying out the models. Take your gps track in - print it off.

 

familysailor

Super Anarchist
3,739
146
San Francisco Bay
Latitude 38 has a write-up published on the 1st. How does the description in the article, (Brief as it is), fit your recollection of the collision?

(Sorry to hear of your misfortune. Good nobody was injured.)

June 1, 2016 – Sausalito, CA

It goes without saying that risks to life and limb — as well as to boats — are inherent in yacht racing. That fact was clearly illustrated last Saturday during the annual Master Mariners Regatta, when the 82-ft stays'l schooner Seaward and the Lapworth 36 Papoose collided during the third leg of the race.

Seaward's bobstay reportedly struck the windward rail of Papoose's aft quarter and the schooner's bowsprit hooked the Lapworth's backstay, pulling its mast down and snapping Seaward's bowsprit. It was a miracle that no one got seriously injured — or worse.

Although the two boats were sailing in roughly the same direction, Papoose was sailing a higher angle. Skipper Allen Edwards assures us that he was not trying to cross in front of the big schooner, but was on an unaltering course to Blackaller buoy. Tragically, it was only seconds before impact when his crew saw the big schooner approaching.

2016-06-01_6075_LLspritLizaDean.jpg

Ouch! Seaward lost her sprit during Saturday's race, but a replacement was quickly fashioned at the Matthew Turner build site.

© 2016 Liza Dean​

Of all the boats in this vintage fleet, Seaward is probably the last one you'd want to collide with, as her steel hull would surely be unforgiving. Thankfully, though, her wooden sprit took the brunt of the impact — one of the 'softer' parts of her structure and rigging.

As frequent crewman Woody Skoriak explains, once back at the dock skipper Alan Olson wasted no time in facilitating repairs. He took it straight to the build site of the 100-ft brigantine Matthew Turner (Olson's brainchild), where several construction volunteers were just about to close up shop for the day. "But they looked at the damaged remains, picked up some wood, cut and shaped it, and by 7 p.m. Saturday they had a new bowsprit glued up." By the time you read this it should be finished.

We don't know the status of Papoose's splintered mast, but we assume skipper Edwards will repair or replace it as soon as possible, as his classic woodie is one of a small fleet of L-36s that are highly prized on San Francisco Bay. We wish him the best of luck, and hope to see both boats out sailing the Bay again very soon.

Look for our complete recap of MMR in the July issue of Latitude 38 magazine.

- latitude / andy


 
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allene222

Super Anarchist
3,962
58
SF Bay
That article is mostly accurate but at the time I talked to Andy I did not realize that Seaward was going to a different mark. I had assumed we were both going to the same mark and I was just put pointing them. But they were on a crossing course and not hard on the wind. Their initial write up said I was trying to cut in front of Seaward. Apparently that is what it looked like to some people watching. That is not surprising given that my proper course and Seaward's proper course had me crossing in front of them. Had I seen them, I am not sure what I would have done but trying to get in front of them would not have been one of the options. Of course, had I altered course and then we hit, it would have been my fault.

 

dinghydoc

Anarchist
561
1
Seattle, WA
Don't shoot me but how does Rule 14 apply here, if at all? Was it reasonable to expect the L-36 to see and avoid collision? I understand the schooner came from behind but I'm asking those who know way more than I do if the skipper is responsible in any way for looking behind to make sure someone doesn't stick one up the backside.

 

allene222

Super Anarchist
3,962
58
SF Bay
I am the stand on boat. What if the other boat decides to duck me right when I decide to fall off and avoid a collision and we hit. I was just reading rule 14 when @nobody.really posted. I really don't know what I could have done without breaking a rule and risk being the cause of a collision if the other boat was going to change course and pass our stern like she should have. I was like a standing still boat to them and it is really hard for me to get out of the way. But this is an excellent question and I am also wondering what the answer is.

 

Presuming Ed

Super Anarchist
11,050
219
London, UK
I am the stand on boat. What if the other boat decides to duck me right when I decide to fall off and avoid a collision and we hit. I was just reading rule 14 when @nobody.really posted. I really don't know what I could have done without breaking a rule and risk being the cause of a collision if the other boat was going to change course and pass our stern like she should have. I was like a standing still boat to them and it is really hard for me to get out of the way. But this is an excellent question and I am also wondering what the answer is.
Don't see why you couldn't have born away earlier if you had seen him. See case 107 about keeping a good lookout &14.

 

Parma

Super Anarchist
3,008
406
here
wow, hate, abosultely hate, to hear about major damage to a ROW boat.

How is it none of the crew saw a 82' 124,000 lb boat bearing on on your weather hip? I can see Seaward's line of sight being obscured, especially if not closed hauled, but your line of sight was wide open to them. must've been short handed w/nobody on the rail?

 

allene222

Super Anarchist
3,962
58
SF Bay
I talked to a friend who is familiar with the rules. When we first saw Seaward my crew says that they could have avoided us by going either to windward or to leeward. So at that point it was not clear that they would not keep clear. But because they are so much larger (17.5 beam) and faster (almost twice our speed), at that point there was no way for us to avoid them. Rule 14 says that I need not act until it is clear the other boat is not keeping clear. Therefore, I did not break rule 14 because it was not possible for me to avoid contact when I would have been required to under the rule.

 

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