Author Topic: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit  (Read 4974 times)

Michael Eisenberg

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Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« on: March 23, 2010, 05:39:15 PM »
I have a question about the rules regarding the deployment of the bow sprit.  At every windward mark rounding at the San Diego Nood Regatta, I noticed most boats extending their bow sprits  one hundred yards or more in advance of rounding the mark. There are ramifications to early extension of the bow sprit. In one case, I thought I could cross a starboard tack U-20 if the pole was retracted, but did not think I could cross with the pole out. Furthermore, the dynamics of the 3-boat zone around the mark changes.  I chose to lee bow a boat approaching the windward mark.  The 3-boat zone is different if the pole is out; 62 feet without the pole, 80 feet with the pole. I believe I lee bowed the other U-20 outside of 80 feet (barely) and clear ahead of the boat, but not clear ahead of the pole. If I had lee bowed him at 70 feet and his pole was retracted the other boat would have owed me mark room, but not so with the pole out. And this is irrespective of whether I was clear of an overlap or not.

The rule states:
9.2. The bowsprit shall be fully retracted (so that its tip does not extend beyond the stem) when the spinnaker is not flying, except when in the process of CONTINUOUS HOIST or immediately after dousing the spinnaker.

I read this to mean that the pole can only be extended when another action in the process of raising the spinnaker follows immediately and with no time lag. That action would be to immediately pull on the spinnaker halyard. I could even believe it means immediately pulling on the tack line to preset its position before immediately pulling on the spinnaker halyard.

I'm not trying to be a rules nut, but I'd like to know what the intent of this rule is.  With hopefully over 30 boats at the North Americans, I can imagine many instances where the interpretation of this rule will have consequences. Thank you for the discussion.

Steve Rose

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2010, 06:00:07 PM »
The size of the zone came up at our club's rule seminar this spring and our local rules expert said bowsprit does not effect the size of the zone. The zone is three hull lengths, not boat lengths.

from the definitions section of the rulebook:

Zone: The area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the
          boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.

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Billy Ellis

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2010, 06:08:35 PM »
I have marked the tack line at a point so that I prefeed the the tack to that mark. Then when we hoist we simulaniously extend the pole and the tack ends up about 8" from the pole tip. In this manner there is no reason to pre extend the pole. If I were approaching the weather mark on port and faced a boat with the sprint extended before the hoist I would pass astearn and then protest.

Clifford Begnaud

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2010, 06:24:17 PM »
Michael,
I agree with your interpretation of the rule. Continuous means continuous. There's no way a skipper can make the argument that he was in the continuous process of hoisting when he's 100 yards from the mark. Even at 3 boat lengths I find it to be a stretch. The definition of the "Zone" is 3 Hull lengths, not 3 boat lengths so it doesn't include the sprit pole. I think you should have protested.

I agree with the intention of this rule, but it was written in a way that makes it confusing and hard to enforce. I think it would be much better if the rule were worded such that you couldn't extend the pole until the mark crossed behind a line perpendicular to your bow and only if you did not need to tack to round the mark. I would not include wording that required the boat to be in the 3 boat length zone because you might be at the outside of a large bunch of boats all rounding together and end up out of the zone.

As for being a rule nut, well, sailboat racing is a chess game on the water. The rules are paramount! A major part of the race is knowing the rules and knowing how to use them to your advantage. Don't apologize for knowing and following the rules and expecting others to do the same.

best regards,
Cliff Underdog #126

Mark Dobie

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2010, 11:21:33 PM »
Michael,

Your interpretation is correct on both the Class rule about "Continuous" and the US Sailing rule about 3 boat lengths do not include the pole. 

Continuous may be interpreted to be sequential; as in pole out, hoist, then tackline but that is at most 1-2 boat lengths from the mark IF there is no Offset mark.  Most of our NOOD courses have an offset, if there is an offset mark and you are hoisting at the offset then pole shouldn't be out at all at the windward mark.

Mark

Nate Selstad

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2010, 01:01:17 AM »
Michael,

You have identified the most often violated rule in U20 sailing.  As a boat which extends the pole after the spin halyard is made I frequently complain about this but frankly have never protested it.  I agree with Dobie on the pole-out as first step being legal but frequently/always there are boats that deploy their pole once they are on the layline.

Maybe this is a rule that needs more enforcement.

Nate


Denise Hammond

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 02:40:37 AM »
I see poles coming early way too often.  I too would like to see better compliance with this rule.

I called Salsa on having their pole out early not too long ago.  However, it turned out that due to a shift they were way overstood and were actually setting their kite about 15 boat lengths prior to the mark.  We also had one race this year in our midwinters where the kites were used on every leg of the race.  That would be the reason that the language regarding the pole relates to setting the kite and not where the boat is on the course.

Phil
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Mark Dobie

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2010, 12:57:10 PM »
Phil brings up a good point about the language of continuos vs. where the boat is on the course. One shift can change everything.

Nate showed me the hoist first, pole and tack-line second maneuver, when executed correctly the kite fills very quickly.  I might add that in addition to marking the tack-line you can also mark the spin sheet so that you are filling the kite with the pole and tack.

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Clifford Begnaud

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2010, 01:18:40 PM »
With the language I suggested you would add a qualifier "on a beat to windward when approaching a windward mark..."

If the wind shifted so much that you could fly the spinnaker before rounding what was previously a windward mark, you would no longer be on a beat to windward and the rule would cease to apply.

The point is, the rule is not accomplishing it's intended purpose as written. By using the mark as a point of measure you remove the ambiguity, you make it easy for all boats to know exactly when it is and when it isn't legal to extend the pole. It also puts everyone on an equal footing because everyone will be extending the pole at the exact same spot, no room for fudging.
Just something to think about...
all the best,
Cliff

Rick Sellens

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Re: Rules Question regarding deployment of the Bow Sprit
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2010, 03:30:16 PM »
I'm new to the fleet, so I read the rules before going out to race. I didn't see any ambiguity in the rule for use anywhere on the course. I can't put my pole out any earlier than necessary, or leave it out longer than necessary, and I'll probably get (rightfully) protested if I do and it's in somebody's way. It sounds to me like some people are clearly breaking the rule and not getting called on it.

Rick Sellens
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