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Putting the Rules into Practice
By Michael Lipari
Posted on 3/23/2017 11:13 AM
Last night, I ran race committee for our Laser Fleet at White Rock Lake and got a chance to see many of the rules we discussed in the rules seminar put into practice.  

I saw some Windward/Leeward Proper course rules play out, some mark rounding rules get broken, one boat not providing room at the finish mark, and another not keeping clear while tacking.

One rule we did not talk about in the Rules Seminar was tacking onto Starboard from Port prior to the start.  Rule 13, says that a boat must keep clear of another boat while tacking.  This means the tacking boat must keep clear from the time the boat passes head to wind until the boat is on a close hauled course.  The definition of Proper Course says that a boat does not have a proper course before the starting signal.  So before the start, when is the tack complete.  If a boat is able to tack to leeward of someone and then Luff up head to wind, is the tack complete as soon as they pass head to wind.  

Under rule 13 While Tacking,  the boat does not complete their tack until they are on a close hauled course (this means the direction the boat is sailing, not that the sails are full - you can still let the sails luff).  So the tacking boat must steer down to close hauled and once they have done so, then and only then they can come back up to head to wind to luff the windward boat.  But they are not able to just tack and stop at head to wind to luff.

One of the Laser Sailors did this on 3 different races (tacked and then held course at head to wind without ever going down to close hauled) to 3 different sailors and nobody ever called him on it.  In at least one case, contact was made, who is at fault the tacking boat or the windward boat.  You make the call.
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