Racing Rule Weekly Quiz

Each week this season, we will offer a “quiz” question regarding the Racing Rules of Sailing.  Read the scenario below, formulate your answer, then move your mouse over the box to reveal the correct answer.

Need further explanation?
something we can discuss on the porch on Sunday.

This Week's Question

Thirty seconds before the starting signal, Boat W is nearly wayless, her sails flapping. About one length prior to becoming overlapped to leeward, Boat L hails, “Leeward boat!” W takes no evasive action. One second after L becomes overlapped to leeward of W, L has to bear away to avoid contact with W. W begins trimming her sails and heading up immediately after the overlap is established. L protests. The protest committee finds that W, having been given adequate warning of the impending situation, fails to keep clear of a leeward boat, thereby breaking rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped. W appeals. You are on the appeals committee; how would you decide this?


Boat W’s appeal is sustained; neither boat is penalized. Adequate time for response is incorporated into rule 15, Acquiring Right of Way, by its requirement to initially allow a newly obligated boat “room to keep clear.” This rule does not require a boat clear ahead to anticipate her requirement to keep clear as a wind- ward boat before the boat clear astern becomes overlapped to leeward. When L becomes overlapped and therefore the right-of-way boat, rule 15 requires her to give W “room to keep clear,” which she does by immediately bearing away and giving W space to maneuver away from her. Though W is momentarily breaking rule 11, On the Same Tack, Overlapped, when L has to change course to avoid contact, W is trimming her sails and heading up; therefore she is sailing within the room she is entitled to, and is exonerated (freed from penalty) for breaking rule 11 by rule 43.1(b), Exoneration. Thereafter she keeps clear, fulfilling her obligation under rule 11. (See US Sailing Appeal 119 and World Sailing Case 53.)
This quiz was excerpted from Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes available from US Sailing. For a comprehensive explanation of the rules, read Dave Perry’s Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing through 2024, which is also available from US Sailing. Permission to reprint this quiz for non commercial use is granted by the author.