Racing Rules 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.

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something we can discuss on the porch on Sunday.

This Week's Question

At an upwind finish, two close-hauled boats on opposite tacks (S and P) are converging at the left end mark of the finishing line. When about a length and a half from the mark, P completes a tack to leeward of S without fouling her. However, in order to pass the mark on the correct side, P luffs up to almost head to wind, thereby causing S to sail above close-hauled to avoid her. S protests P. You are on the protest committee; which boat should be penalized? (From Perry, Quiz 37)


Boat P is penalized for breaking rule 18.3, Tacking the Zone. As P and S are approaching the finishing mark on opposite tacks, rule 18, Mark Room, does not apply because the boats are on opposite tacks on a beat to windward. But once P tacks, the boats are no longer on opposite tacks and rule 18 begins to apply (see rule 18.1, When Rule 18 applies). When P and S are approaching a port-hand windward mark on the opposite tack and P then passes head to wind within the zone at the mark and is fetching the mark, rule 18.3 requires P to not cause S to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact. P causes S to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact; therefore, she breaks rule 18.3

This quiz was borrowed from the Inland Lake Yachting Association‘s #FairSailing initiative
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Excerpted from Dave Perry’s100 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.