Uncle Al's
Racing Rules in Pics

last updated: 21 November 2020 

Uncle Al's own preamble:

(2020.11.21)   In 60+ years of racing, perhaps the most useful thing I have learned is that coming to a protest hearing with a version of the facts of an incident different from mine does not necessarily make the other fellow a liar. Over the years, I have come to understand that people honestly believe they are telling what really happened, most of the time. And I am equally sure that I at times have been mistaken, especially about the peripheral facts of a case (like whether - a while back at Clark Lake - our boom hit the forestay or the shroud of a boat I felt was not giving me room to keep clear), because I didn't think as much about those facts as I did about the core issues.
The point being that I feel better about my fellow sailors and about myself when I give people the benefit of the doubt, i.e when I remind myself that they are not necessarily lying if their perception differs from mine. With that kind of a forgiving attitude, I feel better, the competition remains friendly and we all have more fun.
To illustrate the tricks one's mind can play, I provide the following - fortunately rare, and by now amusing - occurrence: I know that I once called a vicious "Starboard!!" on a rookie racer when we were coming in along the port tack layline. It had been a frustrating first leg with a pre-mature start followed by a 720, but now we were catching up nicely, aided by the shifts and other oddities of Fanshawe Lake. Two starboard boats, about two lengths apart came along. I had to bear away for the first but would clear the second. Or so I thought. As I was bearing away, the first starboard boat luffed up. "You can't tack there," I announced, perhaps raising my voice a touch more than a true pro would have. He blithely continued his tack while I - severely  under-amused - peeled at full speed around his transom and luffed up rapidly. Determined as I was to at least put a lee bow on the offending tacker, I gave barely a thought to boat #2. I called "Starboard!" on him and he bore away. As I sailed on, a meek voice that befitted a newcomer just learning the ropes, muttered: "I thought I was on starboard..." Oops! After my 720, I had time to ponder my faux pas and concluded: On auto-pilot, my brain had presumably figured if boat 1 had fouled me, I must have rights over boat 2, also. Of course, my instinctive reaction - often very useful - had failed in this instance to distinguish the fact that our right-of-way came from the fact that boat 1 had tacked in our water.

Best wishes for much happy and successful sailing,

Uncle Al (Wayfarer 3854)
Rules in Pics index

(2020.11.21)  Definitions
(170110)  Part 2A
(170110)  Part 2B
(170110)  Part 2C
(170110)  Part 2D + penalty turns

(170112)   Photo-based Rules Quiz - 1
(170113)   Photo-based Rules Quiz - 2