Hold your Course

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Erick Brunswick
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:14 am

Re: Hold your Course

Post by Erick Brunswick » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:06 am

Mike Barry John. Thank you

I am reminded of my student years and no doubt some of yours where horrible Greek and Latin terms were use, one being:-
post hoc ergo propter hoc, which means "after this, therefore because of this."
This refers to a fallacy in which the thinker confuses order with causality.

Simply stated, just because one incident precedes another it does not logically follow the one caused the other.

I am not struggling with the concept of Room or Keep Clear. I however am struggling with what might be described as a Fallacious Argument presented by John on the basis of a believe that :-
If a Starboard-Tack boat alters coarse he is obligated to Keep Clear. Rule 16.1 in no way states or implies this.

The sketch posted is grossly misleading. The point under discussion is :-

Port-Tack Boat is NOT taking any form of avoiding action but hails HOLD YOUR COURSE attempting to apply a ROCK PAPER SCISSORS approach.

Below are three REAL TIME SIMULATIONS. The boats start from the same point have the same constant speed. The circles are 2 boat lengths

Rule 10 obligates the Port-Tack boat to Keep Clear. This places the obligation firmly on the Port-Tack boat to be alert and to continuously evaluate the situation when attempting to cross the Ahead of the approaching boat.

The Starboard-Tack boat did not at any time restricted Port Tack boats ability to Keep Clear i.e. the
Port-tack boat has at all time room to alter Couse to avoid the collision but does not.

One concedes that if the Port-Tack boat altered coarse so as to pass Astern and the Starboard -tack boat Tacked , altered Coarse Bore-Away then Rule 16.1

However the ROCK PAPER SCISSORS approach i.e. R16.1 trumps Rule 10 and so one believes is a fallacy and dangerous

Erick Brunswick
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:14 am

Re: Hold your Course

Post by Erick Brunswick » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:09 am

The simulations
Last edited by Erick Brunswick on Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Erick Brunswick
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:14 am

Re: Hold your Course

Post by Erick Brunswick » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:10 am

Colision 3.jpg
Colision 2.jpg
Colision 1.jpg
I will get it ..

The outcome is the same.. But that is NOT the issue

Darin Ballington
Posts: 247
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:49 pm
First Name: Darin
Last name: Ballington

Re: Hold your Course

Post by Darin Ballington » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:12 pm

I know that you know the answer to this DErick, but for those who aren't quite as knowledgeable, it is worth pointing out that the rules are written predominantly for full-size boats, where the implications of collisions can be significantly different.

The whole idea of "hold your course" - whichever rule you are applying- is that a 100ft long port tack boat may have made a decision of how it is going to pass another 100ft stbd boat based on the course of that stbd boat, this it can do only if it is sure that the other boat is not going to do anything "odd".

If the stbd boat changes course the port boat may not be able to avoid it. The obligation of the stbd boat is to at least give the port boat a "reasonable" chance of missing it.

Like the Jasper Carrot insurance sketch, "the man swerved several times before I eventually hit him" :)

John Ball
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Hold your Course

Post by John Ball » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:31 pm

My comments on the diagram that I posted above are supported by the RYA Case 1975/5 which says in part

Before the starting signal, or if P and S are already on a
collision course, or if P is sailing to keep clear by
passing to windward of S, S may change course at any
time in response to a wind shift, unless she is so close to
P that S's change of course would not give P room to
keep clear. Room is defined as the space P needs in the
existing conditions while manoeuvring promptly in a
seamanlike way

John Ball
IOM CAN 307 (V8)

Erick Brunswick
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:14 am

Re: Hold your Course

Post by Erick Brunswick » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:34 am

Far too many years ago, when I first took to the water in an Enterprise crafted with my very hands in my Fathers Garage there were but the Racing Rules of Sailing. You read them whilst you were waiting for the glue to set, you read them in between coats of paint and varnish and you read them again in the week in anticipation of the race on Saturday.
You did NOT read them to find loopholes, new way to undermine them, you read them so you would understand your OBLIGATIONS to other boats competing.

In fact one of the first things the rules state is that you accept the rules as they are. One should also note that the rules concentrate of defining the OBLIGATIONS of a Skipper not the RIGHTS of the Skipper.

A few really famous skippers, Paul Bert Elvstrøm in particular comes to mind, wrote good books explaining some aspects of the rules and provided really good diagrams transforming the written word into a three dimensional world. Crucially these publications were CRITICALLY reviewed by other famous skippers and then may have been reviewed by a panel elected by the International Sailing Federation. The names of the reviewers were proudly printed on the inner jacket of the book, I hold one such book in my hands as we speak.

THEN and ONLY then did it see the light of day. Care was taken NOT to attempt to extend what are relatively simple rules. Care was taken NOT to undermine the Rules or to attempt to cloud simple rules in mystique or to, most importantly, NOT to seek new meaning to what is written in the Official Publication.

Sadly with the advent of internet publishing is so easy to place work into the public domain, and even more sadly the body of much of work published in this way is flawed and has NOT been critically reviewed.

Darin makes the wise observation that the Racing Rules of Sailing were written for real Yachts with real people on board, the lives of which together with the safety of both cargo and vessel are in the hands of the skipper. But FAILS to explain that the skipper of 100 foot boat would never cross the bow of an approaching Starboard-Tack boat without a lot of sea between them.

These Rules were born out of the days of Clippers where owners would place heavy wagers on their boat docking first together with the International Collision Regulations.

If you examine the Port Starboard Rule 10, Rule 15 and Rule 16 you will note the fundamental that a vessel passing from your right to your left has right of way.

The Racing Rule of Sailing have developed over the past 150 years and the rule writers have been at pains to amended a lot of the Rules in the interest of safety.

The Rules do NOT support a game of Rock Paper Scissors.

The other half of the story of ‘ Hold You Course ‘ !
We asked the fellow why he hailed and why he believed implicitly in his right to collide with a Starboard Tack boat…
His reply was ....

OH that happened to me yesterday so I thought I would try it on someone else, who did it to someone else and on and on and on.

Fallacious Reasoning promulgated most likely from dubious Internet publications that have NOT been Critically Reviewed.

Sorry John.. Rule 16.1 and 16.2 are not HAILS they are REASON TO PROTEST AFTER you have avoided a collision.

In the Example I posted the Port-tack Boat HAILED when they were CONVERGING with Room to take avoiding action .

Your carless and misleading sketch shows the boats on a point of DIVERGENCE. You then applied Fallacious Reasoning in stating that a Port-tack boat is not required to Keep Clear if a Starboard-Tack Boat does anything but sail in a straight line.

That is NOT what is written in Rule 16.1 post hoc ergo propter hoc

Yachts do NOT sailing in Straight Lines, some make leeway some go to weather depending on the angle of heal and wind strength.

Deliberately tagging the Stern Quarter of the Port Tack Boat, your first example, is correct in term of Rule 16.1 IF and only IF the Starboard-tack boat goes above Close Hauled whilst on a Beat to Windward

Make sure there is a good/ generous margin to pass the bow of an approaching right of way boat. In the Example sketch I posed there was never any margin, they were always going to collide or at least a High Probability that they would.

The hail of HOLD YOUR COURSE is used by a Right of Way vessel

Sorry for the long and rather laborious post, and well done if you got this far.


Barry Chisam
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:30 pm

Re: Hold your Course

Post by Barry Chisam » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:34 am

And we wonder why some potential members are put off by the rules.

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