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Antigua super yacht race collision

Kukri

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The same as most top flight race boats these days. Carbon or similar fibres, made in one piece as a 3D moulded sail.
First time I saw this was on Frank Pong’s “Jelik” ( the one that was cold moulded by her crew on the top of a Hong Kong tower block and lowered down the outside) in around 1991 I think. That was also the first time I saw a titanium shackle.

“Shamrock” still has white sails, I think. And of course a green hull.
 

dunedin

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“Shamrock” still has white sails, I think. And of course a green hull.
Have seen Shamrock around in cruising mode a few tomes. Don’t think she has been racing recently? Certainly don’t recall seeing anything other than black sails in the racing fleets, but I may have missed her.
 

Kukri

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Have seen Shamrock around in cruising mode a few tomes. Don’t think she has been racing recently? Certainly don’t recall seeing anything other than black sails in the racing fleets, but I may have missed her.
Agreed. The J class seems very competitive (which is good!) and with these huge sail areas and high sail loadings only the black carbon fibre sails are going to be able to put a boat in contention.

I think we are very lucky to be able to see proper big boat racing, and if the sails are black, so be it. This was always a class striving for every technological advantage and it still is...
 

Laser_310

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PROTEST DECISION Case No: 1 With Case(s):
Class/Boat J CL ASS TOPAZ Peter Holmberg
Class/Boat J CLASS SVEA Charles Ogletree
Protest valid
Procedural Matters:
This is a hearing conducted under J Class Addendum Q. Q5.3 allows the protest
committee great flexibility on how the hearing is conducted. After a very significant
collision we decided to speak with both parties separately to see if they agreed the facts.
They were happy for us to write up the decision without a formal hearing.

Facts found:
1. Topaz was approaching the start line on Starboard approximately 1minute 40 seconds before the start.
2. Svea on port was on a collision course with Topaz.
3. Despite a last minute turn to bear away Svea collided with the port side of Topaz at the runner winch causing serious damage.
4. Topaz luffed to avoid when it was clear Svea was not keeping clear
5. On Topaz two crew members were injured with one crew member suffering 4 broken ribs as he was pushed overboard by the bow of Svea. On Topaz the port runner winch was torn off. The boom was broken. Both running back stays, mainsheet and backstay broke under the load. The port gunwale was damaged from the runner winch to the stern. The mast was put under extreme load from the impact and will need further inspection.
6. On Svea one crew member was pulled out of the boat by the runner tail of Topaz. H is injuries were minor The forward underbody of Svea was badly damaged.
7. Both boats immediately retired from the race.

Conclusion Rules:
RRS 10,14, 44.1(b) 62.1(b) ,Q5.3
Svea failed to keep clear as a port tack boat and broke rule 10 14.
It was not reasonably possible for Topaz to avoid the collision.

Decision:
Svea took the appropriate penalty by retiring.
Topaz is entitled to redress of average points for Race 1 based on her results in the remainder of the regatta.
Protest Decision
Sailing
Protest Committee:: BillBill O’HaraO’Hara IRLIRL IJ,IUIJ,IU && MiguelMiguel AllenAllen PORPOR IJIJ ,IU,IU,, Chairman:Chairman: BillBill O’HaraO’Hara IRLIRL IJ,IUIJ,IU Signed:Signed: BillBill O’HaraO’Hara DateDate 12th12th March,March, TimeTime 17.0017.00
 

bedouin

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Interesting but doesn't answer the question of whether there would have been a collision if Topaz had not luffed.
 

dunedin

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Interesting but doesn't answer the question of whether there would have been a collision if Topaz had not luffed.
It does. The very experienced protest committee would certainly have reported this if it had been a factor. So it wasn’t.

Also, have you heard of Peter Holmberg? He is an extremely experienced professional yacht & race skipper. I suspect he knew what he was doing more than we do.
 

Laser_310

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Interesting but doesn't answer the question of whether there would have been a collision if Topaz had not luffed.
well, we know that the jury considered whether Topaz broke rule 14.., and they state explicitly that she did not: "It was not reasonably possible for Topaz to avoid the collision. "

Rule 14 does not make an allowance for poor boat handling.., or poor decisions - if it is reasonably possible for a right of way boat to avoid a collision, she must.

We don't know for certain that the jury considered what would have happened had Topaz not luffed.., but they would have been deficient had they not done so. If Topaz could have avoided a collision merely by continuing straight, she would certainly have broken RRS14 by luffing. I think we can be fairly certain that the jury considered whether there woudl have been a collision if Topaz had continued on her course, and concluded there would have been.
 

lw395

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well, we know that the jury considered whether Topaz broke rule 14.., and they state explicitly that she did not: "It was not reasonably possible for Topaz to avoid the collision. "

Rule 14 does not make an allowance for poor boat handling.., or poor decisions - if it is reasonably possible for a right of way boat to avoid a collision, she must.

We don't know for certain that the jury considered what would have happened had Topaz not luffed.., but they would have been deficient had they not done so. If Topaz could have avoided a collision merely by continuing straight, she would certainly have broken RRS14 by luffing. I think we can be fairly certain that the jury considered whether there woudl have been a collision if Topaz had continued on her course, and concluded there would have been.
Maybe it's significant that there was not in fact a formal hearing.
Sometimes the party with not so much damage is happy to retire and let the damaged party get average points with good grace.
It is perhaps not the right arena for analysing the rules to the nth degree.
There was contact and damage, therefore there should be a hearing, but they are not making a big thing of it, any more than you would in a club race between tatty old Lasers.
 

Laser_310

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Maybe it's significant that there was not in fact a formal hearing.
yes - i agree.

it seems like the main difference between what they did and a formal protest hearing is that they did not go through the full process for determining the facts found - having the protestor and protestee question each other, having them call witnesses and so on.

the did however ultimately find facts.., and once they had the facts found, it appears they gave as much consideration to determining what rules apply, and then applying them, as would happen in a more formal hearing. In looking at their decision, and considering only their facts found, i do not immediately think of other rules that might apply, besides the ones they applied.
 

bedouin

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It does. The very experienced protest committee would certainly have reported this if it had been a factor. So it wasn’t.

Also, have you heard of Peter Holmberg? He is an extremely experienced professional yacht & race skipper. I suspect he knew what he was doing more than we do.
No - it would not have been a factor in the protest. Svea was clearly in the wrong and whether any other action by Topaz would have avoided it was neither here nor there.

Looking at the video again I suspect but can't be sure that had Topaz made a less extreme alteration of course they may have avoided the collision and luffing like that swung the stern round into the way. But that is not to suggest they are in any way to blame for the collision.
 

Laser_310

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whether any other action by Topaz would have avoided it was neither here nor there.
i don't know how you can say it was "neither here nor there" to them - on the contrary.., the jury understood that it was important for them to address the question of rule 14 with respect to the right of way boat's actions.., and they did so - explicitly.

note that there is no qualification on their statement: they do _not_ say "having chosen to luff.., Topaz could not reasonably have avoided the collision".., rather, they say "Topaz could not reasonably have avoided the collision".

What they are saying, is that in their opinion.., from the time it became apparent to Topaz that Svea was not avoiding contact.., there was _no_ action by Topaz that would have made it reasonably possible to avoid a collision.
 

Kukri

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In the days of my youth I was a « wet » shipping lawyer. « Dry» ones do charter party and similar stuff and « wet » ones do collisions, salvage and insurance fraud. In the English law of collisions - which is the law applied to most collisions on the high seas, for insurance reasons which I won’t waste time with - there is a thing called « the agony of the moment

« The agony of the moment »
is a defence to a collision claim where, typically, in the stress of seeing that a collision is imminent, someone puts the helm the wrong way.

I think that Topaz would have done better to bear off rather than to luff, but that is the opinion of someone sitting in comfort and watching a video clip. I think that her helmsman may have acted in the agony of the moment.

And it probably made no difference anyway.
 

E39mad

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I think that Topaz would have done better to bear off rather than to luff, but that is the opinion of someone sitting in comfort and watching a video clip. I think that her helmsman may have acted in the agony of the moment.

And it probably made no difference anyway.
Ordinarily I would agree with this and initially I thought this too but these boats are not easy to manoeuvre and bearing away would have meant dumping both the main and genoa by huge amounts which in the time they had may not have been possible hence luffing up.
 
Last edited:

flaming

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No - it would not have been a factor in the protest. Svea was clearly in the wrong and whether any other action by Topaz would have avoided it was neither here nor there.
Bingo.

If Starboard makes a genuine last minute attempt to avoid a collision, when it becomes clear that Port is not keeping clear, then they shouldn't be penalised if that attempt fails, or is in hindsight exactly the wrong thing to do.

The intent of rule 14 is that Starboard should not just stand on into a collision, but should avoid if possible. Clearly in this video Starboard turns away from port, whether that was the "wrong" thing to do they haven't simply stood on into a collision.
 
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