Many years ago I took part in an Optimist regatta, and an incident happened. I've never been sure of the rights and wrongs of what happened - not just the rules (I think I know whether it was legal or not), but more the etiquette. Let me describe the incident and then see what you think (I won't tell you which of the three boats was me, because I don't want to influence your opinion):
Here's the background to the scenario:
- This was an Open Meeting, meaning it was an open, national regatta.
- The Open Meeting was a one-day event. There were 3 races, with 1 discard (which would be used in the event of a tie).
- This was the second race of the three, and Green had won the first race (meaning that if Green won this race then they would win the regatta). Red was second in the first race.
- Neither Red nor Green had ever won an Open Meeting before.
- The incident happened about two-thirds of the way through the race, and about half-way up a beat.
- Green had been leading Red (just) at the start of the beat.
- Yellow was a back-marker, and was about to be lapped.
As you can see, Green was on starboard, and Red on port. They were on collision course.
Rather than duck Green, Red decided to tack on Green's lee bow.
Green then sailed right up to Yellow's stern (Yellow was a back-marker being lapped, and therefore much slower than Red and Green). As they approached, Red asked for room to tack. Green declined, on the basis that Red didn't need to change course to avoid Yellow, and that he wouldn't be sailed off the course by Yellow (although there was no guarantee that the back marker wouldn't take Red off the course)
Green then tacked off onto port (and a lift), leaving Red stuck to the lee of Yellow.
When Red and Green eventually crossed again, further up the beat, Green was clear ahead and went on to win the race, and therefore the regatta.
So. My questions are these:
- Is this all ok rules-wise?
Was Green right to deny Red water to tack?
- Is it (morally) ok to use a backmarker in this way?
Would it make a difference if it was a club race? Or a Championship?