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Is weed aways an obstruction ?

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Dakota View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Is weed aways an obstruction ?
    Posted: 24 Oct 22 at 5:48pm
This was a topic on a Facebook advice page . It was decided that clubs and events can and do write weed into their sailing instructions  as a obstruction.
But a lot of people felt weed was always an obstruction anyway and this was in the rule book, but no one could find  the case study.

Could the rules experts on here , give some advice on the matter. Smile
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Brass View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 22 at 10:04pm
Some might ask 'is weed ever an obstruction?'

Seriously though

Here's the definition of Obstruction

Obstruction
An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it. An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an object, area or line so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions. However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her or, if rule 22 applies, avoid her. A vessel underway, including a boat racing, is never a continuing obstruction.


The key phrase seems to be 'could pass'

I think that the definition has to be read down to mean that the boat could not pass through the obstruction.

Consider a patch of coloured water stained by a dye marker. It may be that a boat could not pass this patch of colour without changing course, but I don't think that anybody would argue that she couldn't just sail straight through it and that it was not an obstruction.

The issue with a patch of weed is then, whether a boat could pass through it at all, or whether a boat, although more or less impeded could eventually pass through the patch of weed.

Clearly if the weed is thick enough to stop the boat, it's an obstruction.

But if it's not that thick and a boat could eventually push through, how does she stand? What if it's nearly that thick but not quite?

So, in an area where patches of weed are a problem, I think it's wise to deal with the matter in the SI.

You can't expect a consistent interpretation of the definition without some guidance.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 7:28am
Cheers for that , Brass  Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 9:18am
But by that reasoning you don't know whether a given patch of weed - or other debatable object like floating rope - is an obstruction unless you try and fail to pass it, which rather defeats the point of the rule.
Pass is arguably an unfortunate choice of words since it can equally mean pass through, pass over, pass to the side etc. I submit the definition is primarily about the size of the object, and not its physical properties, and pass by is a better interpretation. And I'm not sure that defining patches of weed as or not as obstructions helps some. One floating strand of fucus doesn't comprise an obstruction.
I submit its probably best to use the same logic as RRS 20, and if you don't think it's an obstruction then give room and protest. I don't believe its a protest that would often be won though.



Edited by JimC - 25 Oct 22 at 9:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MerlinMags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 9:26am
I saw that FB post, and went to http://https://www.racingrulesofsailing.org/ to search for "weed", but could not find anything.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 9:47am
Jim,

As you rightly say, the definition is primarily about size.

For that reason I think you have to construe 'object' according to the dictionary definition of 'obstruction'

a thing that impedes or prevents passage or progress;

So a thing that impedes or prevents passage or progress; dye marker patch isn't an obstruction but a patch of weed that impedes a boat is.

The single stalk of kelp is taken care of be the size criteria in the definition.

If you have a problem with weed and want consistent application you need a SI.

Note, what makes rule 20 work, after many iterations, is the 'soon need to change course' criterion. I think you could reasonably construe 'need to pass on one side or the other' or 'need to avoid' into the definition.


Edited by Brass - 25 Oct 22 at 9:55am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 9:51am
What are peoples actual experiences ? 
Iíve been sailing for 35 years always on narrow rivers or small lakes. Iíve known areas of weed near the bank marked off in some way as a obstruction or marks moved so they are out of a weedy area, but Iíve never had ever had anyone call for water to tack because of floating weed . 


Edited by Dakota - 25 Oct 22 at 9:53am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 10:22am
Originally posted by Dakota

Iíve never had ever had anyone call for water to tack because of floating weed

I've done it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 12:42pm
If floating weed banks are not in SI's, you don't have to give way, you can be bl,,dy minded, they haven't been keeping an eye out. I would give way (depending on circumstances ) I would allow someone to run aground for a laugh, again, depending on the person involved.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 22 at 6:09pm
Originally posted by MerlinMags

I saw that FB post, and went to http://https://www.racingrulesofsailing.org/ to search for "weed", but could not find anything.


Not even in the banned substances part of the rules?
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