Preamble When Rule 20 or 21 applies between two boats, Section A rules do not.

Overview Section D provides certain r-o-w and other miscellaneous rules.
Basic When either Rule 20 or Rule 21 applies the usual r-o-w rules of Section A do not.
Related The rules of Section A are primary and always apply unless (1) modified by a rule of Section C, (2) specifically turned off by a rule of Section C or (3) turned off because Rule 20 or 21 applies.
20 Starting Errors; Penalty Turns; Moving Astern
A boat sailing towards the pre-start side of the starting line or its extensions to comply with rule 29.1 or rule 30.1 shall keep clear of a boat not doing so until she is completely on the pre-start side. A boat making penalty turns shall keep clear of one that is not. A boat moving astern by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.


Overview Rule 20 governs which boat has r-o-w when one boat is returning to restart because over early, taking penalty turns or sailing backwards. Defined terms: Keep Clear.
Basic A boat that is either (1) sailing back to restart under Rule 29.1 (On the Course Side at the Start) because over early at her starting signal or (2) sailing to the pre-start side to clear herself under Rule 30.1 (I Flag Rule) [around-the-ends rule] must keep clear of other boats not also returning. This obligation continues until a boat has returned completely to the pre-start side of the line.
A boat making penalty turns under either Rule 31.2 (Touching a Mark) or rule 44.2 (720 Turns Penalty) must keep clear of other boats not also taking penalty turns. Thus, all boats not taking penalty turns will have r-o-w over one that is. This rule will not often apply, however, because one of the obligations of a boat taking penalty turns under either Rule 31.2 or Rule 44.2 is to get well clear of other boats before beginning her penalty turns. If a boat she does that correctly then there should be no boats close enough for her to worry about keeping clear of.
A boat that is backing up (moving backwards through the water) because she backed a sail must keep clear of other boats. Note, if a boat is moving backward through the water but did not back her sails then Rule 20 will not apply and the usual r-o-w rules in Section A will continue to apply.
Advanced When one boat is subject to Rule 20 the usual r-o-w rules in Section A are turned off. However, if two boats are both subject to Rule 20 (for example, two boats over early both returning to restart) then the usual r-o-w rules of Section A will continue to apply to those two boats (but only as between the two of them).
Rule 20 starts to apply to a boat that must cross to the pre-start side of the line when she begins to change course to do so. At that time, she will lose r-o-w if she previously had it and, because her own actions caused her to lose r-o-w, under Rule 15 (Acquiring Right of Way) other boats will not be required to give her "room to keep clear." Thus, she must be careful to act only in such a way as to allow herself "room to keep clear" of other boats.
21 Capsized, Anchored or Aground; Rescuing
If possible, a boat shall avoid a boat that is capsized or has not regained control after capsizing, is anchored or aground, or is trying to help a person or vessel in danger. A boat is capsized when her masthead is in the water.


Overview Rule 21 governs how to treat a boat that is capsized, anchored, aground or rendering aid to another boat.
Basic Under this rule a boat is obligated to try to avoid other boats that are capsized (or not yet in control after being capsized), anchored or aground or rendering aid. Capsized is defined to be when a boat has her masthead in the water.
Advanced Note that the obligation under Rule 21 is to "avoid" such boats, not "keep clear" of them. This means that if another boat capsizes directly in front of you, you will not be entitled to "room to keep clear" of her under Rule 15 (Acquiring Right of Way) since she does not have r-o-w (in fact, since the rules of Section A do not apply when Rule 21 does, neither boat has r-o-w over the other). However, you are only obligated to avoid her "if possible" so that should not be a problem.
22 Interfering with Another Boat
22.1 If reasonably possible, a boat not racing shall not interfere with a boat that is racing.

Overview Rule 22.1 governs interfering with boats racing before you start or after you have finished. Defined terms: Racing.
Basic A boat not racing may not generally be penalized for breaking one of the r-o-w rules. The exception is Rule 22.1, which says that a boat not racing cannot interfere with a boat that is racing. A boat need not break a r-o-w rule to be guilty of interfering with another boat. For example, if after having finished at an upwind finish line a boat reaches back and forth across the finishing line or along one of the laylines, she may be "interfering" with boats still racing by disrupting their wind.
In deciding whether this rule might apply, it is important to remember that this rule only applies as between a boat not racing and a boat that is racing, thus the definition of "racing" is very important. See "Racing" in Selected Definitions - Part 2. A boat that is racing may "interfere" with another boat that is also racing so long as she does not otherwise break one of the racing rules. Be aware, however, that if the conduct is considered unsportsmanlike you may break Rule 2 (Fair Sailing).
22.2 A boat shall not deliberately interfere with a boat taking penalty turns to delay her.

Overview Rule 22.2 governs interfering with boats taking penalty turns.
Basic Under this rule you may not deliberately seek out another boat and get in her way so that she cannot complete her penalty turns under Rule 31.2 (Touching a Mark) or Rule 44.2 (720 Turns Penalty). However, you may continue to sail your previous course even if this would cause a boat taking penalty turns to change her course to avoid you. One of the obligations of a boat taking penalty turns under either Rule 31.2 or 44.2 is to sail well clear of other boats before taking her penalty turns. Thus, it is the primary obligation of the boat taking penalty turns to avoid other boats.
Advanced What this rule says is that you cannot actively seek out a boat that is taking penalty turns so as to impede her taking those turns.

First Edition, March 1997
Copyright © 1997 Arthur Engel, All Rights Reserved