Rule Interpretation RI-14-01

Q1: When has the bow of a boat passed the windward mark?
A1: The bow of a boat has passed the windward mark when the bow has crossed a line extending directly to windward from the windward mark.
Q2: What does in the process of setting mean?
A2: In the process of setting means, in addition to extending the pole, that you are pre-feeding the tack of the spinnaker to the end of the pole and readying the halyard for the hoist, which may or may not include sneaking the halyard up part way. A boat may extend its bowsprit once it has passed the windward mark as discussed above and proceed to pre-feed the tack and ready the halyard even if the actual hoist of the spinnaker does not occur until the boat turns down at or near the offset mark. The bowsprit may not be extended if subsequently the tack is not promptly pre-fed and the halyard readied for the hoist.
Q3: What if I think I can fly the spinnaker on the way to the windward mark?
A3: That is allowed, but you must have the spinnaker fully set and filled prior to reaching the zone of the windward mark to be legal.
Q4: A boat retrieves her spinnaker before arriving at a leeward mark. She rounds the mark and trims her sails for the windward leg before retracting her bowsprit. Has she retracted her bowsprit at the first reasonable opportunity?
A4: No. The first reasonable opportunity to retract a bowsprit begins at the moment that the spinnaker is no longer exerting sufficient tension on the bowsprit to prevent it being retracted and ends soon after the spinnaker has been fully retrieved. In other words, as soon as the crew has finished feeding out the halyard and tack line, he or she must retract the pole. Delay past that point is no longer reasonable.
Q5: A boat retrieves her spinnaker and retracts her bowsprit. However the bowsprit is not fully retracted, and the boat continues sailing. Has the boat broken Class Rule 7.2?
A5: If the bowsprit is extended only a short distance and is promptly retracted as the crew tidy the boat after the mark rounding then a protest committee may consider that the error was corrected at the first reasonable opportunity. However, once the boat is fully powered up with the crew on the windward rail, then the first reasonable opportunity has passed.

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