Q1: When a boat approaches the windward mark and is overstanding, may it pull out the sprit before reaching the mark? May the sprit be pulled if there has been a windshift so that boats are now approaching the
A1: The sprit may not be pulled out unless the spinnaker is fully hoisted before the boat is about to round the windward mark.

Rule 7.2 reads in relevant part: “When not in the process of setting, flying or taking down the spinnaker, the bowsprit shall be retracted so that the tip of the sprit is aft of the forwardmost point on the bow. Approaching a windward mark without the spinnaker set, the bowsprit shall not be extended until the bow of the boat has passed the mark.” The first sentence of the rule suggests that if a boat is “in the process” of setting the chute, the sprit does not have to be retracted “ in other words, it can be pulled out. However, that sentence needs to be read together with the second sentence of the rule. That sentence prohibits pulling the sprit before the bow is at the mark unless the spinnaker is “set” when the boat is approaching the mark. In the view of the TC, a boat is “approaching” a mark if it is within the zone where RRS 18 applies (i.e. when the boat is “about to round” the mark). Only if the boat manages to hoist the chute before it reaches the RRS 18 zone, does the second sentence not apply. Thus, the chute has to be “set” (hoisted) before the boat enters that zone if the pole is out. A boat that pulls the sprit while “in the zone” where RRS 18 aplies, always violates rule 7.2. Also, a boat that pulls the sprit and does not immediately hoist the chute violates the rule unless the bow has passed the mark when the sprit is pulled.

Q2: If there is an offset mark, where can the sprit be pulled out?
A2: When the bow passes the windward mark. The offset is not a windward mark for purposes of the rule.

Note: Also see RI 14-01

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