18, 19

The Rules Guy

18, 19

Our "Ask the Rules" feature makes another appearance. It is brought to you by rules smart-guy Bryan Wiillis and he answers rules questions from anarchists. Should you have a question, send it in. Should you like to get the definitive new book on the rules, buy it. And should you wish to attend a rules seminar, see the bottom story of this newsletter.

Q:New rules for 2009…read Dick Rose’s diatribe in SW and so I thought I’d try for an understandable and clear explanation on changes to 18 and an overview of 19.  

  1. What are the changes to 18 and how do they apply?
  2. How about an overview of 19 and how that would work on the water?
  3. Is it true the 32 BL circle is becoming a 3 BL circle?

Thanks & best regards,

Prouda My Pickle (dish)


  1. In brief, the mystical distance from a mark when the mark-rounding rules came into play (which could have been anything from 10 boat-lengths for fast cats to 1 boat-length for boats hardly moving against a current) have been ‘standardized’ at three boat-lengths, the same as the distance that the overlap is critical (if you have an inside overlap at the zone you have the right to mark-room even if the overlap gets broken). The other major difference is how much room an outside boat must give to the inside boat: room to sail in a seamanlike way till he gets to the mark (abreast of it if you like) and then room to sail his proper course around the mark.
  2. The big difference here is that the requirement to have an overlap at two-boat lengths has gone (no one took much notice of it anyway). Now the criterion is whether the outside boat is able to give room when the overlap was established.
  3. Yes the zone is now 3 lengths (unless the sailing instructions change to 2 or 4)