This Q&A is provided by IKA as guidance to competitors and protest committees on the application of rule 20 in kite-board racing.
How does Rule 20 (Room to tack at Obstruction) apply to kiteboards?
Rule 20 is a safety rule. The hailed rider B has to take action whether or not he knows of or agrees with the reason for the hail.
In kiteboarding the hail may not be heard. The hailing rider A can therefore assist by signaling with a circling arm overhead, but this may not be seen if B is looking elsewhere at the time.
B might not be able to tack immediately as he might have another board to windward of him.
These circumstances are most challenging if shortly after the start the whole fleet is on starboard and must tack to avoid the shore.
When May Board A Hail?
Board A may hail when she is close-hauled and approaching an obstruction, and intends to tack to avoid it. The greater the number of boards that will need to respond, the earlier A should hail.
What Must a Hailed Board B Do?
B must either tack, or give the hailing board A room to tack and avoid her.
If A is tacking onto port, she can avoid B in one of three ways:
1. by passing ahead of B. B can make this possible by bearing away;
2. by passing astern of B. For this to be possible, B must be sufficiently far ahead or to windward of A for A to be either able to slow or bear away after tacking;
3. by tacking a 2nd time back onto starboard to leeward of B.
If the distance between A and B is less than two line lengths, option (iii) is unlikely to be possible. Therefore any hailed board within two line lengths of A should either tack or ensure that A can cross either ahead or astern of her.
If the hailed board B intends to tack, but cannot because of another board C to windward of her, then B should immediately hail C for room to tack.
As soon as B tacks, A must tack.
What if B Does Not See or Hear A's Hail?
If B is sailing towards a shore, and there are other boards between B and the shore that will need room to tack, then B should be alert to those boards' need to avoid the shore, and if one such board A starts to tack, B is wise to assume that a hail has been correctly made.
B should therefore either tack when A starts to tack, or prepare to avoid A after she tacks. If B thinks the hail was invalid, or no hail was made, she can protest.
Version 3 - February 2014