World Sailing Q&A – inside overlapped right-of-way boat finishing

Here’s a good Q&A from World Sailing – But to understand the answer, it really helps if you understand the rules, words and definitions that the Answer uses  – so we’ve added them below the answer.

Q&A 2020.009 30 March 2020

The finishing line is between two marks. Boats are finishing downwind.

Does rule 18.4 apply to an inside overlapped right-of-way boat approaching the finishing line?


Rule 18.4 will apply provided that the inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe to sail her proper course. A finishing line is not a gate; a string representing the boat’s track, when drawn taut, is not required to pass between the marks of a finishing line. See definition Finish and rule 28.2(c).


Rule 18.4 (this is part of mark-room)
When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at a mark to sail her proper course, until she gybes she shall sail not further from the mark than needed to sail that course.  Rule 18.4 does not apply at a gate mark.

Rule 28.2.
A string representing a boat’s track from the time she begins to approach the starting line from its pre-start side to start until she finishes shall, when drawn taut,
a.  pass each mark on the required side and in the correct order,
b.  touch each rounding mark, and
c.  pass between the marks of a gate from the direction of the previous mark.
She may correct any errors to comply with this rule, provided she has not finished.
A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side. However, she has not finished if afView Postter crossing the finishing line she
  1. takes a penalty under rule 44.2,
  2. corrects an error under rule 28.2 made at the line, or;
  3. continues to sail the course.
Proper Course
A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal.
Here’s a visual of what a starboard tack boat can’t do.