Originally Posted by davidpm
If you are ahead of me and we are cruising and your in an old tub with blown out sails and can't point too well and I've got a race boat that can point 35 true and sneak in an overlap on your leeward side that fact that I was the aggressor and was behind means even if I make myself the leeward boat I still have to keep clear.
Actually no. The rules on right of way for sailing boats say that when two boats are on the same tack, the weather boat keeps clear. This is not just a racing rule.
The process of "luffing" another boat is a firm and uncontestable tactic in racing. So it's not about any logic like "Why would anyone tack at a time like that". It's about "I have the right to go up to weather right here and you legally have to get the heck out of my way". The luffing boat does not need a reason.
But if, in the process of luffing, the luffing boat would not come up against the side of the weather boat (overlap) then it's not a legal luff. So you can't come up from behind a boat on his leeward side and then turn up to weather setting a course that puts him in your path because you then do not have overlap and you're actually the clear astern boat and he has the right of way.
It's easier to explain this when you have toy boats on a table
And it's not about contact. If you are to windward of me and you prevent me from sailing the course I want to sail, then you have a penalty. Boats don't have to touch.