I once asked a merchant captain who has right of way a pushing tug boat or a sailboat?. He said if the tug doesn't display restricted to manuerve he is a powerboat, thus sailboat has right of way.
If you use this rule, you are assuming:
1. There is someone at the helm of the tug (other than Otto).
2. The crew didn't neglect to post the restricted signals.
The Safety Board report cited previously shows these might not be safe assumptions.
As the smaller vessel, we are in the same position as a cyclist insisting on his right of way with a car. We could be "right, dead right" or just dead.
I can't even tell you what the restricted signals are, because I don't intend to push the issue. It's simply more trouble than it's worth for pleasure craft.
I often sail in the Oakland Estuary. The narrow estuary includes a major port, with all the commercial traffic that goes with it (talk about "restricted"!). Though I fire up the stink pot anytime I get in a tight situation, I've rarely needed to put it in gear, and manage to stay out of the way. If I can do it there, why not in open water?