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Old 06-12-2007 Thread Starter
SEMIJim
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Rules of the Road: Precedence?

So I got to thinking while on my post-lunch walk today (again)...

In math and computer programming we have the concept of "operator precedence." An example that we all learned probably as far back as grade school: "multiplication and divsion before addition and subtraction." E.g.: 2 + 2 * 4 is 10, not 16.

In sailing, we have the "Rules of the Road." From the book Sailing Fundamentals:
• A boat on a port tack must give way to one on a starboard tack
• A boat to windward must give way to leeward boat on the same tack
• A boat that's overtaking must give way to a boat ahead
• A boat coming about of gybing shall give way to a boat on tack
• If one boat is running and the other close hauled and they're on the same tack, the running boat must give way
The question is: What is the precedence? E.g.: The rules say a boat on a port tack must give way to one on a starboard tack. But what if the boat on the starboard tack is overtaking the boat on the port tack? A running boat must give way to the close hauled boat, but what if the close hauled boat is on the windward side?

N.B.: I realize there is no absolute "right of way," and that every skipper is obliged to avoid a collision, even if their boat is the stand on boat.

Yeah, I'm probably over-thinking this (Or missing some really obvious things.)

Last edited by SEMIJim; 06-13-2007 at 01:31 PM.
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