collision course - Tip
The relative bearing of the other boat is what I use. If the bearing is constant you are traveling the same course and speed or are on a collision course. Since it is rare to be traveling the same course and speed a constant bearing usually means collision!!! For a bearing I usually pick a point on my boat and use that as a reference. The handheld compass is the best method but usually it is obvious.
I have a question about the right of way rules. Some postings seem to idicate that the stand-on vessel has options as to standing on or not. As I understand the rules standing on is not an option. If you are the stand on vessel and your course change causes an accident you are responsible. Basically the rules are designed so that boats know what other boats will do. This way a passing boat knows that you will hold course so that they know the safest way to pass. A ship knows that a daysailer won''t cut across the channel. Kinda like you know a car will stop at a red light or that a car won''t make a left hand turn in front of you. My reasonong is that a sailboat is not allowed to tack across the front of a passing boat even if it means luffing the sails.