Join Date: May 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
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My guess is that you have pretty limited sailing experience, as Lasers only have one sail, and thus cannot sail 'wing on wing', and tacking downwind is really called 'gybing'. The Laser racers don't think 10 feet is too close, especially if the boats are on nearly parallel courses.
The reality is that you had the right of way because he was the overtaking vessel. You are not constrained by your draft, because you were in inland waters and were also not displaying the appropriate signal. You are probably not affected by the narrow channel rule, because you are less than 20 meters long.
The Laser avoided you, but if he had lost the wind and slowed down, the right of way would have shifted to him. You should also recognize his limitations--its hard for him to slow down, and he has only a limited space outside the channel before he has draft issues.
Both the rules of the road and common courtesy would suggest that slowing down if necessary would be the best option when trying to share a narrow channel.