Quite a number of years ago I remember racing on a light air day at West Van, and a tug and tow came through the race course.. not an unusual event, at least not then when the forest industry was thriving.
A racer was on a tack to intercept the tow line
... believe it or not, the towboat operator actually slowed down to let the coasting barge sink the tow line
to 'let the guy through'.. I couldn't believe it. The boat did not take up the offer, but it was something I'd never seen before, nor since.