Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 48 Times in 45 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: Questions about standoff distance and narrow channels
Rule 9(a) does NOT care whether you are propelled by sail or power, *everyone* shall stay to the right as much as is "safe and practicable".
And 9(b) says vessels less than 20 meters, and (any) sailing vessel shall not impede passage of a vessel that' confined to that channel (usually by her deep draft).
That said, if the wind's on the nose and you gotta get home in that open sailboat with no engine, guess what?? you have to tack to get there.. just time those tacks to stay out of the way of the bigger guys who can't maneuver as quick as you can. Radio (portable or permanent) and hand signals work well here, if you use them.
Now I just *love* to have my sailing students beat in or out of our jettied harbor channel whenever we can, it is just so "graphic" about how boats move "against" the wind. But it's lightly-trafficked, and we use the hand signals a lot. The powerboaters (since we're a majority-sail marina) largely "get it" and understand we're not zig-zagging just to annoy and obstruct them. Timing is everything and the ourboard is sometimes idling in neutral just in case.
Now, to have to stay 500' away from a very maneuvarable blue-light with nothing going on that inhibits him? That would mean not entering the breakwaters at all. We don't have a police boat in the harbor anyway.
I love to have my students chant with me, "Motor?? We don' need no steeenkin' MOTOR!!!" and when we can sail all the way into the slip, we do, 'cause these are *sailing* lessons first and foremost.
But we do speak respectfully to motor when we need it.... ;-)
And the Rules of the Road are for everyone. I hafta teach that, too.. ;-)