There has been the underlying premise in many posts on this subject that small boats just have to give way to larger boats. This makes no sense and is a tacit approval of the idea that big boats do not need to follow the rules of the road just because they are bigger. Perhaps some enforcement of the rules would remedy this issue.
As to your last point, there is no contradiction whatsoever. When a large ship overtakes you in completely open water, seen miles away, not responding to any communication, not indicating its intention by legal sound signals, changing course, and proceeding at three times your speed, overtaking you rapidly, I challenge any sailboat to avoid being run down. You simply cannot tell where they are heading to maneuver out of the way. THEY NEED TO AVOID YOU!! The only thing you can do is try to figure out which side he MAY pass you on and turn at the last minute to avoid being hit. I had this exact thing happen a couple of years back. The ship was a foreign tanker and could have just as well hit me as not as he passed within 50 meters. I was simply lucky.
There has been plenty of evidence of hideous seamanship by commercial captains around the globe. Of course I did not intend to generalize but I've seen way too many cowboy acts from the local high speed ferry operators to tankers. Somebody needs to rein these types in.
you, me and many other may have had these same situations...its part of cruising...
there is one thing that I can agree with on and that is visibility the watchmen should have on tankers and big ships...our problem on most sailboat less than 100 feet is that we simply are at sea level and often cant make the same long distance early manuevers to avoid collision as easily as someone 21 stories up high
(moitessier for example had a "watchtower" on his main mast to scout the horizons and would climb night or day while sailing around the world
how many of us do that these days? of course not...we expect some gizmo to do it for us.)
thats the reason there are different rules regarding nav lights depending on length and design of boat.
rules aside..I still think it goes against COMMON SENSE to expect someone to give way or avoid you...and not you in return all the time. how fun is it to always be on starboard tack? jajaja
thats where courtesy and in my opinion simple prudent seamanship plays a more important role than whatever rule is written.
simply put, like someone else mentioned fault is usually shared in collision cases and not solely the fault of one side.
so think about that too when expecting everyone but you to ceade and or give away or avoid you...
hideous seamanship and bad calls:
cocobusan in san fran
we all know them yet humans are still humans so act above and beyond and cover your bases