Why is the leeward boat stand on? - SailNet Community

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Old 07-15-2009
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Why is the leeward boat stand on?

The rules are well known and clear.
Sailboat on the same tack when there is no overtaking situation the windward boat stays clear of the leeward stand on boat.

My question is why is the rule written this way?

In a close hauled or nearly close hauled situation the windward boat seems to have fewer good options.
Tack, slow down some how and duck.
The leeward boat could just fall off a bit which seems easier.

I suspect it has to do with the idea that the windward boat has clean air and the leeward boat may have less control because of dirty air but I'm wondering if any of you historians have the real answer.

But frankly if I'm not racing and I can simply bear off a few degrees to allow a fellow sailor to maintain course I usually do so rather than insisting on my leeward "rights".
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Old 07-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I suspect it has to do with the idea that the windward boat has clean air and the leeward boat may have less control because of dirty air ...
Or perhaps it's because the windward boat on a beat can always tack away or on a reach can just head up?

Jim
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Old 07-15-2009
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The yacht to windward has clear air and greater maneuverability in comparison to a yacht to leeward who's air may be blocked or disturbed by the sails of the yacht to windward. "Covering" a yacht to leeward--i.e. holding it in one's own windshadow makes it difficult or impossible for the leeward yacht to pass a windward yacht.
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Old 07-15-2009
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And if there's a lee shore, the leeward boat will be closer to it.
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Old 07-15-2009
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This rule goes back to the days of square riggers who could barely make ground above a beam reach and which could not be tacked. The leeward boat has way fewer options than the windward boat which is assumed to have a much wider range of options from turning up parallel the course of the leeward boat to turning down and jibing and going the other way.

Jeff
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Old 07-15-2009
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The windward boats gets the wind first and it's also cleaner?

Paul
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Old 07-15-2009
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I don't know why the rule is the way it is but here is why it makes sense to me.

When sailing solo in a small sailboat you are sitting on the weather rail with the tiller in one hand and sheet in the other. Your field of vision is generally to leeward.

In many cases on even a multi crew boat the natural field of vision is more to leeward than windward especially if you are in a situation where the boat must be worked continuously.

This means the windward boat can see and react to the leeward boat much easier and faster than can the leeward to the windward
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Old 07-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbeau View Post
When sailing solo in a small sailboat you are sitting on the weather rail with the tiller in one hand and sheet in the other. Your field of vision is generally to leeward.

In many cases on even a multi crew boat the natural field of vision is more to leeward than windward
It is? Really?
I must be missing something.
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Old 07-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
This rule goes back to the days of square riggers who could barely make ground above a beam reach and which could not be tacked. The leeward boat has way fewer options than the windward boat which is assumed to have a much wider range of options from turning up parallel the course of the leeward boat to turning down and jibing and going the other way.

Jeff
This is essentially it. A boat farther to windward is in a more advantageous position, from a maneuverability standpoint. Among warships, it was commonly referred to as "the weather gage" -- the preferred position when engaging another ship.


David, I think one of the reasons the rule does not make sense to you, is that you are only looking at what is probably the least common circumstance where it comes into play. You said :

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
The rules are well known and clear.
Sailboat on the same tack when there is no overtaking situation the windward boat stays clear of the leeward stand on boat.

My question is why is the rule written this way?

In a close hauled or nearly close hauled situation the windward boat seems to have fewer good options.
Tack, slow down some how and duck.
The leeward boat could just fall off a bit which seems easier.
You seem to assume two boats on parallel courses, both of them close hauled on same tack, with one to windward and one to leeward? The rule doesn't come in to play too often in that scenario, unless the leeward boat is markedly more weatherly than the windward boat.

The most common application of this rule is when two boats on the same tack meet, with the windward boat reaching downwind, while the leeward boat is close-hauled sailing upwind.

In other words, under this rule, the hard-pressed boat that is clawing to weather gets the advantage, and the windward boat that is sailing freely downwind with eased sheets gives way to them.
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Old 07-15-2009
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In the 36 mile distance race we just did with a Spinaker start i had a 37' boat below me screaming leeward boat 30 seconds into the race before he even had overlap

I just gave him a WTF do you want me to do look its blowing 20 knots were going 18 miles EAST and i really cant sail and higher without going into the boats above ME


It was a wild day as 10R and SC52 also felt the need to get real close to me and then round up in a puff BUT i must have been going the right way for them to feel the need to sail that close
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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Last edited by tommays; 07-15-2009 at 12:23 PM.
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