Join Date: Jun 2006
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I don't have enough time today to read all this, but my club's beside the most crowded "restricted channel" on the lake, and I think "rules be damned, I'll slow down a bit to make space", but I would not change course one degree. A sailboater actively sailing (no choice due to the absence of an engine in this otherwise sail-unfriendly stretch, I assume) is going to keep clear of a motoring boat, sail or power, and will do this more effectively if the motoring boat pulls "no sudden moves". Ten feet to me is actually a fair bit of room, compared to some of the start line close shaves I've seen.
I will politely yell "please hold your course" when I am sailing through a race fleet if I see a gap (and I'm a pretty good judge of relative gaps in fleets, having raced for a few years), but only if under the Rules I have right of way. Sometimes I'll yell "starboard!" because it seems odd but true that the crew of quarter-tonners can't always see me barrelling down on them, despite the relative mass and dimensional difference.
Racers would prefer that you, "the civilian", don't cross their course, of course, but this is neither necessary nor essential. I don't sail near their marks, but I will sail through their fleet, without stealing a breath of wind or necessitating an inch of helm change.
The same thing applies elsewhere. If I'm motoring, even down the equivalent of shallow ditch, I can stop and start in a straight line at will. A sailboat usually can't. Therefore, I hold course and lessen speed, because I want them to have all the air they need to get away from my bow.
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