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equitiman 06-20-2007 04:21 AM

Question about Stand on Vessel

The basic rules for which vessel is stand on are rather simple and I believe I understand them. But I had an incident last weekend in which I wasn't quite sure what to do.

I had hove-to onto a starboard tack and was fiddling around on my boat. Suddenly a sailboat on a starboard tack was directly approaching me from leeward. Of course I had no steerageway as I was barely moving and if I had released the starboard genoa sheet and trimmed the port sheet then I would have gone onto a tack that would have pointed me directly at the oncoming vessel. Basically I was a sitting duck. Fortunately the oncoming sailboat changed his course to steer around me, but (correct me if I'm wrong) I believe that he was the stand on vessel and I was the give way vessel.

What was I supposed to do in this situation??? It seemed like it would have been a really really bad idea to head off directly towards him to gain steerageway and then try to steer away at the last second. The more I think about it the more I'm glad that I didn't try to attempt this could have been disasterous...


sailingdog 06-20-2007 06:41 AM

Actually, since you were hove-to, you were probably considered restricted in your mobility, and as such were the stand on vessel, not the give way vessel.

While I may be wrong in this I don't believe that is the case as my understanding is that any vessel with restricted maneuverability, whether due to fishing, draft, length, towing, or other causes, have the right of way over vessels not so restricted.

Being hove-to is probably a valid other cause for a sailing vessel, as would being in irons.

equitiman 06-20-2007 07:33 AM

Thanks SD. What you said makes perfect sense...but I also remember my sailing instructor telling me to always heave-to onto a starboard tack so that you are (usually) the stand-on vessel. So I'm still a little confused. Although in all reality in my situation I had no choice but to sit there and hope that the oncoming sailboat went around me. In other words...whether he liked it or not I was standing on from lack of any other options! That sure seems to qualify as "other".

TrueBlue 06-20-2007 07:46 AM

Hove-to or otherwise, if your vessel on a starboard tack, was approached by a leeward vessel - also on a starboard tack, your boat was the stand-on vessel.

Typically, any vessel within the forward starboard quarter of an approaching vessel, is the stand-on vessel. As I envision the orientation of the two sailboats just prior to this "incident", his boat was the give-way vessel.

ericsmith3d 06-20-2007 07:56 AM

You were the stand on boat because you were being overtaken. You were not restricted in your ability to maneuver in any sense recognized by the navigation rules.

The pecking order is:

Not under command
Restricted by the nature of their work (dredging, laying pipe, etc)
Engaged in commercial fishing (not recreational and not trolling)
Restricted by draft (International only, ie, outside colreg demarcation line)
Sailing vessels under sail
Power driven vessels

The relevant phrase is Rule 3, "(g) The term 'vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver' means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel...." and goes on to enumerate some examples--a sailing vessel hove to is not one of them.

sailingdog 06-20-2007 07:59 AM


I'd have to disagree... I think, by the definition of restricted ability to manuever, a hove-to vessel on a starboard tack qualifies...and he would have been the stand-on vessel, as he was restricted in ability to manuever. A sailboat in irons would definitely be considered restricted in its ability to manuever, would it not?

Had he tried to turn up to tack or turned down to gain speed, he very well may have caused the collision he was trying to avoid. While it isn't possible to say for certain, I believe his vessel was restricted in manueverability and as such, restricted manueverability trumps leeward/windward IIRC, not the other way around.

christyleigh 06-20-2007 08:25 AM


Originally Posted by TrueBlue
Hove-to or otherwise, if your vessel on a starboard tack, was approached by a leeward vessel - also on a starboard tack, your boat was the stand-on vessel.

TB - Another thing... the Leeward vessel is not the Give-way vessel... even if it's not written in the rules you are fouling his air so the proper seaman would give way to the leaward vessel. If he is Overtaking you that may complicate things though.... because that would make him the Give-way vessel. A few 'exact situation' driven fine lines here I think. :cool:

equitiman 06-20-2007 08:36 AM

Thanks guys...well at least I know now that the answer isn't perfectly it isn't just me <G>. Just to clarify, had neither of us taken any action he would have t-boned me. He was on a close reach and I was hove-to with the wind coming over my starboard beam.

Giulietta 06-20-2007 08:42 AM're on a sailboat, a shout distsnce from the other guy...

You're stopped, just call him and get it done.....

You never know if the other guy knows the don' why should he???

You're in jeopardy, just shout, call're both in regular sailboats, not Volvo racers...

sailingdog 06-20-2007 08:43 AM

Umm... if he was on a close reach, and you had the wind over the starboard beam, if you turned down, you'd likely cross him and make it difficult for him to pass either astern of you, as he can't point up much more, or ahead of you, since you'd be cutting that option off by turning down. If you turned up... you probably would have gone into irons, rather than tacking, since you were hove-to, and then you really would have been restricted in abilty to manuever.

However, a lot of this depends on how far away he was when you spotted him...and how fast he was moving.

LOL... that's also true Giu... but I'd be curious to know how the USCG would look at it.

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