Rule 18 and Starboard Tack at the Leeward Mark - SailNet Community

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Old 07-31-2013
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Rule 18 and Starboard Tack at the Leeward Mark

A situation I was in in a race last year has been bugging me and it would be awesome to get some clarity on it.

Winds were light and as we rounded the leeward mark on port tack (heading for a port tack reach) we were in a bunch of boats, perhaps half a dozen or so. We managed to get inside and overlapped on the front row and it seemed like we were going to have a great rounding, though everyone was going pretty slowly.

Into this situation a significantly larger and faster boat approached, in clear air and on starboard. We were already within a couple of boat lengths of the mark and they just barged in front causing us to take evasive action and nabbing our position on the inside of the rounding.

The captain and tactician did not protest as the other boat had starboard advantage but my understanding is that this only applies at the windward mark and in this case big boy needed to step back and take his turn.

Who's right?
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Old 07-31-2013
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If you truly were the inside boat in the three boat length circle at the leeward mark then you were required to be given room by the other boats. The starboard boat which came in from clear astern only had rights on boats which were outside or behind him before the three boat length circle. By that boat making you change course at the mark rounding he fouled you and every other boat that owed you room at the mark.

In a protest committee you would've been exonerated and probably could've gotten redress for avoiding the collision. The boat on starboard that barged in would've been thrown out for not exonerating themselves by doing a 720. This would of course only have occurred if someone on your boat or the surrounding boats had protested as per RRS or the SI's if they were different.

The overtaking boat should've taken the outside of the pinwheel, gotten clear air and left you behind. I see this situation a lot with catamaran sailors who think higher speed = more rights.
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Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Rule 18 and Starboard Tack at the Leeward Mark

Thanks for confirming that. It "felt" wrong - if everyone did that we'd have loads of collisions.
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