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Jimmy E 12-02-2012 05:15 PM

Silly question...
I was faced with the following situation this summer, and am seeking feedback as what to do in a race situation .......
Overtook a boat as we approached the mark
We are both on a starboard tack
I am clear ahead of the other by 15ft
I approach the mark and wish to tack 90 degrees ( rounding the mark) I will in all likelihood not clear the logical path of the boat behind me....(I understand I am required to give two boat lengths if we are overlapped)
In this case I am ahead, but wish to cross in front of the boat astern....

What is my proper course of action?
( and yes I am aware regardless of the rules racing with a hole in your boat will slow you down:))

Newer to sailing, and even newer to racing, but already hooked:)


MarkofSeaLife 12-02-2012 05:43 PM

Re: Silly question...
1 Attachment(s)
As you tack he would then become the overtaking boat. And the overtaking boat must give way.

I would certainly call it loudly so he knows your intentions.

Btw, in a two boat race (match racing) or if you are leading the race, he should tack with you anyway. As a tactic you always cover the leading boat.


Stumble 12-02-2012 05:45 PM

Re: Silly question...

I am not sure what the RRS in Canada require. In the US you mixed a couple of terms that don't have a lot of meaning, and I am not sure what you are describing.

In the US:

If you passed a vessel from clear astern, then until you have broken the overlap you have no right of way.

If the overlap was broken within three boat lengths (of the longer vessel) of the mark then you are still the burdened boat.

If the overlap was broken before entering the circle, then it also can't be required once inside the circle

If you had right of way, then you do not have to give room at the mark, and can tack at the mark. The rules don't require it, but in everything but the most aggressive fleets call out to the other boat that they have no rights and you are tacking. This will help to eliminate collisions.

How far will I push it? It really depends. On a Wednesday night beer can race, not very far. But when we were racing for the Lightning North American Championship, I would have happily demanded every inch of my rights. But here every competitor that was in the top of the fleet was also well aware of the situation as it developed, and would be prepared to duck anyway.

Faster 12-02-2012 07:20 PM

Re: Silly question...
Sounds like you weren't the 'inside' boat.. If you were clear ahead on the same course and heading you should be able to tack clear anytime you like.. this sounds like if you'd tacked he was likely to nail you before you finished and scooted out of the way.

Sounds like 'tacking too close' to me, esp since you'd be putting yourself on port tack at the same time...

At the same time you should have the expectation of his tacking as soon as possible for the mark, ie I don't think he could continue to sail on just to keep you from making your rounding.

Caveat: It's been a while and I'm probably not current on the rules these days...

Jimmy E 12-02-2012 08:05 PM

Re: Silly question...
Faster....that does sum it up. I'm that situation do I simply hold my course , waiting for the boat behind me to start his tack and follow suit?

On that day I just couldn't point any higher( without loosing speed) to get directly in front him


allene222 12-03-2012 08:28 PM

Re: Silly question...
I say if you are not overlapped when you enter the 3 boat length then you do not have to give room for the boat behind you to round the mark. Some things were said above that are not correct. It is when the first boat enters the 3 boat length zone that the presence of overlap is determined (18.2b). Also, you do not have to stay clear of the boat behind you when tacking as you would normally have to do (18.5b). But be careful, if you are starting your tack as you enter the 3 boat length zone, you might create an overlap. The other boat is overlapped with you if she is forward of a line abeam of your stern. That line moves a lot when you change course so it really depends on the details of your heading when you hit the 3 boat length zone.

The rule book is 153 pages long. I copied the sections on when boats meet and the important definitions and it takes up about 5 pages. Those 5 pages answer most of these kind of questions.

When boats meet.

Jimmy E 12-03-2012 11:29 PM

Re: Silly question...
Thanks for the insight... I guess a have a little reading to do this winter.

paulk 12-03-2012 11:40 PM

Re: Silly question...
Fuzzy details on the setup here. We don't know how big the boats are, and it appears that you were rounding a windward mark to starboard. Your description of not being able to tack for the mark for fear of getting hit makes it sound like though you may have been clear ahead of the other boat by 15', you were to leeward of him. Your understanding of "giving two boat lengths if we are overlapped" is incorrect. The Racing Rules of Sailing are the same everywhere, worldwide, and are available on the ISAF and USSailing websites. Read rule 18. It states essentially that when two boats are overlapped at a point THREE boatlengths from the mark, the INSIDE boat is entitled to enough room to get around the mark. It sounds like you must have been the outside boat in this situation, but we don't know how far away either boat was from the mark. If you had wanted to tack, you could have, but you would have needed to duck the stern of the other boat in order to avoid any Port/Starboard issues. Race committees often try to make sure marks are left to port, rather than starboard, to avoid the problem you encountered: boats on the layline on port tack being disrupted by others approaching on starboard.

L124C 12-05-2012 01:50 PM

Re: Silly question...
No such thing as a "Silly Question", especially when it comes to the confusing, complex rules of racing. However, there are silly, nondescript titles that give the reader no idea what your thread is about, or if it interests them. Your's is a prime example.
How about "racing rules" "rounding rights". Please, give me a hint!

Jimmy E 12-06-2012 07:41 AM

Re: Silly question...
L124C.....point taken , and with my 20/20 hindsight , I fully agree.
Is the title" new guy getting schooled by the old boys, one race at a time, but still hanging in there, even though the Admiral is asking too many questions while he figures it out on the fly, avoiding collisions , but still trying to improve his times, while the aforementioned old boys take turns playing with him like a cat chasing a spot light?"
I'll do better next time , thanks

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