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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This posting about an unfortunate injury
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/news-feeds/260953-woman-injured-sailboat-collision-lake-champlain-|-news-plattsburgh-press.html gives me occasion to vent the lack of rule knowledge shown in crossing incidents that I experienced in our last two outings.

In both incidents we we sailing closehauled on starboard, and watched the approach of a port-tack sailboat broad-reaching towards us.

The first incident, the port tack boat held a steady course, about two boat lengths prior to a collision, we luffed head to wind to allow him to pass. I hailed him just to observe that he was a giveway vessel. He responded "no I'm not, I am sailing downwind." ?

The second incident, the port tack vessel made several minor course changes to his starboard which only served to keep him in front of us. Again, about two boat lengths prior to a collision, we luffed head to wind to allow him to pass.

In case is may be useful to anyone, what a sailing skipper needs to know is simple:
1. on overtaking boat is giveway.
2 different tacks, the port boat is giveway to starboard.
3. same tacks, the windward boat is giveway to leeward
4. the giveway vessel needs to make an early and obvious change in course or speed or both so as to remove the risk of collision.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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I'll add that in my experience while two guys in a 28' fiberglass runabout trolling a fishing line DO NOT QUALIFY as a vessel engaged in fishing, they probably don't know this, and will consider themselves to be the stand on vessel.

Glad you made it home safely!
 

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Fortuitous
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Yeah, when people stop observing those rules, everything breaks down. It's almost as bad when I'm on port, I adjust course to pass 50' off of the starboard boat's stern, then he starts making radical evasive maneuvers and I have no idea what he's doing. He's probably used to people not respecting his right of way, or maybe my zone of comfort is different from racing (where I might pass 5' off of someone's stern), but the stand-on vessels have to do their part too.
 

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Master Mariner
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Does one of those rules explain why so many bareboat skippers down here shake their fist and yell "Starboard" at me when they are so obviously motorsailing (the jib furled and the main luffing) while I am actually sailing, on a port tack?
 

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Daniel - Norsea 27
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In case is may be useful to anyone, what a sailing skipper needs to know is simple:
1. on overtaking boat is giveway.
2 different tacks, the port boat is giveway to starboard.
3. same tacks, the windward boat is giveway to leeward
4. the giveway vessel needs to make an early and obvious change in course or speed or both so as to remove the risk of collision.
Thanks.

Until I get more (ok, any) experience on the water, any useful tips is helpful.

I might just make a card to remind myself of these right-of-way rules.
 

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It's hopeless. Give up. Don't even think about it. Quietly duck, go around, the idiots. Even if racing...unless the idiot improved his score with the cheating.
 

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Rainwatcher
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If you turn to port to avoid him, you're wrong.
 

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Basic rules:

1: Don't hit the other boat.

2: If the other guy is ignoring Rule #1... Turn to avoid him.

I do a lot of rule #2.

3. If they are sailing to windward with a big genny, look for eyes. No eye contact, forget the rule book or honk early. They don't see you and aren't looking.
 

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Assume that the other guy does not know the Navigation Rules. Also, realize that the Rules for sailing vessels were written when sailboats (or sailing ships) were much less maneuverable. And, they are still confusing as all get out. In my mind, Rule 5 is the #1 Rule that will clear up most every situation. Simple. Maintain a lookout at ALL times by ALL available means. The word "all" is used twice in this brief, one-paragraph Rule.

And that means, not just electronics. I've come across numerous sailors who seem to believe that AIS or radar alleviates the need for visual scans or acquiring bearing drift on another vessel to determine if a risk of collision exists. Not so. ALL means just that. Just another reason I do not like to sail shorthanded with a headsail with a foot so low that it obstructs visibility to leeward of the bow. It's a bear to crane your neck to see under the thing.
 

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................. I do not like to sail shorthanded with a headsail with a foot so low that it obstructs visibility to leeward of the bow. It's a bear to crane your neck to see under the thing.
The solution for this is to have a clear vinyl window installed in near proximity to the foot of your jib/genoa.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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so many excuses to not give way when collision avoidance is primary focus.
if you have collision BOTH boats are wrong.
avoidance is important.
dont give way and lose boat--your own damned fault.

as for "craning neck to see around headsail"--another excuse. i have a deck sweeper genoa 150 percent headsail. funny how i manage to be able to see around it without "craning" my many times injured neck.
so many alleged sailors have so many excuses f or not being gentlemen. flexibility is important in sailing. so is imagination. thinking outside the box. the rules were made so folks would know who is the one to give way.
many donot know these, so those out here sailing need to be wary and not obstinately insist on alleged right of way.
 

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I'll add that in my experience while two guys in a 28' fiberglass runabout trolling a fishing line DO NOT QUALIFY as a vessel engaged in fishing, they probably don't know this, and will consider themselves to be the stand on vessel.

Glad you made it home safely!
Ha ha, around my home port, pretty much all the fisherman believe they are the stand-on vessel. They're a menace, particularly at the mouth of the channel from Lake Michigan to Muskegon Lake. From a mile out, you can see that you may be on a collision course with one of them as you sail toward the channel, but they proceed as if it is their intent to either collide or drag their lines across your bow. They get very upset when when you sail near their lines (we smile and wave).

Maybe I could confound them by putting the biggest fishing pole I can find in a rod holder at my stern. Sailboat on starboard tack engaged in fishing...I could rule the seas.
 

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This thread is another reminder of why mandatory boating safety certification should be required in all states.

TurningTurtle - your 'rules' are incorrect and can lead to accidents. The stand-on vessel has the obligation to maintain course so that it's path is predictable to the give-way vessel. (See Chip's post #3.) This is why the difference between 'right-of-way' and 'stand-on' is significant. Of course, if the give-way fails its obligation, then the stand-on vessel must avoid a collision.

On the lake where I sail, boat operators are required by law to understand the rules of navigation. We don't have these problems and we all get along and have a good time. Sailors, fisherman, pontooners, and jet skiers.
 

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Just another reason I do not like to sail shorthanded with a headsail with a foot so low that it obstructs visibility to leeward of the bow. It's a bear to crane your neck to see under the thing.
It's easy enough to know if your headsail is obstructing a critical view. First, be aware of any boat that disappears behind your headsail. Second, if it doesn't re-emerge into view, then you are on a collision course and you must assess the situation by momentarily heading up or falling off to the point that you can see the boat that is in front of you.
 

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Basic rules:

1: Don't hit the other boat.

2: If the other guy is ignoring Rule #1... Turn to avoid him.

I do a lot of rule #2.
Right on! When I am driving my car, and some other car approaches me head on in my lane, do I argue "right of way"?

Just the other week I had right of way, noticed a collision course but WELL before necessary I decided to make a course adjustment that would make it obvious to the other sailor what my intention was. It is now also one of the reasons I try to keep my 150 genoa partially furled to give me much better visibility to leeward. (I do remember once coming rather close to another vessel under sail that had right-of-way, but I had been lax in monitoring my leeward quadrant... no harm done, but lesson definitely learned! Of course, if he is in my lee on my port tack, I am in his lee on starboard, so we both have visibility issues to contend with.)
 

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One problem with all of this "avoid him" stuff is that when the wind is shifting a lot, bearings change rapidly. It can look like someone is giving way, when they are only following a shift and will right back at you in a minute. The notion that you can guess a heading a mile away is silliness; they could change course for any reason. I've had this happen many times. We all change course when dodging fish nets, shoals, crab pots, and just changing our minds. Within a few hundred yards i often comes down to following the rules.

The other thing not often mentioned is that many course changes will bring you to a near stop: tacking when you were not actually quite close hauled and not ready, a turn to DDW, or a situation that required you to head up too far with a chute. Additionally, last minute avoidance can often leave you broadside, which will be much worse than a glancing blow.

I had one like this a few days ago, when shifty winds made courses vary. The other guy was beating on port and I was broad reaching on starboard. He was blind due to a genoa and lack of attention. We were not quite on collision course, so I gave him 2 blasts (starboard to starboard), which just confused him more. Though he did head up just a tick, he did NOT look at me as he passed. If I had turned either port or starboard I would have presented a huge target, and his course was completely erratic, weaving right and left. I did try to bear off nearly a mile away, but he changed course too. At the end, if I had been able to see any eyeballs it would have been better, but I knew that he did not know I was there.

Sometimes it just gets weird.
 
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