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Discussion Starter #1
This happen to me over the weekend and I wanted to get your thoughts on it. Here is the cliffnote version of the story.

Two boats under sail; mine being one of them. Both boats are on a Port tack. My boat is heading let say due west, while other boat is heading more northwest. My boat is starboard and leeward and just ahead of the other boat. The boats are separated by roughly 120 feet at the start of the incident. Based on the above situation, I believe that I am the stand on boat and the other boat needs to avoid me. The other boat is slightly faster than me as they are on more of reach and I am more close hauled. Nevertheless, collision is eminent.

The other boat does not yield and I start to lose speed and alter my course to avoid collision. The boats are now separated by roughly 40 feet. Because of my course change, I am now heading for shallow water and rocks. To avoid running aground, as he starts to cross in front of me, before he has taken all of my wind, I quickly duck in behind him and then cross over to become the windward boat and sail parallel to him. We are still only 30 to 40 ft apart. I then decide to take his wind and repass him, basically be a jerk, because he and I need to stay in the channel that he forced me out of. It was pretty sweet to see his sails completely collapse as I stole his wind and sailed by him.

So was I right about me being the stand on boat? As for the “retaliation”, my wife thinks I went a little overboard by chasing him down, stealing his wind, and passing him. In retrospect, since it wasn’t a race, it probably wasn’t the “High Road Approach” and I should have just followed him.
 

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ancient mariner
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you were the stand on vessel and he should have kept clear of you. i probably would have done the same thing that you did. he was the jerk!
 

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i had a boat do something similar this weekend, he was racing, and he just plan sailed in to me. i was running slightly off down wind, he was under spinnaker straight down wind. i turned off to avoid the collision, he was already mins away from the front boat, he could have easy turned 10 degrees off wind and gone behind me. i was about 350 degrees to the wind he could have gone 10 degrees to the wind, he saw me at least 15 mins before we where 40 feet apart. so after he was infront of me a went straight down wind for a few mins
 

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Sure you're right! Your only obligation as the stand on vessel is to decide to yield, as you did, to avoid collision. There is NO rule or ethic that suggests that you should not block another boat's access to wind! I'd say, "smile and nod." ....nothing controversial, 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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as fifty a holder of a 50 ton license you did the right thing. you are responsible for the safety of your vessel and others around you. we had a similar event about 3 to 4 yrs ago went sailing with family and friends boat loaded in CASCO BAY ME. anyway new to area we got out into ocean following rules and proceeded south east out of channel note: (we have a GulfStar 37) and we got involved in Falmouth Forside race. one boat in smaller class 37-40 ft class came up behind us and started giving us a rash of crap actually verbally abusing us, but not anything further we maintained course and the rest of the fleet went around us. motto is usually when you think you are right you usually are if you know the rules, and know know them that does not relieve you of now getting into a collision to prove you are right the person running the other boat was forcing you to to agree to his terms. whether you liked them or not. this is not to say you have aright to transverse a designated race course when a race is going on. etiquette is instilled through good behavior, arrogance is instilled by people how think it is easier to back off and not defend social mores whether in life or in social gatherings such as racing. these people are still trying to prove they are better/more powerful than the rest of society
 

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Right, but not two jerks worth. Maybe visual contact and an eye roll would have been sufficient to deliver the message. Life is to short to create unnecessary grudges.
 

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October Moon B43
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I've had so many boats, both power and sail, violate the rules that I just decided to be the first to make a move no matter how right I may be. It reduces my wife's stress level and mine too. Just too many people who have the money to buy the boat but never educate themselves on the rules of the road. We recently encountered a friend in his power boat running up the wrong side of the channel directly at us because the only marks were on our side. Apparently he wasn't capable of estimating where he should be. Plus he was on autopilot, which was set aimed at the next mark. Autopilot seems to be something powerboaters don't seem to know how to turn off once it's set. When I said something to him on the radio he was sort of put out by my suggestion that he was too close to us. This is from a guy that I thought was knowledgable. Just an example of why I make a move and try not to let it bother me, generally keeping my mouth shut in the process.
 

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Mud Hen #69, Mad Hatter
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In retrospect, since it wasn’t a race . . .
I don't believe that. Two sailboats, in proximity and on a similar course. C'mon, fess up. You were racing. It's just that no judges were on hand. :laugher

You're probably one of those guys who sail barefoot so they can shift the traveler with their toes while appearing to be lounging back and reading a book or surreptitiously adjust the outhaul while pretending to yawn and have a big stretch. :rolleyes:

Like me.
 

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Yes, DrB, you were the stand-on boat twice-over: 1. Because you were the leeward boat and 2. Because he was overtaking you. Nonetheless: You did the right thing in yeilding, when it appeared obvious that he wouldn't. As to stealing his wind and passing him: Sucks to be him :D

Jim
 

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I think you were privileged, thrice-over: 3. you were sailing closer to the wind.
As to being a jerk, I think NOT.
Paul
 

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As everyone has said, you clearly had the right of way but the other guy may not have known that. I guess I have to ask, did you try simply hailing the guy and give him a "Heads-up". As you descibe the situation the windward boat may not be aware that the leeward boat is even there since a boat ahead and to leeward would be blocked from view by the windward boat's genoa.

If you hailed him and he held his collision course and did not say something to let you know that he saw you and intended to miss you, then he was indeed a jerk, but otherwise he was merely human. Communication in these non-racing situations is critical. Racers, once they hail each other, at least have some sense of where the other boat is likely to go or what it is likely to do.

But if you are just sailing down a channel without communicating your intentions, when you began altering course, you are creating a situation where the give-way boat would have a harder time judging how to miss hitting you and so communication becomes even more critical at that time.

As far as whether you were a jerk sailing over the top of the other guy and taking his wind, it all depends on how close you passed. It makes sense that you as the faster boat would sail upwind of the slower boat. In my mind unless the faster boat is way bigger and not much faster than the slower boat, the faster boat is almost obligated to sail over the slower boat. The faster boat sailing above the slower boat shortens the time that the two boats are in close proximately. Sailing below the two boats would be locked in lockstep for a long time.

Jeff
 

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SaltwaterSuzi/CapnLarry
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You're either the 'stand on' or the 'give way' boat. Nobody has 'right of way.'

The general prudential rule prevails.

It's usually good to take the high road - but beware - there are no guard rails and there may be cliffs and sharp curves.
 

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You're either the 'stand on' or the 'give way' boat. Nobody has 'right of way.'

The general prudential rule prevails.

It's usually good to take the high road - but beware - there are no guard rails and there may be cliffs and sharp curves.

I, of course, stand corrected. My first sentence should have read, "As everyone has said, you clearly were the stand-on boat..."

Us dinosaurs carry a lot of old and outdated expressions with us.

Jeff
 

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...In my mind unless the faster boat is way bigger and not much faster than the slower boat, the faster boat is almost obligated to sail over the slower boat. The faster boat sailing above the slower boat shortens the time that the two boats are in close proximately. Sailing below the two boats would be locked in lockstep for a long time.

Jeff
Jeff,

I can see certain circumstances where this might be the case, but I was taught and have always practiced that it is poor form for a faster, larger, overtaking boat to pass a slower, smaller boat to windward in close proximity.

Here I am not talking about racing rules or rules of the road, just simple sailing courtesies. Also, I'm not suggesting that this applies to the OP's circumstances, or while racing.

When cruising we normally duck below any smaller boat that we are overtaking on parallel courses. Yes, we end up overlapped longer than if we rolled them, but rolling a small boat can leave them in a bad way particularly if they're coping with sea state or motor boat wakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses...

Here are some pieces of information that I didn't give as it didn't have to do with my initial questions. Some mentioned that maybe the guy didn't know he wasn't the "Give Way" or "Yielding Boat" and maybe the better course of action was to hail him and let him know. Yes, that probably was the better road to take, but after I went to his windward side and stole his wind, he tried to do the same to me, so I think he knew what was going on. However, I had him in a spot where he couldn't really get around me on the windward side. We were both pretty close to close hauled, so if he went more to my windward side to pass, he would have luffed up.

After we got back to the harbor, it ended up that both of us took the same launch ride back to the dock. All of his bags indicated the he was not a novice sailor and probably part of a crew that had recently done an ocean race. I didn't say anything to him and he nothing to me. I did offer to help carry some of his stuff off the dock.

EDITED:

One more piece of info as far as big vs small boats. Both boats were roughly the same size.

DrB
 

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John,

My normal procedure when passing a slower boat is to try to get separation either to well to windward or leeward and when I pass to windward to bear down or head up out of the other boat's wind as soon as possible, so as to get by them quickly with the least disturbance. In an open body of water, this is usually quite easy and with enough serparation no one suffers very long no matter which side you pass.

The problem as originally described here was in a constrained channel and in that circumstance I think it is incumbant on the faster boat to pass to windward so that the boats can maintain safe manuevering room.

Of course in the later explanation DrB seems to suggest they were of relatively equal speed so then it merely comes down to passing safely and however that may be.

Jeff
 

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After we got back to the harbor, it ended up that both of us took the same launch ride back to the dock. All of his bags indicated the he was not a novice sailor and probably part of a crew that had recently done an ocean race. I didn't say anything to him and he nothing to me. I did offer to help carry some of his stuff off the dock.
Awkward!!!:D :D :D :D

Also, I apologize for sidetracking the thread -- but I did not mean to suggest that the issue of courtesy between big boats and small boats was applicable in the scenario you described. I was speaking about general courtesies in response to a comment Jeff made.


John,

My normal procedure when passing a slower boat is to try to get separation either to well to windward or leeward and when I pass to windward to bear down or head up out of the other boat's wind as soon as possible, so as to get by them quickly with the least disturbance. In an open body of water, this is usually quite easy and with enough serparation no one suffers very long no matter which side you pass.

The problem as originally described here was in a constrained channel and in that circumstance I think it is incumbant on the faster boat to pass to windward so that the boats can maintain safe manuevering room.

Of course in the later explanation DrB seems to suggest they were of relatively equal speed so then it merely comes down to passing safely and however that may be.

Jeff
Jeff,

I find this problem rarely arises out on the open waters (unless racing), where there is usually plenty of room and time to stay well clear of other boats.

Typically it arises in channels where boats tend to converge on parallel courses. And that is where I think it is especially important for a big boat not to roll a smaller slower boat by passing to windward. A close pass to windward in a channel can leave the smaller boat with reduced way or steerage at a time when it usually needs as much as it can get. Whereas the larger faster boat can duck under and suffer only a moderate loss in speed because it is not fully blanketed.

Anyway, this was one of the "Corinthian Courtesies" I was taught when I was new to sailing. Those aren't words you hear often anymore.
 

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Here are some pieces of information that I didn't give as it didn't have to do with my initial questions. Some mentioned that maybe the guy didn't know he wasn't the "Give Way" or "Yielding Boat" and maybe the better course of action was to hail him and let him know. Yes, that probably was the better road to take, but after I went to his windward side and stole his wind, he tried to do the same to me, so I think he knew what was going on. However, I had him in a spot where he couldn't really get around me on the windward side. We were both pretty close to close hauled, so if he went more to my windward side to pass, he would have luffed up.

After we got back to the harbor, it ended up that both of us took the same launch ride back to the dock. All of his bags indicated the he was not a novice sailor and probably part of a crew that had recently done an ocean race. I didn't say anything to him and he nothing to me. I did offer to help carry some of his stuff off the dock.

EDITED:

One more piece of info as far as big vs small boats. Both boats were roughly the same size.

DrB
You missed your chance! As you parted ways, you should've looked back at him and said "I win". :D
 

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you were the stand on vessel... having said that it is couteous to hail a boat that is in the wrong and let them know ( even racers do this in case the other vessel has not seen them, and othereasons) a hail back from him allows you now to be the stand on vessel AND take the high road. Taking his wind is simply not courteous unless you had no choice. Once he has been hailed and notified and not responded by giving way, a nice " I apologise for taking your wind" as he luffs into irons gives you satisfaction and the knowledge that he can not fault you. Maybe I am too old fashioned but introducing "sail rage" and retribution, no matter how small seems to have started with small steps. Its not a good thing.
 
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