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Port tack gives way to starboard - or does it?

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,253
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
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I just downloaded a free e-book from them called Start 'Em Sailing by Gordon C. Aymar, from 1941. A fun look at the past, seeing what has changed and what remains the same about sailing. I was a little confused when I read on page 102, in a discussion about right of way "A boat running free with sheets started (not trimmed tight) must give way before a boat close-hauled (sails trimmed flat)." and then on the next page this image:

The top left picture shows a port tack boat with right of way over a starboard tack boat. Hmm, not my interpretation of rule 12 in the COLREGS. But then, the COLREGS didn't exist in 1941.
So was Gordon C. Aymar correct in 1941 or was port tack gives way to starboard tack always the rule?
 
Apr 7, 2016
184
Beneteau First 305 Seward, Alaska
Dunno... maybe because the white boats will have to tack to avoid a collision while the black one could just easily trim in the sails and turn to starboard a bit?
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
May 17, 2004
3,483
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Interesting that this fairly fundamental rule may have changed over time. Also the bottom picture is different than the current direction of the Racing Rules of Sailing, but consistent with the COLREGS.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,821
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
Could it be that the black boat has not yet established a tack, (not trimmed/ loose sheets), thus has not yet established a tack position.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,945
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Could it be that the black boat has not yet established a tack, (not trimmed/ loose sheets), thus has not yet established a tack position.
I would interpret "Running with sheets free", for pre-ColRegs era, to mean all the way out. Otherwise, that sailboat that in the video tacking back into the starting line at the beginning of the race, would have had right-of-way.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Aug 3, 2012
2,542
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
Port gives way unless against a lee shore, unless the boat on starboard tack is a pirate ship trying to drive him onto the rocks!
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Whether it’s the vessel on stb or port tack that is the burdened one when two meet would seem in most all cases to be an arbitrary call or rule. It’s been the vessel to weather that has had control of “engagements” over the history of sailing. For the weather vessel to avoid the one to leeward therefore makes practical sense. Why the change in the rule hierarchy is a mystery from that perspective.
 
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Likes: jssailem
Oct 19, 2017
6,945
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Why the change in the rule hierarchy is a mystery from that perspective.
Lots of people are confused by rules of right-of-way. Take a look at those of a simple 4-way intersection. In a lot of states, it is now a first come first serve rule. It doesn't matter who is turning in which direction.
Anything to simplify it for people who can't think the issues through or remember a hierarchy of conditional regulations.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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Likes: jssailem
May 17, 2004
3,483
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Having the port/starboard rule take precedence also removed subjectivity when two boats are crossing on opposite reaches. No need to assess and determine whether one is on a broader reach than the other. Also easier to determine liability if there is a collision - Just figure out who was P and who was S, not the position of the two boats relative to the wind.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Oct 22, 2014
16,130
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
It is a hierarchical system with priority given.
For Sailboats under sail pretty simple....
  1. Starboard over Port.
  2. Lee over windward.
  3. All Avoid Collision.
It is only when you get into racing or interject motor driven boats that it gets more complex with the Rules and ColRegs.
 
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Likes: jon hansen
May 17, 2004
3,483
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
It is a hierarchical system with priority given.
For Sailboats under sail pretty simple....
  1. Starboard over Port.
  2. Lee over windward.
  3. All Avoid Collision.
Except overtaking vs being overtaken supersedes 1 and 2.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,102
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
I don't remember where I heard it or read it, or maybe I just made it up, but a boat running with the wind must give way to all others. Maybe I don't remember it right, but the top image makes perfect sense to me. The running boat must give way to the close-hauled boat.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Oct 22, 2014
16,130
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Yes @Brian D your memory is functioning at the usually exceptional level.
Check out rule #2. The Leeward boat is stand on... The Windward boat must give way..."If on the same tack"
If on different tacks, then Rule #1 takes precedence.
If rules 1 & 2 do not resolve the situation then Rule 3 must be obeyed.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Having the port/starboard rule take precedence also removed subjectivity when two boats are crossing on opposite reaches. No need to assess and determine whether one is on a broader reach than the other. Also easier to determine liability if there is a collision - Just figure out who was P and who was S, not the position of the two boats relative to the wind.
I suppose this makes sense. If two vessels are crossing, one reaching on a port tack and the other on starboard tack, and they are each to the same degree off the wind on their respective tacks, then it would be a "coin-flip" as to which one should give way. Convention has therefore decided that it will be the port-tack vessel in all crossings.
 
Aug 3, 2012
2,542
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
In figure 33, the leeward, closehauled boat would have to bear off directly into the path of the starboard tack boat or risk losing way in a tack. Thus, the windward boat gives way because he has maneuverability. This plate also violates the “early and obvious” indication of intent to avoid collision, as these two boats are WAY too close!
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,253
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
This plate also violates the “early and obvious” indication of intent to avoid collision, as these two boats are WAY too close!
Of course, if we all followed this one rule none of the others would be necessary.
If I were the port tack boat, I'd tack rather than bear away; especially if there is any wind or weather helm.
The discussions about the evolution of the starboard tack right of way make sense. I just assumed it had always been a rule but rules need to start somewhere and the idea of leeward boat having right of way over windward seems to have more practical roots so makes sense to be an older rule. At some point it was decided a more definite rule needed to be implemented when windward/leeward wasn't obvious so starboard/port tack came into play.