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Port tack gives way to starboard - or does it?

Apr 27, 2010
1,157
Hunter 23 Lake Wallenpaupack
I have always assumed that the nautical preference for passing port to port, which also applies to powerboats, is the reason the port tack boat is burdened. Each boat would have to steer to starboard to cross port to port. That is normally easier for the port tack, as that boat comes off rather than having to come up, possibly forcing a tack. In Fig 33 maybe it would actually be easier for the boat on the really broad reach to give way as it can turn quite a bit before having to tack, while still passing port to port. But if both boats assessed the situation before getting as close as the diagram implies the boat on port tack could have easily come off and passed port to port. Maybe that interpretation is less complex to assess than figuring out if the stbd tack boat is "enough" off the wind, hence the current rule.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
In the few times a situation involving a chute has presented itself w/me aboard, others, even the skipper, mostly have not been clearly aware that the windward vessel is expected to give way even though it may be on starboard tack and the other vessel may not. Situational blindness I suppose. But it is “upsetting” to suddenly recognize this when you are the skipper of the vessel running down, chute up, right toward another one beating across your path:yikes: on starboard tack whether or not it is in your race! The “best” thing to do in my experience is to not get too close to vessel crossing you by first, slowing down. Do this by easing the spinnaker sheet, letting the sail luff. You’ll be surprised the amount of speed the boat gives up. If acting early enough, you won’t have to alter course to avoid.
 
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weinie

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Sep 6, 2010
1,297
Jeanneau 349 port washington, ny
In the few times a situation involving a chute has presented itself w/me aboard, others, even the skipper, mostly have not been clearly aware that the windward vessel is expected to give way even though it may be on starboard tack and you are not. Situational blindness I suppose. But it is “upsetting” to suddenly recognize this when you are the skipper of the vessel running down, chute up, right toward another one beating across your path:yikes: on starboard tack whether or not it is in your race! The “best” thing to do in my experience is to not get too close to vessel crossing you by first, slowing down. Do this by easing the spinnaker sheet, letting the sail luff. You’ll be surprised the amount of speed the boat gives up. If acting early enough, you won’t have to alter course to avoid.
wut?
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Yeah, a little confusing. Imagine beating on stb tack and seeing a bigger boat bearing down on you under spinnaker. Your first inclination is likely to tack away from it—you don’t care which tack it is on; it wouldn’t matter as you’re actually the stand on vessel either way. If you’re the skipper of the bigger boat, you are probably hoping the other vessel will tack away long b/f you have to alter course, or what ever. Even though most sailors know windward gives way to leeward; in that situation under the press of wind & chute realizing that you “must” avoid that boat crossing below can raise the heart rate a bit.
 
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weinie

.
Sep 6, 2010
1,297
Jeanneau 349 port washington, ny
Yeah, a little confusing. Imagine beating on stb tack and seeing a bigger boat bearing down on you under spinnaker. Your first inclination is likely to tack away from it. If you’re the skipper of the bigger boat, you are probably hoping the other vessel will tack away.
If you're on stb and he's on port, he has to keep clear... end of story. your luffing and slowing up is gonna screw with whatever option he has chosen to keep clear of you whether its to hold his course and pass in front or to duck you.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
You need to read post #20 first to get the context of my last two posts b/f chiming in.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
16,130
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
That depends too though.
It really does not depend... Though I understand how a change in path might challenge the sail handling of the boat with a Spinnaker. The boat should only be dressed with sails that can be managed to navigate the boat.
Fortunately there are a couple of factors that aids both boats.
First the leeward boat is considered the most in danger. Especially if the boat has a shore further downwind. So he is given the preference when he meets a boat with sail (even a spinnaker) on the same Tack. Also of note is the Leeward boat is required to maintain speed and course. This at least gives the boat sailing downwind the ability to make a shallow deviation of course to steer towards the stern of the Right of Way boat.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,945
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I have never sailed under a spinnaker and don't know how a boat responds under such. My boat came with an asym, which I am excited to try out sometime. As the potential other boat on a converging course, I have always assumed that the spinnaker represents a reduction in maneuverability. With the exception of night sailing, a spinnaker is also easy to see from a great distance, so I see no reason to ever allow myself to be in conflict with a sailboat burdened by her spinnaker. Would anyone fly a spin in a restricted waterway, where such a conflict might be forced?

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
It really does not depend... Though I understand how a change in path might challenge the sail handling of the boat with a Spinnaker. The boat should only be dressed with sails that can be managed to navigate the boat.
Fortunately there are a couple of factors that aids both boats.
First the leeward boat is considered the most in danger. Especially if the boat has a shore further downwind. So he is given the preference when he meets a boat with sail (even a spinnaker) on the same Tack. Also of note is the Leeward boat is required to maintain speed and course. This at least gives the boat sailing downwind the ability to make a shallow deviation of course to steer towards the stern of the Right of Way boat.
What I said above; slow down and let the other guy pass under you.
 
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weinie

.
Sep 6, 2010
1,297
Jeanneau 349 port washington, ny
You need to read post #20 first to get the context of my last two posts b/f chiming in.
What does the context matter? You can't use the 'limited maneuverability' defense if you sailing overpowered downwind and can't change course... forget the fact that you shouldn't change course if you are stb.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
You’ve pretty much f’ed up this discussion. Reminds me of the old adage my mother told me long ago: “Never argue w/a fool, people might not be able to tell the difference.” I’m outta here!
 

weinie

.
Sep 6, 2010
1,297
Jeanneau 349 port washington, ny
You’ve pretty much f’ed up this discussion. Reminds me of the old adage my mother told me long ago: “Never argue w/a fool, people might not be able to tell the difference.” I’m outta here!
nice.
now i understand why jackdaw left. enjoy your little circle jerk. I'm out too.
merry xmas.
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,253
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
Goes to show what appears to be a simple rule isn't always so simple. I've been in a few altercations on the race course that highlight some of the challenges to the port/starboard rule. In one instance, we were on port tack, at the start line before the start. The wind was up around 20 knots, both boats with the wind on the beam heading at each other. We headed down to give way, the starboard tack boat went down at the same time so we headed up but they did the same. We ended up T-boning them amidships with damage to both boats. The insurance companies decided the blame was shared since the starboard tack boat altered course. Lesson here is stand on boat should stand on! Except...
Many years later, I was on another boat, wind started to pick up, we were on starboard heading into the weather mark. A port tack boat was aproaching so I called out "Starboard". They appeared to be altering course to go astern but jus not enough. I jumped up from my position at the leeward winch just as they hit us where I had been sitting. Turns out their mainsheet jammed and they could not bear away.
Racers tend to push the rules with predictable outcome.
 
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May 17, 2004
3,483
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Lots of confusion in this thread. Here's a link to colregs:
https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navRules/navrules.pdf

Merry Christmas...

BTW, figure 31, the subject of the first post is clearly not correct per colregs (rule 12 (a) (i)).
Absolutely. There's a few things thing on in this discussion. First is that exactly as you said, COLREGS says that port is over starboard. My understanding from the OP is that the figures were drawn before there was a COLREGS, so it's not really wrong, just outdated. The second issue here is whether the rule should've been changed the way it was. I think yes, but that's more subjective.


Even though most sailors know windward gives way to leewar
Just to be clear, that is not true. Port gives way to starboard regardless of Windward / leeward. Windward leeward only applies for boats on the same tack. Before there were COLREGS that may not have been true, which is why the OP's figures exist, but that's not the case any more.
 
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Aug 3, 2012
2,542
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
I found it interesting that the old text said, “right of way.” This was changed to, “stand-on,” and, “give-way,” as I am certain someone collided while refusing to give up the “right of way.” We have no rights where loss of life is at stake, only the privilege of getting the hell out of the way!
 
Aug 3, 2012
2,542
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
Problem solved.

Windward boat: head up 3°.
Leeward boat: fall off 3°.

There you have it, the Kevin Bacon maneuver.
Ohhhhh! You definitely get the “like” for the completely random, non-sequitur reference to Kevin Bacon! Merry Christmas!