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Give Way Rules

Here are the some of the rules from the ISAF's new racing rules. Only the basics are here - enough to keep from crashing into other boats. The full set of racing rules can be viewed at the ISAF's web site at http://sailing.org.

Right of Way

On Opposite Tacks

When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.

On the Same Tack, Overlapped

When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped

When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.

General Limitations

Avoiding Contact

A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room.

(a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room, and

(b) shall not be penalized unless there is contact that causes damage.

Acquiring Right of Way

When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear, unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat's actions.

Changing Course

When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.

At Marks and Obstructions

Passing Marks and Obstructions

If boats are overlapped before one of them reaches the two-length zone:

(a) if the outside boat has right of way she shall give the inside boat room to pass the mark or obstruction

(b) if the inside boat has right of way the outside boat shall keep clear.

If they are still overlapped when one of them reaches the two-length zone, the outside boat's obligation continues even if the overlap is broken later. This rule does not apply if the outside boat is unable to give room when the overlap begins.

If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the two-length zone, the boat clear astern shall keep clear even if an overlap is established later.

Tacking

If two boats were on opposite tacks and one of them tacked within the two-length zone to pass a mark or obstruction, the boat that tacked:

(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid her or prevent the other boat from passing the mark or obstruction, and

(b) shall keep clear if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her.

Gybing

When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at the mark or obstruction to sail her proper course, she shall pass no farther from the mark or obstruction than needed to sail that course.

Room to Tack at an Obstruction

When safety requires a close-hauled boat to make a substantial course change to avoid an obstruction and she intends to tack, but cannot tack and avoid another boat on the same tack, she shall hail for room to do so. Before tacking she shall give the hailed boat time to respond. The hailed boat shall either:

(a) tack as soon as possible, in which case the hailing boat shall also tack as soon as possible, or

(b) immediately reply 'You tack', in which case the hailing boat shall immediately tack and the hailed boat shall give room.

Other Rules

Starting Errors

A boat sailing towards the pre-start side of the starting line or its extensions shall keep clear of a boat not doing so until she is completely on the pre-start side.

Moving Astern

A boat moving astern by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.

Capsized, Anchored or Aground; Rescuing

If possible, a boat shall avoid a boat that is capsized or has not regained control after capsizing, is anchored or aground, or is trying to help a person or vessel in danger. A boat is capsized when her masthead is in the water.

Interfering with Another Boat

If reasonably possible, a boat not racing shall not interfere with a boat that is racing. A boat shall not deliberately interfere with a boat making penalty turns to delay her.


Last Updated February 1st, 2008 QUB Sailing club