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Old 28-07-2009, 18:42   #1
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Do You Give Way for Racers?

This may start a war, but do you give way for racers when you are sailing if by the rules of the road you have the right-of-way?

I was hard on the wind with the rail down on starboard tack approaching the mouth of a river. Several Racers were crossing my course on Port tack and although I avoided several one chap was on a direct collision course with me. If I had fallen off behind him it would have required me to tack twice in order for me to stay off the shoals and make the river entrance. I yelled "Starboard" and stayed my course and the Racer finally gave way while screaming profanities at me and my crew.

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Old 28-07-2009, 19:01   #2
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I keep clear of those racing provided that there is plenty of room and time for me to do so. Ideally, I try to look ahead, and take action so that by the time we are in any sort of close proximity, I have already put myself in a position where there is no need to take further avoiding action. Once the proximity gets close, I think that the right of way boat is better off to hold course and make the burdened boat take action, because to do otherwise can lead to SNAFU, or even SNAFUBAR.

Of course racing gives no special rights, so it is only politeness that dictates a crusing boat consider giving way to a racing boat if COLREGS suggest otherwide. For what it is worth, screaming profanities is quite sufficient grounds for getting a boat disqualified from a race. Were you to note the sail number, and radio the comitte boat and inform them of the situation, they would (should) disqualify the potty-pouthed offenders.
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Old 28-07-2009, 19:01   #3
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For me it depends.

If it is convenient I will because, in general, I am going no where in particular.

I do expect them to follow the rules of the road, non race boats are just another obstacle to deal with, just like a buoy.

Of course since the owner of my marina races I do look out for him to be sure he stays happy.
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Old 28-07-2009, 21:06   #4
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As a cruiser and a racer, I agree completely with Weyalan. When racing, I really appreciate it if you can keep clear of the fleet. But, I don't expect it. Obstacles happen, that's racing.

If I were cruising, and it was very inconvenient to avoid the fleet, I would stand on. I would also report rude behavior from a racer to the committee boat and request disciplinary action.
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Old 28-07-2009, 21:18   #5
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Having been on both sides of that fence I have to agree with both Weyalan and escapade. And, I would never hesitate to get in contact with the committee boat if the rules of the road were not followed by a racer. Like the man said "that's racing."
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Old 28-07-2009, 22:05   #6
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If I see a tight fleet of sailboats I will steer away well ahead of time before the rules even apply. The same goes for fishermen. Its just rude to get in their way when you have an alternative way of getting past them.
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Old 28-07-2009, 22:48   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
If I see a tight fleet of sailboats I will steer away well ahead of time before the rules even apply. The same goes for fishermen. Its just rude to get in their way when you have an alternative way of getting past them.
Agreed.
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Old 28-07-2009, 23:52   #8
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Racing in a friend's (slow) boat a couple of years ago, and flying a racing flag, we were on starbord when a bunch of the local fast racers approached on port. They began screaming that they were racing, we stood on telling them "so are we".

One of them had to tack and we then saw him withdraw in disgust. I call that poor sportsmanship.
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Old 29-07-2009, 01:33   #9
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Following is an excerpt from the COLREGS:
Rule 16
Action by Give-way Vessel
Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, so far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.
Rule 17
Action by Stand-on Vessel
(a)
(i) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way of the other shall keep her course and speed.
(ii) The latter vessel may however take action to avoid collision by her maneuver alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in accordance with these Rules.
The vessel with the right of way is OBLIGED to maintain course and speed until it is clear that the burdened vessel is failing to give way. Then the COLREGS (and common sense) require evasive action. There are idiots and poor sportsmen is every field of human endeavour. The best that the rest of us can hope for is that they get theirs and, if we're lucky, that we can have a hand in their comeuppance. Report the sucker and hope he gets disqualified.

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AEGEA
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Old 29-07-2009, 04:09   #10
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I cruise and I race.

If I can I will avoid a "racing area" - especially a well marked windward leward course. But if I happen upon a race fleet in passage or other activity I will apply the rules of the road. Sure I could try to plan ahead to avoid a race boat but likewise he could plan ahead to avoid me. BTW - he also has to avoid all the other racers, why am I different.

Of course he will yell and complain. Probably because he is not winning, is a crap sailor and now has a good reason to come in 3rd when he gets back to land.

Most racers, while in heat of battle, act like 10 year olds on a playground.

Yell back and tell him to quit being a baby, read the damn rules and harden the eff up... He will appreciate it - honestly.
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Old 29-07-2009, 04:43   #11
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When we are race committe for the children's races the safety boats try and get boat to give way to the kids but for adult racers they should follow the rules of the road. However, in Biscayne Bay following the rules of the road is a random event...recently a 39 ft committee boat was rammed while at anchor by a none racing sailboat.
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Old 29-07-2009, 05:18   #12
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For the most part in my area, other sailors seem to keep clear of the race fleet... but when we do have cruisers or day-sailors "in the way", we simply go around them.... they tend to be much slower so it isn't too bad to duck or avoid them without losing much time. With three divisions we have a lot of oncoming traffic to avoid on race night anyway, so a cruiser or two that gets in the way isn't a big deal.

Sport fishermen in small boats are (slightly) more of an issue. Most of them have the sense to avoid the race courses, but occasionally you get ones that blast across the bow of someone racing or shadow them in such a way as to make a required tack somewhat dangerous. Even this is, thankfully, very rare.
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Old 29-07-2009, 06:02   #13
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As a racer and cruiser, I side with those who say if you're not in the race, you should try to avoid the racers, but that there's no obligation to do so.

In races, I am much more annoyed by the seemingly deliberate (or ignorant) passes of powerboats at full throttle through a racing fleet. They have the ability to maneuver around racers, but choose not to.
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Old 29-07-2009, 06:09   #14
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Were we sail, two of the three marks for the local YCs course are on the far side of the main channel through the area. It is a silly setup just bound to cause issues for all. We try to just keep clear of the racers but they don't seem to use any sense in laying out their course.
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Old 29-07-2009, 06:17   #15
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Out of courtesy I avoid them at all cost. I know it gets heated on the boats with the testosterone raging. Once on S.F. Bay I thought I had plenty of time to croos a course. The boats were well off, but I did not realize they were huge boats. They were downwind with spinnakers flying. I forced one boat to gybe as he passed my stern within a 100 feet. Not a person looked my way. Every person had complete focus. This boat looked like a runaway freight train with the power it was harnessing. From then on I was a wee bit more cautious of crossing a course......i2f
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