As a sailor, I thought I'd post the unwritten rules by which we ply our craft.
1: Any sailboat is automatically superior to motor
vessels. Also, sailboats have the right of way (which is totally a thing). Be sure to motor
with your sails
up so everyone knows you’re a sailboat.
2: Any time you see a commercial
cargo vessel coming, tack across their bow to assert your right-of-way, even though you’re probably in a restricted maneuvering channel that you don’t know about because your charts
are as old as your boat. The winds around gigantic vessels are very predictable so you won't wind
up de-powering right in front of them and catching your rigging
in their weighed anchor
Rule 3: Any two sailboats travelling the same direction are racing
. When sailboats are racing
, everyone else is to clear the sailing grounds of traffic. Sailboats racing are automatically superior to all other sailboats. Also they have the right-of-way.
Rule 4: If you can steal another sailboat’s air, do it.
Rule 5: If you’re close hauled and above hull-speed, you are the stand on vessel. Everyone else should acknowledge your superior seamanship by getting out of the way.
Rule 6: If you can figure out exactly which tack is a starboard tack, you have the right of way in some obscure circumstance that is difficult to explain because the jargon used to explain it is known only to sailors and because and only happens when boats are tacking nearby one another. Otherwise, just always steer for the stern of any boat you see.
Rule 7: Always sail into close quarters like mooring
fields and marinas
. Nobody will mind you tacking back and forth across narrow fairways and harbor entrances at 2 knots. When they wave and yell to acknowledge your superior seamanship, be sure to haul-in your mainsheet or loose your jib-sheet instead of waving back.
Rule 8: Don’t worry about proper lighting
, a VHF
, or even having a motor that works. That stuff is for modern-day softies, not real sailors.