A situation in a recent race had me thinking and I would appreciate the thoughts of the experts in this forum. Note: There was no protest or indeed any hails from the two boats involved.
Two keelboats are sailing downwind on a nearly parallel but slowly converging course. Both boats have the wind coming over their port side.
Boat A is flying an asymmetrical spinnaker which is full on their starboard side, confirming that wind is coming from their port side. However, they have their mainsail out on their port side, with a crew member standing on deck leaning on the boom to hold it out.
Boat B is to starboard of Boat A on a shy port run, with a symmetrical spinnaker and their boom out to starboard (i.e. in the conventional position).
As the two boats slowly converged, Boat B altered course to starboard in order to parallel Boat A’s course. They were then on close to a square run (but not by the lee). Boat B was able to pass Boat A then head up back onto their shy run course.
According to Definitions: Tack, both boats were on a port tack, since the wind was on their port side.
According to Definitions: Leeward and Windward, Boat A could possibly claim that they were sailing directly downwind so her leeward side (on which her mainsail lies) was her port side.
If Boat B had not easily been able to keep clear and there had been an incident, the questions are:
1 Can Boat A claim to be on starboard tack (and hence ROW) since her main is on the port side, even though this contradicts Definitions: Tack?
2 Would Boat A have a second defence that they were leeward boat (even though they were closer to the wind), again since her main was on the port side, so Boat B was windward boat and hence had to keep clear?
P.S. I couldn’t find an easy way to diagram this, sorry.