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Interactions between yachts and dinghies while racing
Club Race Officer
Umpire In Training
Judge In Training
In our yacht club, we regularly sail with yachts and dinghies on similar courses, and it's common to have interactions between them. However, we were unsure as to the rules for keeping clear between yachts and dinghies, especially in relation to a yacht overtaking to windward.
Summary of the incident: A 36-foot yacht was sailing on a run, on starboard gybe with the asymmetrical spinnaker hoisted. An RS500 dinghy was sailing on a beat on starboard tack, to leeward of the yacht and not on a collision course, the yacht would pass clear ahead. As the yacht passed to windward of the dinghy, they were blanketed and bore away to keep pressure in the sails, but onto a collision course. The yacht avoided the collision by heading up but was close to broaching. The dinghy passed clear astern of the yacht, and then promptly returned to their close-hauled course. The boats were not competing in the same race, or on the same course.
Question 1: What would be the limitations on the dinghy bearing away to a collision course with the yacht?
Question 2: Is a change of course measured from a change in compass heading or another factor?
Question 3: If the yacht did broach due to suddenly heading up to avoid the dinghy, do you have any ideas how this would play out in a protest or a request for redress? Would the outcome be changed if the RS had to avoid the collision?
Question 4: Should it be assumed that a leeward boat will change course in response to being blanketed?
Question 5: Is there (or should there be) a difference in the definition for keeping clear depending on the boats involved?
Question 6: I think this has been asked here before, but are there any considerations as to whether boats can actually see each other? For example, the large asymmetrical spinnaker can block the view of boats to leeward. Has anyone encountered a protest where one boat just didn't see another? Is there actually anything the boat can do to maintain a good lookout if they have spinnakers (and sometimes jibs) blocking the view?
I hope the diagram helps explain the situation.
Thank you for your views and answers.
Created: 19-Nov-19 12:37
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