Who’s right is it anyway?

December 20, 2006 at 2:59 pm | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Going through the photographs from Sunday’s racing, I thought it would be entertaining to have a look at some of them and see what’s happening and what should have happened.

Take a look at the picture and see if you know who has right of way, and what actions should be taken:


If you know and would like to play a web based quiz about the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), the Play the Rules website is a great way to play and learn.

The answer is….
The outside (wooden) boat has to give the inside overlapped boat room to round the mark (rule 18.2), the inside boat must round the mark in a prompt and seamanlike way. Heres the information from the RRS:


In rule 18, room is room for an inside boat to round or pass between an outside boat and a mark or obstruction, including room to tack or gybe when either is a normal part of the manoeuvre.

18.1 When This Rule Applies

Rule 18 applies when boats are about to round or pass a mark they are required to leave on the same side, or an obstruction on the same side, until they have passed it. However, it does not apply

(a) at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its
anchor line from the time the boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them, or

(b) while the boats are on opposite tacks, either on a beat to windward or when the proper course for one of them, but not both, to round or pass the mark or obstruction is to tack.

18.2 Giving Room; Keeping Clear

(a) overlapped – basic rule

When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the inside boat room to round or pass the mark or obstruction, and if the inside boat has right of way the outside boat shall also keep clear. Other parts of rule 18 contain exceptions to this rule.

(b) overlapped at the zone

If boats were overlapped before either of them reached the two-length (in appendix E for radio sailing it’s a four boat-lengths) zone and the overlap is broken after one of them has reached it, the boat that was on the outside shall continue to give the other boat room. If the outside boat becomes clear astern or overlapped inside the other boat, she is not entitled to room and shall keep clear.

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