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Confusing Situations

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There are plenty of books on the subject of dinghy racing which give 'what if' examples, and as you get into the sport you'll probably want to get hold of one of these. Here's a couple of common situations:

  1. You're coming up the beat while faster boats have already rounded the mark and are running down. They may have to give way because they are windward boat - but only if they are on the same tack. Port and starboard takes priority. If you are beating on starboard you have rights. If you are on port watch out for starboard tack boats beating or running.
  2. You are coming to a mark on the same tack as another boat, and inside him at the three length circle, but you are windward boat. In this case 'water at the mark' overrides 'windward boat clear' and he must give you room.
  3. You are windward boat of another and you are both getting close to an obstruction. Although he normally couldn't tack in front of you he can call 'water to tack please'; you can't run him into the bank.
  4. You are approaching a mark on port and another boat is coming on starboard; you need to tack to clear him. You must not leave the tack so late that you obstruct him; he will call 'you tacked in my water' and you owe him a penalty. (Similar to the general situation but more likely to happen at a mark)
  5. You're overtaking someone to leeward - you can't come up from behind and then luff him because overtaking boats keep clear. He can't bear away into you the key is that you may not sail higher than you would if he wasn't there.  

It's worth pointing out that excessive luffing often achieves nothing except to slow you both down and let everyone else through, so think twice before getting madly tactical.


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