Small, Significant Rule Changes

From Sailing World

small-significant-changesby Dick Rose

Two changes we’ll address this month are related to a basic principle underlying the Part 2 rules: Whenever a boat is on a course to pass near another boat, one of the two has right of way over the other, and the other is required to keep clear of the right-of-way boat. At any given moment in a race, you will always have right of way over some boats and at the same time be required to keep clear of other boats. For example, if you are on starboard tack, you have right of way over all boats on port tack as well as boats on starboard tack that are clear astern or overlapped to windward of you. However, you are required to keep clear of starboard-tack boats that are clear ahead of you or overlapped to leeward. The first sentence of the preamble to the Section A rules has been reworded to emphasize that the right-of-way/keep-clear relationship is always between a pair of boats.

Several changes, including one of substance, have been made in the wording of the definition Keep Clear (see below). For ease of reading and reference, the two parts of the definition have been separated and lettered (a) and (b). The wording has been clarified by referring to the right-of-way boat instead of to “another” or “the other” boat.

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