There is one other important rule to add to those below -- When you have
right of way, do not change course so as to create uncertainty in the sailor
who must avoid you (unless racing and you want to create a foul, etc.) This
is important. If you start changing course so that the avoidable collision
could not be avoided, you lose the high ground under the rules.
Now -- the majority have no idea of the rules. So I have found the
following works fairly well... Early on make any course change (if you have
right of way) so the way to avoid you is clear, then hold that course. Then
if you have time and danger is still possible, learn to shout "starboard" or
"leeward", etc., even, "right of way" or "give way" -- I think this is
important because people learn eventually there are rules, and many times I
have been asked to explain so they know what to do.
Finally the cardinal rule is to avoid collision if possible --*** your
hat on the rules is fine in a protest or maybe even a court of law, but
foremost is the rule of the sea that dictates to avoid danger and to rend
aid if something unfortunate does happen.
As the more capable sailor, you likely carry a responsibility to minimize
any danger -- so teach, stay out of beginners way, and go sail away from the
pack. Now, if we are racing, well, everyone hates a sea lawyer who attempts
to create rule infractions to their advantage -- but if you watch the
America's Cup you will see, particularly at the start, a rules dance where
both boats are hoping to play chicken within the rules -- great fun when
done by experts.
p.s. In your case, it sounds like a gadfly trying to get the attention of a
female -- in such cases, I cannot suggest much help. Its never happened to
me, an overweight, 56 year old, balding guy. If Cindy Crawford kept dive
bombing me, I'm not sure if I would give her a stern lecture on the rules or
not -- (no flame please -- its a joke)
> The guy was an ***. However, all sailors should know and abide by
> way rules if they intend to sail crowded spots. If a sailor can't control
> position, he should not sail in crowded areas with fast moving experienced
> The starboard tack rule is the most important. Others to consider are:
> 1) when two sailors are on the same tack, upwind sailor yields to downwind
> 2) when one sailor is overtaking another, the one overtaking must change
> and go above or below the other one.
> 3) motor vessels yield to sailboats, including windsurfers, with the
> that large vessels in shipping lines have the right of way (such as barges
> the gorge and tankers in sf bay). Of course, it is safer to give up this
> since you're the one who will get nailed in a collision with a motor
> 4) In the surf the first guy on a wave, even if it is just a swell and
> not close to breaking, has the right. Sailors coming in should yield to
> going out.
> However, in general it's better when you see someone coming from a
> alter course a little so right of way is not an issue. With the exception
> races, changing course doesn't matter. We're all just out for fun.