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rule20 room to tack at an obstruction.

Mike Ure

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Two boats sailing on starboard toward a seawall obstruction.

Boat A is the windward boat approx. two boat lengths to windward of boat B.

Boat B hails for room to tack..

Boat A calls "You tack"

Boat B tacks but then has to bear away to avoid contact with boat A.

Boat B protests.

Boat A responds that  this became a pure port /starboard situation, claiming that boat B demonstrated that she had room to tack, and then to bear away to avoid contact..

Who wins the protest?

Mike Ure


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2 hours ago, Downbytheriver said:

The whole point of the “you tack” hail is that the hailing boat believes that the other boat has room to tack and still avoid a collision.

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that a hail of "you tack" is interpreted as tack and do what you like, not, tack but don't forget all of the other rules that apply.

This can cause carnage if you're  on the 1st beat at Fleetwood/Gosport/Bournville etc with clear obstructing walls, particularly if there is any breeze that causes chop against the hard walls and stalled tacks.

IMO this is one of those areas of race craft that the more experienced skippers will gauge better and usually know that the aforementioned carnage is likely and will tack off sooner rather than try to gain every last metre up the lake, even if they can make the boat hailing for room to tack go behind them. 

If the 1st boat calling for water gets it right they can get a large number of the following boats to tack off, gaining them free air and cover from stbd boats but it can also turn a good start into a discard!

Definitely one where traffic management is as important as knowing the rule book inside out.




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