Barging is not okay

The last few weeks have seen some great sailing, but also some aggressive starting tactics. It might be time to remind everyone that ‘barging’ into the start line from windward is dangerous and against the rules. Here is a refresher on the rules…

The Windward Boat must keep clear –

  • She is not entitled to sail her proper course.
  • “Overtaking boat keep clear” is not in the rules – neither is “mast abeam”
  • A boat that establishes an overlap from astern (within 2 hull lengths “including Jibboom for Couta Boats”) is limited to sail her proper course. (She may have more than one proper course)
  • A boat has no proper course before her starting signal
  • If a leeward boat establishes an overlap from astern and sails above her proper course and the windward boat does not keep clear…  Both boats break the rules and both get penalised!
  • There is no mark-room at the start marks  – the windward boat at the starting approach is at high risk.
  • If there are 4 boats overlapped approaching the start, the most leeward boat (1) must give the next windward boat (2) room to keep clear when she changes course, including boat 2 giving room for the next windward boat (3) to give room to the next windward boat (4) to keep clear – all of these actions can’t slam boat 4 into Volunteer, but they can cause boat 4 to be OCS.
  • Windward boats that need to keep clear following a change of course by a leeward boat get a really brief opportunity to “respond promptly in a seamanlike manner” to keep clear. After that, if they don’t, they break the rule.
  • When a windward boat comes down to a leeward boat and then later can’t keep clear – she put herself there and breaks the rule.
  • If you are the windward boat and you could keep clear by sailing above the line but you refuse to do so to avoid OCS, then you are usually deliberately breaking the windward boat keep clear rule and that is usually also breaking the Fair Sailing rule.

So, the windward boat must keep clear in all the rules – except if she has mark-room or sometimes at obstructions.

Here are the Rules we have talked about.

windward keep clear

Here is some further reading on Barging

Barging in 2020 – Seriously?