Barging in 2020 – Seriously?

OK – We’ve got some rules issues with some boats in the fleet, and the rest of the fleet is getting really annoyed – so we are just going to say it again.

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

Here are the Rules we ave talked about.

When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.
16.1. When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.
If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain on the same tack and overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat.
This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.
The key definitions in the above rules are:
Keep Clear

A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat

  1. if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and,
  2. when the boats are overlapped, if the right-of-way boat can also change course in both directions without immediately making contact.
The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.
Proper Course
Proper Course
A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal.

Further reading