A friend of mine came to me this morning with a complaint! This gentleman is a long time member of Tradewinds. An experienced sailor, who is well aware of the Rules of the Road, whom I have never know to intentionally abuse or violate those rules. The complaint? Three times in recent weeks he has had Tradewinds boats violate the rules of the road in the same way! In each case, he was under sail and the other boat was power-driven. The rules state the vessel under sail is to stand on her course and speed while the power-driven vessel gives way by using a maneuver that is made early and is substantial. In all three cases, the power-driven vessel sped up in a mad dash attempt to cross in front of the sailboat. In each case, the sailboat had to alter course to avoid a problem. The Colregs state that the give way vessel must make a maneuver to avoid early and substantial. Speeding up to cross the other vessels bow is neither early or substantial and is not only a bad idea, it is unlawful.
Knowing the rules of the road and following them is critical for safe boating on San Francisco Bay. If you are the stand on vessel … stand on. If you are the give way vessel then make a safe maneuver early and substantial enough that there is absolutely no doubt on the part of the other vessel that you are giving way!