room for an obstruction

Thread starter #1
here's a rules question regarding obstructions. You are on port tack. There is a boat just to leeward, say -- three feet -- and you are bow to bow. He is pointing higher than you for whatever reason and the only way to keep clear of him is to tack or luff and let him pass ahead of you. But you have a boat on your hip and you can't tack without hitting him. Can you demand room to tack? Do you have to just let him go?
All I know is: If you are in the mid of 3 boats, the leward boat has to hold its course. It is not allowed to demand you "suddenly" to a tack if you not can. Its not the same like in a situation with only two boats (where you can tack if needed, because there is no hindrance in luff). The 3-boatsituation, that you describe, depends from the distance of the bow of the the windward boat has to the transom of your boat (I guess).
I would do in this way if I would be you: If I recognize that the leeward sailor is going to tack (or comes to reach my boat at the side in reason that he points more than me) than, early enough, I would demand my windward competitor, that I want to tack - so he also must tack soon (as 1st). Aft he tacks, you can give your leeward sailor his right and tack as 2nd and so on.
Think about another situation: 3 boats - you are in the mid. You "came" in the mid in reason of the leward and the windward boat were faster than you (and you did not took "room" early enough). So that their both masts are more forward than yours. Now the leeward sailor demands "room". What do you do?

This is common ( on S) right after the start. There is no way you can ask for "room to tack". Mid is squeezed, but you do have rights to defend by luffing W, or ducking L, and footing off. It takes experience to know which to do, but it's often best to take the penalty of ducking below L, footing fast ( for better VMG) than slugging along in pinching mode, and eventually loosing to both L and W. A rapid luff might get W in your gas by surprising him a bit, and cause you the least loss, and eventually gaining you the freedom to tack away from L.

You need to know that your wind shadow extends to windward a bit, as well as behind, so it is possible to pinch off W. Scooting thru to leeward of L is a small penalty, if in waves, and/or you are heavier so you can sail lower/faster, or have a newer sail, etc.

L is in control, but you may choose to defend by pinching, if you are near the layline, and can drive him a bit past.

LOL, there are a million answers to this, which is what makes close racing so much fun!

Al Russell 138888
3 feet? You might be too close. One of you cannot make an immediate direction change without the other being able to avoid a collision. No room to tack in the situation you described I am afraid.
If however there was a SB boat that was clearing the LW boat and not the middle boat you could (being the middle boat) ask for room to tack from the WW boat.
I sail 420s very competitivly (sp) and for us 3 feet to leeward is close but not unavoidable. Also in the situaton you described (pig in the middle) I would let the LW boat pass me BUT in a very controlled manner. Head up so you lose some speed but also get to WW then when he passes you you will be out of his bad air and able to pass him by bearing down and gaining speed. Just remember that sooner or later he WILL pass you with his bad air since it goes to windward also. I try to minimize my losses.