Sailboats and rules of the water
Myself and others have had a ongoing debate about who was right or wrong.Back during rock season while trolling a spread,a sailboat came right up our stearn and wiped out the whole spread!! He had miles of water on either side of us .My buddy had just asked,"What the hell is that sailboat doing?"I got on the radio and blasted a few choice words to say the least.His reply was"WE ARE IN A SAILBOAT MAN!WE HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! I know a sailboat has the right of way while under sail.MY QUESTION is,If I am trolling at 2,3 knots and an over taking vessel happens to be a SAILBOAT,am I required to just get the hell out of HIS WAY?? Don't want to start a sailboat bash,just want answers about the "being over taken by a vessel which happens to be a sailboat.
While under sail he does have the right away. Since you too were underway, you should have turned away from the sailboat. But I've seen sailboaters take this right away BS a bit too far when coming into a group of fisherman who are either drift fishing or anchored. They will roll right on top of you even though they have miles of ocean to turn away from you. Just because they may be technically in the right with that right of way BS that does not mean they can't turn a little to avoid a collison.
If SAILING boat has the right of way is a little different if it is Overtaking you the powerboat(an odd situation) in which case you maintain course and speed if possible and Overtaking vessel goes around you. I that was his intent he should have contacted you on the Radio channel 16 (you were prob on 68) or made his intensions known by horn blast that you would reply to with horn blast if all is safe and clear. If he wants to pass you on port side he gives two short blast and you agree with two short blast, for Starboard he gives One short blast and you agree with one short blast.
I got my VA boaters license about a month ago and I should be fresh on this subject. I believe that sailboats have right of way in all situations, even if your motor is off and you're drifting. The exception is the situation you described, where the sailboat is overtaking. I believe you had right of way and he should have altered course. Even if he did have right of way, it is still any boater's responsibility to avert a collision. That is, he can't just plow on through, cut your lines (or worse) and claim he is untouchable because of right of way. I will check my navigation manual when I get home from work, but I believe what I have listed is correct.
A vessel being overtaken is the most priveledged vessel on the water. Rule 13.
A sail boat is not considered a sailboat unless under sail. If your motor is off and you are adrift then you are underway not making way which gives you the right of way. If if both are under power the vessel being overtaken has the right of way and must arrange the passage of the overtaking vessel. If its a crossing situation, its just like on assphault,the one to the starboard has the right of way. Having a 500 ton Capt license and dealing with sailboats day in and day out when it comes to a tug and barge keeps me on my toes with the "rules of the road".
My original post was a little vague.The sailboat WAS under sail .I assume it was a great day for sailing,his sails were full .He did'nt just come upon us and have to make a split second decision.He was hauling ass in sailboat standards.We were in the middle of the bay.He came straight up my stern from at least a quarter mile.
Well I hope the sailboat made it back to port safely but we can only hope he had to have his boat hauled to figure out what was making the terrible vibration and loud knocking when he fired up his engine only to find a 16oz Mojo and heavy leader securely wrapped it his shaft and screw......Ahhhh ..Justice Served.
Even if he has the right of way, he is still responsible for any damage he causes, that includes loss of you tackle.
Overtaken which would have been you
Not under command(international rules only)
Restricted in ability to manuver
Constrained by draft
Power driven vessel
He was overtaking you if he was less than 22.5 degrees abaft of your beam. The problem is that those sail boaters know just enough to get someone hurt. I deal with them all the time on the tugboat. Every once in a while you will come across one that actually has a little seamanship. Other than that they are just plain idiots.