CHAPTER 5: Navigation Rules
TWO SAILING VESSELS APPROACHING EACH OTHER
If you’re operating a sailing vessel and you encounter another sailing vessel, the first thing you’ll need to do is look at the direction of the wind in relation to your boat to determine who gets the right of way.
Let’s take a closer look.
In our first example, both sailing vessels have the wind on a different side of their boat. In this situation it is the vessel with the wind blowing on its port side that is the give way vessel. So, if you are Vessel A, you have the wind on your port side and must take early and substantial action to stay clear of Vessel B, which is the stand-on vessel.
In our second example, both sailing vessels have the wind on the same side. IN this situation it's the vessel that is closest to the wind, or upwindtowards the windward side. that is the give-way vessel while the vessel furthest from the wind, or downwindtowards the direction in which the wind is blowing. is the stand-on vessel. If you are Vessel A, then you are the stand-on vessel and we can see that Vessel B takes early and substantial action to get out of your way.
Now let’s look at what happens if you have the wind on your port side but you don’t know whether the wind is on the port or starboard side of the other vessel. In this case, it’s always prudent to assume that the other vessel has the right of way; so you would give-way, and take early action to steer clear of the other vessel.