Case 4: In the photo below, W1366 is crossing ahead of W3654.
Which boat has right of way? Why?
What do the rules not permit the right-of-way boat to do here?

Answer: W3654 is on starboard while W1366 is on port. Thus W3654 has the right of way under rule 10. 3654 is however, subject to rule 16.1: Thus, even if 3654 gets a huge lift, the helm must be careful not to alter course in such a way as to prevent 1366 from keeping clear. If the boats are close enough together, such a course change by 3654 might easily make it impossible to 1366 to keep clear, in which case 3654 would be breaking 16.1 if he changed course such that W1366 was no longer able to keep clear. We must remember however, that, despite the huge knock W1366 gets at the same time (except at Clark Lake or Fanshawe!!!!), that wind shift is no excuse for port not to keep clear of the right-of-way boat as long as the latter does not break rule 16.1 by changing course in her lift.

If, in the photo above, there were a large veer (clockwise shift in the wind direction) as often happens on small lakes for example, Starboard (3654) would entitled to hold her course and Port (1366) would have to keep clear. But Starboard would have to balance the natural urge to sail higher in accordance with the new wind direction with her obligation to make no course change that makes it impossible for Port to keep clear. The moment Starboard changes course in such a situation, rule 16 becomes a possible factor, and at the same time, it becomes difficult or impossible to prove that Port would not have kept clear even without Starboard's course change!

If I were protest committee in such a case, and Starboard admitted that he changed course but then claimed that he would have collided with Port regardless, I would be very tempted to stick with what we know: Starboard changed course, Port was unable to keep clear. Therefore rule 16 was broken and Starboard was at fault.

Any other claim by Starboard - that the boats would have collided anyway - would be mere speculation to some degree at least, and would not carry much weight with me!!

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