Publication Changes and Tacking

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Publication Changes and Tacking

The consequences are profound. For instance, with only three or four publishing “slots” per year, there is a lot less opportunity to circulate information that you can use on the racecourse. For instance, I don’t think I will be able to provide timely coverage of the rule changes when they take effect in 2025. In the meantime, the online newsletter Sailing in Canada has started to publish my articles. They publish every two weeks, but include articles from me six times per year. There is only a limited amount that I can publish in the Kwasind with their current schedule. Accordingly, I have set up a website at There you can find a list of the most recent articles and links to where to find them online. The online versions include the animated diagrams. You can find follow-on articles by going to that site.
For example, the article found here covers the basics of tacking too close. By the time this article is published, the follow-on article about tacking near the mark and maybe the article after that, about tacking from starboard to port, will be available for you to read online.
In a recent protest, it became clear to me that there is confusion about the rules related to tacking. Tacking is not defined in the rule book, but there are a few rules that either discuss tacking, or relate to what we commonly call “tacking”.
The first and most obvious rule is rule 13. The title of the rule is “WHILE TACKING”, though the word appears nowhere in the rule. The rule covers what we are often taught  as “don’t tack too close”.

In the diagram, we see Red on port tack approaching Green on starboard. Red decides to tack in front of Green. From position 1 to position 3, Red is a port-tack boat and required by rule 10 to keep clear of Green. At position 3m, Red is head to wind. According to the definition of Leeward and Windward, and since the starboard side was most recently away from the wind, she is still on port tack. Rule 13 starts immediately after position 3, from the point where she has passed head to wind. Rule 13 continues until position 5 when she is on a close-hauled course. It does not matter whether her sails are luffing, as they are in the diagram, or if her sails filled earlier or later. The end of “the tack” or more accurately the end of rule 13, is when she reaches a close-hauled course. While rule 13 applies, the other right-of-way rules, rules 10, 11 and 12, do not apply. As soon as Red gets to a close-hauled course, they start to apply. In this case, Green is clear astern, and so required by rule 12 to keep clear of Red. Since this obligation has only just started, some other rules apply as well. Rule 15 says that since Red just acquired right of way, she has initially to give Green room to keep clear. In this situation Red “tacked too close”. She has either broken rule 13, if the contact occurs before the Red was on a close-hauled course, or broken rule 15, if the contact occurs immediately afterwards.

Leeward and Windward A boat’s leeward side is the side that is or, when she is head to wind, was away from the wind. However, when sailing by the lee or directly downwind, her leeward side is the side on which her mainsail lies. The other side is her windward side. When two boats on the same tack overlap, the one on the leeward side of the other is the leeward boat. The other is the windward boat.
Tack, Starboard or Port A boat is on the tack, starboard or port, corresponding to her windward side.
Windward See Leeward and Windward.
When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.
When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.
When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.
After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course. During that time rules 10, 11 and 12 do not apply. If two boats are subject to this rule at the same time, the one on the other’s port side or the one astern shall keep clear.
When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear, unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat’s actions.

Copies of these rules articles along with animated diagrams can be found at > sailing > programs > KnowRules.
Posted: 2/29/2024 12:38:07 PM by Andrew Alberti | with 0 comments

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This page provides links to a set of articles original published in Kwasind magazine. The versions here include animated diagrams. The original articles can be found within the original magazines which are available online back to January 2007. 

Articles before December 2020 are based on the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-12 or 2013-2016 or 2017-2020 and have not been updated to reflect the changes that apply as of January 2021 with the publication of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-24. A copy of the new rules can be found on
Andrew Alberti has been writing these monthly articles in the Kwasind since early 1997.  They explain the Racing Rules of Sailing. Andrew is an International Judge and National Umpire. He is a member of the Sail Canada Rules and Appeals Committees. The interpretation of the rules contained in the articles is Andrew's and not that of the RCYC or any of the committees he sits on. 

Send your questions to Andrew at [email protected].


166 Years of Tradition | World-Class Sailing | Toronto Island & City Clubhouse
After You Cross The Finishing Line I
Tacking III
Tacking II
Publication Changes and Tacking
How to Finish
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