Posted: 8/1/2012 1:12:39 PM
Last month we started the discussion of luffing rights. To summarize, we say that leeward boats have “luffing rights” unless rule 17 says they don’t. This month we will look at those rights, and what can be done with them.  The basic concept comes from rule 11, which gives right-of-way to the leeward overlapped boat. Rule 16.1 then restricts any right-of-way boat when that right-of-way boat alters course. This restriction applies to leeward boats, clear-ahead boats and starboard-tack boats (there are additional restrictions on some starboard-tack boats in Rule 16.2, but that is a subject for another article). As long as the leeward boat complies with rule 16.1, it can luff as much as it wants.
by Andrew Alberti
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 2016 are based on the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-12 or 2013-2016 and have not been updated to reflect the changes that apply as of January 2017 with the publication of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2017-20. 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 a National 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


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