Passing from astern to leeward nearby
Getting ready for racing this year. Can some of the wiser experts chime in? This situation comes up in most of my races on our tiny lake in Asheville with shifting light winds. I find that I am approaching a slightly slower Flying Scot as we race toward the windward mark. Our sails are trimmed in as we are on the starboard tack. I am coming from clear astern and to leeward, let us say 1 full boat length apart, 19' away. When I read rule 17, it seems to say that the leeward boat is limited to not come down on me, such that she is going below her proper course. I am not talking about my proper course, I am talking about the boat I just overlapped below her proper course. There are lots of reasons to sail courses to the next mark, if there were no other boats on the lake, so going down could be a reasonable course to choose. So if the windward boat wants to I think she can come down on me, and I have to bear away down.
Rule 17 – On the Same Tack, Proper Course
“If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain on the same tack and overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.”