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  • Changing course

    I know there are rules about vessels altering course, such as the stand on vessel maintaining course and speed, and signalling ones intent to alter course and speed. First of all, is there any definition of changing course?

    Is a sailing vessel said to be changing course if it is changing direction relative to the direction of the wind?

  • #2
    Yes, "tacking" (and jibing, I suppose) is a course change.
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    • #3
      Any time you change your Direction with respect to the Compass.....you change your "course".
      Period.

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      • #4
        First of all, what compass directions do you mean, magnetic or gyro. The direction of the wind changes from time to time with respect to either set or compass directions, and with it, the direction of a sailing vessel changes.

        Also, what about vessels on a narrow channel. Are those following a curve in the channel (such as a bend in the river) legally changing course, or not?

        As roads are relatively narrow and follow paths, a vehicle on it is turning if leaving the path of a marked centre line. Does a similar concept apply to vessels on inland waterways that are also relatively narrow and follow paths?

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        • #5
          If the pointy end of the boat is aimed at point A on shore... and you change that.... you changed course.

          Doesn't matter if its a gyro compass or a magnetic... if the needle isn't staying on the same number/point on the dial (or for electronic ones, if the numbers change).... you changed course.

          The main idea is... if you do something unpredictable and cut the other guy off.... you might be buying the other guy's boat, despite it being at the bottom of the lake.

          The rules of right of way for boats is really simple... if you can see the other guy's red light on the bow (or could if it was night and it was on)... he pretty much has the right of way. And if you are coming up from behind, its bad form to ram him in the butt.

          Finally: Its better to yield than argue right of way while your boats sink.

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          • #6
            My suggestion is to take the boaters safety course. this is taught after the first 20 minutes.
            1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - http://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

            Past Boats
            1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
            2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheasheads in Paradise"
            1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

            What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari

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            • #7
              Originally posted by fhhuber View Post
              If the pointy end of the boat is aimed at point A on shore... and you change that.... you changed course.
              Maybe on a lake or a sea, but what about following a bend in a river?

              Originally posted by fhhuber View Post
              Doesn't matter if its a gyro compass or a magnetic... if the needle isn't staying on the same number/point on the dial (or for electronic ones, if the numbers change).... you changed course.
              What if one compass changes while the other doesn't?

              Originally posted by fhhuber View Post
              The rules of right of way for boats is really simple... if you can see the other guy's red light on the bow (or could if it was night and it was on)... he pretty much has the right of way. And if you are coming up from behind, its bad form to ram him in the butt.
              I have heard that the rules for a narrow channel are different from those on a body of water which doesn't follow a path.

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              • #8
                All of the above - including the river and compass questions - qualify as course changes. I've never heard the term applied to boats, but I'm assuming navigators would use it like they do in airplanes: vector. It's a math term that describes space and speed between two points, and also what a vehicle is on relative to an X,Y and Z axis in motion.

                Even your car technically changes "course" on a curvy road ... but the road is designed to accommodate those course changes.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by southkogs View Post
                  All of the above - including the river and compass questions - qualify as course changes. I've never heard the term applied to boats, but I'm assuming navigators would use it like they do in airplanes: vector. It's a math term that describes space and speed between two points, and also what a vehicle is on relative to an X,Y and Z axis in motion.
                  Are you saying that course change could have a number of different meanings?

                  Originally posted by southkogs View Post
                  Even your car technically changes "course" on a curvy road ... but the road is designed to accommodate those course changes.
                  But legally it is going straight. Does anyone here know how turning is defined in their local highway code? I presume that one is turning if leaving the path of a marked centre line. If you cross the marked centre line, it is either a left or U-turn. If the turn does not cross the path it is a right turn expect at an intersection of two-one way streets when turning into a street where all traffic already on it approaches from the right.

                  Does a similar concept apply in any jurisdictions to vessels on inland waterways that follow paths? I know even these don't have lane markings, but I would guess there is a similar concept to a marked centre line.

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                  • #10
                    MOD EDIT: I heard you the first time. He's not a troll.
                    Last edited by southkogs; April 14th, 2016, 01:55 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Myrtonos View Post
                      Are you saying that course change could have a number of different meanings?
                      In a sense that's probably a little bit true ... but only if you're really wanting to dig into the technical weeds.

                      Penny-wise / Pound-foolish in my opinion.

                      Originally posted by Myrtonos View Post
                      But legally it is going straight. Does anyone here know how turning is defined in their local highway code?
                      And actually that kind of helps punctuate things: you don't need as much training to navigate a car as you do a boat. A car has references that a boat (or airplane) doesn't have.

                      So you don't really have an apples to apples comparison going.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by southkogs View Post
                        In a sense that's probably a little bit true ... but only if you're really wanting to dig into the technical weeds.

                        Originally posted by southkogs View Post
                        And actually that kind of helps punctuate things: you don't need as much training to navigate a car as you do a boat. A car has references that a boat (or airplane) doesn't have.

                        So you don't really have an apples to apples comparison going.
                        In fact, you don't actually need much more training to navigate a land vehicle than to walk. The references that manually steered vehicles have are basically the same as what pedestrians have.

                        But remember that boats on narrow inland channels, such as rivers, do in fact have similar references, one reference is the flow of rivers, this being in a fixed direction. Only at sea or on a large lake is one without such references. But even at sea, there are some references that may still help punctuate things, one being the wind in case of sailing vessels. Another is ocean currents, I have heard of currents that follow the same path over long periods of time.

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                        • #13
                          Still doesn't work out the same way ... wind and currents aren't consistent. Asphalt is much more so.

                          Though, stick yourself in a jeep in the middle of a desert, and now you've got a situation that is more similar to being a on a boat in the ocean.
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                          • #14
                            But nevertheless they do affect sailing vessel priority.

                            In case of a vehicle in the desert, you aren't dealing with the dynamic properties of water.

                            But the point is that a vessel on a narrow channel, especially inland, is also in a similar situation to a vehicle on the road. Except for lines on the ground, all the references are there. So, in that case, is a concept similar to the official definition of a turning vehicle. Would a vessel entering leaving the path of a marked channel be legally the equivalent of a turning vehicle?

                            I have heard that the rules on a narrow channel are different from open water. For example I did read that precedence first belongs to vessels going against the current, then with the current, then cross river ferries.

                            Sometimes, I think that marked channels exist even on open water, for example between the edge of a bay and the largest river that flows into it. A vessel following the path of the channel might be considered to be going straight and one entering or leaving to be turning.
                            The body regulating that bay could decide to make vessels crossing the marked channel keep clear of any vessel following it if all else is equal.

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                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Sail boats, under sail, have right of way over a power boat at all times. Course changes, etc. don't apply.

                              You can go out in the middle of the fishing fleet on the troll and do figure eights thru them.
                              Last edited by dingbat; April 15th, 2016, 07:56 AM.
                              ....

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