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  #1  
Old 03-06-2008, 05:01 PM
zenlikeme zenlikeme is offline
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Default Right of Way

Right of Way

So I’m looking for some advice/opinions on Right of Way. Not even necessarily right of way but best course of action. I’ve been boating and sailing my whole life and I’m very familiar of Right of Way. However, I’ve found that things can get a little ambiguous while kiting… especially when it’s congested. For one, I can get as frustrated (or maybe even a little more) as when boating, while observing so many with such little understanding of proper navigation while kiting. Not that I’m entirely without fault. I’ll openly admit that I've taken the wrong course several times when first being forced to deal with the chaos that can occur on busy days. Though they always turned into learning experiences that I like to think I’ve corrected. Albeit, I did screw up last Tuesday when it was blowing…

I was down close to Billy who looked like he was giving a lesson. About 30 or 40 yards upwind of him was a guy sitting in the water with his kite at neutral. I was shooting as far upwind as possible and was going to end up either between him and Billy or 10-15 yards upwind of him. I didn’t think he was aware I was approaching and it looked like he was getting ready to take off. To make things worse there was a girl standing in the water (with no kite) about 15 yards upwind of him. So I decided to fly my kite as high as possible and pass him upwind (about 10 yards by the time I got there and maybe 5 yards downwind of the girl). And so I ended up bumping his kite He didn’t seem too bothered (may have been the same guy that had recently passed 5 yards downwind of me with my kite at 12 and gave a little cut in towards me jokingly as if to spray me). Anyways gave a quick apology and kited away feeling that I had really screwed up ops: If it’s someone that reads this forum, I'm really sorry. So the point being I still make errors and try to be understanding of others that are still figuring this out as well. In hindsight, I should have just changed tack and approached again from a better vantage point. I definitely won’t make that mistake again. Another lesson learned.

The one thing I truly understand is that more important than who has the right away, take all measures necessary to avoid a collision. Never assume (or use as an excuse) that you unquestionably have right of way, and expect the other guy to bear off. Never assume that the other guy even has a clue as to what right of way is.

Something I’m still a little vague on though (and the point of this post) is when I’m approaching someone who is on a starboard tack (I’m on a port tack). I’m marginally upwind though and I’m not certain whether they stand a chance of making it upwind of me or intend to (but it’s close... let’s say within 20-30 yards). What really makes it confusing is when they don’t indicate their intention (e.g. they are sining their kite or flying the kite low but not really bearing downwind and off of our seemingly inevitable intersection as they are upwind of me). Sometimes I hold my ground upwind but they pass me with their kite high! Or sometimes I give way and shoot downwind and occasionally I’ve been told (then and there) I shouldn’t have done that. That because I was upwind, even if only marginally, I should have allowed them to pass downwind. Though this feels like I’m forcing someone who technically has the right of way downwind. My feeling is that if I don’t know what someone’s intention is and they are on starboard tack, I should typically pass to the leeward side. It gets a little confusing.

Hope my question isn't to unclear... if it is just ask and I'll clarify

Last edited by zenlikeme; 03-06-2008 at 05:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2008, 06:37 PM
Skyway Scott
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This is a good question. I think the biggest misunderstanding with "right of way" is that it implies the guy on starboard can do what he wants. I think it's actually almost exactly opposite, if I understand the rules correctly.

The way I understand "the rules" when two guys are on collision course (or close enough) is that the guy on starboard tack is supposed to maintain course, as in no deviation of it, and the guy on port tack is supposed to make sure he maneuvers in such a manner to make for easy passage. My take is that the guy on port tack should act "big and early" (make his intentions obvious) and the guy on starboard should hold ground. I am assuming both guys are on "normal" tacks, not one of them screaming downwind.

Because this is how I interpret it, I hold my ground when on starboard to allow the guy on port to maneuver. I actually feel compelled not to move, anticipating the other guy will.
For me, it's very frustrating when the guy on port doesn't do squat. If I was coming at you, Zen, and you shot downwind of me like in above (you on port, me on starboard) with your kite moderately low.. I would be totally okay with that. Others may not be though....It is confusing.


I usually just ride way downwind of everyone these days and come back to shore when I am done to avoid all that stuff.
I hate having to calculate stuff and prefer to ride where hardly anyone is.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2008, 07:14 PM
zenlikeme zenlikeme is offline
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Default Right on

Scott,

You're understanding of "Right of Way" is exactly point on. It's title is misleading. Rather it is a way for those navigating to reach an agreement of sorts on how to manuever when heading towards each other... to avoid confusion. Starboard holds position. Port gets out of the way. If port is a motorboat it can get out of the way in either direction. However, it is generally accepted that with sailing vessels that the only reasonable course of action is to give way to the leeward side. And it's just the courteous thing to do, with the understanding that starboard tack has "Right of Way" and you don't get in the way of their wind. An acceptance to the general rule would be for port to tack upwind given enough time and distance to make such a move reasonable.

I do however seem to recall coming across something online that says something else. That starboard tack should signal with plenty of advance notice as to whether the intention is to pass downwind, by flying the kite low, or upwind, by flying the kite high. I know it states this on the instructional video "The complete guide to Kiteboarding"... though I know this is not by any means an authoritative stance.

It'd be nice to have a followed rule... mainly starboard holds bearing and port gets the hell out of the way (after all this is already the "rule"), but I've spent to long on the water to know this is unlikely.

Probably the best course of action is simply what you stated.. to stay clear downwind of everyone else... or way upwind. Just out of the crowds in general

-Kevin
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:23 PM
Skyway Scott
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I think at one point we were going to put a sign up at EB with that suggestion (and others) on it to help avoid some confusion.

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Old 03-07-2008, 07:11 AM
Tom Stock
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Yeah I usually put my kite high or low real early to make it clear what I "intend" to do...(hold starboard tack or go leeward on port) if that doesn't work I either tack back the way I came or throw a kiteloop and go down wind so fast they have absolutely no chance of hitting me

I'm mostly joking but I did have to do that escape kiteloop three times at east beach in one day ... once when Bob and I got our communications out of sync, and twice when Billy almost took me out (he was busy looking at the camera).

Honest mistakes though ... it's getting pretty crowded these days and a camera in the water is like stoking the fire.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2008, 07:41 AM
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inferno inferno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyway Scott View Post


I usually just ride way downwind of everyone these days and come back to shore when I am done to avoid all that stuff.
scott, maybe you should go back to riding fuels, you always used to ride upwind of everyone
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handle passes are easy...
at least i think they were.. been so long i cant remember
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2008, 08:36 AM
Tom Stock
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Yeah but now he's unhooking... in that case it's better to be down wind in case you loose the kite!
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  #8  
Old 03-07-2008, 09:07 AM
TritonKiteboarding TritonKiteboarding is offline
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Scott's on the money and so is the sign, riders on starboard tack (right hand forward, Heal-side edge) have right of way over riders on port tack, which makes them the stand-on vessel and a port tack rider the Give-way. A stand on vessel must maintain course and speed until the crossing situation is over.

If there's any doubt i usually just cut noticeably downwind and wave with my hand for the other rider to hold his/her course upwind. I know it puts me in a potentially dangerous situation being downwind, but i'd rather make my actions clear before there's doubt as to who should get out of the way. (seeing as many people don't know who has right of way.)

Another right of way scenario is for people launching and landing, if you see that a rider is attempting to leave from the beach, and another rider is coming in off the water, unless there are overpowering/dangerous conditions and the rider on water must come off, he/she should give way to rider attempting to leave beach. Being in the water and riding (so long as you are a proficient rider) is a much more controllable and safe situation than a rider being on land trying to get out.

Other situations include orientation to wind if on same tack and maneuverability. If two riders are on the same tack and one is slightly to windward of another, the leeward (downwind) rider has right of way until he heads so high upwind that he causes the windward rider to alter course than the role's change. Other things like if you see a rider standing in the water with a kite, or people doing lessons (although they should not be in an interfering place to begin with) these people are less maneuverable than a rider coasting along at speed and for that reason the more maneuverable rider should give way.

Personally i believe sailing regulations must be carried over into this sport as they are in windsurfing. We do our best to teach all standardized sailing terms and practices in our lessons. (Starboard/port/windward/leeward...ect) and people that are unfamiliar or have questions about certain aspects we will happily bring up to speed in a quick free chalk talk at the beach. We have whiteboards that we can easily depict the different scenario's on.

Thats my 2 cents kind of jumbled in there, if there's any questions or things that need to be clarified, we'll be at east beach all day enjoying the very gnarly winds.
-matt
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  #9  
Old 03-07-2008, 05:24 PM
Skyway Scott
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The upwind/downwind rider thing gets confusing for me (on same tack) sometimes.
If I am just leeward of a guy and in front of him (he is just barely trailing me) I can't see him.
If I am cutting upwind much stronger than him (I would think 9 times of 10, I would be) I have right of way, right?

I suspect I unknowingly cut people sometimes in that scenario simply because I point high and don't always see them.
It sounds like that's "their problem". Is that right? I wouldn't knowingly pinch someone off, but they should just slow down or something, if I read the rules correctly, right?
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  #10  
Old 03-07-2008, 07:21 PM
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kite-4-life kite-4-life is offline
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Here's a few pics to help you understand from the NEW IKO website.
http://www.ikointl.com/priority-rules.php
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