The Racing Rules of Sailing govern sailboat racing. They cover many aspects but one of the main areas is right of way. Your boat has right of way when another is required to keep clear of you.
The racing rules say that when on opposite racks port-tack keeps clear of starboard. Put another way starboard-tack has right of way.
If boats are on the same tack and overlapped the windward boat is the keep clear boat, with the leeward boat having right of way.
Boats are overlapped when one boats bow is even or past another boats stern.
When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped the boat astern shall keep clear of the boat ahead which has right of way. In this situation the boat doing the overtaking, or passing, is the keep clear boat.
Even if you are just a day sailor, or a cruiser these basic rules give you an idea how to handle basic interactions with other sailboats.
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