From BerkCan in Greece:
Yesterday while training we had a situation during pre-start and we had doubts about it so I thought best thing to do is to ask you.
Here is the situation:
During pre-start two boats wait head to wind, one is slightly ahead and overlapped. Then the one which is slightly ahead (Yellow) starts to go backward by backing her sails and the other boat (Blue) bears away in order to pass ahead of the backing up boat.
Our question is: What if Blue decides to bear away more and goes on to Yellow boat? What should Yellow do in that case?
If she continues to back up her sails and go backward she could be interpreted as continuing her maneuver and doing nothing to avoid Blue. But on the other hand the best thing Yellow could do to avoid Blue is to continue going backward.
In the situation you describe the Yellow boat is keep clear boat and Blue is right-of-way.
If Yellow keeps clear while Blue stays stationary, she fulfills her obligation.
If Blue changes course she is subject to 16.1 and must give Yellow room to keep clear. I agree with you, that would be to continue backwards as best as she can. Yellow might also have to change course a little to get her bow away from Blue by steering her stern to the left (looking backward).
If she does this and there’s contact, I would penalize Blue for not giving room to keep clear. If there’s no contact, a green flag would be appropriate.With contact Blue has not give enough room and should be penalized.
If Yellow stops pushing her sail, slows down sailing backwards and perhaps does not try to change course a little and there is contact, I would penalize her..
Thanks for reading LTW