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Basic Rules of Windsurfing


 Starboard tack has the right of way and port tack must yield at all times. Port tack is when the wind blows onto the port (left) side of the board and rig. Starboard tack is when the wind blows onto the starboard (right) side of the board and rig. As a rule the starboard tack windsurfer get to sail normally, while the port tack windsurfer has to go around him (he can choose to ho left, or right, it is up to him). This rule is so that both-go-left/right situations are avoided.

Windward (upwind) crafts must yield to leeward (downwind) crafts. The term craft is used because this rule applies to all water crafts.

 When overtaking, it is your duty to make sure you do not ram the water craft you are overtaking. Make sure you maintain a safe distance between when overtaking.

If the waters are choppy, the sailor coming in must yield to the one going out. Keep in mind that there are local variations to this rule! Always make sure you are aware of all the rules before you go out on the open water. Ignorance is not an excuse!

It is your responsibility to mind where you are going and be aware of what is going on around you at all times.

Let’s say that you encounter a water craft and it must give way to you, but doing so would be rather challenging for that water craft. If it is easier to simply maneuver around it, then by all means do so. It's a common courtesy which helps give windsurfers a good name. This is especially a good idea if that water craft is engaged in a race.

Motorized water crafts must give way to un-motorized water crafts. Still, it is a good idea to get out of the way of any motorized vessel that is big enough to seriously injure you.

Commercial water crafts always have the right of way.