Understanding the Overlap
Understanding how the overlap was established is critical to controlling or being controlled on the race course. In team racing, a leeward boat still has right of way. But, how the overlap was established determines the control a leeward boat has in the overlapped situation. The Team Racing rules state that a leeward boat is limited to sail her proper course if the she established the overlap from astern of the windward boat. This means that if two boats are overlapped entering the two length zone of a port mark passing, and leeward established the overlap from astern, she must sail her proper course, jibe around the mark, and not force the windward boat to sail away from her proper course. In this case, the inside, leeward boat would not be able to use her leeward right of way to perform a mark trap passback.
On the other hand, if a windward boat surfs in and establishes an overlap from astern of the leeward boat, the leeward boat is not required to sail her proper course and may instead luff the windward opponent.
In order to take full control of a developing overlap situation, make it clear as to how the overlap was established. Once you understand how the overlap was established, and you know what your rights are, it is time to consider a couple of tactical maneuvers to change how the overlap was established and give you more control over the situation. A windward boat that has overtaken a leeward boat may execute an Up-Down to gain control and force the leeward boat to sail her proper course. In situation I of figure 4, the windward boat, Will, heads up quickly so that the two boats are momentarily NOT overlapped. Then she steers back down to proper course, re-establishing the overlap, with the leeward boat, Larry, now coming from astern. With the way this new overlap was established, the windward boat has effectively controlled the leeward boat from sailing above her proper course.
There is also a tactical maneuver which Larry, the leeward boat, may execute to regain control and be able to sail above her proper course to luff her windward opponent. In situation II of figure 4, the leeward boat came from astern to establish her overlap with the windward boat. Therefore, she may not sail above her proper course. However, when leeward executes a Jibe-Jibe, she changes how the overlap was established and gains rights to luff windward above her proper course. The Jibe-Jibe is simply executed by jibing and then jibing again onto the original tack. In this maneuver, the new overlap is established instantaneously and gives control to the leeward boat. Now leeward may luff windward and force her away from the mark so that a teammate behind may pass ahead of both overlapped boats.