Morgana, I'm often in the boat doing the towing!
And have been v grateful to be the one towed.
More than once this season already.
We race keelboats, some having outboards, some not. We often tow each other and give way to others sailing into the harbour against the tide, or still racing. If we were towing and made a mess of things to the extent we influenced the results of the back markers, we would fully expect to be protested under RRS23, have to retire from the race and/or buy them a pint or two!
Equally if we are sailing and catch a gust, we will avoid those towing, when their overtaking efforts suddenly don't work. More to do with pragmatism than colregs.
It's very easy to generalise on here. I'm no way saying that all towing situations are like the above. But I would not be surprised if the towing and towed boats were racing boats too...
Where I was on sunday, the wind was light to the point where the racing vessel would be less able to alter course than the others.
If things get difficult and we need more space, politely asking for space is the way to go. I will always try to help someone who is prepared to ask.
As with many of these questions, I find my self asking 'how did this come about?' was the tow holding its course for the previous 10 minutes, then the racing yacht tacked so that it came across the tow 30 seconds later...
or did the tow alter course towards the racing yacht's path?
I don't expect they came at each other on a steady heading from over the horizon.
Makes a difference I think.