Racing Rules of Sailing

Racing Rules of Sailing

The Racing Rules of Sailing (often abbreviated to RRS) govern the conduct of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and virtually any other form of racing around a course with more than one vessel while powered by the wind. A new revision is published every four years (after the Olympic Games) by the International Sailing Federation, the world governing body for the sport. The current edition (2005–2008) came into effect on 1 January 2005.

1997 saw the most dramatic simplification to the Racing Rules of Sailing since the 1940s. They are based on the five main right of way rules;

# Boats on a port tack shall give way to boats on starboard tack ( [ Rule 10] ).
# When boats are on the same tack, the boat to windward shall keep clear of a leeward boat ( [ Rule 11] ).
# Overtaking boats shall keep clear ( [ Rule 12] ).
# A boat that changes course, even if it has the right-of-way, shall do so in a manner that gives the burdened boat a chance to "keep clear" and give way ( [ Rule 16] ).
# Even if you have right-of-way, it is your duty to avoid a collision, once it becomes apparent that the other boat is not giving way ( [ Rule 14] ).

In total there are 90 rules but (since the major simplification in 1997) only 12 rules govern what boats do when they meet on the water (part 2 rules). It is not necessary to know all of the rules to successfully compete in a dinghy race, but a knowledge of the basics is recommended.

Sailboat racing is a self-policing sport. As stated by the Racing Rules of Sailing, "Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty or retire." ["See" [ Official website, International Sailing Federation.] ] . Depending on the nature of the infraction, the penalty may be either (1) performing a turn consisting of one tack and one gybe or (2) performing two turns consisting of two tacks and two gybes (except for windsurfing). For most rules infractions, a competitor may absolve himself or herself from disqualification from the race by taking such a penalty. However, if she caused injury or serious damage or gained a significant advantage in the race or series by her breach her penalty shall be to retire. If the competitor fails to take appropriate action she may be protested by the race committee or, more likely, another competitor. If successful, this will result in the disqualification of the protested competitor. The aforementioned principles do not apply to match racing (like the America's Cup) where on-the-water umpires impose penalties immediately after an infraction occurs.

Race signals

Sail races are governed with flags and sound signals to indicate flag changes. The flags used are taken from the International maritime signal flag set. During a race and for any signal concerning the race, these flags are defined in the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing but the signal can be modified by the Sailing Instructions.

The raising (hoisting) or removing of a visual signal is accompanied by the emission of a sound signal to draw attention to the new signal. The type of the sound signal (one short sound, two short sounds, one long sound, etc.) is described by the rule according to the type of signal.The usual meanings of these flags are as follows:

Postponement signal

The Answering Pennant (AP) with or without a numerical pennant is used to indicate a postponed race. A numerical pennant below the AP denotes the time, in hours, of the race postponement.

Recall signal

Other signals


ee also

* Dinghy racing
* Sailing
* Yacht racing

External links

* [ ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing.]
* [ U.S. Sailing, Sail Boat Racing Rules explained, Introduction to Racing.]

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