Racing Rules

Basic Rules

The use of the following abbreviated rules does not constitute grounds for a lack of knowledge of current CYA/ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

Sportsmanship and the Rules

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. 

1.1 A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.

10 When boats are on opposite tacks, a port tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard tack boat

11 When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

12 When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.

13 After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close hauled course. During that time, rules 10, 11, and 12 do not apply. If 2 boats are subject to this rule at the same time, the one on the other’s port side shall keep clear.

16 When a right of way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.

17.1 If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within 2 of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack she shall not sail above her proper coursewhile they remain overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

17.2 Except on a beat to windward, while a boat is less than 2 of her hull lengths from a leeward boat or a boat clear astern steering a course to leeward of her, she shall not sail below her proper course unless she gybes.

18 Rounding and passing marks and obstructions In rule 18, room is room for an inside boat to round or pass between an outside boat and a mark or obstruction, including room to tack or gybe when either is a normal part of the maneuver.

18.1 Rule 18 applies when boats are about to round or pass a mark they are required to leave on the same side, or an obstruction on the same side, until they have passed it. However, it does not apply:
a) at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time the boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them, or
b) between boats on opposite tacks, either on a beat to windward or when the proper course for one of them to round or pass the mark or obstruction is to tack.

20 A boat sailing towards the pre-start side of the starting line or its extensions after her starting signal to comply with rule 29.1 or rule 30.1 shall keep clear of a boat not doing so until she is completely on the pre start side. A boat making a penalty turn shall keep clear of one that is not. A boat moving astern by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.

31.1 While racing, a boat shall not touch a starting mark before starting, a mark that begins, bounds, or ends the leg of the course on which she is sailing, or a finishing mark after finishing.

31.2 A boat that has broken rule 31.1 may, after getting well clear of other boats as soon as possible, take a penalty by promptly making one complete 360 degree turn including one tack and one gybe. When the boat takes the penalty after touching a finishing mark she shall sail completely to the course side of the line before finishing. However, if a boat has gained a significant advantage in the race or series by touching the mark she shall retire.

40 When Flag “Y” is displayed with one sound before or with the warning signal, competitors shall wear life jackets or other adequate personal buoyancy. Wet suits and dry suits are not adequate personal buoyancy.

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