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Home / Afloat & Onshore / Racing & Results / Changes to Racing Rules 2021 - 2024 and the effect on us!
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Home / Afloat & Onshore / Racing & Results / Changes to Racing Rules 2021 - 2024 and the effect on us!

Changes to Racing Rules 2021 - 2024 and the effect on us!

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For us this really isn't the most inspirational subject but that doesn't make it uninteresting and with an adjustment of perspective it needn't be a heavy subject. So with that in mind we have split these up in to areas which may be of interest.

A beginner's Guide to the Racing Rules of Sailing:

We all need rules in our lives in order to get on with each other and sailors are no exception, if fact we take rules to the next level by writing a book on them and constantly reviewing them and making changes every 4 years.

To make it easier the Racing Rules of Sailing are divided up into parts:

Part 1- Currently has 6 rules which pretty much say these are your rules, play by them, look after yourself and others.

Part 2- Is about when boats meet and avoiding bumping into each other and if you are going to look at rules have a read through rules 10 to 17 and you'll have a pretty good grounding.

At this point we thought about running through a few basic rules here but there is so much information in books, videos, posters, games all created by more experienced and better qualified personnel please have a look through the useful links section and if you have any further queries have a chat with your fleet captain.

Useful Link for sailing rules:

The Rules by World Sailing (ISAF) https://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/WSRRS20212024FinalwithChgsandCorrecns201113-%5b26798%5d.pdf

Allen Rules Poster https://www.allenbrothers.co.uk/product/racing-rules-of-sailing-2021-2024/

Rules Game http://game.finckh.net/quiz/sq1e.htm

RYA Rules videos https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rya+racing+rules+youtube&qpvt=rya+racing+rules+youtube&FORM=VDRE

Rules Books https://www.tridentuk.com/gb/books-dvds/books/isaf-dinghy-sailing-racing-rules-2021-2024.html

Changes to the racing rules of sailing 2021- 2024:

The racing rules of sailing (RRS) are revised every four years in line with the Olympic cycle. World Sailing has decided that despite the delay to the 2020 games they will maintain their update programme, so we are now racing under the 2021-2024 rules. These include over 200 changes in both wording and meaning, thankfully many of these are minor resulting from changes to some of the definitions. However, club racers need to be aware of the changes to both the definitions and Part 2 rules as these will affect the way races will be managed.

For sailors who race away you are encouraged to check out the new rule book for yourself, RYA resources and your class rules which may have been updated as a consequence of the new RRS. I know for example it is obligatory for trapeze bearing classes to conform to the new trapeze harness weights by 2023 unless specifically changed in the class rules (RRS 50.1b and 50.1c). For regional open meetings there are also changes to Part 3 rules which govern the way races are run and sailors attending open meetings should be aware of these changes.

Please note also there appears to have been a breakdown in proof reading and WS and the RYA have already published a list of typos and plan on doing more once these are reported.

Rule numbers in this piece are those in the new edition, please be aware some rule numbers have changed.

Definitions (blue pages at beginning of the RRS)

Start-Finish: these are probably the most important changes and likely most controversial. A moulded part of the hull must now cross the start and/or the finish line. Bowsprits, members of the crew and detached or loosened spinnakers are not considered in crossing the finish line. Wings and racks, as part of the moulded hull, will be taken into consideration at the start and finish lines.

Mark: the definition now includes "an object intentionally attached" to the object or committee boat. Oppie sailors in particular should now beware buoys attached to the committee boat are now a mark, which if hit (RRS31) incurs a 360 degree turn penalty.

Mark room: includes room to round or pass the mark.

Proper course: A proper course is now one which a boat "would choose" in order to sail the course.

Party: Definitions "of a party to a hearing" have changed to include support people subject to a hearing under RRS60.3(d) or rule 69. The protest committee is never a party!

Part 1-Fundamental rules

  1. "Helping those in danger" now includes support people. In addition (not in the rules), the RYA are encouraging safety and support boat crews to intervene quickly and particularly for junior classes. You should start to see specific statements in sailing instructions to cover receiving help during races.
  1. Breaking the fair sailing rule now results in a disqualification that is not excludable (DNE).

5 The organising authority, in most cases the club, race committee race officials, technical and protest committee must conform to the rules.

Part 2- When boats meet

10-13 No changes to these rules.

14 Avoiding contact within the room or mark room. A right of way boat need not act until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark room. If the right of way boat has to break a rule (e.g., hitting the mark) when taking avoiding action, she will be exonerated RRS43.1(b).

16.2 Changing course rules. On a beat to windward when a port-tack boat is keeping clear by sailing to the leeward of a starboard-tack boat, the starboard-tack boat shall not bear away so if as a result the port-tack boat must change course immediately to continue to keep clear.

18 Rule 18 no longer applies if mark room has been given.

20.4 Only really applies to cruiser racing. The NoR has to now specify the means of hailing another boat.

25.1 Specifically for the Organising Authority. NoR must be available to potential competitors before the entry for the event has opened. Time scales are not specified, I would think 5 days is sufficient.

Part 3 Conduct of a race

28 Sailing the race: minor rewording due to changes in definitions.

29-30 Starting penalties: rewording to tighten definitions.

31 No change but note committee boat and stuff attached to it are a mark. Anchor scope is not included, so if you hit it, tough.

35 For club race officers. OCS, UFD and BFD boats do not validate a race start time.

37 For safety and support crews. New flag V, (Victor, red 'X' on a white background) is the signal for support and safety boats to come to the committee boat. Likely used in an emergency or N over H or N over A.

Part 4 Other requirements when racing

40 Personal flotation devices. NoR now has to state RRS40.1. Nonsense about flag Y has gone.

42.3(c) Exception to 'propulsion rules.' This rule has been emended for foiling classes. Note specific rules on propulsion may be included in your class rules. For club racing these will not apply unless the Sailing Committee changes the club Sis. For open meetings you will get specific statements in the NoR or Sailing Instructions.

43 Exoneration. This rule now brings together old rules 14b, 21 and 64.1a into one place. It covers boats causing other boats to break rules, incidents within room and mark room including collisions. Better read this rule.

44.2 Taking a penalty near or at finishing line. Now takes into consideration the new finishing definition. So, when a boat takes a penalty near the finishing line, her hull shall be completely on the course side of the line before she finishes.

50 This rule provides guidance on the type and weights of harnesses. Note the typo in 50.1(b), should be 4kg and not 6kg, unless specified in club rules.

55 The term 'outrigger' has been dropped from the rules. RRS55.3(b) allows for a self-tacking jib with or without a boom.

Part 5 Protests, hearings and misconduct appeals

New protest forms are on their way!

61 You don't necessarily have to see a boat break a rule to protest her. May be most relevant for equipment breaches. This is going to be a problem for all!

62.1(d) Note a request for redress or a protest committee's decision to consider redress can now be based on the action of a support person of that boast, that resulted in a penalty under RRS 2 or a penalty or warning under RRS 69. So if a coach or support person acts in an unsportsman-like manner you are in for it. At the moment and if stated in the NoR as recommended by the RYA, a breach of the Covid regulations and restrictions represent a misconduct under RRS2.

63.1 The list of rule breaches requiring a hearing should also include rule 64.6.

63.6 Changes to parts (a) and (d) on the collection and weighing of evidence by the protest committee should be reported by he protest committee.

64.6 Is a new rule that covers how protest committee should deal with a boat that reports, within the protest time, she has broken a rule subject to a discretionary penalty. Always better to own up than cheat (see RYA racing charter, page 4 RRS).

65.3 After a hearing under RRS 69 a protest committee may direct that the information is to be is to be confidential to the parties. This is likely to be the case if the result of the hearing is to be reported to the RYA.

66.3 Situations where protest committee can be asked to reopen have been redefined.

69.1(b)2 This rule now includes conduct that "has brought" the sport into disrepute.

Part 6 Entry and Qualification

75 Open meetings etc. Note we now have races and events. Boats must comply with the requirements of the organising authority (the club who hold the appropriate insurance). Within the RRS entrants have to be a member of a club or other organisation affiliated to a World Sailing member national authority (in our case the RYA).

Part 7 Race organisation (for club as the organising authority)

87 NoR can change class rules when class rules allow or written permission is sought and posted on the event notice board. The latter is now going to be online as most, if not all clubs will be moving their event admin and management online.

90.3 Only the low points system is defined in this rule. The NoR should state there shall be no changes to race or series scores resulting from action, including the correction of errors, initiated more than 24 hours after, 1) the protest time limit for the last race of the series or, 2) being informed by the protest committee decision after the last race of the series or the results are published. There are exceptions and scores can be changed resulting from decisions under RRS6, 69, 70. NoR can change the 24-hour time limit.

OK, so you are hardy souls who have gotten this far. I will be brief on the changes to the Appendices. You can read them yourselves. Of special note:

A10. The race committee can award an NSC. Did not sail the course. The consequences for this are detailed in A5.2, but this is equivalent to DSQ.

Appendices J, K, L have been removed to the World Sailing website where they can be readily updated.

New case and call books are on their way. These detail decisions made by World Sailing and are published following test cases and appeals.

Use of the orange (start) and blue (finish) flags are now defined and go back to their previous use.

Organising authority must make sure not to duplicate statements in the NoR in the sailing instructions.

Because of the changes to and implications of the new rule changes, race officers and the organising authorities must write new NoR and sailing instructions, and not copy and paste from last year.

If you have not yet had enough then further information and guidance can be found on RYA and WS websites and in resources listed on page 12 of the new rules. Enjoy!

Last updated 13:44 on 18 November 2021

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