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I could have jumped in the forums but the Ed took this to the front page so here goes. I sometimes worry about meeting on the road those who think the sailing rules are too complex.
How on earth do you cope behind the wheel of a car? To take part in a sailing boat race there is not a lot you need to know.
Reading the preamble might be a good idea along with the definitions then Rule 2 would be a good move along with the first part of Rule 69 if you are the sort of person who likes to get away with deliberately breaking rules whatever game you play.
Beyond that, on the water you need 10-24 (When Boats Meet) and if you are the sort of person who might believer that you can use other than the wind to move your boat then Rule 42 might be useful.
All the other stuff is about if you or people round you break the rules, measurement, what has to be on the sails, and so on.
Part 3 – Conduct of races is the RC worry,
Part 4 is other requirements that should largely be read before you take part
Part 5 largely deals with what to do if you are wronged or in the wrong
Part 6 is all about entering a race, series or regatta
Part 7 is race organisation
Then we are into the Appendices which are of no concern unless you decide to go match racing, team race and other non-standard sailing activities. The rules the average club sailor are therefore not so tough to learn.
The other thing I would reiterate is that sailing is a self-policing sport. If someone doesn’t raise the flag and shout, there is not a lot an umpire or judge can rule on. And as far as rules of golf being less complicated than the rules of sailing then whoever thinks that has obviously never been in a golf club bar.
Tiddlywinks has simpler rules though, or so I have heard. – Shanghai Sailor