new rules

 Conduct of a race

Currently,  to stay within the rules an Organizing Authority only needs to provide the Notice of Race (NoR)  and Sailing Instructions (SI’s) before a race begins. As a Notice of Race is, in effect an offer of contract and the sailor’s entry an acceptance with the entry fee being the ‘consideration’ the current situation, in effect means sailors may find themselves entering an event without knowing the actual conditions.

RRS 25.1 in the 2021-2025 now states “The Notice of Race shall be made available to each boat that enters an event before she enters”.  It is fair to say that most better organized events already make the NoR available (often on the event website) well in advance of a boat’s entry.

RRS 25.1 goes on to say that the Sailing instructions shall be available before a race begins. So a tidying up of pre-event protocol now enshrined in the Rules. The rest of RRS25 remains unchanged.

RRS26 remains unchanged except that an alternative warning signal time may be notified in either the Nor or Sis

RRS 28 Has been tidied up considerably. Gone is the requirement to sail the course described in the sailing instructions as the course may be designated elsewhere and as the reference to a string is in the definitions there is no need to replicate this here and this is replaced with the wording that any errors in sailing the course may be corrected as long as she hasn’t crossed the finish line to finish. Note this does not say she cannot cross the finish line, just not to finish.

The rule regarding RECALLS, RRS 29 has been tidied up considerably. With the current rule anything On Course Side (OCS) would render the boat over the line at the start. It could be a crew’s head as they hiked the boat down at the start or pushed out on the trapeze. Even the bowman’s outstretched arm as they signaled go- go -go to the afterguard. From Jan 1, 2021 this is simplified down to one common element – the boat’s hull. This takes away an area of ambiguity and difficulty for the race committee in accurately judging this important element of a race.

All other aspect of RRS29.1  remain the same except that RRS 29.2  quite logically is added to the exceptions to this rule.

RRS 29.2  General Recall remains completely unchanged.

RRS 30 Starting Penalties is completely unchanged except for the wording in RRS 30.1  ;where “boat’s hull, crew or equipment is changed to ‘hull’ and it is her ‘hull’ that has to be completely on the pre-start side before she starts.

So just to clarify RRS30.2; RRS30.3 and RRS30.4 remain as is.

Rules RRS 32 Shortening or Abandoning After The Start , RRS 33 Changing the Next Leg of the Course; RRS34 Mark Missing; RRS35 Race Time Limits and Scores and RRS36 Races Restarted or Resailed  are almost completely unchanged other than the remarks listed below

RRS32.1(b)  ‘time limit’ now becomes ‘race time limit’. Also ‘started’ is inserted before ‘sailed the course’ in the para at the end of RRS 32 including, again ‘time limit’ expaended to ‘race time limit’.

RRS 33 Changing the Next Leg of the Course ‘While boats are racing’ is inserted at the beginning of the rule.

RRS 34 After ‘If a mark is missing or out of position’ clarification in the form of ‘while boats are racing’ has been inserted.

RRS 35 Times Limit and Scores Becomes RRS 35 Race Time Limit and Scores.

Starts’ in inserted and reference to rule 28 removed. The rule now reads “If one boat starts, sails the course and finishes within the time limit for that race. The rest of the rule reads the same as the old rule except ‘race’ is once again inserted before ‘time limit’.

RRS 36 Races Restarted or Resailed Includes the insertion of only one number but a very important number RRS 2  is now included (quite rightly in this writer’s opinion) in the rules where a breach can be carried forward to the race which has been restarted or resailed.

RRS37 Search and Rescue Instructions 

This new rule is perhaps the most important change in this part of the Racing Rules of Sailing and brings all those in a race, competitors, support people and organizer a step closer to the requirements of IRPCAS or ColRegs as most people know them. It creates a requirement for all those on the water with a VHF to at least stand by with a radio watch to be ready to assist in an emergency situation if able. Personally, if I was in a ‘Search and Rescue Situation’ I would prefer multiple sound signals but there is nothing in the rule which would prevent a race committee doing so.

So that takes up to the end of Part 4 of the Racing Rules of Sailing. In the next episode we will look at Other Requirements When Racing including PFDs, Exoneration, the den of iniquity that is Rule 42. – Shanghai Sailor.