the changes: episode 3

Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024
And so we move on to ‘Other Requirements When Racing’

RRS 40.1 Personal Floatation Devices 

Little change to the overall meaning of this rules however the wording has been ‘beefed up’ to avoid any confusion amongst competitors. As before if the ‘Y’ Flag is displayed afloat before or with the warning signal competitors shall wear a PFD “while racing in that race”. If the ‘Y’ Flag is hoisted with one sound signal ashore then PFDs will be worn at all times when afloat. However it has been added that instructions regarding PFDs may be included in the Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions

RRS 41 Outside Help

A brief respite here as RRS 41 remains completely unchanged.

Now we have RRS 42 Propulsion which is, in any case, a land of confusion for many sailors, or at least seeing the actions of some, it appears so.

The good news is that RRS42.1 Basic Rule and RRS 42.2 Prohibited Actions  remain unchanged so if you were breaking the rule before, after January 1, 2021 you will still be breaking the rule for the most part.

RRS 42.3 Exceptions does however have some changes, changes that reflect the surging number of foiling boats.

The first two exceptions regarding rolling to steer or crew movement through a tack and gybe ( RRS 42.3 a & b ) remain unchanged word for word

RRS 42.3( c) remains the same for displacement or planning boats where RRS 42.3 (c )(1)  allows one pump (the each sail may be pulled in) once for each wave or gust of wind. However if you are sailing a foiler then RRS 42,3(c )(2) “to initiate foiling, each sail may be pulled in any number of times”. 

Perhaps it is considered harder to get a boat up on its foils than to get a boat to plane but it is important that the rule specifically allows the sail to be pulled in to “initiate” foiling and there is no mention of it being allowed to maintain foiling so nowhere near the “air rowing “ that may be assumed by not reading correctly.

RRS 42.3 (d – i)  Remain completely unchanged.

RRS 43 Exoneration

For those who wondered what happened to exoneration, here it is. New number but largely the same rule with the exoneration element of RRS 14 brought into the same rule. Contact that doesn’t cause damage or injury can still be exonerated.

The wording is different but the meaning the same. If a boat has rights which she is denied by another boat  leading her to break a rule she will be exonerated as before. Logical that both elements are combined in the same rule.

RRS 44 Penalties at time of incident 

Thankfully another rule which is largely unchanged with some minor tidying up. In RRS 44.1 the Notice of Race is added to where a scoring or alternative penalty may be quoted.

In RRS 44.2)  the requirement to be OCS is amended to come in line with OCS at the start in that her hull shall be completely on the course side. Some may remember the penalty spin round the pin mark by an America’s Cup Class yacht (I think it was Team New Zealand) where the yacht was on course side but her masthead was over the finish line before her penalty was complete and therefore 

 judged to be incomplete. This rule change avoids that in the future.

RRS 44.3 (c ) Scoring Penalty  Again just some tidying up and additions to help avoid inadvertent errors by Organisers. If the scoring penalty is quoted in the Notice of Race, this is now also considered an appropriate (and within the rules) position for the instruction with clarification of what number the penalty is to be based on.

RRS 45 Hauling Out; Making Fast; Anchoring and RRS 46 Person In Charge remain unchanged.

RRS 47 which was Limitations on Equipment and Crew has been replaced with RRS 47 Trash Disposal 

The wording is exactly the same as the old RRS 55 except that support persons are now included in the rule.


Equipment- Related Requirements

A strange heading as not all the rules in this section actually relate to equipment. In fact the first one:

RRS 48 Limitations on Equipment and Crew. RRS 48.1  is just the renumbered 47.1.

RRS 48.2 now states that a man overboard just has to be back ‘in contact with the boat’ rather than back on board before the boat “resumes sailing the boat to the next mark” which is a different wording but virtually the same meaning as “continues in the race” (old rule).

The old RRS 48 Fog Signals etc has done a disappearing trick but don’t worry, will reappear as RRS 56  a little later.

Which puts us back to the old numbering with RRS 49 Crew Position; Lifelines  exactly the same as before which is perhaps just as well as there are many sailors around that still don’t properly understand the rule in its current form.

Then the order changes once more. The rules are basically the same but the numbering system is quite different.

RRS 50 Setting and Sheeting Sails becomes RRS 50 Competitor Clothing and equipment which of course in 2017-2020 was RRS 43. Still with me?

Apart from changing from Rule 43 to Rule 50 there is little change other than a hiking or trapeze harness will be allowed up to 10 6 Kg, a significant increase from the current 2 Kg. The numbering has changed slightly but the words are the same. Not much change but a significant safety driven addition. 

To add numbers to the above a competitor’s clothing and equipment shall not weigh more than 8 kilograms, excluding a hiking or trapeze harness and clothing (including footwear) worn only below the knee. Class rules or the notice of race may specify a lower weight or a higher weight up to 10 kilograms. Class rules may include footwear and other clothing worn below the knee within that weight. A hiking or trapeze harness shall have positive buoyancy and shall not weigh more than 6 kilograms. Weights shall be determined as required by Appendix H.

From 1 January 2023, 2 years into the new cycle all trapeze harnesses must be of the quick release tipetype that complies to ISO 10862 which allows the competitor to detach themselves at any time. Clearly this is in response to occasions where competitors have not been able to release in an emergency with a number actually drowning. The two year delay in this coming into force is perhapsclearly to allow competitors the time to obtain replacements for any non-compliant harnesses.

RRS 51 Movable Ballast; RRS 52 Manual Power; RRS 53 Skin Friction and RRS 54 Forestays and Headsail Tacks all remain exactly the same both in terms of numbering and content.

RRS 55 however is now Setting and Sheeting Sails.

 The rule is the same although the wording has been tightened up in RRS 55.3 Sheeting Sails Currently called ‘Use of Outriggers’ where the rule attempts to define an outrigger, the new rule simply states this is “any device that exerts outward pressure on a sheet or clew of a sail” The rest of the wording of the rule is the same as in 2017-2020.

Also in RRS 55.4, rather than defining a headsail and spinnaker in the rule reference is made to the definitions in  “The Equipment Rules of Sailing”.

The last rule in this section, RRS 56 Fog Signals and Lights; Traffic Separation Schemes is currently RRS 48 covering the same subject.

A simple change here and considering the Racing Rules of Sailing cover ALL types of racing is quite logical. The rules now (2017-2020) state “When safety requires, a boat shall etc etc.

RRS 56.1  rather sensibly is altered to “When so equipped, a boat shall etc etc” ( Ed – although rather more sensibly a boat should not head out in such conditions that might warrant use of sound signals if not so equipped) RRS 56  concludes with a note directing competitors to the World Sailing appendix TS on traffic separation schemes

And so we cone to the end of this section and I think enough of a helping of new knowledge in one session. Apart from which I am somewhat cross eyed flicking between, not only versions but rules number as well.

Next time we delve into any changes in the protest and redress world, in the meantime feedback welcome as always. Just please remember I am only the messenger. – SS.