Harken Derm

Updating the Racing Rules of Sailing

Published on August 13th, 2019

The Racing Rules of Sailing are revised every four years, with refinements for the 2017-2020 edition to be released after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Aside from any glaring and unanticipated consequences, the period in between each release is dedicated to pondering what changes would improve the next edition.

The members of the World Sailing Racing Rules Committee take on this task, and have recently published a copy of the Racing Rules of Sailing for 2017-2020 with all changes approved in 2016, 2017, and 2018 for the 2021-2024 edition inserted.

This file is made available to facilitate further work to improve the rule book for 2021-2024, with the intent that if you see something, you say something to Dick Rose at dickrose123@gmail.com.

It is an interesting read (sort of), revealing how words or phrases get tweaked to either more clearly state their intent, or pursue a new direction all together. Here’s an example of how definitions are getting adjusted:

FINISH:
Current: A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side.

Proposed: A boat finishes when, after starting and sailing the course, any part of her hull crosses the finishing line from the course side.

SPORTSMANSHIP AND THE RULES:
Current: A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule and are not exonerated they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.

Proposed: A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when a boat breaks a rule and is not exonerated she will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.

To read the complete draft (dated July 31, 2019), click here.

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