Learn the Racing Rules of Sailing

Published on April 10th, 2020

For the last two decades, UK Sailmakers has been on the forefront of teaching the Racing Rules of Sailing. However, when the software they used for their animated rules quiz program was no longer being supported, the program has been on hiatus… but it’s back now and ready to pick-up where they left off.

The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) are designed to keep racing fair and safe. In fact, Rule 14 is written to keep boats from hitting each other by saying that a boat with the right of way that fails to avoid a collision can be disqualified along with the boat that was in the wrong.

Therefore, it is easy to understand that a good working knowledge of the racing rules is worth several places in a major regatta. Knowing your rights and obligations coming into a crowded situation gives you a much better chance of not getting disqualified or better yet, the confidence to get the favored position.

Just reading through the rule book front-to-back will not make you an expert – you’ve got almost no chance of learning the rules this way because the rules are hard to understand. Before you even try to read the rules, you need to learn the defined words in the front of the rule book. The rules of sailing have words with very specific meanings just as the law has very specific meanings for words like “contract” and “assault”.

In the RRS, the defined words include clear astern, clear ahead, overlap, room, mark room, start, keep clear, obstruction, racing, etc. For instance, the definition of “obstruction” goes on for four sentences and is very specific. The definition of the word “rule” has eight paragraphs.

Their newly launched Rules Quiz section has begun with a few test questions on the basic definitions to set the baseline for when the animated race-course situations become available. The answers are more than simple “yes” or “no” and an explanation. Within a week, another group of test questions will be posted.

Here is a direct link: https://www.uksailmakers.com/rules-quiz-program.

As for the cost, here’s their plan:
“Instead of charging as we did in the past, we are posting the test questions and animated quizzes at no charge in exchange for your email address and your agreement to receive the UK Sailmakers monthly online newsletter. Know that UK Sailmakers respects your privacy and we do not share or sell our mailing list to any other group or company. Those who sign up will not get spam, only newsletters from UK Sailmakers.”

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