What to know about the Racing Rules

Published on January 25th, 2021

Rules expert Dave Perry shares key advice in this US Sailing interview:

Why do the racing rules change every four years?
The racing rules are locked in place for a four-year period, and can be changed the year after the Olympics. That keeps the rules from changing every year, as they do in most sports, but allows World Sailing to improve the rules as the sport evolves.

Which changes do you think may be the most challenging?
Likely the most challenging will be that under the 2021-2024 rules, an item that is listed in the Notice of Race no longer needs to be listed in the Sailing Instructions. Therefore, if sailors do not read the Notice of Race, they may not know important information such as whether there will be a throw-out race or even what the courses are.

What advice would you give to new racing sailors?
When new to the sport, the first step is to be solid on the right-of-way rules so you can get near other boats without incorrectly interfering with them. The four r-o-w rules are port/starboard (rule 10), windward/leeward (rule 11), clear ahead and clear astern (rule 12) and tacking (rule 13). The port-tack boat, windward boat, boat clear astern and tacking boats must keep-clear. The other boat in the rule is the right-of-way boat. Be sure that if you are the right-of-way boat that you are not “talked out of your position” by a loud keep-clear boat.

More information:
• To read Dave Perry’s paper summarizing the significant changes in the 2021-2024 RRS, Dick Rose’s Study Guide showing all the changes to the RRS in red, and to learn more about the new US Sailing RRS app, click here (and scroll down to the Resources sections).

• To watch Dave Perry mini-videos explaining the new rule changes, go to the Resource section in the new US Sailing RRS app (to get the app, click here).

• To purchase Dave Perry’s two books on the rules, updated for the 2021-2024 RRS, click here.

• To learn more about how to arrange webinars with Dave Perry for the sailors and race officials at your Club or Organization, click here.

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