Racing Rules 2013 - What is new from 1.1.2013


Here you will find all the relevant changes which will take effect from 1.1.2013.   A good knowledge of the rules is necessary tobe able to understand the following information. 
As usual, the ISAF has used the introduction of the new rules to build into the text  all the ambiguities and questions that have cropped up in the past four years.  Much of what is found in the new racing rules, has already been clarified in the ISAF interpretations, or in the cases and therefore does not change the game.
Many changes relate to errors in the old rules which nobody has ever noticed yet (or did you know, for example, that according to the old definition of "finish", you had finished the race when crossing the line the first time,  even if the course still had two further rounds?).
Several rules have been completely re-written (e.g. Rule69), but their meaning remains basically the same.
Some, however, were also changed because there is a definite change in them, and we want to concentrate here precisely on these changes.  This isnt about  clearer formulation – only the points which are important for you as a sailor.
As is customary on our Rules page, the original text of the Racing Rules is shown in green. 


For the first time the official ISAF internet address for rules is included in the Competition Rules:

Basic Principles

New principle: Environmental Responsibility

Participants are encouraged to minimize any adverse environmental impact of the sport of sailing.


Keep Clear

A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat
(a) if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and,
(b) when the boats are overlapped, if the right-of-way boat can also change course in both directions without immediately making contact.

Paragraph (b) has changed in this definition and no longer applies only to boats with wind sailing on the same tack.

In this case, Blue must keep away from Yellow.  If both boats sailed on straight ahead, they would not come into contact.  However, because the smallest change in their course could cause Yellow to make contact with Blue, according to the definition above, does not keep clear from Yellow.




An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side, and a race committee boat surrounded by navigable water from which the starting or finishing line extends. An anchor line or an object attached temporarily or accidentally to a mark is not part of it.

Due to the removal of one small word, buoys, fenders etc which are mounted on the Start Boat to protect it, or which hang behind the Start Boat attached to a line, may no longer be touched.


Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also,
(a) room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
(b) room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
However, mark-room for a boat does not include room to tack unless she is overlapped inside and to windward of the boat required to give mark-room and she would be fetching the mark after her tack.

The aim of these changes was to correct flaws and remove ambiguities from the definition of Mark-Room

Party / Partei

A party to a hearing is
(a) for a protest hearing: a protestor, a protestee;
(b) for a request for redress: a boat requesting redress or for which redress is requested, a race committee acting under rule 60.2(b);
(c) for a request for redress under rule 62.1(a): the body alleged to have made an improper action or omission;
(d) a boat or a competitor that may be penalized under rule 69.2.
However, the protest committee is never a party,

Now it is clear, that a protest committe is never a party, nevertheless it can be involved in a request for redress or in a hearing.


The area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone..

The possibility of changing the size of the zone by sailing instructions is removed.

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Part 1 - Fundamental Rules

There are no significant changes in this section for the sailors.

Part 2 - When Boats Meet

Rule 22.3 (früher 21.3). Moving Astern

A boat moving astern through the water by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.

"Trough the water"" was added here, because it can easily happen in current or tide venues, that the direction of movement through water and over land are different.  Especially if we have an upwind start and the currrent pushes from the rear the participants try to stay behind the start line by backing the main sail.

Part 3 - Conduct of a race

There are no significant changes in this section for the sailors.

Part 4 - Other Requirements when Racing

Rule 41 Outside Help

The exceptions have been extended.  Now, not only sick or injured crew members can be helped, but also crew members in danger. This permits rescue boats to pick up someone who has gone overboard, immediately, without them trying to prevent it for fear of endangering the race. If a boat has a significant advantage due to this help, you can object and the Jury can award a penalty which can be less than a disqualification.

Rule 42 Propulsion

The exceptions have been extended.  Previously, it was not permitted to pump a sail many times after a tack or jibe, in order to bring battens back into the correct position.  This is now allowed, as long as additional propulsion is not thereby generated:

(e) If a batten is inverted, the boat's crew may pump the sail until the batten is no longer inverted. This action is not permitted if it clearly propels the boat.

A further change affects Exception (c) Surfing.  Until now this rule spoke about the lee side of a wave, but now its about the front of the wave.  This means; regardless of the direction of the wave, you are allowed to pump once in order to start surfing. This applies also,if this wave comes from a completely different direction to the wind, and also if this wave has other causes than wind, e.g. the wave from a motorboat.

Rule 52 Manual Power

Here, the words "manual power" have been replaced by "by the power provided by the crew". This now makes clear what in reality was always the case, namely that the team can use any part of their body to operate the boat.  

New Rule 55 Trash Disposal

A competitor shall not intentionally put trash in the water.

This should actually be obvious, but now such thoughtlessness can also be penalised.  It is normal practice that rubbish can be disposed of at official boats, even though it isn't actually covered in the sailing rules. This rule applies at all times when boats are on the water (all other rules of part 4 apply only to boats racing).

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Part 5 Protests, Redress, Hearings, Misconduct and Appeals

Rule 60 Right to Protest

Until now a boat could also protest against a competitor who had broken Rule 31 (Touching a mark), even if he hadnt seen the incident himself.  The reason for this is that Rule 31 doesnt belong to Part 2 (When boats meet) but to Part 3.  By the explicit naming of Rule 31, in addition to the whole of Part 2, a protest about touching a buoy is only now allowed if the competitor saw the incident themself.

Rule 61.1. Informing the Protestee

A new sub-item (3) clarifies that the Protestee, also by a protest about incorrect sailing of the course must be informed before crossing the finish line, or at the first possible opportunity after crossing the line.  (Hoisting the protest flag and calling out 'Protest' is not required in this case).

Rule 62 Redress

The words marked in red in the following text have been added to the Rules:

62.1 A request for redress or a protest committee's decision to consider redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat's score in a race or series has been or may be, through no fault of her own, made
significantly worse by
(a) an improper action or omission of the race committee, protest committee, organizing authority, equipment inspection committee or measurement committee for the event, but not by a protest committee decision when the boat was a party to the hearing;

This rule has been extended by two important elements.  It is clear now that improper actions of the measurer or equipment inspector can be the reason for a request for redress. 

But the second change is also significant and means that one can request redress before the races.  An example of this would be if a competitor is seriously disadvantaged by the text of the Sailing instructions?

Rule 70 Appeals and Requests to a National Authority

The words marked in red (wo?) in the following text have been added to the Rules:

(a) Provided that the right of appeal has not been denied under rule 70.5, a party to a hearing may appeal a protest committee’s decision or its procedures, but not the facts found.
(b) A boat may appeal when she is denied a hearing required by rule 63.1.

This makes it clear now that you can not only appeal against a Protest, but also against "no protest".

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Part 6: Entry and Qualification

Rule 76.1 Exclusion of Boats or Competitors

Rule 76.1. has been extended by the following sentence:

On request the boat shall promptly be given the reason in writing. The boat may request redress if she considers that the rejection or exclusion is improper.

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This text only relates to the appendices which are relevant for Fleetrace;  for all others there are specialists who are far more knowledgeable than we are.

Appendix A - Scoring

There is now only the Low-Point System mentioned in the racing rules. It is, however, not a problem to use other ratings systems; they just need to be noted and described in the Sailing instructions. 

Otherwise RET will be used instead of RAF in the results lists and, in addition, there is a new abbreviation DPI (Discretionary penalty imposed ).

Appendix G - Identification on Sails

No Changes

Appendix H - Weighing Clothing and Equipment

No changes

Appendix J - NoR und SI

No important changes, only slight changes.

Appendix K und L - Notice of Race und Sailing Instruction Guide

New start penalty 'U' as an alternative to the black flag.  Like black, but no disqualification if the race is re-started (e.g. after a break or general call back).
Orange flag now 5 minutes before the warning signal.

Appedix M - Recommendations for Protest Committees

For the first time here, exactly what one should understand by 'new evidence' is defined.

Evidence is 'new'
if it was not reasonably possible for the party asking for the reopening to have discovered the evidence before the original hearing,
if the protest committee is satisfied that before the original hearing the evidence was diligently but unsuccessfully sought by the party asking for the reopening, or
if the protest committee learns from any source that the evidence was not available to the parties at the time of the original hearing.

Appendix P - Special Procedures for Rule 42

The Oskar flag may now also be displayed after the Start signal.