The Rules of Racing

The Rules of Racing are governed by rules made by the the national organization, U. S. Sailing, The American Model Yachting Association, and the Rochester Area Model Yachting Association.

In addition, on this page we provide links to additional web resources that give information about the racing rules.

The 2017-2020 Racing Rules of the International Sailing Federation can be viewed or downloaded at this site.
If you have a smart phone, you can download to it an app that installs the racing rules onto your phone.

A Simple and Brief Primer . . . Below is a brief summary of the main racing rules. Summaries cannot substitute for a careful reading of the Racing Rules of Sailing, available at Amazon for $6.00 if you have a Kindle Reader, or from any marine store, or from The number in front of the rule indicates the number of the Rule in The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012.

10. Port-tack boats keep clear of starboard-tack boats.
11. Windward boat keeps clear of leeward boat (if they are overlapped on the same tack).
12. Boat clear astern keeps clear of the boat ahead (if they are on the same tack and not overlapped).
13. Before you tack, make sure your tack will keep you clear of all other boats.
14. You must avoid contact with other boats, but a right-of-way boat will not be penalized unless the contact causes damage.
15-16. If you gain right of way or change course, give the other boat time to keep clear.
17.  If a boat from behind becomes overlapped to leeward of another boat on the same tack, she must not sail above her proper course.
18 (2b). There's a 4-length zone around marks and obstructions, and a boat's rights and obligations with respect to another boat are "frozen" when the first of them enters that zone.
18.(2b). If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the 4-length zone, the boat clear astern must thereafter keep clear until the boat ahead passes head to wind, even if she later becomes overlapped inside of her.
18.(2b). Other boats overlapped with the outside boat giving room must also give room. If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped inside another boat within the 4-length zone, she is not entitled to room.
18.3. If a boat tacks inside the zone she cannot cause the other boat(s) to bear off and must give room at the mark.
20. If you break a rule while racing, get away from other boats and do a 360-degree turn.
20, 29. If you start too soon, keep clear of others until you are able to round one of the start line buoys and cross the start line again.