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Burghfield Sailing Club
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The Racing Rules 2009-2012

The Racing Rules 2009-2012

The ISAF Racing Rules 2009-2012

The new ISAF racing rules will be implemented at Burghfiled at the start of the Frostbite series 2009 Below is a link to a PDF download of the full document published by the ISAF which highlights the changes that have been made.

ISAF Racing Rules 2009-2012 Download

Though there are not many radical changes, there are two which are significant and these have been described below by our Senior Race Officer, Nick Martin.
Racin Rules 2009-2012

The simple changes to the Racing Rules 2009-2012 explained

There are a number of rule changes being implemented in January 2009. The RYA recommendation is that we should start using them immediately unless we are part way through a series. So that means the start of the Frostbite Series.

In general the changes are a tidying up of the existing rules to make rules clearer in the drafting and easier to comply with. None of the changes make any need to change the Sailing Instructions

There are two main changes:

· Making room at a mark apply at three boats lengths, not 2 lengths
· Removing the need to sail a proper course unless overlapped to leeward and close to another boat.

The Rules for when boats meet will be posted in the usual place in the club, but to help you recognise the changes I have summarised my understanding of them below. I have assumed that everyone has a working knowledge of the rules as we currently race.

Firstly there are some changes to Definitions

The definition clear ahead and clear astern and of overlapped is clarified so that you can be overlapped with a boat on the opposite tack if you are both on a broad reach or run. This is most likely to have effect when passing a continuous obstruction because normally port and starboard will apply.

There is a new definition of fetching a mark, which basically describes what we all know it means. You are laying a mark without having to tack. This is term is now used in the mark rounding rules.

There is a new definition of Mark Room. This describes the amount of space that you are entitled to be given at a mark by a boat overlapped outside. Basically it is space to round the mark correctly and get onto a proper course.

The definition of obstruction now makes it clear that another boat is never a continuing instruction. Even if you are sailing along parallel and at the same speed and it feels like a continuing obstruction.

The 2 boats length rule at a mark has gone. The definition is now the Zone. In any incident the zone is an area defined by the hull length of the boat nearer to the mark. In the definition the zone is 3 lengths. Beware this can be changed by sailing instructions to either 2 or 4 lengths. We will use 3 lengths at Burghfield.

Be aware that the definition of a boat can vary between rules. For the mark zone it is hull length only. But when you get an overlap it is any part of the boat in normal sailing position. So that means rudder at one end and bowsprit out at the other.

Then there are the Rule Changes. This note assumes you have been working correctly to the rules for the last 4 years!

17. Proper course

There used to be a rule that said you couldn’t sail below your proper course if there was a boat near to leeward, or aiming to pass to leeward. That rule is deleted so you can bear away to protect you position any time you like. Just think of all that shouting we won’t have to do. Beware the windward leeward rule. The leeward boat has right of way.

The rule restricting a leeward overlapped boat not to sail above her proper course is still there, but it makes it clear that this is for boats on the same tack (or gybe as we sometimes call it, but that word is not in the definitions)

18 Mark Room

This is very substantially reworded, but mainly for clarity using the new definitions. Follow the general guidelines that:

1. The zone starts as the nearer boats bow gets to 3 lengths. The overlap before the zone is reached is important because if there is any doubt about a change of overlap, then it will be assumed there was no change. 18.2 (d) so start discussing the situation early so as to be clear at 4 lengths.
2. If you are a fast boat closing a little boat you may establish an overlap outside 3 of their lengths. But if they are going slowly they will not have time or space to give you room. So don’t go there. 18.2 (e)

Exoneration 18.5 accepts that there may be minor bumps at a mark, and an inside boat isn’t penalised provided it has sailed correctly.


Rules 19 and 20 about giving room at obstructions is reworded but does not change its interpretation. What is nice is that it makes it clear that an obstruction may be passed on either side. But if you are going upwind on port tack with a boat to leeward and a starboard boat comes across, in theory both of you can call water. In which case the leeward boat gets the rights, but he has to make his call giving the windward boat time to tack with affecting the starboard boat.

Rule 20.3 is where the fetching definition is used and limits the right of a leeward boat to call to tack if the windward boat is fetching the obstruction and it is a mark. So you can call for water on an island even if the boat to windward is fetching it.

Created on 06/12/2008 06:36 PM by Jeremy Carey
Updated on 13/12/2008 10:33 AM by Jeremy Carey
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