Uncle Al's note: Changes or additions in the 2013-2016 Rules, are given in red on these pages.


The Racing Rules of Sailing includes two main sections. The first, Parts 1–7, contains rules that affect all competitors. The second, the appendices, provides details of rules, rules that apply to particular kinds of racing, and rules that affect only a small number of competitors or officials.

The racing rules are revised and published every four years by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the international authority for the sport. This edition becomes effective on 1 January 2013 except that for an event beginning in 2012 the date may be postponed by the notice of race and sailing instructions. Marginal markings indicate important changes to Parts 1–7 and the Definitions of the 2009–2012 edition. No changes are contemplated before 2017, but any changes determined to be urgent before then will be announced through national authorities and posted on the ISAF website (www.sailing.org).

ISAF Codes  The ISAF Eligibility, Advertising, Anti-Doping and Sailor Classification Codes (Regulations 19, 20, 21 and 22) are referred to in the definition Rule but are not included in this book because they can be changed at any time. The most recent versions of the codes are available on the ISAF website; new versions will be announced through national authorities.
Cases and Calls  The ISAF publishes interpretations of the racing rules in The Case Book for 2013–2016 and recognizes them as authoritative interpretations and explanations of the rules. It also publishes The Call Book for Match Racing for 2013–2016 and The Call Book for Team Racing for 2013–2016, and it recognizes them as authoritative only for umpired match or team racing. These publications are available on the ISAF website.

Terminology  A term used in the sense stated in the Definitions is printed in italics or, in preambles, in bold italics (for example, racing and racing). ‘Racing rule’ means a rule in The Racing Rules of Sailing. ‘Boat’ means a sailboat and the crew on board; ‘vessel’ means any boat or ship. ‘Race committee’ includes any person or committee performing a race committee function. A ‘change’ to a rule includes an addition to it or deletion of all or part of it. ‘National authority’ means an ISAF member national authority. Other words and terms are used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use.

Appendices  When the rules of an appendix apply, they take precedence over any conflicting rules in Parts 1–7 and the Definitions. Each appendix is identified by a letter. A reference to a rule in an appendix will contain the letter and the rule number (for example, ‘rule A1’). The letters I, O and Q are not used to designate
appendices in this book.

Changes to the Rules  The prescriptions of a national authority, class rules or the sailing instructions may change a racing rule only as permitted in rule 86.

Changes to National Authority Prescriptions  A national authority may restrict changes to its prescriptions as provided in rule 88.2.


Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty which may be to retire.

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


Part 1
Fundamental Rules


1.1  Helping Those in Danger
A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.
1.2  Life-Saving Equipment and Personal Flotation Devices
A boat shall carry adequate life-saving equipment for all persons on board, including one item ready for immediate use, unless her class rules make some other provision. Each competitor is individually responsible for wearing a personal flotation device adequate for the conditions.


A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalized under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. A disqualification under this rule shall not be excluded from the boat’s series score.


3 Acceptance of the Rules
By participating in a race conducted under these racing rules, each competitor and boat owner agrees
(a) to be governed by the rules;
(b) to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the rules, subject to the appeal and review  procedures provided in them, as the final determination of any matter arising under the rules; and
(c) with respect to any such determination, not to resort to any court of law or tribunal.


4 Decision to Race
The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.


A competitor shall comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency and ISAF Regulation 21, Anti-Doping Code. An alleged or actual breach of this rule shall be dealt with under Regulation 21. It shall not be grounds for a protest and rule 63.1 does not apply.


Fundamental Rules
Part 2 - When Boats Meet
Part 2A - Right of Way
Part 2B - General Limitations
Part 2C - At Marks and Obstructions
Part 2D - Other Rules
Part 3- Conduct of a Race
Part 4 - Other Requirements When Racing
Part 5A - Protests
Part 5B - Hearings and Decisions
Part 5C - Gross Misconduct
Part 5D - Appeals
Appendix A - Scoring