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Get On Top Of The New Racing Rules 

How Midlands Rules Advisers can support your sailors in getting to grips with 2017-2020 Racing Rules

‘Support person’ – a phrase you’re going to be getting very familiar with as you study the new 2017-2020 World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing.

Fortunately the RYA Midlands rules advisers and race management teams are ready and poised to help you and your clubs get to grips with the new rules, with club workshops and courses, so your club can run the fairest
and most fun club racing and open events it can once the new rules officially kick in from 1 January 2017.

When it comes to Part 2 Rules, ie the stuff sailors tend to get quite animated about in the clubhouse, things have broadly stayed the same.

But it’s in Part 1 arguably the biggest change is unveiled – the concept of ‘support persons’ and the fact their conduct can now result in a protest and have a direct consequence for a sailor’s score in a single race, up to and including DSQ.

Under the new rules a support person could include any parent or guardian, coach, trainer or manager of a competitor, and they are as bound by the rules as sailors and boat owners themselves. It’s a game-changer for race management, as sailors, support persons and race officers must understand the rules much better.

As Steve Watson, one of the RYA Midlands Rules Advisers, explains: “Rules are part of the whole entertainment package of racing as it is converting the rigour of the rules to make you a better, and ultimately more successful, racer. Rules are there to make racing fair, but really understanding the rules and being able to take advantage of them to benefit your own racing is an enjoyable challenge.

“Our message is the new rules provide the perfect opportunity to refresh your rules knowledge and to get to grips with how the new rules can help your sailors become better racers. A club full of better racers will make it more fun for everyone, with the competition keeping people coming back for more and keeping your club vibrant.”


There are two main ways Steve and his Midlands Rules Adviser colleagues, William Jeffcoate and Nadina Lincoln, can help your club, sailors and race officers get a better grasp of the new rules…

1) A 90 minute rules update session at your club

The region’s Rules Advisers would be more than happy to come to your club and run a session on the rules (both new and old), tailoring it to your requirements. The sessions are free aside from travel expenses. Sessions, which are designed to get everyone involved, debating and enjoying the rules, could include ‘Hit or myth?’ ‘Renew your tacks’ and ‘How to win the start and lose friends in the bar’!

2) Club Rules Advisor Courses

Rules observance can be a problem in most clubs and, at times, persistent infringements can cause a fair bit of annoyance. Instead of instantly heading for the protest room, it’s possible to address the issue through ‘mini-hearings’. These are called Advisory and RYA Arbitration hearings. To run these hearings it’s best clubs have someone that’s attended a Club Rule Advisor course.

These courses are to train people in clubs who have sufficient knowledge of the rules and confidence to resolve issues on-the-water in a way that is balanced, non-confrontational and educational, away from antagonistic nature of protests. It might be anything from suggesting retirement from a race in a friendly way to a scoring penalty, but the key is this person or people are the club’s go-to in rules disputes.

There are two courses scheduled in the Midlands:

1) Saturday 10 December @ at Staunton Harold SC
2) Saturday 14 January @ at South Staffs SC

Want to know more about any of these? Contact:

And another thing on race management…

If running better racing is what you’re after, book a Club Race Officer course at your club. This is a half a day session, designed around you club facilities and procedures. Its aim is to give your volunteers the confidence to run the club racing and to have a good knowledge of the procedures and duties of a race officer. It takes into consideration things like clean winds, even depth of water, space, setting a course plus procedures for starting, finishing, postponements, course changes etc.

Again the only cost is travel expenses for the RYA Midlands race management expert to get to your club. Want to know more? These are you experts…

Where can you get the 2017-2020 World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing?

A PDF of the 2017-2020 rules can be downloaded from the World Sailing website - click here to download the Racing Rules Of Sailing 2017 - 2020

Or to order your full waterproof copy of the RYA's Racing Rules, complete with ‘National Prescriptions’, or the Handy Guide, visit the RYA Shop Online here or click on the images above.

The RYA and World Sailing have also launched a brand new ‘World Sailing App 2017-2020’, which will be the one stop shop for the 2017-2020 Racing Rules of Sailing and associated documents. Find out more and download the App here - World Sailing App 2017-2020

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