April 2021

Welcome to the April issue of the Race Officials Newsletter.

We have lots in store for you in this issue, including an update on the latest COVID-19 guidance, upcoming Race Official Courses, a fantastic opportunity to get involved with all things Race Management, as well as development resources available weekly to all Race Officials and volunteers. 

As usual, we always love hearing what you think of our newsletters, and feedback is very much encouraged. Please email us any feedback you may have at RaceOfficials@rya.org.uk 

Latest COVID-19 Guidance

The RYA Guidance for Major Events has recently been updated and can be found here. This document gives guidance on how Organising Authorities can look to plan their events in the current climate. Recent updates provide suggestions of mitigations that can be put in place for supplied boat events such as team or match racing.   

The RYA has also created a Roadmap for the return of boating activity in England. This document provides an infographic table showing what is permissible for each step and can be found here.  

The guidance is being continually updated in light of changes and can be found on the RYA COVID-19 Hub and within our Return to Boating resources section here. Advice on the situation within the other three home countries can be found from RYA Cymru WalesRYA Northern Ireland and RYA Scotland.

Race Officials Travel

A number of you have been in touch asking for advice with regards travelling abroad for appointments as international race officials.

Our current understanding is that those looking to travel abroad require a ‘reasonable excuse’ in order to leave the country.

Both work and volunteering are considered by the government to be reasonable excuses to travel, where it is not reasonably possible to do this from within the UK. Therefore, we believe that those travelling to officiate at an event abroad do have a reasonable excuse for travel.

However, this does not negate someone from the obligations to quarantine on return which will depend on the status of the country they have been in and their status at that time.

Regardless of it being permitted, there are still considerations as to whether or not it is appropriate to travel at this time however that is a matter for individuals to determine themselves.

The requirements around testing, declaration forms, self-isolation etc. differ for each of the home countries and change frequently. Therefore, anyone considering travelling to officiate at an event should consult the latest relevant government guidance for their location.

British University Sailing Association (BUSA) Alumni Membership

Did you know that BUSA have recently created an alumni membership for the association?

For those of you who enjoyed your sailing time at university, or have witnessed the good work BUSA have done in the development of young sailors first hand, this could be a great way for you to help them continue that good work.

BUSA are offering Alumni membership to graduate university sailors who wish to offer continued support to University Sailing. Membership is just £10 per year and you can find out more about it on their website.

Race Officials Course Waiting List

If you are interested in attending any of our Race Official Courses which aren’t mentioned above, please make sure to follow our Race Officials Facebook page where all our courses are advertised.

As mentioned above, we have also introduced a Race Officials Course Waiting List which can be found here. If you are interested in attending a course that isn't advertised, but would like to be contacted as soon as one is scheduled, please complete the form by submitting all your details, including an email address and which course(s) you are interested in attending. As soon as one is scheduled you will be emailed first with all the relevant details and a direct link to the booking form.

If you are part of a Club who may be interested in running a Race Official Course then please do get in touch with us RaceOfficials@rya.org.uk

Race Management Coordinators & Racing Rules Advisors

As on the water activity begins to restart, we want to remind you the RYA provides Regional Race Management Coordinators and Regional Rules Advisors across the UK. We have a number of dedicated volunteers who can help you with getting more experience on the water officiating at events, provide you information on events outside your club and also help with any rules or race management queries you may have. All our Race Management Coordinators and Rules Advisors are highly experienced with a vast amount of knowledge about the sport. Email RaceOfficials@rya.org.uk to find out who your regional representatives are. 

Different Racing Format Ideas

As we come out of lockdown, many clubs still have some restrictions in place around the number of people they allow on site, at any one time. Below are a few ideas you can try to help mix up the type of racing you do, as well as helping to reduce the number of Race Officials needed to run club races.

Race Type


Useful Resources

Pursuit Race
  • Slowest boat starts first
  • Fixed race time
  • Avoids busy start lines
Start time calculator

Time Trials

  • Fixed Course
  • Doesn't have to be done on a fixed day or time
  • People can choose when to do it
  • Recorded either by times or off the shelf APPs
  • Strava
  • Sailracer
  • Race Q
  • Beat Racing
Interval Status
  • Include allocated slip times
  • fastest boat first to avoid course congestion
Short Course
  • Short sharp races
  • No longer than 20 minutes
  • Would suit Class racing

Updates from World Sailing

World Sailing Case & Call Book Published

World Sailing have recently published the, updated for RRS 2021-2024, case book and call books for team racing, match racing and radio sailing. In addition Version 1 of the Changes and Corrections document for the Case Book has been released which corrects an error in WS Case 115. These are available on the World Sailing website.   

The RYA Case Book has subsequently been updated to include the World Sailing Case abstracts and is available to download as a PDF from here.   

The latest versions of the RRS, World Sailing Cases & Calls and RYA Cases are all available through the World Sailing App. The app will automatically be updated with any future changes or corrections as they are issued. 

Download the World Sailing App from the Apple Store or Google Play. 

Additional RRS Appendices and Test Rules

Addendum Q, also now called Appendix MR, for Umpired Medal Racing has been updated and released by World Sailing. It is understood that World Sailing are still working on developing an Appendix UF which is more suited for other types of umpired fleet racing.   

World Sailing have also recently released a test rule for use during umpired radio sailing. This test rule applies only when the sailing instructions so state for races sailed under the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) including Appendix E, and when umpires are appointed in accordance with RRS 89.2(c).

The RYA Prescription to RRS 86.3 was updated for 2021 – 2024 such that RYA approval is not required for use of test rules approved by World Sailing (those published here).It is important to note that in this instance the wording approved by World Sailing is not to be altered. Any events wishing to develop or test alternative racing rules require approval from the RYA. 

Updated World Sailing Race Officials Manuals & Policies

Since the start of the year, the following documents which may be of interest to Race Officials have been updated by World Sailing and are available on the World Sailing website: International Judges Manual, Race Management Fleet Racing Policies and Team Racing Umpires Manual.

World Sailing Q&As

A number of new Q&As have been released by World Sailing since the start of the year. These can be found here and relate to the meaning of ‘hull’ in the RRS and a clarification regarding hearsay evidence.

Portsmouth Numbers 2021

In light of the lack of racing, and therefore returns, which was undertaken last year, the RYA’s Empirical Handicap Advisory Group has agreed to freeze the PN list with the same numbers as published for 2020. 

The list together with further guidance on how to use the Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme can be found on the RYA website. All clubs running racing using the PYS are actively encouraged to adjust the PNs to suit the local environment and to provide the returns through PY Online.

Given the lack of data from last year, it is imperative that as many clubs as possible provide returns for 2021. 

 Event Appointments 

The Major Event Appointments Panel (see here for Terms of Reference) is responsible for agreeing the appointment of key race officials (PROs, CROs & Jury) to the RYA’s major events such as the Youth Nationals, ET Team Racing and ET Junior Champs. The panel is Chaired by Peter Allam with Carla Stanley recently taking over from Tom Dixon as Racing Committee’s representative. Staff support is provided by the Racing Services Manager, Niall McLeod, in conjunction with the Race Officials Development Officer, Jacqui Roberts, and Events Officer, Beth McKellar. In addition, the relevant Event Director of the event in question will provide input.

In making appointment decisions, the panel is required to balance the needs of the event, future events and the development of race officials.

Following meetings of the RYA’s Major Events Appointments Panel the following individuals have been appointed to the upcoming major events: 

RYA Youth National Championships, Plymouth 

Principal Race Officer – Charlie Stowe NRO 

Course Race Officers – Chris Hoppins NRO; Mike Johnson NRO; James Ripley NRO

Jury Chair – Chris Lindsay IJ 

Jury – currently being appointed 

RYA KiteFoil Youth National Championships, Exmouth

 Fleet Race Officer – Bob Wainwright NRO 

Jury Chair – Stephen Procter IJ 

Jury – Enrica Mameli NJ 

The panel will be meeting again in May to discuss appointments for the upcoming autumn rankers and Eric Twiname Youth & Junior Team Racing Championships. Consideration will be given to those who have indicated their availability for those events on the recent race officials survey. Anyone who feels an appointment in a senior race management role or jury position would benefit their development as a race official and is necessary to achieve their goals is encouraged to provide as much information as possible on the race officials survey or to discuss their development and aspirations with Race Officials Development Officer, Jacqui Roberts. In particular, those who have not recently renewed their qualification (and therefore the RYA does not have an up to date list) may wish to include details of recent events they have been appointed to. 

We hope you enjoyed this issue of the Race Officials Newsletter!

Continue to stay safe and we look forward to seeing many of you back on the water.  

If you have any questions regarding anything raised in this newsletter, then please get in touch by contacting us at RaceOfficials@rya.org.uk