Racing rules talks offered to Midlands clubs

Regional advisor available to share expertise and entertaining presentations
08 Mar 23

Fleet of Merlin Rockets racing at Bartley SC with clubhouse in background.

Clubs in the RYA Midlands region are being offered the chance to host entertaining talks about the rules for racing as part of their social programme for members.

Regional Rules Advisor Steve Watson, a member of the RYA Midlands Regional Volunteer Team, has a variety of talks available about what he calls the ‘book of fun’ – otherwise known as the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

A member of Midland SC in Birmingham, Steve races a Merlin Rocket and is a national Judge, Umpire and Race Officer. He provides an ad hoc rules-related service to clubs that includes local courses, first-step rules issues resolution and protest committee support.

He also brings his expertise as a retired management consultant and frustrated actor to creating entertaining presentations for clubs about the blue pages in the RRS.

Using large model boats to bring his clubhouse talks to life, Steve aims to help members navigate the situations which they may come across on the water.


Each talk usually last a couple of hours and takes place on a weekday evening, with the following themes available for clubs to choose from:

  • Rules changes for RRS 2021-24
  • Round the course: looking at standard course formats eg. sausage, triangle, trapezoid
  • Round the track: navigating the rules around a typical club course
  • Buoys will be buoys: a focus on rules and tactics at marks
  • How to win the start and lose friends at the bar!
  • Simulated protest for a scripted scenario with participant role play
  • Rules quizzes 

Head shot of Steve Watson RYA Midlands Rules Advisor


Steve is able to tailor his talks to suit a particular venue. For example, his ‘round the track’ talk will look at a course around the can on a club’s own lake, including obstacles such as reeds or an island.

As he explains: “I use large models of boats with sails to develop the agenda using the floor space. The audience generally participates by asking questions or adding comment and the boat situations can be adjusted accordingly, unlike a PowerPoint slide.

“I’m flexible so people can ask for what they want and it’s usually a talk as part of a social programme. I find it rewarding to share knowledge about the rules because if you look at the RYA Racing Charter, a key message is about the sport being inclusive, fair, enjoyable and safe. If we all feel our racing is fun and fair we will want to come back and do it again.”

There is also a full-day Club Rules Advisor course which takes relatively experienced sailors through a structured process of assisting clubs to manage protests, including RYA Advisory, Arbitration and full Protest. Clubs often invite others from around the region with a nominal fee to cover costs.  

If your club or centre is in the RYA Midlands region and would like to invite Steve, please do get in touch to organise a talk or course or for further information.

Rules talk at a club with model boats to demonstrate to the audience.