New year, new rules

14 Dec 20

The new Racing Rules of Sailing come into effect from 01 January 2021, make sure you’re ready for a new year on the racecourse with the RYA…

What are the Racing Rules of Sailing?

The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) are compulsory for racing sailors all over the world. Published by World Sailing, the international authority for the sport, the rules are updated every four years.

Why choose RYA rules books?

As the Member National Authority for the UK, the RYA Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024 (order code YR1, RRP £10.99) not only features the World Sailing rules in full, but is also the only publication to contain the RYA Racing Charter, Racing Rules Guidance and the RYA National Prescriptions – essential for racing in the UK.

The compact, ring-bound and waterproof book is perfect for taking afloat. It covers not only the fundamentals of the race itself, including racing conduct and what is fair and unfair, but also details things like protests, hearings and appeals. You’ll find everything competitors, judges and umpires need to know.

The RYA also publish two further rules titles to help sailors understand and reference the rules with ease. Both have been updated to reflect the changes coming into effect on 01 January 2021.


The RYA Handy Guide to the Racing Rules 2021-2024 (order code YR7, RRP £4.49) is ideal for competitors just getting started in racing. It covers all the basics simply and clearly. Available as both a pocket-sized book and an eBook, access the rules quickly and easily - whenever and wherever you need them.

Also in the series is RYA The Racing Rules Explained 2021-2024 eBook (order code E-G80, RRP £18.99) written by Trevor Lewis, former Chair of the RYA Racing Committee, a World Sailing International Judge and acknowledged rules expert.

The comprehensive guide contains detailed analysis and explanations of each rule, showing how they might be applied in different scenarios. The eBook is easily searchable and also features case book examples from World Sailing, RYA, USA and Canada making it the most relevant title available.All the RYA rules books are available now on the RYA web shop –

RYA members can take advantage of 15% discount on all RYA publications. The eBook editions are available through the RYA Books App, as well as Apple Books and Google Play Books.

For more information about the 2021-2024 titles, as well as other RYA racing publications visit

The rules at your fingertips

The RYA has also released an update to the World Sailing Rules App, giving sailors access to a ‘one stop shop’ for the 2021-2024 rules and associated documents.

Launched in 2016, the multi-lingual app was developed by the RYA in partnership with World Sailing and has proven popular with racing sailors and officials worldwide, ensuring they have all the relevant rules information at their fingertips.

Available as an in-app purchase, the ‘Integrated eBook’ links all the rules documents together, enabling the user to navigate seamlessly between the rules and cases, highlighting a number of cases for each rule in both overview and full case detail formats.

There are a number of other useful features such as a simple to navigate search function and pop-ups for all definitions where they are referenced in the text. These pop-ups help refer back to the detail of the definition without navigating off the page.


The World Sailing Rules App can be downloaded for FREE through the Apple App Store and Google Play. If you’ve already downloaded the 2017-2020 version, it will be automatically updated. Visit for further information.

Changes and corrections

The app and all the RYA rules eBooks, including the ‘Integrated eBook’, will be updated regularly with the World Sailing changes and corrections. The first of which have already been announced and will come into effect with the new rules on 01 January 2021.

The majority of the items are ensuring consistency of a rule, typographical or other minor corrections identified by World Sailing’s Racing Rules Committee as being necessary.

However there is one urgent change to RRS 50.1(b).

This change reverses a previous change that had been made to the maximum weight of a trapeze harness and also reinstates the ability of class rules to change this from 2kg up to 4kg.

Rule 50.1(b) now reads:

“Furthermore, a competitor’s clothing and equipment shall not weigh more than 8 kilograms, excluding a hiking or trapeze harness and clothing (including footwear) worn only below the knee. Class rules or the notice of race may specify a lower weight or a higher weight up to 10 kilograms. Class rules may include footwear and other clothing worn below the knee within that weight. A hiking or trapeze harness shall have positive buoyancy and shall not weigh more than 6 kilograms 2 kilograms, except that class rules may specify a higher weight up to 4 kilograms. Weights shall be determined as required by Appendix H.”

This is the same wording as currently exists in the 2017-20 RRS.

Rule 50.1(c), which requires use of quick release trapeze harnesses from 2023, remains unchanged. This rule requires those harnesses to be compliant with the ISO 10862 standard. Class rules may remove the need for harnesses to be quick release but cannot change the requirement for them to be compliant with the ISO standard.

The full Changes and Corrections document has been published on World Sailing’s website -