Guidance & good practice

Under the umbrella of its Racing Charter, the RYA produces a range of guidance booklets and notes on the Racing Rules of Sailing and the organisation of racing.

Contains general guidance; guidance primarily for race officials; and the RYA rules disputes procedures

Includes all RYA cases and the World Sailing Case abstracts. RYA cases are selected from the appeals, references and questions and are intended to enhance or clarify understanding of the rules.

Highlights good practice and acts as an aide memoir for race officers and those involved in race management

Latest Updates
RYA Case 2024/1

When a Protest Committee includes a person having a conflict of Interest, whose interest has not been disclosed to the parties and who takes part in the hearing, the subsequent failure of a party to the protest to object to that member as soon as possible is irrelevant and any decision made is improper.

RYA Case 1962/8 Revised

The word ‘side’ in rule 19.2(a) (as also in rule 18.1) refers to the side of the boat on which the obstruction (or mark) is to be passed, and not to any ‘side’ that the obstruction (or mark) may happen to have. There is no zone at an obstruction that is not also a mark. Rule 19.2 applies even when boats are approaching an obstruction on widely different courses.

RYA 1984/2 Revised

When reasonable doubt exists as to the interpretation of a sailing instruction it must be resolved in favour of the competitor. A person with a conflict of interest cannot be a member of a protest committee unless the parties consent or the protest committee decides that the conflict is not significant.

RYA Case 2022/2

After the start of the first race of an event or series, a boat or competitor can only be excluded by a protest committee’s decision

Recommendations for Protest Committees

Recommendations for Protest Committees (RRS Appendix M with further advisory notes from the RYA) has been updated to include further information in section M3.1 regarding the application of RRS 64.1(c)

RYA Case 2022/1

When a right-of-way boat changes course in response to a wind shift, and her new course would prevent a give-way boat from keeping clear, she will comply with rule 16.1 if she makes a further change to a course that gives the other boat room to keep clear.


All RYA Racing Rules and Race Officials Guidance Notes are also available to download individually.

 Title Content Date Issued
Addendum A (RYA) - Recommended Notice of Race wording  Includes wording that is recommended by the RYA to be included in the Notice of Race. Risk statement; inspections statement; entry declaration and privacy statement. December 2020
Advertising An explanation of who may choose advertising for a boat, sailboard or clothing at an event; how class rules, rating systems and handicapping systems may vary advertising rules, and the reservations for advertising by event sponsors. December 2020
Appeals and requests for confirmation or correction Questions and answers about the appeals and requests processes. December 2020
Boats with limited visibility Addressed primarily to boats with asymmetric spinnakers, the paper explains the obligations of such boats and of other boats sailing in the vicinity. December 2020
Championship Results Guidance on delivering a high quality results service at championship events. January 2013
Changes to the Racing Rules from January 2021 The main changes to the Racing Rules of Sailing effective from January 2021. December 2020
Club notice of race Guidance on the information required to be included in a notice of race and an example of how the minimum requirements may be met for simple club racing
May 2021
Competitors retiring or withdrawing a retirement Guidance for race committees on time limits for competitors retiring or withdrawing a retirement. December 2020
Data protection for Race Officials Guidance for race officials about their obligations and responsibilities regarding the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations. December 2020
Discretionary penalties Guidance on discretionary penalties which are becoming increasingly common for a breach of some rules.  December 2020
Environmental responsibility & trash disposal Guidance on the Basic Principle, Environmental Responsibility, and rule 47, Trash Disposal. December 2020
Equipment cheating - Concealed correctors Where evidence of possible equipment cheating is identified it is important that swift action is taken to investigate and if necessary follow disciplinary processes otherwise the opportunity to take action may be lost. December 2020
Gate marks Guidance on the use of Gate Marks October 2020
Gate starts Guidance on how to operate a Gate Start October 2020
GPS evidence in hearings Guidance on a technical area that is becoming more common. December 2020
Hearings conducted by remote protest committees Guidance on protest and redress hearings held by email, teleconference or video. December 2020
Information for support persons Guidance (on one page, to facilitate handing it out) for people who may be classified as a ‘Support Person’ as defined in the RRS 2021-2024. This definition includes a parent or guardian, a coach, a medical or paramedical practitioner, a boat maintainer, a personal assistant to a disabled competitor or any other person working with or assisting a sailor prepare for or compete in a race. December 2020
IRC rating protests  Guidance on protests concerning alleged breaches of IRC measurement rules (should be read in conjunction with the RYA guidance on Measurement Protests below). December 2020
Keelboat race organisation Supplementary guidance to the RYA Race Management Guide for Organising Authorities looking to run inshore and offshore keelboating events. May 2021
Measurement protests Guidance on protests concerning alleged breaches of measurement rules. It does not directly address protests concerning other aspects of class rules, although some of the principles are applicable to such protests. December 2020
Outside help Emphasises that everyone is required to give help to any person or boat that may be in danger, and that the recipient of such help does not necessarily break racing rule 41 which limits the help a boat may receive. December 2020
Permitting use of an engine Options for, and limits on, sailing instructions allowing the use of an engine for propulsion. December 2020
Protecting boats before the start Methods and penalties to inhibit interference by boats that are not racing with boats that are in their starting sequence. December 2020
Protecting committee boats The paper explains the correct methods for race managers to protect their own and borrowed boats used as committee boats. December 2020
Racing under the IRPCAS Guidance about racing under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS), the effect of Traffic Separation Schemes on race management and competitors, and the differences between the racing rules and the IRPCAS. December 2020
Recommendations for protest committees Extended guidance on Appendix M regarding protest committee procedure with examples of appropriate actions in described circumstances. April 2022
Redress Guidance about what and when redress can and cannot be given. December 2020
Redress for other boats Guidance on how to conduct redress hearings when other boats may be affected by the decision. June 2020
Restricting protests or requests for redress by boats Guidance on the limited number of circumstances where it is good practice to restrict protests by boats. Restriction of request of redress by boats is not recommended.
December 2020
Rule 69 Hearings and Decisions for Protest Committees Guidance on the role and involvement of a complainent, the roles of a PC member who is the complainant, when the PC should consider a warning and what to include when publishing a rule 69 (misconduct) decision.
July 2020
Rule 69 Mini Guide Guidance on Rule 69 (Misconduct) for Judges at Club and Class events June 2020
Rules disputes About the use of the exoneration penalty, advisory meetings and RYA arbitration. January 2022
Rules disputes poster A diagrammatic guide to the RYA Rules Disputes process. December 2020
Rules disputes Q&As Frequently asked questions that arise when advisory meetings or arbitration are adopted. January 2022
 Safety Flash - Starting Cannons Race committees should be aware of the potential for damage and injury resulting from the use of starting cannons and similar devices. Due consideration should be given to the necessity of their use, their placement and where competitors may reasonable be expected to be at the time of firing.  July 2021
Scoring Guidance and detailed explanations of the scoring rules and examples of their application December 2020
Speed charts Guidance on use of the Speed Charts.  
Starting penalties Describes alternatives to returning to start correctly for boats that are over the starting line at the starting signal (OCS) July 2021
Timing & control systems for race management Guidance to show the range of potential solutions to control the timing and starts for clubs and open event racing. July 2020
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World Sailing Guidance and Manuals

Judge Manuals, Jury Policies, Misconduct Guidance, Decision Standard Wordings and International Judges Manual


Guide to Certification Control, Guide to Equipment Inspection, Equipment Inspection Policies and Measurers Manual

Race Officers

Race Management Guide and Race Management Policies

Rapid Response Calls

Rapid response calls for team and match racing

Rule 42 - Propulsion

Rule 42 Interpretations and common breaches for a range of classes


Umpire Manuals for Fleet, Match and Team Racing.

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