Updates to rule numbers for the Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2014.
Edited to take account of:
Events frequently specify that the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) Part 2 rules are replaced by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS). This is recommended at night and when boats racing may frequently meet boats that are not racing or may be racing under the IRPCAS.
In this situation the whole of RRS Part 2 (the rules that apply when boats meet) is replaced by all of the right-of-way rules in Part B of IRPCAS (the Steering and Sailing Rules). However, Part B must be read in conjunction with the rest of the IRPCAS because, for example, it uses terms defined elsewhere in the document (see World Sailing case 109 for details).
In addition, when a boat racing under the RRS meets a boat that is not racing, the preamble to RRS Part 2 makes all relevant rules of the IRPCAS applicable between them and enforceable by protest. If a boat racing meets another boat and is uncertain whether that boat is racing (or is racing under the IRPCAS), she should assume that the IRPCAS applies between them.
RRS rule 56.1 makes IRPCAS rule 35, fog signals, and the lights required by IRPCAS part C applicable and enforceable by protest when a boat carries the necessary equipment, regardless of whether the boat is racing under the RRS or the IRPCAS. The IRPCAS require lights from sunset to sunrise and both lights and fog signals at all times in restricted visibility.
The notice of race or sailing instructions may change RRS rule 56.1, for instance to vary the conditions for showing lights and/or to specify that they are shown between stated times. However, it is strongly recommended that such changes do not encourage boats to break applicable laws by specifying conditions for lights and fog signals that are less than the requirements of the IRPCAS or applicable government rules.
RRS rule 56.2 makes IRPCAS rule 10, Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS), applicable and enforceable by protest at all times. If TSS are likely to be significant for an event, organisers may wish to make special provision. See below for further information.
The IRPCAS rules are designed to prevent collisions by ensuring that vessels maintain a safe course and distance in relation to each other. Compared with the RRS they can create different rights and obligations when you meet another boat racing. They will also change the tactical options available to you in many circumstances. When racing under the IRPCAS, you must treat a boat racing exactly as you would treat a sailing vessel that is not racing.
A boat racing under the IRPCAS that breaches a rule of IRPCAS Part B may be protested.
The notes and example below point out some important differences between the IRPCAS and the RRS but there are many others. It is vital that you read and understand the full IRPCAS rules. See RYA-G2 International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
Under the IRPCAS, when sailing boats meet:
IRPCAS rule 13 (overtaking) says that a vessel is overtaking when she is “coming up … in such a position … that she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights” and also says that “any vessel overtaking another shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken”. Rule 13(d) goes on to say a boat that has come up from astern remains an overtaking boat and required to keep out of the way until she "is finally past and clear."
IRPCAS rule 17 (action by stand-on vessel) says “When one of two vessels is to keep out of the way the other shall keep her course and speed”.
The combination of these rules creates an important difference in the rights and obligations of boats rounding a mark.
If two or more boats are approaching a rounding mark, an overtaking boat (IRPCAS rule 13) must keep out of the way of any boat she is overtaking. However, a boat being overtaken must maintain her course and speed (IRPCAS rule 17), and must not alter course to round the mark unless she can definitely do so without causing a give-way boat that is keeping out of the way to alter course.
RRS 56.2 requires boats racing to comply with IRPCAS rule 10, Traffic Separation Schemes. Boats that fail to comply, break rule 56.2 and may be protested and penalised. Further, the IRPCAS rules relating to TSSs are enforceable in the courts for all vessels, including boats racing, and heavy fines can be, and frequently are, imposed for non-compliance.
If TSS are likely to be significant for an event, organizing authorities and race committees are encouraged to ensure that the course set enables competitors to cross or pass through a TSS in compliance with IRPCAS rule 10 without major deviations from the course.
When it is possible that crossing or passing through a TSS will be incompatible with fair racing, an event may wish to make special provision when boats encounter a TSS.
World Sailing has published Appendix TS – Traffic Separation Schemes which suggests some approaches that may be taken.
Note: several of the recommendations in Appendix TS modify rule 56.2 to permit boats to act with respect to a TSS in ways that are not compliant with IRPCAS rule 10. It is essential that organisers do not adopt these provisions unless they have obtained prior approval from the maritime authority responsible for each relevant TSS. Failure to obtain such approval may expose competitors to action in the courts and possible heavy fines.
Alternative options that do not require permission from maritime authorities include:
Boats protested under these rules will be disqualified unless the notice of race or sailing instructions specify a different penalty
Harbour byelaws often include regulations that are additional to the IRPCAS. The ‘moving obstruction’ regulation in Southampton Water is a well-known example. Elsewhere, there may be other authority byelaws and regulations. A boat that breaks these regulations will be answerable to the body making the regulations and, in addition, may be protested and penalised under the RRS when these regulations are listed in the notice of race as governing the event.
Organisers and race committees should take care to identify such rules and list them in the notice of race when they may have an impact on the fairness of the competition.
When boats are racing under the IRPCAS or are required by the preamble to Part 2 to comply with the IRPCAS, they can be protested by another boat racing for a breach of those rules. However, in the case of an incident involving a vessel not racing the incident often only comes to light because of a report to the race committee by the offended vessel. The vessel concerned cannot itself protest and the race committee is often unable to protest because the report of the incident is made by a person with a conflict of interest. To ensure that the race committee can protest regardless of the source of the information, the notice of race or sailing instructions may amend RRS 60.2.
A boat is entitled to redress if she incurs damage or injury because of the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of part 2 or of a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear. However, as the rules stand, redress is not available if the damage or injury is caused by a boat racing under the IRPCAS. To ensure that redress is available in these circumstances, the notice of race or sailing instructions may amend RRS 62.1.
The following texts are recommended. Unless otherwise specified they may be stated in either the notice of race or sailing instructions. However when any of the information would help competitors decide whether to attend the event or will be needed before the sailing instructions become available, it should be given in the notice of race. Instructions given in the notice of race need not be repeated in the sailing instructions.
To adopt the IRPCAS for part of an event, the following words, or their equivalent, must be included in the notice of race:
[Between sunset and sunrise] [Between time A and time B] [and] [at all times] [between position 1 and position 2] Part 2 of the Racing Rules of Sailing are replaced [by the right-of-way rules of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS)] [and] [or] [by the applicable Government right of way rules].
To make one or more traffic separation schemes a prohibited area:
Boats shall not enter the areas bounded by [list of coordinates 1] [list of coordinates 2] .............. [list of coordinates n].[These areas are obstructions.]
Note: if the option to make a prohibited area an obstruction is chosen, the definition obstruction requires that this is stated in the sailing instructions, the statement can be repeated in the notice of race if desired.
To specify requirements for lights:
Lights shall be shown at all times between xx:xx and yy:yy. This changes Racing Rules of Sailing rule 56.1.
Note: as stated in the introduction, it is not recommended that the specification of lights or the time window for showing them should be less than that provided in the IRPCAS or applicable government rules.
To enable the race committee to protest a boat for a breach of the IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules in an incident with a vessel not racing
Add to RRS 60.2:
(d) protest a boat for a breach of the IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules with respect to a vessel not racing as a result of information received from any source [unless that source could itself protest the boat].
To enable redress to be given to a boat suffering injury or damage in an incident with another vessel when the IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules apply between them
RRS 62.1(b) is deleted and replaced by:
(b) Injury or physical damage because of the action of a boat that:
(1) when the rules of Part 2 applied between them, was breaking one of those rules and took an appropriate penalty or was penalised; or
(2) when the IRPCAS or government right-of-way rules applied between them, was determined to be at fault under those rules;