Rule 90.3(a) gives the race committee responsibility for scoring a race or series. The rule stipulates that the race committee “shall” do so as provided in Appendix A unless the notice of race or the sailing instructions specify some other scoring system. Because the rule allows for other scoring systems to be specified, if that is done it is not a rule change. Furthermore, if no other system is specified, the Appendix A Low Points System and the other parts of Appendix A are the default systems and need not be specified.
Rule 44.3(c) states how a Scoring Penalty is to be calculated and the way in which such scores are integrated into the race scoring. All the other rules relating to scoring are included in rule 90 and Appendix A.
Most scoring is dealt with by various, widely available, computerised systems. While, therefore, organising authorities and race committees do not need to be fully conversant with the details, they do need to understand the principles of scoring in order to ensure that the program or manual system being used does score the race or series as they require.
Except for a singlerace event, the notice of race or the sailing instructions must state the number of races scheduled and the number required to be completed to constitute the series (rule A1). The number of discards to be allowed need not be stated, in which case the default value is one excluded race score (rule A2.1). If the number of discards is different, then this must be stated in the notice of race or the sailing instructions.
The Notice of Race Guide and the Sailing Instructions Guide are available on the World Sailing website for downloading and provide the wordings to be used covering various alternatives. The wordings are identical and need only to appear in one of the two documents.
The basic data used for scoring is a boat’s finishing position in a race.
In a nonhandicap race this will be the boat’s place when crossing the finish line in compliance with the definition Finish. In a handicap race the boat’s finishing position will be determined from her corrected time under the rating or handicap system used for the race (the ‘class rules’ under (d) in the definition Rules), (rule A3).
However, a boat’s eventual finishing position in a race may be changed by:
Note that the race committee must give a finishing place to every boat that starts, sails the course and finishes as defined. Only a protest committee can score a boat DSQ, DNE, RDG or DPI except under rule 78.2 which requires the race committee to DSQ a boat.
When a boat is disqualified or retires after finishing, each boat finishing behind her is moved up one place (rule A6.1). Where a boat is given redress which adjusts her score, the position of other boats does not change unless the protest committee directs to the contrary (rule A6.2).
The Low Points System of Appendix A gives each boat starting and finishing and not thereafter retiring or being penalised or given redress, a score of the number of points corresponding to her finishing position (i.e. first – 1 point, second – 2 points, etc.) (rule A4).
If two (or more) boats are tied in a race, because they could not be separated on the finish line or their corrected times are identical, the points for the tied position and the one(s) after it are added together and each boat receives an equal share of the total (rule A7). The rule also specifies that if there is a race prize for the tied position the boats shall share it or be awarded equal prizes.
When there is a large entry for an event and each race is sailed in flights or groups and the results combined, there will, initially, be at least two boats with the same race score for each place. These do not rank as ties to be broken.
If a boat is granted redress by the protest committee by adjusting her score for a race, the adjustment may be in various forms. Rule A9 gives three possible ways of making such an adjustment:
Race committees should check that their chosen scoring system implements A9(a) and A9(b) correctly by including all races, including subsequently discarded race(s), in the averaging calculation. The same worst score(s) will be excluded after it/they have been used to find the average. Some older programs do not do this, which is overgenerous in the redress it gives.
However, these forms of adjustment are advisory only and a protest committee may vary them or give redress in any other form it so decides.
Any redress score should be annotated RDG in the results.
There are a number of circumstances (listed in rule A10) in which a boat’s score in a race is not her place or redress score. Rule A5 provides two alternative ways of scoring some of these; rule A5.2 being the applicable rule unless the notice of race or sailing instructions state that rule A5.3 applies. Rule A5.3 is more suitable to be used for a series of races spread over a number of weeks or longer (e.g. club racing points series) in order to deal with boats entering during the series and/or a large number of discards being allowed in the series scoring.
SCP: Use of the Scoring Penalty must be specified in the event notice of race or sailing instructions for it to be available. Where available, the penalty is to make a boat’s finishing place points worse (i.e. more) by the number of places stated in the notice of race or sailing instructions, but when no number is stated it is 20% of the score for Did Not Finish rounded to the nearest whole number (0.5 rounded upwards) but cannot be worse than the score for DNF. Scores of other boats are not changed.
DNC: A boat that is entered in the series but does not come to the starting area for a race, is scored one more than the number of boats entered in the series.
This score can be difficult to determine in a long series and boats may enter during the series. A possible, commonly used, solution to this problem is to change rule A5.3 by a sailing instruction giving a fixed, but deliberately high, score for DNC, which not only enables races to be accurately scored from the beginning of the series but also is an incentive for sailors to turn out for as many races as they can. If no change is made to rule A5.3, earlier races will have to be rescored as new entrants come into the series.
DNS, OCS, NSC, DNF, UFD and BFD: These are statements of judgements by the race committee and may arise from a variety of reasons, including boats not finishing within the time limit if one is stated in the sailing instructions. RET is a notification to the race committee by a boat that she has retired from the race and may be made during the race or after finishing.
These are all scored one more than the number of boats entered in the series (rule A5.2), unless rule A5.3 is invoked for the series when the score is one more than the number of boats that came to the starting area for that race.
ZFP: Also, a judgement by the race committee. The penalty is a scoring penalty as described above. It is 20% of the score for DNF unless the sailing instructions state another percentage (and it is not a rule change to do so). More than one ZFP can be incurred by a boat in one race (where there is one or more restarts), but the boat’s race score cannot be made worse than the score for DNF.
DSQ and DNE: These decisions, together with RDG and DPI, can only be made by the protest committee (rule A5.1). These disqualifications are both scored one more than the number of entries in the series under rule A5.2 or one more than the number of boats that came to the starting area under rule A5.3. A DNE score cannot be excluded in calculating the series score.
DPI: A discretionary penalty score will be whatever is specified by the protest committee – see RYA guidance on discretionary penalties.
A boat’s series score is the total of her race scores excluding her worst race score (rule A2.1). The number of discards allowed may be varied by the sailing instructions, one discard being the default number. However, if a boat is scored DNE (Disqualification that is Not Excludable) in a race, that score may not be discarded (rule 90.3(b)) and the next worst score is excluded instead.
Many events specify, in the notice of race or sailing instructions, that the number of discards increases as more races are completed. A race is completed when it is scored; and a race must be scored provided that it is not abandoned and if one boat sails the course and finishes within the time limit, if any, even if she retires after finishing or is disqualified (rule 90.3(a)). It is theoretically possible that no boat is scored for a finishing place but the race is ‘completed’ for series purposes.
If a boat has two or more equal worst scores, it is the one for the race(s) sailed earliest in the series to be excluded (rule A2.1). However, because of changes made previously to the tiebreaking rule the result will be exactly the same if it were not the earlier worst score that was excluded.
When boats have equal total scores for the series rule A8 provides a twostep system for breaking such ties.
The first process requires the scores (N.B. not places) of the tied boats to be listed in ascending order (i.e. best to worst) and not including any discarded scores. These lists are then compared and at the first point of divergence the tie is broken in favour of the boat(s) with the better (best) score(s) (rule A8.1).
Example: Low point system, one discard. 

Race No 
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
Total 
Reordered counting scores 
Discard 

Boat A 
3 
4 
1 
6 
2 

16 
1 
2 
3 
4 
6 

Boat B 
4 
3 
2 
1 

6 
16 
1 
2 
3 
4 
6 

Boat C 
1 
2 
7 
3 
3 

16 
1 
2 
3 
3 
7 

This rule (A8.1 – frequently known as the ‘most firsts rule’) breaks the tie in favour of Boat C. The tie between Boats A and B cannot be broken by this rule because it does not use the discarded races’ scores. [It would be broken in favour of Boat B on the basis of the scores in the last race].
If, after applying rule A8.1, some boats remain tied, that tie is broken in favour of the boat(s) with the better score(s) in the last race, even if that is a discarded score in the series total. Should that not break the tie(s) the scores in the nexttolast race are used, and so on until all ties are broken (rule A8.2).
Example: Low point system, one discard. 

Race No 
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
Total 
Reordered counting scores 
Discard 

Boat A 
3 
4 
1 
6 
2 

16 
1 
2 
3 
4 
6 

Boat B 
4 
3 
2 
1 

6 
16 
1 
2 
3 
4 
6 

Boat C 
1 
2 
7 
3 
3 

16 
1 
2 
3 
3 
7 

Normally the lastrace scores will break all remaining ties. However, it is possible that two or more boats may have equal scores in the last race because some boats have received a scoring penalty – hence the provision to use earlier races’ scores until all ties are broken.
As Appendix A is open to amendment by sailing instructions, it is possible to have alternative tiebreaking procedures if required.
It is good practice to publish the results and scores of races and the seriestodate as soon as possible after each race. Such results should be annotated ‘provisional’ or/and ‘subject to protest’ and show the date and time at which they were published. The advantage to the race committee in publishing the results and scores promptly is that it enables competitors to view them as soon as possible and query any scores with which they take issue. Rule 90.3(c) provides that when the race committee determines that it has scored a boat incorrectly it shall correct the error and publish the revised results and scores without the matter having to go to a redress hearing. Many events include a ‘scoring query’ procedure in order to deal with such matters quickly.
Rule 90.3(e) allows an Organising Authority to set a time limit after which the score for a series, including a singlerace series, may not be altered. This time limit rule must be stated to apply in the notice of race and the time limit is 24 hours after:
The 24 hours may be changed to a different time period in the notice of race and, because the rule allows such a change, doing so does not constitute a rule change.
This time limit, at an event at which rule 90.3(e) is applied, applies to all scorechanging actions except those resulting from a decision under rules 6 (World Sailing Regulations), 69 (Misconduct) and 70 (Appeals and Requests to a National Authority), and, thus, provides a clear finalisation of the event.