When Boats Meet


A term used as stated below is shown in italic type or, in preambles, in bold italic type.

Abandon A race that a race committee or protest committee abandons is void but may be resailed.

Clear Astern and Clear Ahead;Overlap One boat is clear astern of another when her hull and equipment in normal position are behind a line abeam from the aftermost point of the other boat's hull and equipment in normal position. The other boat is clear ahead . They overlap when neither is clear astern. However,they also overlap when a boat between them overlaps both. These terms always apply to boats on the same tack . They do not apply to boats on opposite tacks unless rule 18 applies or both boats are sailing more than ninety degrees from the true wind.

Fetching A boat is fetching a mark when she is in a position to pass to windward of it and leave it on the required side without changing tack .

Finish A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side. However, she has not finished if after crossing the finishing line she
    (a) takes a penalty under rule 44.2,
    (b) corrects an error under rule 28.2 made at the line, or
    (c) continues to sail the course .

Interested Party A person who may gain or lose as a result of a protest committee's decision, or who has a close personal interest in the decision.

Keep Clear A boat keeps clear of a right-of-way boat
    (a) if the right-of-way boat can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action and,
    (b) when the boats are overlapped , if the right-of-way boat can also change course in both directions without immediately making contact.

Leeward and Windward A boat's leeward side is the side that is or, when she is head to wind, was away from the wind. However, when sailing by the lee or directly downwind, her leeward side is the side on which her mainsail lies. The other side is her windward side. When two boats on the same tack overlap,the one on the leeward side of the other is the leeward boat. The other is the windward boat.

Mark An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side, and a race committee boat surrounded by navigable water from which the starting or finishing line extends. An anchor line or an object attached accidentally to a mark is not part of it.

Mark-Room Room for a boat to leave a mark on the required side. Also,
    (a) room to sail to the mark when her proper course is to sail close to it, and
    (b) room to round the mark as necessary to sail the course.
However, mark-room for a boat does not include room to tack unless she is overlapped inside and to windward of the boat required to give mark-room and she would be fetching the mark after her tack.

Obstruction An object that a boat could not pass without changing course substantially, if she were sailing directly towards it and one of her hull lengths from it. An object that can be safely passed on only one side and an area so designated by the sailing instructions are also obstructions . However, a boat racing is not an obstruction to other boats unless they are required to keep clear of her or,if rule 23 applies, avoid her.A vessel underway, including a boat racing , is never a continuing obstruction .

Overlap See Clear Astern and Clear Ahead ; Overlap.

Party A party to a hearing is
    (a) for a protest hearing: a protestor, a protestee;
    (b) for a request for redress: a boat requesting redress or for which redress is requested, a race committee acting under rule 60.2(b);
    (c) for a request for redress under rule 62.1
    (a): the body alleged to have made an improper action or omission;
    (d) a boat or a competitor that may be penalized under rule 69.2. However, the protest committee is never a party .

Postpone A postponed race is delayed before its scheduled start but may be started or abandoned later.

Proper course A course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boats referred to in the rule using the term. A boat has no proper course before her starting signal.

Protest An allegation made under rule 61.2 by a boat, a race committee or a protest committee that a boat has broken a rule .

Racing A boat is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes and clears the finishing line and marks or retires, or until the race committee signals a general recall, postponement or abandonment .

Room The space a boat needs in the existing conditions, including space to comply with her obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.

    (a) The rules in this book, including the Definitions, Race Signals, Introduction, preambles and the rules of relevant appendices, but not titles;
    (b) ISAF Regulation 19, Eligibility Code; Regulation 20, Advertising Code; Regulation 21, Anti-Doping Code; and Regulation 22, Sailor Classification Code;
    (c) the prescriptions of the national authority, unless they are changed by the sailing instructions in compliance with the national authority's prescription, if any, to rule 88.2;
    (d) the class rules
    (for a boat racing under a handicap or rating system, the rules of that system are ‘class rules');
    (e) the notice of race;
    (f) the sailing instructions; and
    (g) any other documents that govern the event.

Start A boat starts when, having been entirely on the pre-start side of the starting line at or after her starting signal, and having complied with rule 30.1 if it applies, any part of her hull, crew or equipment crosses the starting line in the direction of the first mark .

Tack, Starboard or Port A boat is on the tack , starboard or port , corresponding to her windward side.

Windward See Leeward and Windward .

Zone The area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.


SPORTSMANSHIP AND THE RULES Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY Participants are encouraged to minimize any adverse environmental impact of the sport of sailing.




1.1 Helping Those in Danger A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.

1.2 Life-Saving Equipment and Personal Flotation Devices A boat shall carry adequate life-saving equipment for all persons on board, including one item ready for immediate use, unless her class rules make some other provision. Each competitor is individually responsible for wearing a personal flotation device adequate for the conditions.

2 FAIR SAILING A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalized under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. A disqualification under this rule shall not be excluded from the boat's series score. 10 Part 1 FUNDAMENTAL RULES

3 ACCEPTANCE OF THE RULES By participating in a race conducted under these racing rules, each competitor and boat owner agrees
    (a) to be governed by the rules ;
    (b) to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the rules , subject to the appeal and review procedures provided in them, as the final determination of any matter arising under the rules ; and
    (c) with respect to any such determination, not to resort to any court of law or tribunal.

4 DECISION TO RACE The responsibility for a boat's decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone .

5 ANTI-DOPING A competitor shall comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and ISAF Regulation 21, Anti-Doping Code. An alleged or actual breach of this rule shall be dealt with under Regulation 21. It shall not be grounds for a protest and rule 63.1 does not apply. 11



The rules of Part 2 apply between boats that are sailing in or near the racing area and intend to race , are racing , or have been racing . However, a boat not racing shall not be penalized for breaking one of these rules, except rule 24.1.

When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) or government right-of-way rules. If the sailing instructions so state, the rules of Part 2 are replaced by the right-of-way rules of theIRPCAS or by government right-of-way rules.



A boat has right of way over another boat when the other boat is required to keep clear of her. However, some rules in Sections B, C and D limit the actions of a right-of-way boat.

10 ON OPPOSITE TACKS When boats are on opposite tacks , a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.

11 ON THE SAME TACK, OVERLAPPED When boats are on the same tack and overlapped , a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

12 ON THE SAME TACK, NOT OVERLAPPED When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped , a boat clear astern shall keep clear of aboat clear ahead.

13 WHILE TACKING After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course . During that time rules 10, 11 and 12 do not apply. If two boats are subject to this rule at the same 12 time, the one on the other's port side or the one astern shall keep clear.



14 AVOIDING CONTACT A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room
    (a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark-room , and
    (b) shall be exonerated if she breaks this rule and the contact does not cause damage or injury.

15 ACQUIRING RIGHT OF WAY When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear , unless she acquires right of way because of the other boat's actions.

16 CHANGING course

16.1 When a right-of-way boat changes course , she shall give the other boat room to keep clear .

16.2 In addition, when after the starting signal a port-tack boat is keeping clear by sailing to pass astern of a starboard-tack boat,the star- board-tack boat shall not change course if as a result the port-tack boat would immediately need to change course to continue keeping clear.

17 ON THE SAME TACK; PROPER course If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack , she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain on the same tack and overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear .



Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them.


18.1 When Rule 18 Applies
Rule 18 applies between boats when they are required to leave a mark on the same side and at least one of them is in the zone. However, it does not apply
    (a) between boats on opposite tacks on a beat to windward,
    (b) between boats on opposite tacks when the proper course at the mark for one but not both of them is to tack,
    (c) between a boat approaching a mark and one leaving it, or
    (d) if the mark is a continuing obstruction , in which case rule 19 applies.

18.2 Giving Mark-Room
    (a) When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the inside boat mark-room , unless rule 18.2(b) applies.
    (b) If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches the zone , the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter give the inside boat mark-room . If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the zone,the boat clear astern at that moment shall there after give her mark-room .
    (c) When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 18.2(b),
    (1) she shall continue to do so even if later an overlap is broken or a new overlap begins;
    (2) if she becomes overlapped inside the boat entitled to mark-room,she shall also give that boat room to sail her proper course while they remain overlapped. However, if the boat entitled to mark-room passes head to wind or leaves the zone , rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply.
    (d) If there is reasonable doubt that a boat obtained or broke an overlap in time,it shall be presumed that she did not.
    (e) If a boat obtained an inside overlap from clear astern or by tacking to windward of the other boat and, from the time the overlap began, the outside boat has been unable to give mark- room,she is not required to give it.

18.3 Tacking in the Zone
If a boat in the zone passes head to wind and is then on the same tack as a boat that is fetching the mark , rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply between them. The boat that changed tack
    (a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid contact or prevent the other boat from passing the mark on the required side, and
    (b) shall give mark-room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her.

18.4 Gybing
When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at a mark to sail her proper course , until she gybes she shall sail no farther from the mark than needed to sail that course . Rule 18.4 does not apply at a gate mark .


19.1 When Rule 19 Applies
Rule 19 applies between boats at an obstruction except when it is also a mark the boats are required to leave on the same side. However, at a continuing obstruction , rule 19 always applies and rule 18 does not.

19.2 Giving Room at an Obstruction
    (a) A right-of-way boat may choose to pass an obstruction on either side.
    (b) When boats are overlapped , the outside boat shall give the inside boat room between her and the obstruction , unless she has been unable to do so from the time the overlap began.
    (c) While boats are passing a continuing obstruction , if a boat that was clear astern and required to keep clear becomes overlapped between the other boat and the obstruction and, at the moment the overlap begins, there is not room for her to pass between them, she is not entitled to room under rule 19.2(b). While the boats remain overlapped , she shall keep clearand rules 10 and 11 do not apply.


20.1 Hailing
When approaching an obstruction , a boat may hail for room to tack and avoid a boat on the same tack . However, she shall not hail if
    (a) she can avoid the obstruction safely without making a substantial course change,
    (b) she is sailing below close-hauled, or
    (c) the obstruction is a mark and a boat that is fetching it would be required to respond and change course .

20.2 Responding
    (a) After a boat hails, she shall give the hailed boat time to respond.
    (b) The hailed boat shall respond even if the hail breaks rule 20.1.
    (c) The hailed boat shall respond either by tacking as soon as possible, or by immediately replying ‘You tack' and then giving the hailing boat room to tack and avoid her.
    (d) When the hailed boat responds, the hailing boat shall tack as soon as possible.
    (e) From the time a boat hails until she has tacked and avoided the hailed boat, rule 18.2 does not apply between them.

20.3 Passing On a Hail to an Additional Boat
When a boat has been hailed for room to tack and she intends to respond by tacking, she may hail another boat on the same tack for room to tack and avoid her. She may hail even if her hail does not meet the conditions of rule 20.1. Rule 20.2 applies between her and the boat she hails.

When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is entitled under a rule of Section C, she shall be exonerated if, in an incident with a boat required to give her that room or mark-room ,
    (a) she breaks a rule of Section A, rule 15 or rule 16, or
    (b) she is compelled to break rule 31.



When rule 22 or 23 applies between two boats, Section A rules do not.


22.1 A boat sailing towards the pre-start side of the starting line or one of its extensions after her starting signal to start or to comply with rule 30.1 shall keep clear of a boat not doing so until she is completely on the pre-start side.

22.2 A boat taking a penalty shall keep clear of one that is not.

22.3 A boat moving astern through the water by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.

If possible, a boat shall avoid a boat that is capsized or has not regained control after capsizing, is anchored or aground, or is trying to help a person or vessel in danger. A boat is capsized when her masthead is in the water.


24.1 If reasonably possible, a boat not racing shall not interfere with a boat that is racing .

24.2 Except when sailing her proper course, a boat shall not interfere with a boat taking a penalty or sailing on another leg. 17

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