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FAQs

What are the racing rules?
Are the rules the same worldwide?
How do I get the rules?
Have there been any changes?

How do the rules get changed?
How do I get official interpretations of the rules?
How do I appeal the decision of a protest committee?

What are the racing rules?
The Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 (RRS) are the rules that govern the conduct of the sport of sailboat racing and include the so-called "right of way" rules for boats that are racing. The rules are written by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and are published every four years in the year following the Olympic games. The current version of the RRS went into effect on January 1, 2013

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Are the rules the same worldwide?
Mostly. Each country's National Authority (NA) is allowed to make minor additions or changes to the rules as they apply in its country. These changes are called "prescriptions" and under RRS 86.1 only certain rules can be changed by prescriptions (for example, a prescription cannot change any of the "right of way" rules in Part 2 of the RRS). To know how the rules in a particular country have been changed from the ISAF version you need only look at a copy of that country's prescriptions. US SAILING's prescriptions are available here.

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How do I get the rules?
The ISAF version of the rules is available on its Website at ISAF Racing Rules for 2013-2016
For sailors located in the United States, US SAILING publishes a printed version that includes all of the ISAF rules as well as the US prescriptions. The US SAILING rulebook is available from US SAILING directly either on its Website (click here for Rules publications) or through its 800 number at 1-800-US-SAIL1 (1-800-877-2451) as well as from marine supply stores (for example, West Marine).

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Have there been any changes since January 1, 2005?
There have been a few changes in the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 and in US Prescriptions 2009-2012. Learn more about these changes.

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How do the rules get changed?
Every four years ISAF revises the rulebook and publishes a new version. The process to change the rules starts when the various National Authorities submit to ISAF the text of proposed rule changes. At ISAF, the submissions from the NAs are sent to the ISAF Racing Rules Committee, which then reviews the numerous submissions and forwards its recommended changes to the ISAF Council for final approval. Fewer than a third of the proposed changes are ever adopted. Typically, some changes are approved each year with implementation delayed until the new version of the rulebook is finalized.

In the United States, the US SAILING Racing Rules Committee is responsible for developing US SAILING's proposed submissions to ISAF. The proposed submissions generated by the US SAILING Racing Rules Committee then go to the US SAILING Executive Committee and, if approved by the Executive Committee, are transmitted to ISAF for consideration by the ISAF Racing Rules Committee. One member of the US SAILING Racing Rules Committee, Dick Rose, is also a member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee.

Most rule changes result from comments or proposals from competitors or race officials. The US SAILING Racing Rules Committee welcomes your suggestions for improving the racing rules. Please e-mail comments and suggestions to rules@ussailing.org or mail them to US SAILING Racing Rules Committee, P. O. Box 1260, Portsmouth, RI 02871-0907.

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How do I get official interpretations of the rules?
Internationally, official interpretations of the rules are made by a committee appointed by the ISAF Racing Rules Committee and published as the "ISAF Case Book." In the United States, official interpretations of the RRS are made by the US SAILING Appeals Committee and are published by US SAILING in the official US SAILING Appeals Decisions and ISAF Cases (this publication is particularly helpful because it includes all of the ISAF Cases as well as the US SAILING Appeals Decisions and is cross-referenced by rule number).

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How do I appeal the decision of a protest committee?
Rule 70 and Appendix F in the rulebook describe how to appeal the decision of a protest committee (note that you cannot appeal a protest committee's factual decisions, only its interpretations of a rule or its procedures).

The first step is to request a written decision from the protest committee pursuant to rule 65.2 (note the seven-day time limit!). Next, you must file your appeal (stating why the protest committee's interpretation of a rule or its procedure was incorrect) together with a copy of the decision, and other relevant documents (note the fifteen day time limit!). Send all these items to: Race Administration Director, US SAILING, P. O. Box 1260, Portsmouth, RI 02871-0907.

In the United States, the ISAF Appendix F has been completely replaced with a US SAILING prescription. Read rule 70 and Appendix F as it appears in the US SAILING rulebook carefully and follow the requirements set forth in those rules.

Appeals can be sent to US SAILING by email. The email address to send an appeal to is: raceadmin@ussailing.org.

If sending a fee required by rule F3.3, a check may be mailed or a credit card may be processed by contacting the Race Administration Director at US SAILING by email or calling 401-683-0800 x655.

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