New Rule Changes for 2021

The Racing Rules of Sailing have been updated for 2021-2024. There were many changes made, but most were just for clarity or do not apply to most fleet racing situations. However, there are a few changes that affect how we race.

Changes that affect you when you are racing:

  • Starting and finishing: You now start when any portion of the boat’s hull crosses the starting line, and finish when any part of the hull crosses the finish line. Under the old rules, you crossed the line when any part of the boat or crew crossed the line.
  • The finish line is now between a BLUE flag and the finish mark; under the old rules it was an orange flag.

Changes that affect you when you are on race committee

  • When sighting the starting line, a boat is only OCS if part of the hull is over the line. Previously if any part of the boat or the crew were over the line, the boat was OCS.
  • When sighting the finish line, a boat finishes when part of the hull crosses the line. Previously a boat finished when any part of the boat (typically the spinnaker on a downwind finish) crossed the line.
  • The blue flag is used as the signal boat end of the finish line instead of the orange flag.
  • If the RC sees that a boat does not sail the course correctly (most commonly for us this would be a boat not sailing around the offset mark) you can score the boat as NSC (did not sail the course) without a hearing. Under the old rules you had to file a protest to have the boat disqualified.

These changes go into effect Jan 1, and the Sunday Racing Program Sailing Instructions have been updated to reflect the changes.

If you are interested in more details, World Sailing has published a Study Guide that shows the changes to the rules and has links to the proposals that were submitted that led to the changes. It is available here.

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