Thursday, 26 February 2009

Case Book - Interpretations of the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009 - 2012

It's here: The ISAF has published a new Case Book for RRS 2009-2012.

I will try to compare the old and the new and write some posts about the changes in coming weeks. This is what ISAF wrote on their website:

The new edition of The Case Book is a revision of the previous edition which reflects changes in The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 (RRS), which came into force on 1 January 2009. In line with one of ISAF’s key stated objectives, to “establish, supervise, interpret and amend the rules regulating sailboat racing”, the RRS are revised and published every four years. In order to maximize the understanding of the rules, ISAF has been publishing interpretations of the RRS for over 40 years in The Case Book, which provides details on the application of the rules to around 100 scenarios.

The release of The Case Book for 2009-2012 follows a complete review of all the cases previously published, along with eight new cases adopted by the ISAF Council since the publication of the previous edition. The principal aims of the Cases are to clarify an important meaning in a rule or to increase the understanding of a complex rule. For sailors, from club level right up to Olympic medallists, it is an essential aid to gaining mastery of the rules, whilst for race officials it is a crucial tool in establishing and maintaining consistency in decision-making.
Dick ROSE, chairman of the Case Book Working Party, said: “We are delighted to publish The Case Book for 2009-2012 and make it available for all sailors to download from the ISAF website. Over many years the Case Book has been refined and improved to maximize its usefulness for both sailors and officials. Hundreds of hours of work have gone into preparing The Case Book for 2009-2012 and I would like to thank the other members of our Working Party that have made its publication possible.”

The Case Book for 2009-2012 was prepared by the Case Book Working Party which consists of Chairman Dick ROSE, Bill BENTSEN, Josje HOFLAND-DOMINICUS, Trevor LEWIS and Bo SAMUELSSON.
New cases may be added each year in November during the ISAF Annual Conference, and sometimes cases are revised or deleted. Case Book Supplements are issued at the start of each year and published on the ISAF website. In addition, each year the version of the Case Book that appears on the ISAF website will be revised to include new cases and to reflect any other changes made in that year’s annual supplement.

Case Book 2009-2012_Page_001


  1. I am going through it instead of talking to my wife of an evening. I am puzzled by part of the decision in more than one case. Take 25 for example. A give way boat entitled to mark room takes more room than she is entitled to. There is contact. The decision says the give way boat shall not be penalised under rule 14 because she was entitled to mark room. (She is still disqualified, though.)

    My logic tells me that 14(a) only gives protection to a boat taking the room to which she is entitled.


  2. Wag,

    Look at rule 14(b) again: it says, where it doesn't matter because there is no injury or damage, both the right of way boat and boat entitled to room are protected from penalisation under rule 14. If their is injury or damage, neither is protected.

    Remember that rule 14 can't be broken unless some other rule is broken.

    For further discussion, take a look at Match Racing Call Gen2

  3. Thanks for you swift response. I think I understand. I know that the result is not changed, so this is navel contemplating. I am surprised that a boat taking more room than she is entitled to is safeguarded from penalty under rule 14.


  4. Brass,

    It is not strictly true to say that rule 14 can only be broken unless another rule is broken. Indeed, there is a classic brain teaser in which no other rule is broken but 14 is infringed. The situation is unlikely but not impossible:

    A boat, for arguments sake say a Star (as they are particularily close winded) is sailing to windward on port tack. A Laser is sailing on a reciprocal course, sailing very deeply by the lee (as they sometimes do) with her sail on her starboard side, and would pass a short distance on the windward side of the beating boat. Neither boat changes course. As the boats pass, there is contact and both boats suffer damage. Which boat has infringed a rule? Which rule has been broken?

    Both boats are on port so rule 10 does not apply. Neither boat is clear astern (rule 12 does not apply) so, by definition they are overlapped. Both boats have the other boat on their windward side, which means that both boats meet the definition of leeward boat. As leeward boat neither boat is obliged, under rule 11, to keep clear, so both boats have right of way.

    No part 2 Section A rule has been infringed.

    However both boats have an obligation under rule 14 to avoid contact if reasonably possible. As neither boat changed course then, it could be found that neither boat took action to avoid contact. A protest committee could well penalise one or both boats for infringing rule 14


  5. Correctly to attribute another memorable phrase to Captain Mainwaring, 'Well done Gordon. I wondered who would be the first to spot that one.'


  6. Gordon,
    Ya got me!


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