Thursday, 19 March 2009

Rob Overton appointed Chairman US Sailing RR Committee



The highly regarded on-line racing rules program developed by UK-Halsey Sailmakers just had its authority made more compelling by the recent appointment of Rob Overton to be the new Chairman of US SAILING’s Racing Rules Committee (RRC). Rob is the author of the answers to all of the Rules Quiz questions, and now he is the US’s chief rule writer.

Having Rob Overton contribute to UK-Halsey’s widely used Rules Quiz program was a deliberate decision made far in advance of his new appointment. He has been a member of US SAILING’s Racing Rules Committee since 1993 and one of just five international rules writers who drafted the new Section C rules that took effect on January 1st of this year. He is a member of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Team Race Call Book Working Party as well as an International Umpire.


“I am really excited to participate with the rules quiz program,” said Overton. “I think it is a great way to learn the rules. Because the quizzes are animated, you get to know the game as well as the rules, and knowing the game is what you really have to learn. Plus the animations makes learning the rules less dry and more fun.”

The changes to the rules were so substantial that the boat “in the wrong” changed in three different quizzes. “With so many sailors depending on our quizzes to understand the rules, we needed someone with Rob’s breadth of knowledge to make sure we got it right,” said UK-Halsey’s President, Butch Ulmer. Rob also served on the small international group that re-wrote the rules of Section C for the 2009-2012 rules.

In the past the Rules Quizzes were sold on a Compact Disk, but that format was too limiting. With modern technology and increased use of the web, we now offer an expanded rule quiz program as a download. The download format allows users to receive numerous free updates with the click of a button. For example, the Rules Quiz program was updated 10 times within the first 6 weeks of 2009. Another advantage of being a download is that buyers do not have to wait on the post office go get the program.

The UK-Halsey’s Rules Quiz program has several other advantages. The animations can be played at full-screen size and users can adjust the speed of the animations. A members-only section, named The Lifted Tack, provides instructional videos, a blog and a PDF library. In many of the videos, which were show at Butch Ulmer’s rules seminars, you see the quizzes being used to teach the rules, an approach which makes the explanation and tactical considerations much easier to understand. Currently there are seven videos as part of the program and more will be added shortly.

For those who want see a stripped down version of the rules program, take our quizzes online for free at: To buy the full Rules Quiz program for $55, ($40 for owners of UK-Halsey Sailmakers’ prior Rules Quiz CD) go to the UK-Halsey secure online store.


My congratulations to Rob with his appointment. I wish him all the best to resolve the – no doubt – many questions this year’s new rules will bring.

Like in the press release I too find the change in the rules much more substantial, then first anticipated. The flurry of ISAF Q&A’s recently published, proves that a lot of questions have to be answered. And some of the answers need careful study to understand the logic behind them.

We will need all the ‘GURUS’ to take the lead!


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