Rules for Beginners

I've decided to dedicate this page to "beginners".
Everybody who has to sail a race for the first time or has little or no experience with the Racing Rules of Sailing.
The first page - of what will become a long post - is for the abrieviated rules as published by ISAF:
Read this post if you want to know all about Keeping Clear:

Back to the Basics (Part1): Keeping Clear

Introductory Rules for Racing
Version 1.01 - February 2008

Some Explanations
Windward and Leeward: The leeward side of your boat is the side where your mainsail lies. The windward side is the other side.
Port and Starboard tack: You are on port or starboard tack according to your windward side.
Advisor: A person appointed by the race organizers to assist competitors in understanding the rules and, when appropriate, to penalize a boat

           Basic Rules
  1. You must comply with the principles of good sportsmanship.
  2. You must try not to collide with another boat

    Rules When Boats Meet

  3. When you and the other boat are on opposite tacks, if you are on port tack you must avoid the boat on starboard tack.

  4. When you and the other boat are on the same tack, you must avoid the other boat
    (a) if she is in front of you, or
    (b) if she is on your leeward side.
  5. After starting, when you and the other boat approach a mark or an object that both boats need to avoid, and the other boat is between you and the mark or other object, you must give her sufficient space to pass it safely on the same side. However, when the boats are on opposite tacks at a windward mark, this rule does not apply.

  6. When the other boat is required to avoid you, if you change course, you must give the other boat an adequate opportunity to avoid you.

    Other Rules
  7. At the starting signal you must be behind the starting line.
  8. After the starting signal, you must sail the course described by the race organizers.
  9. You must not touch a mark of the course.
  10. If you think you or another boat has broken a rule or if you are unclear about the rules at any time during the race, you must describe the incident to the advisor after the race. The advisor may then add two points to the score of any boat that has broken a rule. If the offence is serious, the advisor may add extra points to the boat's score.
Responsibilities of Race Organizers

(a) To run fair, enjoyable and safe races.
(b) To inform all the competitors about the sequence of starting signals, the starting and finishing lines, the course to be sailed and the marks to be rounded.
(c) To score each boat points equal to her finishing position, after adjusting for handicaps when appropriate.
(d) To appoint an advisor on the rules and procedures for racing.

Introduction and Use
These rules are designed to stand on their own so that sailors who are starting to race can compete using only these few rules and without the need to learn the many details of the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). They are appropriate for small boats in sheltered waters; they are not intended for boats over 6 metres (20 feet) long when an experienced person should be alongside and able to instruct the novice helm. These rules are compatible with the principles and fundamental rules in the RRS. However, they are neither a guide to nor an abbreviated form of the RRS.

You can also download this as a pdf - file: IntroductoryRacingRules_V1 1.pdf
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