You can study the racing rules until you become expert. However the rules that relate to conduct on the water are essentially extensions to the International Collision Regulations.

See perhaps.

What you need to know WHEN RACING:

When boats meet

Give way boats keep clear

There are 4 major rules in play during the time that the Racing Rules of Sailing are in force that help reduce the risk of collision:

A boat has right of way when the other is required to keep clear.

  • Rule 10: Opposite tacks - PORT tack keeps clear
  • Rule 11: Same tack & Overlapped - WINDWARD keeps clear
  • Rule 12: Same tack & not overlapped - boat ASTERN keeps clear (becoming overlapped immediately switches off this rule)
  • Rule 13: While tacking (passed head to wind, not just luffed) - TACKING boat keeps clear. This rule overrides 10, 11 & 12 until the tacking boat is heading on a close hauled course.

Note that this spells PWAT! which might help you remember.

One point to note is that when looking for an overlap situation to decide if rule 11 or 12 applies, if one boat of a pair is clear astern, then there is NO OVERLAP.

Right of way boats give room

There are 4 major limitations on the rights of the boat with the right of way that prevent a right of way baot 'bullying' a give way boat.:

  • Rule 14: If resonably possible, the right of way boat must avoid contact.
  • Rule 15: If a boat aquires right of way, it must allow the give-way boat room to keep clear.
  • Rule 16: When changing course, the boat with right of way shall give room for others to keep clear.
  • Rule 17: Do not sail above the proper course specifically when .... except for .... This is a detailed limitation with exceptions that needs further study!

Marks and obstructions

Other rules




This Code of Practice has been developed due to the need to standardise race practice, in particular in view of increased numbers of members undertaking the OOD role. OODs should familiarise themselves with the Club’s Racing Instructions and Rules. This COP is intended to compliment those rules and instructions. The OOD should aim to ensure that there is a result for each class of boat, accept in exceptional cases, such as deteriorating weather. Clear instructions will ensure few disputes.

Course Selection

Select the course to be raced based on the following considerations:

  1. Weather – Consider actual conditions (wind strength and direction, visibility etc) at the time and the forecast conditions for the duration of the race.
  2. Tides – Consider whether the tide is a spring or neap, especially in the case of channel races and access to and from moorings.
  3. Make a course long enough, you can always shorten it for slower classes, so as to give faster boats a decent race. The very earliest a race should finish in normal conditions is an hour after HW.
  4. Close hauled start - Set the start of the course with a beat to windward where possible.
  5. Make the course varied and interesting - where possible include a beat, reach and run.
  6. Avoid a beat to windward finish, particularly with a foul tide in ‘B’ series events. Aim for a homeward leg with the wind is abeam or behind. Remember that slower boats participating (where possible) should be able to finish and get back to their moorings safely.

Race Boards

Display “race boards” - on the Clubhouse a minimum of 1 hour before the start and leave them in place until 1 hour after the first boat crosses the finish line.

Starting, Finishing And Running Events

Follow the protocols detailed in the “Racing Instructions” in WBYC Sailing Program or the special rules which apply to the Regatta.

Shortening Course

Observe the fleet’s progress in each class, if the course needs to be shortened to obtain a result, do so. If the course needs to be shortened for a second time, shorten again. There is no point racing with no results.

Decision to Race

The responsibility for a boats decision to participate in a race or to continue a racing is hers alone. ISAF Part 1 rule 4.


Complete the race result spread sheet, save a copy in the space allocated on the Club PC and email copies to the Sailing Secretary and Race Officer. A paragraph detailing the cut and thrust of the event for the press would also be helpful.

Normally the first racing event of the season.


The Samson Trophy is awarded annually to members of WBYC in order to encourage an early start to the cross channel sailing season.


The Rules covering this event are:-

  1. The Trophy is awarded to the helm or owner of the first boat to reach Barry Harbour at the start of each year's sailing season.
  2. For reasons of safety, no boat is eligible to enter which is less than 16ft overall, (excluding bowsprit, bumkin or part of the rigging).
  3. No boat may leave Weston Bay (within a line from the seaward end of Brean Down to the seaward end of Birnbeck Island) before 0001 hours on Easter Saturday [Holy Saturday/Easter Eve] morning.
  4. On arrival at Barry the helmsperson must record the time of arrival (GPS time) in the boat’s Log and present a copy to the Sailing Committee.
  5. In order to be considered for the Sansom Trophy the helm or owner must submit a brief log of the voyage, including the evidence mentioned in 4 above, to a member of the Sailing Committee of the WBYC within 14 days of completion of the passage.
  6. The logs will be considered by the Sailing Committee of the Club and their decision will be based on them.
  7. Entrants who use any form of propulsion, other than sails, must declare it in their log with a note of the reason and the time that the alternative form of propulsion was in use. Engines or oars may only be used to avoid grounding or collision.




2017 Les Willis with Pandora
2016 Les Willis with Pandora
2015 There was an 'entrant' this year, but it was too windy and he was too scared to leave the mooring. Better luck next year Jeff.
 ... to 2014 Les Willis has been the winner in recent years.