The Racing Rules of Sailing includes two main sections. The first, Parts 1–7, contains rules that affect all competitors. The second, the appendices, provides details of rules, rules that apply to particular kinds of racing, and rules that affect only a small number of competitors or officials.

A term used in the sense stated in the Definitions is printed in italics or, in preamles, in bold italics (for example, racing and racing).
Each of the terms in the table below is used in The Racing Rules of Sailing with the meaning given.

Term Meaning
A sailboat and the crew on board.
A person who races or intends to race in the event.
National authority
A World Sailing member national authority.
Race committee
The race committee appointed under rule 89.2(c) and any other person or committee performing a race committee function.
Racing rule
A rule in The Racing Rules of Sailing.
Technical committee
The technical committee appointed under rule 89.2(c) and any other person or committee performing a technical committee function.
Any boat or ship.

Other words and terms are used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use.

The notation ‘[DP]’ in a rule means that the penalty for a breach of the rule may, at the discretion of the protest committee, be less than disqualification. Guidelines for discretionary penalties are available on World Sailing website

The racing rules are revised and published every four years by World Sailing, the international authority for the sport. This edition becomes effective on 1 January 2017 except that for an event beginning in 2016 the date may be postponed by the notice of race and sailing instructions. Marginal markings indicate important changes to Parts 1–7 and the Definitions in the 2013–2016 edition. No changes are contemplated before 2021, but any changes determined to be urgent before then will be announced through national authorities and posted on World Sailing website.

When the rules of an appendix apply, they take precedence over any conflicting rules in Parts 1–7 and the Definitions. Each appendix is identified by a letter. A reference to a rule in an appendix will contain the letter and the rule number (for example, ‘rule A1’). The letters I, O and Q are not used to designate appendices in this book.

World Sailing Codes
World Sailing Codes are listed in the table below. The codes are published in World Sailing Regulations.

Title Racing Rule Regulation
Advertising Code
80 20
Anti-Doping Code
5 21
Betting and Anti-Corruption Code
6 37
Disciplinary Code
7 35
Eligibility Code
75.2 19
Sailor Classification Code
79 22

These Codes are referred to in the definition Rule but are not included in this book because they can be changed at any time. The most recent versions of the codes are published on World Sailing website; new versions will be announced through national authorities.

Cases and Calls
World Sailing publishes interpretations of the racing rules in The Case Book for 2017–2020 and recognizes them as authoritative interpretations and explanations of the rules. It also publishes The Call Book for Match Racing for 2017–2020 and The Call Book for Team Racing for 2017–2020, and it recognizes them as authoritative only for umpired match or team racing. These publications are available on World Sailing website.

World Sailing has established a single internet address at which readers will find links to all the documents available on the World Sailing website that are mentioned in this book. Those documents are listed below. Links to other rules documents will also be provided at that address.
The address is:

Guidelines for discretionary penalties
Changes made to these rules after 1 January 2017
World Sailing Codes (Regulations 19, 20, 21, 22, 35, and 37)
Case Book,
Call Books for Match and Team Racing

Rule 42
Interpretations of Rule 42, Propulsion

Rule 49
World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations

Appendix C Preamble
Standard Notice of Race for Match Racing
Standard Sailing Instructions for Match Racing
Match Racing Rules for Blind Competitors

Rule E5.2
International Radio Sailing Association Addendum Q

Appendix F Preamble
Rules for other kiteboard racing formats

Rule G1.1
Up-to-date version of the table of national sail letters

Appendix K
Template for Notice of Race Guide

Appendix L
Template for Sailing Instructions Guide

Appendix LE,
Expanded Sailing Instructions Guide

Appendix M
Guidance on conflicts of interest
Guidance on misconduct

Appendix T
International Judges Manual