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.

The racing rules are revised and published every four years by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the international authority for the sport. This edition becomes effective on 1 January 2013 except that for an event beginning in 2012 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 of the 2009–2012 edition. No changes are contemplated before 2017, but any changes determined to be urgent before then will be announced through national authorities and posted on the ISAF website.

ISAF Codes
The ISAF Eligibility, Advertising, Anti-Doping and Sailor Classification Codes (Regulations 19, 20, 21 and 22) 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 available on the ISAF website; new versions will be announced through national authorities.

Cases and Calls
The ISAF publishes interpretations of the racing rules in The Case Book for 2013–2016 and recognizes them as authoritative interpretations and explanations of the rules. It also publishes The Call Book for Match Racing for 2013–2016 and The Call Book for Team Racing for 2013–2016, and it recognizes them as authoritative only for umpired match or team racing. These publications are available on the ISAF website.

A term used in the sense stated in the Definitions is printed in italics or, in preambles, in bold italics (for example, racing and racing). ‘Racing rule’ means a rule in The Racing Rules of Sailing. ‘Boat’ means a sailboat and the crew on board; ‘vessel’ means any boat or ship . ‘Race committee’ includes any person or committee performing a race committee function. A ‘change’ to a rule includes an addition to it or deletion of all or part of it. ‘National authority’ means an ISAF member national authority. Other words and terms are used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use.

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.
Changes to the Rules
The prescriptions of a national authority, class rules or the sailing instructions may change a racing rule only as permitted in rule 86.

Changes to National Authority Prescriptions
A national authority may restrict changes to its prescriptions as provided in rule 88.2.