Racing Rules

Simplified Right of Way Rules:

Starboard Tack: The wind is coming from the right side of the boat. Boom is on the left side. # 54 below is on a Starboard tack. #1031, a port tack boat, must keep clear of starboard tack boat #54.


Port Tack: The wind is coming from the left side of the boat. Boom is on the right side. A port tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard tack boat.

Windward Boat: On the same tack, you are the windward boat if the other boat’s boom lies on the side away from you. A windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat. In the photo below, #911 is the windward boat and must keep clear of leeward boat #534.


Room: The space a boat needs to maneuver in a seamanlike way.

Overlap: Two boats on the same tack are overlapped IF a line abeam from the transom of the boat ahead cuts or falls behind the boat  astern.

Right of Way rules excerpts:


10 — A port tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard tack boat.
11 — A windward boat shall keep clear of a boat to leeward.
12 — A clear astern boat shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.
13 — While tacking, a boat shall keep clear of all other boats.
14 — A boat shall avoid contact if possible and maybe disqualified if damage occurs.
15; 16.1 — A boat acquiring right of way or a right of way boat changing course shall give other boats room to keep clear.
17.1 — A leeward boat shall not sail above her proper course while passing a windward boat.
17.2 — A windward boat shall not sail below her proper course while being passed to leeward

At Marks and Obstructions:

18.1 — A starting mark is not a mark of the course, no room need be given.
18.2c — An overlap is considered established when entering the four boat zone, even if it is broken later.
18.3 — A boat which tacks inside the four boat zone loses her rights to room at the mark.
20 — At the bell, if recalled, keep clear of all boats that have started go back to the “right side” of the line around either end. You have no rights until started properly.

Note: If you commit a foul, you must do  a full/360 circle turn. It should be done as quickly as possible (clear of other boats) and before the next mark.

30.1 —Dip starts are not permitted. You must be on the “right side” by rounding either end of the line.
31.2 —If you touch a mark, you must do a full/360 circle turn after rounding (as soon as possible and keeping clear of other boats). If it’s a starting mark, it is done after starting and if it’s a finish mark, it is done after crossing the line, then returning to the “right side” of the finish line, and finishing again. While doing penalty turns you have no rights.  (Note:  Although this rule is strictly enforced for full size boats, many R/C yachting clubs may forego this rule.  SMYC does not penalize boats for touching marks).

Note: At the bell, “barging” means trying to squeeze between a leeward boat and the starting line or starting line mark. Windward boat must keep clear.

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