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Sailing Rules & Instructions

Every four years, after each Olympic Games, the Racing Rules of Sailing are reviewed. The latest version is published by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and are available for download from They are also available for purchase in book format published by Yachting Australia available at most yacht chandlers. Other books authored by Elvstrom and also Willis are helpful in explaining the practical application of the rules in various racing situations. Since these rules govern all sailboat racing (even for BHSA skippers) it is essential that they be understood.

This details the Sailing Instructions governing BHSA sailboat races and is written in conformance with Part 3 of the Racing Rules of Sailing. The organisation and running of BHSA sailboat races, as detailed in these Sailing Instructions, generally accords with Rules 25 through 89, inclusive with some exceptions relating to starting signals. These instructions assume that all race entrants are familiar with the 2017-2020 Racing Rules of Sailing. The fun of sailboat racing is enhanced by all skippers having a reasonable knowledge of the rules of sailboat racing.


Sailing is like a lot of games in this respect – to participate you do need to know the rules. By not doing so you risk spoiling, not only your own racing experience, but also that of others, and in the worst circumstance can even cause damage to other boats or personal injury. The more experienced members of the club are encouraged to coach those that are less experienced. Over the years this has been a relatively successful policy, to the point that formal protest hearings are extremely rare.


The BHSA has traditionally had a reasonably relaxed attitude to the rules of sailing. That does not mean however that members should take the sailing rules lightly. In close encounters on the water, a good principle to adopt is, “if you are not sure of the rules applicable to the situation, keep clear of other boats”.

Notice of Race & Sailing Instructions

These instructions are published for all BHSA members, and for visiting sailors copies will be available on the beach before each race.

Race schedules will be published in the newsletter preceding each sailing series. T

You can download a copy of the Notice of Race & Sailing Instructions here.

There is an Incident Report Proforma here (fill out, notify someone and submit to a committee member)

Timelord Instructions

As a time lord you have four main functions:

  1. Starting each class

  2. Checking that each boat sails its correct course

  3. Recording the time taken by each boat

  4. Monitoring safe sailing

Download a copy of the Timelord Instructions or check out Serena Steuart’s useful video The Timelord Business below.

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