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The new RRS 2021-2024 is available

John Ball

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am very grateful to John for going through the new rules so rapidly and thoroughly. It's hard enough to keep up at the best of times. 

According to John, 'Appendix E Changes for RC sailing Various rules are reworded for style without change to meaning', but that is certainly not the case with respect of Rule E3.9 where the meaning has been changed completely. The 2017-2020 rule states:

E3.9 Disabled Competitors
To enable a disabled competitor to compete on equal terms, the race
committee shall make as fair an arrangement as possible.

Whereas the 2021-2024 rule states:

E3.9 Disabled Competitors The race committee may make or permit reasonable arrangements to assist disabled competitors to compete on as equal terms as possible. A boat or the competitor controlling her that receives any such assistance, including help from a support person, does not break rule 41.

In the 2017 rules the reuirment to make fair arrangements is mandatory, as indicated by the word 'shall', while in the 2021 rules there is no requirement, merely permission, as idicated by the word 'may'.  Furthermore, the 2017 rule relates to 'fair' arrangement whereas the 2021 rule introduces the weasel word 'reasonable'. 

Ask any disabled person and they will tell you that once any discretion is given about making adjustments for their disability then no action will be taken and the new rule introduces discretion in two forms, in the use of the word 'may' and the word 'reasonable'.  These changes mean that whether or not disabled sailors can compete on equal terms  is entirely in the gift of race committees who, if my experience is anything to go by, will always exercise that discretion in favour of the majority of competitors who are able bodied. 

One of the problems with rules that allow discretion  it tends to be the courts that decide whether it has been exercised reasonably. 


Charles Legg

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Just to let you know that I have revised all the chapters to match the new 2021-2024 edition of the RRS. They may be found at


I may need to make some revisions once World Sailing issues the new edition of the Case Book, and IRSA Call Book (used to be IRSA Case Book).

The new versions of these articles should still apply to the current 2017-2020 period,  however be aware that some rule number were changed.


John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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