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Beginners Guide to the Basic Racing Rules

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The rules of Radio Controlled Yacht Racing may seem to be quite complicated to a beginner.

The following is by no means comprehensive, and applies only to behaviour on the water, so that beginners can start with a degree of knowledge of the rules, and are less likely to cause incidents on the water.

If these comments conflict in any way with the official Racing Rules of Sailing, or the decision of a protest committee, then the latter must take precedence over these comments.

In order to make it easier to understand the rules and principles of Radio Controlled Yacht Racing, we have prepared the following, which if read in conjunction with the Racing Rules of sailing, may help beginners to behave correctly on the water.

Incidents in Radio Control Yacht racing can happen so fast in some conditions, such that it if there is a lapse of concentration, contacts happen or a rule is broken which was not the intention. We ask therefore that more experienced members are tolerant, but behave honestly and fairly to others if they make a mistake.

We would ask that every member reads and takes note of the RYA Racing Charter, the objectives of which are:

  • To provide the framework for everyone to enjoy the sport of sailboat racing in whatever capacity and to whatever level the individual desires.
  • To ensure that the sport of sailboat racing welcomes all people and treats them equally.
  • To ensure that those who experience sailboat racing are encouraged to continue.

An important the paragraph on Page 6 of the Racing Rules of Sailing states:


A body of rules governs competitors in the sport of sailing that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.

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