What’s New in the 2001–2004 Edition of Appendix E

What’s New in the 2001–2004 Edition of Appendix E

Note: the information in this     article is in no way to be taken as rules or interpretations. Reference shall     always be made to the Racing Rules of Sailing as well as any official interpretations or appeals.


  • Avoid entangled boats if possible.
  • Observers will stay in and make hails from the control area during racing.
  • General recalls will be signalled by two hails, as well as two sound signals of some sort.
  • When racing, skippers must remain inside of the control or the launching areas as they are defined in the sailing instructions.
  • If your boat is entangled or grounded outside the launching areas while racing, others must attend to it.
  • If your boat is otherwise disabled outside a launching area, you may not physically enter the area outside the launching areas to fix it while you are racing, nor may the rescue craft intervene. If a boat breaking a rule caused the problem, request redress.
  • In addition to making sure that your transmitter does not create interference with other boats, make sure that you do not cause interference when using other devices that generate a signal.
  • When you properly hail ‘out of control’ twice, you have effectively retired, and other boats will treat you as an obstruction.
  • If you wish to protest an on-the-water incident, you must have been scheduled to race in the heat, and you must have been within the control area, or a launching area at the time of the incident.
  • Your protest hail must be: ‘your sail number’, then the word ‘protest’ and then ‘the number of the other boat’. Make this hail twice.
  • If a boat breaking a rule forced you aground, you may request redress.
  • With regard to who can provide evidence at a protest hearing, see the text. Previous limitations now apply only to competitors.

The new version of Appendix E has been adapted to work with the 2001–2004 edition of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), and as such, has some minor changes in terminology. In addition, there are several modified rules intended to solve existing problems, and in a number of cases, the wording has been changed to try to eliminate ambiguity. The appendix also tries to more closely follow the RRS wherever possible and appropriate. The rules are available on the web at www.sailing.org

This paper will not attempt to examine the entire appendix in the interest of brevity, but will try to give an overview. I would also like to suggest that every rule in the appendix, and further, every rule in the RRS is an attempt to solve a problem. To under­stand a rule, it is important to under­stand and consider the problem that was being addressed.


This section is changed from the 1997–2000 edition of the appendix. It now includes in one place a number of rules that have to do with basic issues.

E1.1 Terminology

Because the new version of the RRS makes the use of Appendix A optional, the confusing modifications that were found to be needed for RSD and other events are no longer required. Therefore, the definitions in this section are essentially unchanged from the previous appendix. Refer to rule 88.3(a).

E1.2 Race Signals

This section was added to solve a number of issues where the rules in the body of the RRS require the use of flag signals. The previous edition of Appendix E deleted rule 25 because of the requirement to use visual (flag) signals, but in so doing, inadvertently omitted the requirement to make the sailing instructions available to each boat before the racing begins. This rule solves that problem and others. The ‘other sounds described in this appendix’ are not further specified except for their time of use, to allow for flexibility. A horn or whistle signal would be desirable, but race committees may use their discretion.

E1.3 Definitions

The addition to the definition of ‘interested party’ is intended to solve a problem in the last edition of the appendix. According to rule 60.2(a), a race committee cannot protest a boat as a result of information from an interested party, with a new exception mentioned below. Since frequently our only source of observers has been from the pool of competitors, there was at least a technical problem, because those ‘observer-competitors’ met the definition of ‘interested party’.

I might mention at this point that the 2001–2004 RRS contains a new rule, (60.4) that allows a protest committee to protest any boat involved in an incident when it receives any report of an incident that may have resulted in serious damage.

There is a slight change in the wording regarding the ‘two-length zone’. This was done in part to minimise fundamental changes to the body of the RRS. Although rule 18 is no longer mentioned, the effect is exactly the same as in the current appendix.

E1.4 Personal Buoyancy

After considerable discussion of options, this rule remains unchanged from the 1997–2000 appendix. It follows the lead of the RRS in making the competitor responsible for wearing adequate floatation. It is not someone else’s responsibility.

E1.5 Aerials

The new rule gives the protest committee the option of warning a competitor who violates the requirements of the rule.


Capsized or Entangled

This is a new addition to the appendix that requires boats to avoid entangled boats if possible, as well as boats capsized. In addition, this rule serves to define entanglement in the same manner that rule 21 defines ‘capsized’. The modification of the body of the RRS is felt warranted because while full size boats rarely become entangled, radio-sailed boats do so more commonly.


E3.1 Races with Observers

The revised rule on this subject adds the requirement that observer hails shall be made from the control area and that observers must remain in the control area while boats are racing. It was felt inappropriate for observers to be stationed far from the control area and perhaps near a distant mark, and to be allowed to make hails which might not be heard, and which could not be corroborated by those restricted to the control area. The wording also ensures that observers cannot make such observations outside the control area and then run over to the control area to make the hail.

There are other important facets to this rule too. Race observers, as the term is used in this appendix, have one specific function. They hail when they note contact, either between boats, or between a boat and a mark. This means for example that a line judge responsible for calling boats over early at the start is not acting as an ‘observer’ when completing this task. The race committee in some way must appoint the observers, and they may be competitors not racing or they may be race committee members, or perhaps others. Simply being a member of the race committee does not automatically make one a race observer. In other words, race committee members who are not serving as observers may be outside the control area while boats are racing.

To expand further on the function of observers, consider the case where an appointed observer sees an infraction other than contact, and reports the incident to the race committee. I would interpret this action by the observer to be outside the scope of his or her appointment per E3.1, and thus not functioning as an observer in making this report. Therefore, the person does not meet the exclusion granted to observers in E1.3(a). If the person is a competitor, he or she reverts to an interested party, and the race committee may not protest, per rule 60.2(a). This reinforces the limited role assigned to observers.

The requirement for race observers to report ‘unresolved incidents’ is unchanged from the previous appendix. This requirement presupposes that the observer knows how incidents are resolved; concepts that may not be immediately apparent to those less experienced. If a boat did a turn, did it meet all the requirements of the applicable rules? Did she get not only clear, but ‘well clear’, and did she do so as ‘soon as possible’ after the incident? Did she keep clear of boats not doing turns? In order for the observer to answer these questions, he or she must understand the concept of getting or keeping clear for example. Keeping clear is a strictly defined term. This serves to emphasise that skilled observers are very desirable.

E3.2 Course Board

This rule begins the introduction of a new approach; the launching area or areas. In addition to the requirement to show the control area on a course board, there is now a requirement to show the launching area(s). Note however that the size of these areas is not specified, thus giving considerable freedom to the race committee. This is vitally important with respect to the function of launching areas.

The reason for adding launching areas will be discussed in conjunction with the next rule, but at this point please do not try to picture them as perhaps small roped off areas where the boats are commonly launched. Doing so will lead one astray. The new wording also requires that the information on the course board be clearly visible to competitors as they are racing instead of just the course board itself being visible.

E3.3 Control and Launching Areas

This rule has several significant changes. It requires that the control and launching areas be defined in some manner in the sailing instructions, and it limits where a competitor may physically go while actively racing his or her boat. It also affects competitors not racing.

The new wording requires that skippers who are racing stay within the control area, except that they may briefly go to and from a launching area to do such things as launching, adjusting, repairing, removing entangled objects (which would include another boat) etc., per rule E4.5. It means that skippers actively racing may not man a rescue vessel that is outside the launching area(s), nor may such skippers wade or swim out beyond the launching area(s). Note however that competitors who are not racing are allowed in the rescue vessel that is outside of the launching areas.

The launching area concept is a tool for use by the race committee to solve a number of potential problems. For casual racing, the size and locations of launching areas can be adjusted to suit the event. However, not using them as intended can lead to the sort of abuse that has been noted in the recent and not so recent past.

While still racing, some skippers have been manning the rescue vessel (sometimes without permission) in order to row out to disentangle or repair their boat, but in so doing, disrupting the rest of the fleet. There have been instances where skippers were able to wade out well into the racing area in order to work on their boat. And a few skippers, while racing, have apparently been swimming to their boats under dangerous conditions. The ISAF–RSD Racing Rules Committee worked extensively on a number of possible solutions. This one allowed the greatest flexibility. However, for the concept to work the race committee must properly define the launching area(s). Think of the water outside the launching areas as what is desired to be a ‘racing skipper free zone’.

Besides the obvious areas where boats may be launched, the launching areas should include all areas that are too shallow for boats to sail, but where boats might possibly go aground without the possibility of re-launching by the crew of a rescue vessel. Care should be taken not to include areas whose use might interfere with racing. In some cases the control area may need to be adjusted so that it is compatible with use of the launching area. Launching areas need not be contiguous. Rescue vessels should not have a draft so great that they cannot at least get close to the outer margins of the launching areas. In that way, all areas are covered.

The launching area can be used to address safety (and liability) concerns too. Say there is a steep embankment on one side of the pond that is not safe to traverse. That location should not be included in any launching area and the rescue vessel crew should rescue boats stranded there. Notice too that the current wording should prevent skippers from swimming out to their boats, provided that the launching area concept is properly applied.

E3.4 Non-applicable Rules

This rule now ensures that there is an official requirement to make the sailing instructions available to each boat before a race begins. For the technically minded, the word ‘race’ actually becomes ‘heat’ per E1.1.

E3.6 Starting Penalties

The deletion of the word ‘crew’ is housekeeping. The wording in E3.6 also allows the race committee to use one of the options in rule 30 without displaying a flag signal.

E3.9 General Recall

This rule now requires that the general recall hails be made along with two sound signals. They are not further specified. Especially at large events, horn or other suitable signals have been found to be effective in cutting through all the noise so that the intentions of the race committee are clear. Also, this rule now more closely follows the RRS with respect to signalling a general recall.

E3.10 Shortening or Abandoning After the Start

After the start, this rule has an effect slightly different from the past E4.7. Again, heats may not be abandoned because of too much wind per se, however insufficient wind is now a permissible reason to so abandon. It should be noted that the appendix does not modify the permission in rule 32(e) that allows the race committee to abandon a race (or heat) ‘for any other reason directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition’.

This means that the race committee cannot abandon a heat simply because it is stormy, but they may so abandon if the ‘safety of the competition’ is felt to be compromised. It can be maintained that a radio sailing competition is a test of both a skipper and his or her boat. Therefore, if the safety of the boats is in jeopardy, the race committee may abandon the heat under rule 32(e).

In a significant change from the current appendix, this draft does not modify rule 27 (which applies before the start), as did E4.7. Therefore, the race committee may now postpone a heat because of too much or too little wind. Forcing the race committee to start a heat when there is essentially no wind or during storm conditions could conflict with the permissions in rule 32(e).

E5.10 also removes the new permission in rule 32(f) that allows a race committee to abandon a race ‘to enable further races to be sailed’. Such a rule does not quite fit with our sport.


E4.1 Non-applicable Rules

A few additional rules have been added to the list in the 1997–2000 appendix, in the interest of making the appendix shipshape.

E4.2 Outside Help

This rule has been reworded for greater clarity. It deals with both giving and receiving help. As in the current appendix, competitors may not give advice to those racing. In general, the new rule follows the RRS in restricting the receiving of outside help except in a few instances.

Before discussing actual physical assistance or help, I would like to briefly comment on receiving advice. Because the issue of receiving advice is not fundamentally different in radio sailing as compared to full size racing, it is not addressed in the appendix. Admittedly, receiving advice is somewhat of a grey area. Many advisory hails are common and accepted practice both our level and on big boats, and even though they may have the effect of helping the other boat, they are not considered to be a violation of rule 41. At the other extreme, I believe that private voice communication for example, say with an aeroplane overhead spotting wind or perhaps with a person standing on a high bluff overlooking a radio sailing event, would be considered inadmissible outside help.

Now to hands-on assistance. If the launching area concept is used properly, a skipper may not go out into the area where other boats are racing to fix his or her boat while racing. If there is a problem beyond the launching area, outside help (supplied by a rescue vessel crew) is limited only to disentangling boats, or freeing those aground. If the boat’s battery goes dead for example, the competitor will be forced to retire. This can be thought of as the rights of the many (to have an unencumbered racecourse) vs. the rights of the individual skipper. In the case of the dead battery, most likely the boat is out of control, and would be obligated to promptly hail and retire according to rule E4.9. Note the word ‘promptly’ in that rule.

If the boat is not able to continue racing because of the improper action of another boat, redress can and should be granted if appropriate. If the boat is disabled and was at fault, one would be hard pressed to consider that the boat deserves outside help in the racing area beyond what is allowed by this rule so that it may continue with the heat. It has most likely violated rule 14 along with its other infraction. If the damage requires the intervention of a rescue boat, one could reasonably conclude that the damage was serious, and that the boat is required to retire per rule 44.1.

At higher level events where it is expected that the launching area will be most useful, boats should be prepared to complete heats. When racing full size boats, if say a winch breaks down, crews are not allowed to have a tender come alongside with spare parts. So the new appendix can now be used to more closely reflect the RRS with respect to a boat receiving outside help.

Some may wonder why the RSD Racing Rules Committee did not propose a rule that would penalise skippers racing who physically interfere with other boats racing. Speaking only for myself, I think that this solution would be problematic. Proving interference would be difficult and contentious. A potential violation would require a hearing, and later the consideration of redress for all those who may have been interfered with. I think it would be analogous to having a speed limit that said ‘don’t go too fast’.

The new appendix allows competitors not racing and others to help do the same things a skipper is allowed to do within a launching area. However, it requires that a boat aground or entangled outside a launching area only be freed by a ‘rescue vessel crew’. This wording allows a person in a rescue vessel to temporarily step out to retrieve a boat in an area not included in a launching area. Such wading should be a fairly uncommon, and only at ponds with unusual features that are not included in a launching area. Examples of such unusual race sites might be ponds with islets in the middle, or perhaps sites with docks on pilings under which boats could get stuck, but where the rescue vessel itself could not go.

Again, the effect of a properly designated launching area will be to keep the skipper who is racing physically out of the racing area. If his or her boat is entangled beyond a launching area, someone else (a race committee member, a competitor not racing, or other helper) must solve the problem. It is hoped that such help will be given in a prudent manner, and not impede the progress of the other boats. Imprudent help could lead to requests for redress, based on an allegation of improper action by the race committee in directing the rescue vessel.

E4.3 Propulsion and Prohibited Actions

This new rule is in the nature of housekeeping.

E4.5 Launching and Re-launching

This rule, along with others in the past appendix, has been relocated so that it follows in the sequence of the rule in the RRS that it changes or replaces. In a significant addition, boats are now required to be launched or recovered from a launching area. This of course is needed to make the concept of the launching area work. See above.

You will note the exception in E4.5(b). This was included because some might have seen an apparent contradiction with this rule, which says that all boats shall be launched from within a launching area, and E4.2(b)(1). On close reading you will see that E4.2 refers to ‘relaunching’, not launching. Relaunching should be understood to mean ‘launch again’. To prevent confusion or misapplication of the rule however, ‘except as provided by rule E4.2(b)(1)’ was added E4.5(b).

E4.6 Person in Charge

Rather than delete rule 46 as did the previous appendix, it has been adapted to our use. It’s an administrative issue linked to rule 75.

E4.7 Moving Ballast

In the previous appendix, the rule on ballast changed rule 51. Rule 51 still existed; it was just changed some. The problem was that rule 51 is in Part 4 of the RRS, and rules of Part 4 only apply while boats are actually racing. ‘Racing’ is used here in the defined sense.

Now we ‘replace’ rule 51 with the intent that the sea lawyers cannot claim that they have the right to change ballast while they are not actively racing, based on the logic above.

E4.7(d) has a very minor word change, replacing the word ‘and’ with ‘but’ to avoid an apparent contradiction that some have perceived.

E4.8 Radio

In the 1997 – 2000 appendix, the ‘radio transmissions’ of a competitor were not to interfere. Although probably ambiguous, this could have been understood to only regulate the skipper’s transmitter. The new wording covers all radio signals that a competitor might cause to be transmitted; for example those generated by 2-way radios, or perhaps even a cell phone.

 This rule now prohibits a competitor who has been found to have caused interference from racing again until the problem is proven to have been fixed. Although the rule does not specify how this is to be done, the customary method is to have all skippers who will be racing together turn on their transmitters one by one, while each watches for signs of interference. If there is an allegation of interference from other sources, a similar procedure could be used.

E4.9 Boat Out of Radio Control

This rule is slightly reworded. In the old rule (E5.6), a boat out of control was required to retire. It ‘shall’ retire, but the requirements for retiring are at the discretion of the race committee. It is common to require some form of notification. Imagine that your boat was out of control and that it sailed across the pond. You make the proper hails. As you quickly walk around to retrieve your boat, the rest of the boats finish. If you did not retire properly, it is possible that you could have been protested by a rule nut for not doing so!

With the new wording, once you hail ‘out of control’ and your boat’s number twice, the race committee should automatically consider you retired.


E5.1 Right to Protest and Request Redress

This rule continues the requirement that a boat wishing to protest an infraction of a rule of Part 2, 3 or 4 must have been scheduled to race in the heat in which the incident occurred. It now also requires that the protestor must have been in the control or launching area at the time.

Note that this rule makes reference not only to allegations of violations of Part 2 rules, but also to violations of Parts 3 and 4. This ensures that those spectating and not racing cannot file protests if they think a boat was over the starting line early, or touched a mark, etc. The new rule also helps clear up a past problem with observer reports.

E5.2 Informing the Protestee

The rule now reverts to the practice of Appendix B7, which was in effect from 1993 to 1996. It requires that a boat intending to protest another boat must hail her own sail number, followed by ‘Protest’ followed by the other boat’s number. The 1997–2000 rule did not require that the protestor identify herself, and that caused significant difficulty. Admittedly, the return to the requirements of B7 is more complicated, but it is with cause, especially for major events.

Some have felt that the word ‘protest’ in this context is not grammatically correct. Because of the long history of the RRS requiring the exact word ‘protest’ and because of consideration for those who are not native English speakers, the draft uses the word ‘protest’.

E5.2 omits all but the first sentence of the revised rule 61.1(a) in the new RRS. That first sentence is very important. It requires that a boat intending to protest another boat shall always inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity. If the protestor does not do this, it is not a valid protest. The new wording in the RRS is now more clear – more definite – about the much abused requirement for timely notification of intent to protest.

E5.5 Redress

It is now possible to get redress for having been forced aground by a boat breaking a rule of Part 2, as well as having been entangled. However such redress should not be considered automatic. All the requirements in rule 62.1 must be met.

E5.7 Taking Evidence and Finding Facts

This rule requires careful reading. In the old rule, evidence about an alleged breach of a rule of Part 2, 3 or 4 was accepted only from witnesses who were within the control area at the time. A person outside of control area could not give evidence.

In the new rule, it is evidence given by competitors that is so regulated. A competitor is one who has met the appropriate requirements in the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, and is eligible to compete in the event. Therefore this rule does not prevent testimony at a protest hearing by race committee members or other non-competitor witnesses who were outside the control area at the time of the incident, including those with video evidence.

I might briefly touch on video evidence and the concept of evidence being ‘given’. With the common use of video cameras both by competitors not racing, and by spectators, it is very likely that a skipper involved in a protest may be shown video of the incident in question. Under the wording of this rule, it is possible for the skipper to take the video camera in hand (the evidence) and ‘give’ it at the hearing, even if the video was actually shot by a competitor who was not racing at the time. This result was specifically intended. Of course the protest committee is expected to understand the nature and problems with video and other image-based evidence.

E5.8 Penalties and Exoneration

This rule now gives the protest committee a few more options when certain rules specific to this appendix are broken. Instead of a DSQ per rule 64.1(a) the race committee may do one of the three things listed. The intent is to allow either a DSQ in the race in which an incident happened, or one of the other 3 options. These are important in order to deal with non-racing violations, such as giving advice, causing radio interference, etc.

E5.9 Decision on Redress

This rule has the effect of causing a slight change in granting time to repair. In the previous rule (E4.11), a boat that was damaged while having the right of way could be granted time to repair unless she was disqualified under rule 14. Omitted was the idea of granting redress to a boat that may not have had ROW status, but nonetheless, should have been given room. Also, it was not clear from E4.11 how the determination of ROW status should have been made. At the highest level, the only proper option would have been to hold a hearing.

The new rule approaches this differently. In order to get time to repair, redress must be granted. In order to get redress in this circumstance, there must have been the possibility that the boat’s finishing place was made significantly worse through no fault of her own. She should have broken no rule that she was not forced to break by the improper action of another boat. Also, the damage must have been caused by the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of Part 2, or of a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear. This solves the issue of ROW vs. keep clear in the past rule.

At local and perhaps regional events, skippers may not wish to hold hearings to decide on time to repair. At these events it is common and accepted for race committees to grant short delays for this and other problems facing skippers, and the rules do not prevent such action. If desired, race committees or Division Members can formalise rules that suit them for such ‘holds’ in the racing at local events.


This is a somewhat complex rule with a simple result, which is achieved by modifying Appendix G. That appendix divides boats into two groups; ISAF classes dealt with in G1, and all others dealt with in G2.

E6 changes only G1, so it applies only to the four ISAF–RSD International classes (unless other classes choose to make reference to it). It is the goal of ISAF and ISAF International classes to remove sail number specifications from the class rules and include them in the racing rules. The appendix follows this principle, and the result is a major simplification in the specifications for these classes. The RSD Permanent Committee has recently adopted changes to all the International class rules to make this so.

In the recent past, these specifications were contained in the 1997 International Class Administrative Rules (ICAR) and included requirements on height, width, thickness, radius at the junctions and ends of strokes, spaces between marks on opposite sides of the sail, and spaces between sail numbers and other marks. Because ICAR only modified the old Appendix H (now Appendix G), the readability requirement in H1.2(a) still applied. This could be regarded as overkill.

In E6 the requirements are greatly reduced, but the result should be essentially the same. A table gives the minimum height of the characters, and the minimum space between the characters and the edge of the sail. This is augmented by the readability requirement in Appendix G, unchanged from the past Appendix H, as follows:

G1.2(a) National letters and sail numbers shall be in capital letters and Arabic numerals, clearly legible and of the same colour. Commercially available typefaces giving the same or better legibility than Helvetica are acceptable.

This wording implies a simple readability test in case of a dispute about sail markings. One places the sail in question next to one properly configured using Helvetica font, (which is very similar to Ariel Bold), and begins walking away. Note which text becomes unreadable first. For your interest, I understand that ISAF chose Helvetica as a standard because it is not the easiest font to read. The goal was to make sure that the standard was not too hard to meet.

Importantly, all proper sail markings per recent ICAR standards will still be completely legal. No changes in correct current practice should be required.

Likewise, no changes should be required for any other radio-sailed class that specifies sail number specifications in its class rules. The appendix does not change G2. Unless the class has formed a class association or unless the appropriate ISAF National Authority has applicable sail marking rules for radio-sailed boats, application of G2 does not dictate how sail identification should be done. However, boats are required by the RRS to comply with class rules, and therefore if ‘other classes’ do not somehow specify sail identification in their class rules, they should.

For non-RSD classes that may have formed class associations, boats are required by G2 to follow the rules of the class association, but ‘such rules shall, when practical, conform to the requirements of G1’ (which is modified by the appendix). I do not think this requirement should be a burden for any such classes, whether they find G1 as modified practical or not.

Larry Robinson

ISAF-RSD Publicity Officer

February 21, 2001