Richmond River Sailing & Rowing Club Inc

Starting Rules 1

Richmond River Sailing & Rowing Club In

Starting Rules 1 - No barging

Now is a good time to review the rules for starting. The aim is to keep sailing as a non-contact sport.

Firstly, the rules that do NOT apply before the start:

  • All rules about buoy room and room at obstructions.
  • Rules about proper course (as there is no proper course before the start).

Rules that do apply:

  • You must avoid collisions (even if you have right of way).
  • Starboard / Port give way rule, as usual.
  • Leeward boat has right of way on the same tack. Thus, the leeward boat can luff up to head to wind to push boats above them up. The windward boat is the give-way boat.
  • When changing course (eg. luffing up) you must give the other boat room to keep clear.
  • When acquiring right of way a boat must initially give the other boat room to keep clear.

In Scenario 1 below, Yellow boat has right to luff up (in position 2) to push blue boat out, so long as they give blue boat room to tack away and avoid the starting boat.


In Scenario 2 below, yellow boat cannot luff up in the red outlined position, because it is too late for blue to avoid the start boat. They must luff earlier or let them through.


In the following scenario, the yellow boat has the right to sail straight ahead (without changing course) to the start and not give blue any room to come in. Note the difference to Scenarios 1 & 2. Blue has no rights; but if it illegally pushes in, then yellow must give it room to avoid contact. This is barging by blue and they must do a penalty turn to exonerate. Barging is dangerous and is to be avoided by making a decision early, when you have time and space to tack away. Plan ahead. Winning the windward end of the start line is usually only possible for the one boat on a layline to that mark, as is the yellow boat below. Otherwise you must plan on going behind them or below them where you can be the one pushing up, or choose somewhere else on the line.


Phill Robbins