UK Sailmakers, as one of the world’s most established groups of sailmakers, has long been on the forefront of teaching the Racing Rules of Sailing. So with the 2021-2024 Racing Rules of Sailing now published and available online for download, we are preparing for them to take effect on January 1, 2021. As we comb through the new edition and prepare to update their animated quizzes, one change that jumped out on the first read-through was the revision in the definition of Finishing.
Under the rules for the last few decades, a boat finishes when any part of her hull, crew or equipment in its normal position crosses the finish line. However, in the 2021-2024 edition, a boat finishes when any part of her hull crosses the finish line. This by itself is a big change.
But what’s the hull? Merriam-Webster Dictionaries define hull as “the outer covering of a fruit or seed” (we didn’t know that) but also as “the frame or body of a ship or boat exclusive of masts, yards, sails, and rigging.”
More relevant will likely be how The Equipment Rules of Sailing define hull, and while only the 2017-2020 version is available, we are betting there will be no changes in which the wording and diagrams for hull show only the shape of the hull excluding fittings, so no permanent appendages such as prods, racks, etc. With many race committee’s staffed by volunteers with different levels of knowledge, I have frequently wondered if committee members look up to mark my finish time on when the leading edge of my massive asymmetrical spinnaker crossed the line. Now there will be no need to wonder; finishes will be marked when part of your hull crosses the line.
UK Sailmakers Racing Rules Quiz Program, click here.
To download the 2021-2024 Rules, click here.