The Racing Rules of Sailing includes two main sections. The first, Parts 1–7, contains rules that affect all competitors. The second, the appendices, provides details of rules, rules that apply to particular kinds of racing, and rules that affect only a small number of competitors or officials.
A term used in the sense stated in the Definitions is printed in italics or, in preambles, in bold italics (for example, racing and racing).
Each of the terms in the table below is used in The Racing Rules of Sailing with the meaning given.

Term                            Meaning
Boat                             A sailboat and the crew on board.
Competitor                  A person who races or intends to race in the event.
National authority       A World Sailing member national authority.
Race committee         The race committee appointed under rule 89.2(c) and any other person or committee performing a race committee function.
Racing rule                 A rule in The Racing Rules of Sailing.
Technical committee The technical committee appointed under rule 89.2(c) and any other person or committee performing a technical committee function.
Vessel                          Any boat or ship.

Other words and terms are used in the sense ordinarily understood in nautical or general use.
Notation The notation ‘[DP]’ in a rule means that the penalty for a breach of the rule may, at the discretion of the protest committee, be less than disqualification. Guidelines for discretionary penalties are available on the World Sailing Website. [Section C: 'Jury Policies - Including information to Athletes and Discretionary Penalty Policy' - 2018]
Revision The racing rules are revised and published every four years by World Sailing, the international authority for the sport. This edition becomes effective on 1 January 2017 except that for an event beginning in 2016 the date may be postponed by the notice of race and sailing instructions. Marginal markings indicate important changes to Parts 1–7 and the Definitions in the 2013–2016 edition. No changes are contemplated before 2021, but any changes determined to be urgent before then will be announced through national authorities and posted on the World Sailing website.
Appendices When the rules of an appendix apply, they take precedence over any conflicting rules in Parts 1–7 and the Definitions. Each appendix is identified by a letter. A reference to a rule in an appendix will contain the letter and the rule number (for example, ‘rule A1’). The letters I, O and Q are not used to designate appendices in this book.
World Sailing Codes The World Sailing Codes are listed in the table below. The codes are published in the World Sailing Regulations.

Title                                                    Racing Rule     Regulation
Advertising Code                               80                       20
Anti-Doping Code                                5                       21
Betting and Anti-Corruption Code     6                       37
Disciplinary Code                                7                       35
Eligibility Code                                   75.2                   19
Sailor Classification Code                 79                      22

These Codes are referred to in the definition Rule but are not included in this book because they can be changed at any time. The most recent versions of the codes are published on the World Sailing website; new versions will be announced through national authorities.
Cases and Calls World Sailing publishes interpretations of the racing rules in The Case Book for 2017–2020 and recognizes them as authoritative interpretations and explanations of the rules. It also publishes The Call Book for Match Racing for 2017–2020 and The Call Book for Team Racing for 2017–2020, and it recognizes them as authoritative only for umpired match or team racing. These publications are available on the World Sailing website.

Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules 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.
Participants are encouraged to minimize any adverse environmental impact of the sport of sailing.
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