The purpose of The Racing Rules of Sailing is to keep sailors and boats safe and to provide fair competition. The rules are governed by two basic principles:
Sportsmanship and the Rules
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.
The Racing Rules of Sailing are published every four years, beginning the year after the Summer Olympics, by World Sailing (WS). They govern sailboat racing around the world.
The US Sailing Prescriptions are added to The Racing Rules of Sailing, and they govern races that are held in the United States or the parts of international races that pass through U.S. waters. The US Sailing Prescriptions rank as rules in the United States.