At the start of a new year it is worth encouraging fellow yachtsmen to take to the water and participate in the greatest sport in the world and remember the reasons we participate in yacht racing:
– to have fun, make friends, enjoy the outdoors, to learn something new and improve our sailing skills
– being a good sport makes us feel better
Remember to be a good sport:
– Fair play – respect the race officials, your opponents and always behave politely
– Conduct – be sincere and gracious in victory as in defeat
– Ethical – exercise the appropriate fair behaviour while participating and abide by the spirit and letter of the rules.
Also remember yacht racing does not employ a referee so by entering a yacht race you agree to be bound by the rules of the game, specifically the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). As competitors we all need to understand and appreciate the rules especially The Basic Principles of RRS which state:
“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.”
Furthermore the Fundamental Rules, as set out in Part 1 of the RRS, require us
1. to help those in danger
2. to observe fair sailing
3. to accept the rules and any penalties imposed by a protest committee
4. to accept that the decision to race is ours
5. at all times to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code.
“Rule 2 – Fair Sailing
A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognised principals of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalised under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. A disqualification under this rule shall not be excluded from the boat’s series score.
Rule 4 – Decision to Race
The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.”
Finally, poor sportsmanship is reflected when:
1. A sailor does not take a penalty when he knows he has broken a rule
2. A sailor lies or stretches the truth in a protest hearing
3. A sailor engages in acrimonious communication with other boats either on or off the water
4. The word “Protest” is not acrimonious; its usage is fully provided for in RRS. However it is unnecessary and unsportsmanlike to use the word in a mean or nasty tone of voice.
Enjoy your sailing in 2016