Book Review: The Rules in Practice 2017 – 2020

by Bryan Willis
Published by Fernhurst

Available from SAILING Books. Enquiries HERE

As of 1 January 2017 the new RRS came into play in this country, so if you have any rule book other than the current one, throw it away as it is now useless to you!

If you have not seen them, nor downloaded them, then maybe the book ‘The Rules in Practice’ by Bryan Willis is for you as it covers the changes from the old rules to the new ones – PLUS has the full 2017 to 2020 rule book included. For those who previously relied on South African Sailing (SAS) giving a free copy of the RRS book to all sailors, this year they are not doing that. Your options are to buy this book, or download and print one from the World Sailing website.

Willis highlights the changes to the RRS in the opening chapter. There are some interesting changes here, especially in terms of Rule 6 & 7. ‘Support Persons’ should read these rules and fully understand them – and their consequences.

Basically new Rule 7 requires competitors and ‘support persons’ to comply with ‘Regulation 35, Disciplinary, Appeals and Review Code’ to include coaches (and parents) in these obligations is an important change.

There are some long-anticipated rule changes to Rule 69 – which is about cheating and bringing the sport into disrepute.

One that all keelboat owners should read and understand is Rule 49.2 regarding lifelines.

There’s more too – and hopefully enough already to have whet your appetite – and seen the need to buy this book. If not, there are many explanations and diagrams which clearly explain the RRS.

Then there is the actual Rule Book PLUS all the appendices to the RRS.

When the last RRS of sailing book was published by Bryan Willis (2012-2016), Dave Hudson, a National Judge and student of the RRS, said this:

“I find “The Rules in Practice” particularly useful for three reasons:

Firstly, Bryan Willis’ approach is situation-based and practical, rather than rules-based and technical.

Secondly, under the diagrams that clearly set out each on-the-water situation, he carefully takes the reader through what each boat can and can’t do, as well as how their rights and obligations change at each stage.
Thirdly, the text is peppered with useful tactical insights and tips.

A firm grip on the RRS is not only about staying out of trouble, and certainly not just about being able to assert your rights. It is about being able to anticipate the many opportunities that open up when boats converge on the race course, and then to capitalise on them with confidence and precision. This is where one-design round-the-boys races are generally won and lost.”

Incidently Hudson has this new book and is studying it, and he still recommends it to everyone who races a yacht.

His advice alone is every reason to purchase this book and get to know the RRS thoroughly.

Some classes require the RRS to be aboard at all times – so unless you download and print them, or buy the book, you may violate a class rule.

Get it now BEFORE someone who has it, and has studied it, protests you out of your next race!