RRS Appendix SY

RRS Appendix SY (2021-2024)

Since its inception in 2011 the top priority of the SYRA has been to enhance safe racing. One of the initial issues was that The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) did not address the inherent performance of superyachts; the lack of maneuverability and slow acceleration of these extraordinarily large cruising yachts. An additional concern was that some event organizers took it upon themselves to change the RRS without World Sailing’s (then ISAF) approval. This had the potential for repercussions from yacht insurance underwriters who could possibly deny a claim in the event of an accident on the racecourse.

The SYRA Uniform Racing Rules Committee moved quickly and with World Sailing’s cooperation the SYRA was able to test key revisions to the RRS at five superyacht regattas in 2011 and 2012. This culminated in the approval of Appendix SY, Superyacht Racing Rules, at World Sailing’s Annual General Meeting in November, 2012. SYRA has been diligent about refining the racing rules and in May, 2014 Appendix SY, Version. 2.2 was posted on World Sailing’s website. The updated Appendix SY, Version 4.0 (January 2021) was updated and posted in May. These rules can be invoked in any superyacht regatta worldwide by inclusion in the event’s Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions.

Appendix SY is published on the World Sailing website.

Appendix SY – Continuous Improvement

Over seven years ago and with the approval of World Sailing, the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) Appendix SY made its debut at the 2011 St Barths Bucket. At that time, there was apprehension on how the 40 metre addition to keeping clear or giving room, and the restrictive overtaking provisions would work on the race course.

Fortunately for superyacht racing, the fundamentals of Appendix SY have stood the test of time. In subsequent years, there have been a number of minor changes and improvements made to the appendix. Review and refinements to the Superyacht rules continue.

Recently, four members of the SYRA’s Superyacht Racing Rules Committee met in Porto Cervo during the Rolex Swan Cup. They addressed two issues that have been raised in recent years: ‘overtaking’ and ‘continuing obstructions’. Three International Judges, Jim Capron, Gordon Stedwick and Willii Gohl, were joined by experienced superyacht navigator Nacho Postigo to tackle these important topics.

Through several meetings during the regatta, the SYRA RRC members agreed to new wording to the superyacht version of rule 17.2 ‘proper course’ (Appendix SY 2.8). This new wording will be submitted to World Sailing’s Racing Rules Committee during their 2018 AGM later this month in Sarasota, Florida, USA. With the approval of World Sailing, this new wording in Appendix SY will appear as changes in 2019. SYRA will provide the specifics on the changes to the rules in the next issue of the SYRA newsletter along with two new case studies. The new case studies will analyze the issues in overtaking to windward and overtaking to leeward.

The committee members also held extended discussions on the interpretation of ‘continuing obstruction’ which regularly applies when racing around the island of St Barths or the Archipelago in Costa Smeralda. The committee decided to produce a case study before the 2019 winter circuit. The objective is to address which rules apply when approaching and rounding an island that is a mark of the course and which will become a continuing obstruction when boats are passing it.

If you have any questions for the Superyacht Racing Rules Committee or would like to provide input on any issues pertaining to the rules, please email us anytime and we will forward to the committee chairman.

Current case studies are posted here.