RRS question

Thread starter #1
During a recent Wednesday night mixed dinghy fleet race I encountered a boat that was vehemently convinced that they should be rounding the marks to starboard or "clock-wise" in direction. I was very confident at the time that I was correct and continued to round the marks to port or "counter clock-wise". I have attached the rule I believe applies to this situation as well as applicable statements from the NOR and SI. The opposing statement is as best i can remember it, the side of your vessel indicates which direction all course marks should be rounded. I have never heard this before and additionally cannot find any mention of it in the RRS, NOR, SI, ISAF case book, or ISAF Q&A service. Additionally, took no action to notify the racers to round the marks to starboard. Am I right or have I overlooked something very obvious?
RRS-28.1 A boat shall start, pass each mark on the required side in the correct order, and finish, so that a string representing her wake after starting and until finishing would, when drawn taut, lie on the required side of each mark and touch each rounding mark. She may correct any errors to comply with this rule, provided she has not already finished. After finishing, a boat need not cross the finishing line completely.

NOR-"Courses will be windward/leeward, or triangular courses at the discretion of the RC, with all buoys left
to port, unless instructed otherwise the SI or RC" SI- 'Marks will preferably be "left buoys to port"'



Active Member
I would say you should round the marks in whatever direction was specified on the course board at you club on on the committee boat.

When we display courses we display the mark to be rounds and the direction it should be rounded in (e.g. Port or Starboard).

If there was abiguity then the RO should be spoken to as, in the example you give, it could be valid to round the mark either way. I, personally, would have rounded both marks to port unless the course board stated otherwise (in fact if the course board didn't state I would have hailed the RO if possible).

The 'usual' way to round a windward mark is to Port because the rules and rights of way are much simpler. Starboard Windward mark roundings are far more interesting with regards to rules which is why they are used in Team Racing (much easier to set mark traps etc..).
The RRS state that marks are 'passed', not 'rounded'. This is a very important distinction.

Our club uses a board with all the marks on it (wooden pegs) and a piece of string to draw out the desired course.

If the string crosses over itself, from one leg of the course to the next, it usually indicates there is a course setting error.

When I first saw you're diagram I thought that was what had happened. But, on reflection, I think that it is just a case of scale.

I'm a little confused by your diagram. Is the course you've drawn the one you felt was correct?

Looks right to me, from the snippets of info you have supplied.

I'm being picky, but I think the NOR's should use the word 'passed' rather than 'left', to minimise confusion.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
I'm not sure that "passed" and "rounded" is a major distinction really. The RRS also use the words "leave each mark on the required side". Ultimately the wording that counts is what's in the sailing instructions, it really doesn't matter if you cross over your previous "taut line" as long as you go around each prescribed mark is in the correct direction from the previous prescribed mark and the next prescribed mark.

However, if you are using fixed marks shared between fleets or they are navigation marks they may have prescribed directions of roundings so that you don't find multiple fleets converging on the same mark with the intention of rounding it in opposite directions. In NSW, Australia, such marks (YA, channel marks etc) are meant to be starboard rounding, although this is often ignored by individual fleets (we used to have two Laser fleets using the same top mark which rounded opposite directions and often the new members would accidently end up following the wrong fleet for the rest of their race).


(we used to have two Laser fleets using the same top mark which rounded opposite directions and often the new members would accidently end up following the wrong fleet for the rest of their race).

LOL! Thanks for the morning chuckle, Alan!