A boat is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes and clears the finishing line and marks or retires, or until the race committee signals a general recall, postponement or abandonment.

What about a boat who missed a mark or who crossed the start line early - is that boat racing? Edit

Technically, yes! ... in both cases.

  1. A boat who misses the rounding of a mark is racing. This technicality arises because rule 28.1 allows for a boat to return and correct any error such as a missed mark at any time before she finishes.
  2. A boat who has crossed the starting line too early will have also received a rule 30.1 penalty. Such a boat has not started until she has discharged that penalty however since the definition of racing refers only to the preparatory signal and not the start she is, in fact, racing. As a consequence, following the preparatory signal there may be one or more boats identified in your ISAF window by the individual recall flag (blue cross on white background, a.k.a. "X") that may have right-of-way over your boat. Regardless of the fact that such a boat has received a penalty you must keep clear if she has right-of-way otherwise you will receive a penalty yourself!

As a matter of racing etiquette however, such skippers are frowned upon especially when they subsequently interfere with another boat that is racing. To avoid the possibility of subsequent interference some VSK hosts might kick a skipper for failing to return to correct such an error at the soonest opportunity. This should be made clear in the sailing instructions.