ISAF Rules

Real life sailors beware: Not all inworld events use real rules. Some use a crippled subset called RRSSL - race rules of sailing in Second Life. RRSSL include only rules 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19. In other words, rules 12, 14, 15, 17, 31 and all the rest are not used.

Are u serious? I am :-)
Effectively, RRSSL promotes a bumper boat style of racing. Sometimes there are "holes" in the rules. He rammed you from behind? Sorry, we do not have a rule for that. Sometimes ROW is reversed compared to using the full ISAF rule set. It is strange, but some people seem to prefer that. Read the NOR, and talk to the Race Director before racing.

The debate has been on going since the first sailboat sailed sl waters:
1) Should we use real world racing rules for racing in SL?
2) Can we unite SL sailors under one set of racing rules?

The answers should be obvious to an RL sailor. I mean, even the guys at Sailing Anarchy wants ISAF rules. However, in SL it's a different story. 

It's really quite silly. Knowing section two of the rules is enough most of the time, and it is only six measly pages in an a6 sized booklet. It's really not that hard.

Race you round the island out there?

SL is anarchy. There are no rules, no consensus, no structure or empowered organisations, and consequently there are no rules enforcement. Breaking the rules has little or no consequence. There are yachtclubs and sailing associations, but they aren't organised in any democratic way, and they seem to pursue only their own happiness; No formal structure glue these clubs together. 

SLSA, the organisation promoted as the sailing organisation of SL, fails in gluing together the clubs, and it fails to promote the racing rules otherwise accepted worldwide. The fact is that SLSA is an empty shell with no board, no means, no goals, no member obligations. It's really just a mailgroup. 

Apparently the debate has been quite hefty. When I mention ISAF rules most of the elderly people (sorry ;-) in SL just shrug their shoulders and say "Oh no, not that old talk again". I don't know all the details of the SL Sailing history; I have listened to people, asked around, - and I tried reading the post from years back on the sl sailing forum.

My mind is not poisened by historic wars, economic interests or politics. The debate on the forum is not helpfull, and the outcome of reading the forum is not a clear understanding of sailing in SL. It is confusion.

So what is the fuzz about?
The backgrounds of SL sailors are very different. Some never set foot on a boat in RL. They just want sailing to be easy. Some just want to go fast as in bumper cars. Some want some rules, and some even have extensive RL experience. The RL sailors would typically want to use realistic boats and the international real world rules. That changes SL from being a toy to being a training tool.

Well... sailing is difficult. That's what makes it fun. You need to master not only the physical setup of the boat, but also the trimming, the tactics, the teamwork and the rules. ISAF has many briliant sailors on board, and they have spent years and years analyzing the rules and improving the rules based on real world experience.

Get some real experience, get a Flying Fizz

The work of ISAF has only one goal: To make yacht racing more fair and fun. 

Using a subset of the real rules can be ok, for a beginners lesson. Promoting and teaching a subset of the rules is not ok. How can anyone think, they can make those rules better by taking out things? The ISAF ruleset is accepted worldwide as the racing standard. Hundreds of experienced sailors have contributed to make the rules better over decades and decades.

This page exists to demonstrate, how the crippled SL rules, the RSSSL are defunct. Sometimes they do not cover the situation at hand; Sometimes they even reverse the ROW. Sometimes they just promote a sailingstyle that are unfriendly, unfair and aggressive. To me, that seems like a very bad idea.

How RSSSL is defunct:

Rule 12) 
Two boats on same tack sailing downwind. Boat A hits boat B from behind. Under RRS boat A is DSQ  by rule 12. Under RRSSL, ROW is undefined. As there is no way to determine who has the fault. Who is hitting who? There is no option but to allow the collision. Effectively collision now becomes an attack weapon.

Rule 13)
Under RRSSL this is simplified to "A tacking boat has no rights". However, the RRSSL fail to define when a boat is considered to be tacking. This creates room for interpretations. Someone might think, I am tacking while I am really just luffing; Or... I might actually be tacking, but under RRS I keep my ROW untill I cross head to wind. ROW reversed.

Rule 14)
Leaving out rule 14 is at best problematic. Effectively this means that collisions are not punished, and that transforms collisions into an attack weapon.

Rule 15)
Two overlapped boats A and B are approaching the top mark on port tack, A being lee. With no warning what so ever, the lee boat, A, tacks to starboard and shouts protest. Under RRS rule 15 require A to give B time and room to keep clear. RRSSL leaves out rule 15, and that lets A win the protest and B is DSQ. Not only is ROW reversed. Obviously A will seek a collision to make a clear case, and thus collision becomes an attack weapon.

Rule 17)
Two boats A and B going downwind on a port tack. B is clear ahead. No marks nearby. Within a distance of two boat lengths A establishes overlap from behind. Now, under RRS A is obliged to sail astern of B. Under RRSSL A is allowed to luff with  no warning and ad libitum, requiring B to keep clear. ROW is reversed, and A has the benefit of winning by seeking a collision.

Rule 18)
RRSSL simplifies rule 18 to "Inner boat always has ROW". That reverses ROW in so many situations that won't even try to list them all. One really simple example is this: The second the overlap is broken the ROW is reversed and the outer boat can luff at will, tack at will and give no room what-so-ever.

Rule 19)
RRSSL simplifies rule 19 to "A boat approaching a continuing obstruction has ROW". This too reverses ROW in many ways, one being the case where the other boat - from the beginning of the situation - was unable to give room. Again, a boat would benefit from seeking a collision by squeezing her way into an impossible situation.

Rule 21.1)
RRSSL leaves out this rule, so an early starter is allowed to mess with good starters while she corrects her fault. ROW reversed.  

Rule 21.2)
RRSSL leaves out this rule, so a boat correcting an error is allowed to mess with the fleet while doing her penalty rounds. ROW reversed. 

Rule 23.2) 
RRSSL leaves out this rule, effectively allowing boats to mess with other boats on other legs or boats taking a penalty. ROW reversed.

Rule 28)
Recently I have seen indications that some people don't care what way the marks are rounded. Since RRSSL leaves out rule 28, I suppose rounding either way is allowed, or at least rounding a specific way is hard to enforce. If this means I can choose to round on SB while my opponent rounds on port tack, then ROW is reversed here too.

Rule 30)
Prestart and start rules are not used at all. There is no way you can know what to do, if you are over early. Best bet would be to duck the line again, but the RD might feel differently.

Rule 31)
Upwind. A tacks on the inside of B outside the zone. A is not able to stay clear of the mark, so he hits it and bumps off the mark and into B. A makes it round the mark, now clearly ahead of B, because B is stopped by the impact of the collision. In RL rule 31 gives A the fault. In SL B will get the fault. ROW reversed.

Rule 41)
Outside help is not prohibited under RRSSL, so someone else - outside your boat - could tell you about wind variances or local currents. This would not be allowed under RRS.

Rule 44) 
Penalties aren't even defined in the RRSSL; What does that mean? Are you DSQ the second you make an error, or can you just "slow down" for a minute? 

Rule 69)
Finally, rule 69 is not in RRSSL. Perhaps this is the most significant drop-out. This sends a message to all sailors that everything goes.

This list is by no means complete. 

I just love an early morning sail...
Still with me? Check my RSSL page.

In pursuit of realism...