You are here

Racing Rules of the National Iceboat Authority (N.I.A.)



When one of the terms defined in Part I is used in its defined sense in the definitions or rules, it is printed in CAPITAL LETTERS. All definitions rank as rules.

ACTUAL WIND - The natural wind.

WINDWARD-LEEWARD COURSE - A course sailed around two MARKS, an imaginary straight line drawn between the two MARKS is parallel to the ACTUAL WIND.

ON-THE-WIND - A yacht heading less than 90 degrees from the direction from which the ACTUAL WIND is blowing is ON-THE-WIND.

OFF-THE-WIND - A yacht heading more than 90 degrees from the direction from which the ACTUAL WIND is blowing is OFF-THE-WIND.

STARBOARD TACK - A yacht is on a STARBOARD TACK when the ACTUAL WIND is approaching from her right side.

PORT TACK - A yacht is on a PORT TACK when the ACTUAL WIND is approaching from her left side.

WINDWARD YACHT and LEEWARD YACHT - When two yachts are on the same tack, the one on the side from which the ACTUAL WIND is blowing is the WINDWARD YACHT, the other is the LEEWARD YACHT.

TACKING - A yacht is TACKING from the moment she is beyond head-to-ACTUAL WIND until her mainsail has filled on the other side.

JIBING - A yacht is JIBING when, with the ACTUAL WIND aft, the foot of her main-sail crosses her centerline until it has filled on the other side.

OBSTRUCTION - Any object a yacht cannot safely sail over.

MARK - Any object which a yacht must round or pass on a required side to properly round the course.

OUTSIDE - In rule 8 of the Right-of-Way Rules, any yacht to the right of another yacht is the OUTSIDE yacht.

CANCELLATION - A CANCELLED race is one which cannot thereafter be sailed.

POSTPONEMENT - A POSTPONED race is one which is not started at it's scheduled time and which can be sailed at any time the Race Commit tee may direct.

ABANDONMENT - An ABANDONED race is one which is stopped while it is in progress and which can be re-sailed at the discretion of the Race Committee.


The purpose of the following rules is to prevent collisions. Any infraction of these rules is cause for disqualification.

  1. Fair Sailing

    In all situations the Judges, Race Committee, and contestants must act in terms of common sense, safety, and good sportsmanship.

  2. Right-of-Way Rules

    1. A yacht in motion shall keep clear of a yacht stopped.

    2. A yacht sailing OFF-THE-WIND shall keep clear of a yacht sailing ON-THE-WIND.

    3. When two yachts are sailing ON-THE-WIND, the yacht on the PORT TACK shall keep clear of the yacht on the STARBOARD TACK.

    4. When two yachts are sailing OFF-THE-WIND, the yacht on the PORT TACK shall keep clear of the yacht on the STARBOARD TACK. When two yachts sailing ON-THE-WIND are on the same tack, the WINDWARD YACHT shall keep clear. When two yachts sailing OFF-THE-WIND are on the same tack, the LEEWARD YACHT shall keep clear.

    5. A right-of-way yacht shall not alter her course so as to mislead or prevent a non-right-of-way yacht from keeping clear. When a faster moving yacht approaches another yacht on the same tack from the rear, the faster yacht must not sail so close that the slower yacht cannot keep clear.

    6. A yacht may not TACK or JIBE so as to involve the probability of collision with another yacht which, owing to her position or speed, cannot keep clear.

    7. A yacht approaching and unable to clear an OBSTRUCTION with out fouling or endangering another yacht may signal the other yacht for room to clear. The signaled yacht shall at once give room and if it is necessary for her to TACK or JIBE, the signaling yacht shall also TACK or JIBE immediately thereafter.

    8. When approaching or rounding a MARK, an OUTSIDE yacht shall keep clear and a faster moving yacht approaching another yacht from the rear shall stay clear of a yacht that has started her rounding maneuver. Each yacht shall be entitled to room to cross the finish line.

    9. After finishing a race, a yacht shall keep clear of the course and yachts still racing.

  3. Sailing the Course

    1. At the start, a yacht must be laid off (headed) similarly to other yachts on the line. A skipper may demand that the race committee require another yacht to change the degree to which she is laid off.

    2. A yacht shall be disqualified without protest if she starts prematurely.

    3. A yacht fouling a MARK (except when avoiding an accident), not leaving a MARK on the required side, or not rounding all MARKS in proper sequence, shall be disqualified.

  4. Propulsion

    A yacht may not employ any means of propulsion other than the action of the wind on the sails. However, the crew (unassisted by anyone except for reasons of physical disability as authorized by the Judges) may push the yacht to leave the starting line or to return the yacht to wind propulsion when necessary. Other pushing shall be cause for disqualification.

  5. Ballast

    A yacht must start and finish a race with the same ballast and crew.


  1. Protests

    1. Parties to protests.

      1. Who may protest:

        1. Any competing yacht.

        2. The Race Committee, or any member of the Committee.

        3. A Judge.

      2. Who may be protested:

        1. Any competing yacht.

        2. The Race Committee.

    2. It is mandatory for all parties in 1.a. above to protest any infringement of the Racing Rules, Parts I, II, III, IV. A protest may not be withdrawn.

    3. A party entering a protest shall:

      1. Make his intent to protest known to the Race Committee immediately after the race in which the rule infringement occurred or as soon as an infringement of other than the Sailing Rules is noted. A protest may be entered at a later time if the protesting party is unable to finish the race, but must be made within two hours of the finish of the days racing unless the protesting party can prove, to the satisfaction of the Race Committee, that he was unable to meet the deadline.

      2. Present the protest in writing at the time and place indicated in the sailing instructions, stating the rule violated, a statement of facts, and a diagram to illustrate same (when relevant).

    4. The Race Committee shall do its best to notify the protested party as soon as possible.

    5. The Judges must call a hearing as soon as possible, allowing a reasonable time for preparation of defense. Protests from one day's racing should be heard before the next day's racing begins and, on the last day of racing, before prizes are awarded. Failure on the part of any interested party to make an effort to attend the hearing may justify the Judges in dismissing the case or in deciding the protest as they see fit.

  2. Decisions and Penalties

    1. The Judges shall make a prompt decision and notify, verbally or in writing, the parties involved.

    2. If, during the hearing, any yacht is found to have infringed any of the Racing Rules she shall be disqualified or otherwise penalized according to any special Sailing Instructions.

    3. If the Race Committee is found to have infringed a Racing Rule and a yachts chances to win a prize were prejudiced as a result of the infringe-merit, the Judges may order the race re-sailed.

  3. Interested persons must not take part in decisions. No Judge may hear a pro-test involving a yacht he owned or sailed on at the time in question or involving a Race Committee of which he was a member.

  4. Appeals to the National Iceboat Authority

    1. Appeals involving solely the interpretation of the Racing Rules may be taken to the National Iceboat Authority for final determination by any individual or group that is a member of the Authority.

    2. Preparation of Appeal Papers - All appeals shall be in writing and shall set forth the grounds of the appeal and be signed by the appellant. They shall be filed with the Secretary of the Authority within thirty days after the rendering of the decision appealed from, together with:

      1. The written consent to the appeal signed by the Judges rendering the original decision.

      2. A copy of the sailing instructions.

      3. A copy of the protest.

      4. The names of the parties represented at the hearing, and of any party duly notified of the hearing, but not represented.

      5. A copy of the decision of the Judges containing a full statement of the facts found by them.

      6. An official diagram prepared by Judges in accordance with the facts found by it and signed by it showing:

        1. The direction and velocity of the wind.

        2. Temperature and ice conditions.

        3. Visibility

        4. Positions and tracts of all yachts involved and their position in relation to the course and the MARKS of the course.

    3. Decision of Directors of the National Iceboat Authority shall be in writing and the grounds of each decision shall be specified therein. The decision shall be made within 30 days of the date the appeal was properly filed with the Secretary and shall be sent to all parties to the infringement and appeal. The annual report of the Directors shall contain all the decisions.

      (Note: See the next few sections for more information on N.I.A. protests.)

Note: The IDNIYRA Yearbook does not currently contain some parts of the NIA rules. Please see the NIA rulebook for a complete listing. See supplier listing at end of yearbook for NIA address.