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The Courses Offshore

ISAF/World Sailing Speed Record Rules for individually attempted Passage Records or Performances Offshore.(Amendments for 2015 are printed in red)

To view course graphics click on icons, ie: 26-1-c1

17. AUTHORITY
a. The ISAF/ World Sailing Speed Record Council (ISAF/WSSRC) is the authority in all matters concerning sailing speed records and performances. It cooperates with national sailing authorities as appropriate but is also able to examine and ratify record claims made by individuals and to approve attempts whether or not they fall within the jurisdiction of a national sailing authority.
b. The WSSRC maintains a working cooperation with relevant race organizers regarding the listing of records in organized yacht races.

18. RATIONALE
Records and races: Elapsed times without any redress achieved in yacht races organised in accordance with ISAF RRS 89.1 are accepted as correct by WSSRC. The shortest time, without handicap, is the record for an event. A record achieved during a race can also displace an individual (non-race) performance. If, however, an individual performance over the same course betters a race record, it will be listed as a separate achievement.

Racing rules: The Racing Rules of Sailing do not apply during individual (non-race) record attempts.

Subject to specific approval, individual attempts will be accepted over selected established courses listed in rule 26.

The total list is always under review and dormant courses and undistinguished speeds may be removed from time to time.

An individual record will only be recognized when it is faster than the race record over the same course. Conversely, an individual record will be erased when a race record is subsequently faster.

Individual courses and races will not usually be considered for record purposes unless they are more than about 250 miles. However exceptions may include certain long listed or traditional courses.

19. GENERAL
a. The purpose of the rules is to enable attempts to be made on a variety of offshore records and performances. They do not form the conditions of any prize or trophy, nor are they sailing instructions.
b. An approved independent Commissioner shall be appointed by the WSSRC to observe any attempt and make a report. In some cases, the base station or official observer may be supplemented by a blackbox supplied by WSSRC; however WSSRC shall not be liable of any failure of a supplied blackbox. Supplementary rules would be supplied with the equipment.
c. The record for each passage shall stand until the elapsed time has been reduced by at least one minute. Every request to ratify a record shall be considered in time and date order. The time used for this purpose will be UTC when the record attempt finishes.
d. The ISAF/WSSRC cannot accept any responsibility for personal injury or loss of life, damage to or loss of property arising from any record attempt made under its rules whether supervised by its officials or not. It is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the skipper of a yacht engaged in any such record attempt to decide whether to start and, having done so, to continue the voyage.
e. The official language of the ISAF/WSSRC and its rules is English.

20. OFFSHORE WORLD RECORDS
a. The World Record for the passages listed in Rule 26 will be held by the vessel and skipper which establishes the shortest elapsed time in accordance with these rules. Additionally National Records in all categories and on all courses may be attempted in accordance with these rules.


b. Categories. Any offshore World Record can be held in any of the following categories:

  • Any type of vessel, any number of crew (the Outright World record)
  • Any type of vessel, sailed singlehanded
  • Any type of vessel, sailed doublehanded
  • Monohull vessel, any number of crew
  • Monohull vessel, sailed singlehanded
  • Monohull vessel sailed doublehanded

c. Divisions. There are three divisions defined by the hull length as described in ERS: D.3.1:

  • Over 60.0 ft (18.288 metres)
  • 60.0 ft (18.288 metres) and less
  • 40.0 ft (12.192 metres) and less

All the above Categories and Divisions for records are available for female crews.

d. Courses. The Around Ireland, 26.d. route may not be attempted singlehanded.

Performances can be recognised over existing record routes or other appropriate courses over 250 NM in length.

e.For World Record attempts, all categories and divisions shall be sailed "without assistance". (Rule21.e.i). "With Assistance" voyages (Rule 21.e.ii) may apply to the WSSR Council for a Performance Certificate (rule 30).

f. Powered sailing systems. In addition, any of these record categories can also apply to a vessel using powered sailing systems (see 21c.) provided a claim exceeds any corresponding World Record. These Powered Records are listed separately and can never be regarded as the 'outright record' for a course.

21. SAILING RULES
a. (Applies to all records and performances)
i. A vessel shall sail by using only the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed, except for 21.b and 21.c. below and in exceptional circumstances which shall be reported to and get approval from WSSRC.
ii. The vessel must be capable of floating and supporting its crew when at rest.
iii. Prior to the attempt, the vessel must be at rest, afloat and must accelerate without assistance.
iv. No form of rating, handicap or sail area class is relevant.

b. Manual operation
Unless categorized as 'a vessel using powered sailing systems' (21c), only human power may be used to work the vessel during the attempt, with the following exceptions:

i. Electricity may be used for instrumentation, navigation, communication, automatic steering and for domestic purposes such as lighting, heating, cooking etc. Generators including motors, solar panels, wind or water turbines can be used to provide electric power, together with the appropriate batteries and control gear. Mechanical power may be used for charging batteries, pumping bilges, loading, unloading or transferring ballast, moving keel, foils and rudder appendages or for weighing anchor. The operation of engines, motors or pumps must not provide any element of propulsion.

ii. In handling the vessel's sails and gear, there is no objection to various forms of energy transmission, such as hydraulic, provided there is no element of energy storage beyond that associated with materials in their normal sailing applications.

c. Powered sailing systems
A vessel is so categorized if any of the sailsetting, reefing, furling or sheeting functions employ mechanical power. Natural forces must always remain the sole means of propulsion.

d. Crew on board
No person on board shall intentionally leave, except when ill or injured, or to help a person or vessel in danger, or to swim, or go overboard to clean or repair his vessel. A person leaving the vessel by accident or for one of the above reasons shall be back on board before the vessel continues in the attempt. However any change of crew, except the skipper, may be made during an attempt "with assistance"

e. With or without assistance
i 'Without assistance' means that a vessel may not receive any kind of outside assistance whatever except for 21.h. and 21. i. nor take on board any supplies (beyond the harvest of the sea), materials or equipment during an attempt. A vessel may be anchored or beached during the attempt, but any repairs must be made entirely by the crew without outside resources or materials. It is never permitted to take on board stores or equipment or get any other kind of help from another vessel whilst under way (except as 'i' Emergencies below).

ii 'With assistance' means a vessel may enter harbour for repairs, alterations or stores as required with or without the help of persons outside the crew. During any stops, the timing of the voyage continues. An attempt accompanied and supported by a Mother Ship becomes "with assistance".

f. Singlehanded
'Singlehanded' means there is only one person aboard. If a singlehanded skipper accepts any kind of outside assistance (see 21e) then the voyage falls into the "singlehanded with assistance" category.

g. Steering
Any type of automatic steering is allowed.

h. Navigation
Any type of navigation equipment is allowed and there is no objection to any type of information or advice being transmitted to or from the vessel. However, the vessel must be sailed and navigated by the crew, without any element of physical 'remote control'.

i. Emergencies
i An engine may be used to recover a man overboard, to render assistance or in any other grave emergency, in which case full details must be recorded in the vessel's log and disclosed to the WSSR Commissioner.

ii In the event of fouling another vessel or manned structure (e.g. an oil rig) it is permitted for the crew of the other vessel or structure to assist the vessel in getting clear.

j. Rounding
When a course includes a mark, beacon or point to be rounded, a string representing the wake of the vessel after starting and before finishing would when drawn taught pass each mark on the required side and touch each rounding mark.

k. Monohulls
In the case of a record or performance for a 'monohull', the definition of a 'single-hulled vessel' follows major rating rules i.e. the section of the hull wherever taken shall not have more than one inverse curve. WSSRC decision on this classification shall be final.

l. Current and distance across the water.
No allowance is made for current in considering any of these records. Logged mileage on board is not considered by WSSRC.

22. SAFETY RULES
It is not within the province of these rules to set safety standards. However, all vessels making attempts must comply with the appropriate safety standards enforced by International Maritime Law and by their country of origin or registration, and of any race or trophy in which they may be competing, and by the country in which home waters they are sailing.

Interpretation: This rule is considered infringed when the rule or regulation authority penalises the vessel for the infringement of one of the rules or regulatons they monitor.

For non-regulated craft, the skipper may wish to consult IMO COMBAR 15/WP3 Annex 2 dated November 2011 "Basic safety guidance for yacht races or oceanic voyages by non-regulated craft".

23. NOTICE AND TIME EXPIRATION
At least one month's notice is required for an intended attempt, accompanied by the appropriate fee. The notice and fee are specific to the intended attempt and are not subsequently transferrable. Open entries with the route to be decided at a later date are not permitted. The commencement of the attempt shall take place within twenty-four months of this notice after which the attempt is deemed to be time expired (note rule 27). The WSSR Council may consider late requests but these will attract a double fee (currently £3160. 00)

24. OBSERVATION/DECLARATION
When proper notice of an attempt has been received, WSSRC will appoint a WSSR Commissioner to make arrangements for the start and finish to be witnessed and timed. The skipper, and, in the case of a multi-crewed vessel one other member, will be asked to sign a declaration that all the rules have been followed.

25. TIMING
The moment of starting and finishing a passage must be recorded to the nearest second using UTC. The accuracy must be checked within six hours of the start and finish of the attempt by reference to an official time signal by telephone or radio. Any timepiece used must prove accurate to within one second at the time of checking. The start and finish times must be logged and signed by the Commissioner or his appointee. Records and performances will always be defined as an elapsed time in days, hours, minutes and seconds. Average speed may be shown for information only.

26. RECORD COURSES
General
Only fixed points of land, fixed navigational beacons or other charted objects fixed to the land or seabed can be used as reference points though they need not necessarily be sighted. Except in special cases, such as the 24-hour distance record or where the WSSR Commissioner has been unable to sight the vessel for reasons of visibility or safety, positions derived from radio or satellite navigation systems are unacceptable. Unless other distances are specified for some particular start/finish lines, these shall be crossed within 4 NM of the observer. Where the exact start and/or finish is optional , there must be agreement in advance on its location with WSSRC. This is for reasons of practicality, logistics and seamanship, as well as course and distance requirements.

26.1. World Record courses over 1000 NM for offshore yachts of any size.

All coordinates below are given in WGS 84 and are approximate to .1NM

a. RTW - Round the World, eastbound and westbound 21600NM. 2 separate records.
To sail around the World, a vessel must start from and return to the same point, must cross all meridians of longitude and must cross the Equator. It may cross some but not all meridians more than once (i.e. two roundings of Antarctica do not count). The shortest orthodromic track of the vessel must be at least 21,600 nautical miles in length calculated based on a 'perfect sphere'. In calculating this distance, it is to be assumed that the vessel will sail around Antarctica in latitude 63 degrees south.
A vessel starting from any point where the direct orthodromic distance is too short shall pass one single island or other fixed point on a required side so as to lengthen his orthodromic track to the minimum distance.
No starting point will be permitted more south than 45 ° south.
1 degree of longitude at 63 degrees south will be taken as 27.24NM

b. Transatlantic - New York to The Lizard 2880NM
Start: Line drawn south true from the position of Ambrose Light Buoy: 40° 27.5' N; 073° 50.2' W
Finish: Line drawn south true from Lizard Point Lighthouse: 49° 57.6' N; 5°12.1' W

c. Around Britain and Ireland. 1773NM

26-1-c1 lizard ventnorline ramsgate

Only one record whatever direction.
Start and Finish: the only approved starting/finishing lines are at:
Lizard : Line drawn south true from Lizard Point Lighthouse: 49° 57.6' N; 5° 12.1' W
Ventnor: Line drawn south true from ashore at: 50° 35.6' N; 1° 12.1' W
Ramsgate: Line between the RTYC hut: 51° 19'6 N; 1° 25.4' E and Gull Buoy; 51° 19'6 N; 1° 31'3 E
Course: the course must enclose the whole of Britain and Ireland and the following islands or rocks: Scilly Is, Fastnet Rock, Great Skellig, Tearaght Is, St Kilda, Sula Sgear, Muckle Flugga.

d. New York to San Francisco 13225NM
Start: Line drawn west true from Ambrose Light Buoy : 40° 27.5' N ; 073° 47.29' W
Finish: Line projected downwards from the eastern side of Golden Gate Bridge: 37° 49.0' N; 122° 28.7' W.
Course: Leave Cape Horn to starboard.

e. Los Angeles to Honolulu. 2217NM

Los Angeles to Honolulu Start Los Angeles to Honolulu Finish

Course of the traditional Transpac race.
Start; line on the transit from Point Fermin lighthouse; 33° 42.3' N; 118° 17.6' W to the Pt Fermin buoy; 33° 41.9' N; 118° 17.5' W Cross the line within 1NM from the buoy.
Finish: line on the transit of Diamond Head lighthouse at 21° 15.4' N; 157° 48.6' W and Diamond Head R2 buoy 21° 14.8' N; 157° 48.9' W

f. Dakar to Guadeloupe 2551NM

DakarCarthage

Start; line on the transit of the end of the Goree Island pier; 14° 40.2' N; 17° 23.9' W and Tacoma buoy at 14° 40.4' N; 17° 23.8' W. 
Finish: line between buoy n°2 at 16° 12.8' N; 61° 31.8' W and and buoy n°1 at 16° 12.7' N; 61° 31.7' W of Pointe-a-Pitre entry.

g. Honolulu to Yokohama. 3370NM

startline   honolulu_start yokohama_finish yokohama_overview


Start: line on the transit of Diamond Head lighthouse: 21° 15.4' N; 157° 48.6' W and Diamond Head R2 buoy: 21° 14.8' N; 157° 48.9' W. Cross the line within 1NM of the buoy.
Finish: line drawn west true from Jogashima lighthouse: 35° 08.1' N; 139° 36.7' E

h. Yokohama to San Francisco or San Francisco to Yokohama. 4502NM - 2 separate records

San Francisco Carthage


Start / Finish: line drawn west true from Jogashima lighthouse: 35° 08.1' N; 139° 36.7' E.
Finish / Start: line drawn downwards from eastern side of Golden Gate Bridge: 37° 49.0' N; 122° 28.7' W

i. Around Australia. 6536NM

Only one record whatever direction.
Start / Finish: From any point in or close to a harbour acceptable to the WSSRC.
Course: The course must enclose the whole of Australia and the following islands or capes: Ince Point on Wednesday Island of the Thursday Island Group (Queensland), Melville Island (Northern Territory), Montebello Islands (Western Territory) and South East Cape (Tasmania).

j. Cadiz to San Salvador (Watling Island). 3884M

(America Discovery route)
Start: line between the Puerto Sherry Marina Control Tower: 36º 34. 7' N ; 06º 15.2' W and the easterly prominent electricity pylon: 36º 30.6' N ; 06º 15. 7' W . This line should be crossed within 1.5NM of the Puerto Sherry Tower.
Finish: line drawn west true from Cockburn Town radio mast: 24° 03.0' N; 74° 31.9'W. Cross the line within 0.5 NM from the mast.
Course: Leave Gran Canaria and Watling Island to Starboard.

k. Hong Kong to New York. 13624M
Start: line between Tai Long Pai light: 22° 14.0' N; 114° 16.0' E and Nga Ying Pai Lighthouse: 22° 14.6' N; 114° 16.8' E.
Finish: line drawn west true from Ambrose Light Buoy: 40° 27.5' N; 073° 50.2' W

l. Atlantic Crossing E to W Plymouth to Newport 2805NM
Start: line between breakwater western lighthouse: 50° 20.1' N; 4° 09.5' W and Queen's Ground buoy: 50° 20.3' N; 4° 10.1' W.
Finish: line between Castle Hill Lighthouse: 41° 27.7' N; 71° 21.8' W and Beavertail Lighthouse: 41° 27.0ۥ N; .071° 23.9ۥ W

m. Yokohama to Hong Kong 1552NM
Start: line drawn West from Jogashima Light: 35° 08.1' N; 139° 36.6' E.
Finish: line between Nga Yin Pai light: 22° 14.5' N; 114° 16.8 E and Tai Long Pai light: 22° 14.0' N; 114° 15.9' E

n. Hong Kong to London 12948NM.
Start line between Nga Yin Pai light 22° 14.5' N; 114° 16.8' E and Tai Long Pai light 22° 14.0' N; 114° 15.9' E.
Finish; line drawn downwards from the Eastern side of the Queen Elisabeth II bridge 51° 27.9' N; 0° 15.5' E.

 

26.2. World Record courses under 1000 NM for offshore yachts of any size.

 

a. Around Ireland. 698NM.

course

Only one record whatever direction. Refer to WSSR rule 20.d
Start and Finish: the only approved starting/finishing line is:

26_1_d_start

Dun Laoghaire: between the light on the south pier: 53° 18.1' N; 6° 07.6' W and Kish Lighthouse: 53° 18.7' N ; 5° 55.5' W
Course: the course must enclose the whole of Ireland and the following islands or rocks:Rathlin Is, Tor Rocks and Gulf Is, Tory Is, Eagle Is, Tearaght Is, Great Skellig, Fastnet Rock, Coningbeg Rock, Tuskar Rock.

b. Around the Isle of Wight. 50NM

26-1-e

Only one record whatever direction.
Start and Finish: Line between RYS flagstaff: 50° 46.0' N; 1° 18.1' W and West Bramble buoy: 50° 47.2' N; 1° 18.7' W.

26_1_e_start

Course: the course must enclose the whole of the Isle of Wight, Needles Lighthouse and Bembridge buoy.

c. Marseilles to Carthage 455NM

MarseilleCarthage


Start: Line drawn east true from Cavau lighthouse on Pomegues Island: 43°15.7' N; 5° 17.4' E
Finish: Line drawn east true from Ras Quartajamah lighthouse (Cape Carthage): 36° 52.3' N; 10° 20.9' E.

d. Cowes to Dinard 138NM


Cowes Dinard Start Cowes Dinard Finish

Start: Line between the RYS flagstaff: 50° 46.0' N; 1° 18.1' W and West Bramble buoy: 50° 47.2' N; 1° 18.7' W
Finish:Line between Buharats West and East buoys:48° 40.3' N; 2° 07.2' W and 2° 07.5' W

e. Plymouth to La Rochelle. 329NM
Start: line between the breakwater western lighthouse: 50° 20.1' N; 4° 09.5' W and Queen's Ground buoy: 50° 20.3' N; 4° 10.1' W
Finish: line between the south pier light: 46° 09.3' N; 1° 14.0' W and Marie Anne buoy: 46° 09.2' N; 1° 15.1' W.
Course: leave Ile de Ré to port

f. Miami to New York. 942NM
Start: line between South Point Tower: 25° 46.0' N; 80° 08.0' W and Miami Main Channel n°1 green buoy: 25° 45.8' N; 80° 05.4' W.
Finish: line drawn west true from Ambrose Light Buoy: 40° 27.5' N; 073° 50.2' W.

g. Fastnet Original Course. 595NM
Start: line between the RYS flagstaff: 50° 46.0' N; 1° 18.1' W and West Bramble buoy: 50° 47.2' N; 1° 18.7' W.
Finish: line between the breakwater western lighthouse: 50° 20.1' N; 4° 09.5' W and Queen's Ground buoy: 50° 20.3' N; 4° 10.1' W.
Course: leave the Isles of Scilly, including Bishop rock and all outlying rocks, entirely to port or starboard, Fastnet rock to port, Isles of Scilly, including Bishop rock and all outlying rocks to port.

h. Newport to Bermuda. 635NM
Start: line between Castle Hill Lighthouse: 41° 27.7' N; 71° 21.8' W and Beavertail Lighthouse: 41° 27.0ۥ N; .71° 23.9ۥ W
Finish: line drawn 96° true from St David's lighthouse: 32° 21.8' N; 64° 39.1' W

i. Sydney to Hobart. 630NM
Start: line drawn between North Head light: 33° 49.5' S; 151° 17.9' E and South Head light: 33° 50.0' S; 151° 16.8' E
Finish: line drawn 50° true from hut ashore at: 42° 53.2' S; 147° 20.4' E for 300 meters

j. Taipei to Hong Kong 457NM
Start: line between Chi-Lung Tao light: 25° 11.6' N; 121° 47.2' E; and a Coast guard vessel located 0.7NM North true of the lighthouse.
Finish: line between Nga Yin Pai light: 22° 14.5' N; 114° 16.8' E and Tai Long Pai light: 22° 14.0' N; 114° 15.9' E

 

26.3 INTERMEDIATE ROUND THE WORLD RECORDS

a. Indian Ocean.
Western limit: Cape Agulhas, crossing the meridian 20° E
Eastern limit: The southern point of Tasmania, South East Cape, crossing the meridian 146° 49'.E.

b. South Pacific Ocean.
Western limit: the southern point of Tasmania, South East Cape, crossing the meridian 146° 49' E.
Eastern limit: Cape Horn crossing the meridian 67° 16' W.

c. South Atlantic.
Western limit: Cape Horn crossing the meridian 67° 16' W
Eastern limit: Cape Agulhas crossing the meridian 20° E.

d. Equator to Equator.
From the North Atlantic Ocean: Equator, Cape Agulhas, around Antarctic Continent, Cape Horn, Equator.

e. North Atlantic Ushant start to Equator. (for Round the World attempts starting at Ushant.)

The following rules apply for record claims on the above 5 routes:
WSSR rule 19 c. Rules 32 a. b. f. g. h. i. and j. The base station should poll the boat's position just before and just after crossing the meridian at an interval of under 10 minutes. WSSRC will interpolate between these 2 polls to determine the relevant timing.

 

27. FEES (Other than for the 24-hour records) The skipper or organization wishing to make an attempt on a record is responsible for the costs of observing and ratifying it.

(a) All fees to be expressed in GBP and shall be settled before the start.
(b) The ratification fee shall be included in the application fee and will be returned if the attempt is unsuccessful/abandoned - provided sufficient notice was given so that the duties of the Commissioner at the finish would not be required - or time expired (see rule 23 above).
The fee shall be GBP 1580. 00 The ratification portion of this is GBP 530. 00.
(c) A vessel having started an attempt under the WSSR rules but which returns for a re-start shall be subject to an additional 50% re-start fee (currently GBP 790. 00). The calling of a Commissioner to the start line or to make an inspection, but the yacht not starting at that time is similar to a re-start and incurs a 50% fee.

 

28. EXPENSES
The person or organization making the record attempt is responsible for the legitimate expenses and remuneration of the WSSR Commissioner and any assistants. This must be paid before any record claim can be considered.

29. RATIFICATION
Pending the official ratification of a record by WSSRC, the skipper, builder, sponsor or other interested parties shall not cause a record to be published or circulated without the words 'subject to official ratification by WSSRC.'

 

The following documents are to be submitted to WSSRC.

a. A statement by the skipper giving details of the vessel, the crew and the course followed. This must include a declaration that these rules have been followed, signed by the skipper and at least one other member of the crew (unless singlehanded).
b. A report by the WSSR Commissioner giving details of the timing and verifying the accuracy of all observations.

30. CERTIFICATES
Offshore record certificates and Performance certificates, WSSRC awards an inscribed and signed certificate to each skipper. At extra cost, copies can be made available for crew.

Performance certificates. To meet the demand for ratifying performances over nonworld record routes or non record categories, the WSSRC has established the performance certificate. The conditions for this are similar to the world record, as the mechanics of authentication have to meet the same criteria.

31. INTERPRETATION
In case of any dispute over any of these rules, the decision of WSSRC is final.