The new Special Offshore Regulations (RSOs) have just been published by World Sailing, the International Sailing Federation. Valid for the two years (2020-2021), they are translated into French and available for consultation and download on the website of the French Sailing Federation.
These rules, consisting of a document of some sixty pages, are imposed on all sailboats and navigators participating in habitable races. If it is discussed here, it is because they also constitute an excellent basis for reflection for the preparation of offshore navigation and/or the armament of a large cruise ship, in addition to the regulatory obligations (Division 240) which – in my view – do not cover the whole field of the necessary and the indispensable.
Very detailed, the RSOs provide recommendations according to the types of sailboats, monohulls and multihulls, and according to the race category. For example, level 4 events are “short races, close to the coast in relatively warm and protected waters, normally taking place during the day”, level 0 corresponds to the highly engaged ocean races crossing cold regions ( the round-the-world by the three capes fit perfectly with the definition). Transatlantic races fall into category 1, a crossing of the Bay of Biscay is classified 2.
Nothing is left to chance: ship design, stability, prevention and recovery of man at sea, auxiliary propulsion, quality of electrical installation, emergency rudders, heavy weather sails, personal equipment.
The RSOs also set requirements for survival training (depending on the race category a specified part of the crew must have completed a World Sailing course, which I recommend to all boaters).
The medical commission of the French Sailing Federation also publishes the composition of the RSO pharmacy for races 0, 1, 2 and 3. It is a very strong reference for the establishment of an on-board pharmacy worthy of the name, which will be constituted whatever happens in discussion with its treating physician. Finally, the issue of safety is the case, as in many other areas of sailing (maneuvers, adjustments, road strategy…) : racing is an excellent prescriber of good uses to adopt in cruises.