Friday, January 22, 2010

Composite Lifelines and the Racing Rules of Sailing


PORTSMOUTH, RI (January 22, 2010) – Composite lifelines are being used by sailors more frequently, especially in around-the-buoy racing. In the 2010-2011 edition of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, Dyneema® is now an approved lifeline material for offshore racing. There have been concerns that the offshore regulations were in conflict with the racing rules regarding lifeline materials.

The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 (RRS) rule 49.2 states that “on boats equipped with upper and lower lifelines of wire, a competitor sitting on the deck facing outboard with his waist inside the lower lifeline may have the upper part of his body outside the upper lifeline.” In an answer to a recent question posted on an ISAF question and answer page, ISAF clarified that Dyneema® is not wire and boats wishing to use the provisions of rule 49.2 will need to continue using wire for upper and lower lifelines. However, RRS 86 states that RRS 49.2 may be changed by the sailing instructions or class rules to allow the use of other materials. The full text of ISAF’s question and answer forum concerning this issue can be found at

For more information on how to use Dyneema®, please read this article prepared by US SAILING Safety-at-Sea page committee members, Glenn T. McCarthy and Evans Starzinger at or contact the US SAILING Offshore department at

CONTACT: Jake Fish US SAILING Communications Manager (401) 683-0800