US Sailing has grown
from several organizations
that came before it.
Back in the 1800s,
when people began racing sailboats,
every yacht club had their own rules
for ratings and racing rules.
And that was fine
as long as you were racing at that club.
But as the sport
started to grow in popularity
and people started to go to other clubs,
it became really confusing
for sailors to know what the rules were.
There was actually a group of sailors
in the US
later on in the 1800s
who decided they would take a whack
at solving the problem
by forming an association of yacht clubs
called the North American Yacht
Racing Union - NAYRU,
and the idea
was to bring some similarity,
some continuity between all the rules
the function of
the Sailing Association,
as the Sailing Association does today.
The era from World War II up to about '61.
That was an era
where individual countries had rules
and we in the United States
agreed with the rules in Canada.
So our early organization
was really a joint
yacht racing associations
were emerging around the world,
and each yacht racing
association was having their own rules.
And it became the same problem as before,
which was there was confusion
and it just became clear
that the sport would really benefit
from one body of rules
that everyone raced under worldwide.
wrote some very basic rules.
He'd be at some function
at his house with lots of people around,
and he'd go off in a corner or a little
a little table and start
moving model boats around.
This was a passion of his and his rules
are the foundation of our racing rules.
This was a brilliant simplification
of what to do when two boats meet.
a fellow named Gregg Bemis,
they were joined by people from the UK.
And together they formed a body rules
that they thought would be agreeable
to the world.
They presented it to the IRYU.
And in 1961,
IRYU made the vote
to adopt these rules
as the set of rules
that everyone would use in the sport.
And we've actually raced under
those rules ever since.
In the late sixties,
US Sailing started a
certified judge program.
So we had race officials
who we trained in US Sailing.
And the big
enemy of the rules is light air,
because when there's light air
or calm conditions, there are no races
and these judges
that have been brought in
have nothing to do.
So they sit around
and they say, "What if this?"
And they put their little model boats
on the table
and they begin to say, "Gee,
there's no rule for that."
And they propose a rule.
Inevitably, the rule book grew and grew.
And in the nineties,
people were saying,
"Why are the rules so damn complicated?"
So the impetus in the nineties
was to try and preserve the game
the way we raced the boats
and get rid of all the rules
which were unnecessarily complicated
or try to simplify them.
And it was very well
received by the world.
US Sailing played a critical role.
I chaired the Racing Rules
Committee during those years,
and it was very exciting.
What is this game that we play?
It's three games in one.
Any sailboat race is a race
involving mastery of your boat.
And if you learn to read the wind off the water,
you win the game against Mother Nature.
That's the second game.
And the third game is the tactical game.
And the rules are very important
for the tactical game.
But if you have a fast boat
and can read the wind off the water,
you could win
without there being any rules.
And brilliant sailors are like that.