Australian Sailing recently announced changes to the crew membership requirements in the Australian Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing. These will come into effect from 1 January 2021 as an update to Rule 46 of the Blue Book.

To help clarify what these changes mean to the average club sailor we spoke to Carl Webster, Regional Manager for NSW and ACT at Australian Sailing.

Q: Can you explain what’s changing in regard to Rule 46.

A. Currently rule 46 prescribes that, “except in an international event, any crew member who sails in more than 3 races in a season shall be a member of a Club affiliated to Australian Sailing and an Australian Sailing card holder (SIN).”

As of 1 January 2021, all crew in any race will be required to be a member of an affiliated club. This can be either as full member or as a temporary (SailPass/Day) member of a club. We are making it easier for people to meet the membership requirement through the introduction of SailPass for clubs.  

Q: What will constitute ‘membership’ under this new definition?

A: The membership requirement can be met in two ways:

  1. Anyone who is a member of an Australian Sailing affiliated club will meet this requirement. The only exception is, if the club has decided that certain membership categories don’t include Australian Sailing affiliation, that membership class will not meet this requirement. This may be the case for a social or similar membership and is something you should check with your club directly.
  2. The SailPass system is also a way to meet this requirement. Anyone who registers for a SailPass will be eligible to race on the day their SailPass is active.

Q: How much does Australian Sailing charge for a SailPass membership?

A: Nothing. There is no charge from Australian Sailing for a SailPass membership. It is up to the individual clubs whether they will charge a fee for SailPass – these fees go directly to the club. Clubs can also offer a structured system through SailPass such as the first 3 SailPass free of charge then a fee perhaps for the next 6 sails.

Q: What are the drivers for this change?

A: There are two main drivers for these changes:

  1. We are keen to see an increase in membership at individual clubs and to encourage people who participate in sailing to become a member where they actively participate. More membership is better for clubs and helps to improve our sport overall.
  2. Safety is also a huge driver. SailPass gives clubs an ability to capture some data around people who are sailing casually and may not be known to the yacht owner. It also ensures that individual is covered under Australian Sailing’s personal accident insurance for the day.

Q: Are you concerned that SailPass will create an administrative burden for clubs and sailors?

A: In short, no. Australian Sailing has put technology in place to support this program to ensure it is simple for clubs to administer and for sailors to register. Registering for a sail pass is only a 2-minute process and can be done on a computer, tablet or your phone as you head into the club for a race. You could register for a SailPass onboard the boat!

Q: What effect do you think this will have on participation in sailing?

A: Clubs currently running the SailPass system have indicated an increase in participation since adopting SailPass. This in turn has helped to increase membership, the number of people sailing and fleet sizes.

SailPass provides a great entry into sailing and provides a soft intro to club membership.

Q: What support is available for clubs to help them implement these changes?

A: If club committees and staff have any questions about SailPass or rule 46 I’d encourage them to contact their local Club Services Officer who would be happy to help.