The Racing Rules of Sailing govern the conduct of yacht racing and dinghy racing. A new revision is published every four years by the International Sailing Federation, the world governing body for the sport. The current edition (2005–2008) came into effect on 1 January 2005.
Sailboat racing is a self-policing sport. As stated by the Racing Rules of Sailing, "[c]ompetitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty or retire." See . Depending on the nature of the infraction, the penalty may be either (1) performing a complete 360-degree turn or (2) performing a complete 720 degree turn. For most rules infractions, a competitor may absolve himself or herself from disqualification from the race by taking such a penalty.