I have been contemplating this question: Sailing rules within three boat length circle and the comments on it. I may be overlapping a bit with this older meta Which sports need to be discussed?, but I think there are some new points to bring up as well.

There are several things that are fully on-topic here in terms of equipment, techniques, places to go, etc., that also exist as regulated competitive sports. This includes sailing, archery and shooting sports, canoe and kayak, trail running, mountain biking, and more. The leagues, sponsors, and events may have specific rules related to competitions they sanction and support, and these rules may lead to ambiguity, confusion, special cases, and other things that would lead a participant to ask a question about them.

What do we want to do with those types of questions?

3 Answers 3


Such questions are OK, as long as the competition asked about is not too local. For example a question about the races of the Boating Club of Lake Obscure would not be on topic, for two reasons: (1) It would not be helpful to the vast majority of people using the site and (2) it shows no research -- read the rules posted at the clubhouse at Lake Obscure.

  • 1
    Totally agree with this - anything internationally accepted, or country level should be well within scope. I'm always happy to talk about UK regs - I used to be an RYA instructor. rya.org.uk/about-us/Pages/hub.aspx
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 18:00

It sits a bit wrong with me, I have the feeling that as soon as you're talking specifically about the rules of a competitive event, such as a sailing race, it's not our territory and should be on Sports. The theme being that you're no longer interacting with the outdoors, you're primarily interacting with other people (while outdoors).

Now if this were the rules about who has right of way under normal, non-competitive, navigation then it's definitely us.

  • 1
    We had a Meta discussion maybe two years ago, which I cannot find, about what sports were on topic. As best I can recall, we "accepted" sports where the Outdoors played a large factor -- e.g., hunting, sailing to name only two and "rejected" sports that could as well be played indoors -- for example, tennis. I think this distinction applies here. In a sailing race, the Outdoors plays an enormous part, and so the rules are, perforce, as much about the outdoors as about the other competitors. For support of this comment, see "Maiden" re the Whitbread round-the-world sailing race in 1989.
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:43
  • @ab2 That merits an answer on its own - none of the current 3 answers make that distinction and I think it is the recommended way to go.
    – user15958
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 13:14
  • @ab2 Probably this post or its follow-up
    – user15958
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 13:15

I believe this is a point where we walk a thin boundary between whether something is on-topic for this or any other SE community, and whether any SE community can ever really provide the best information.

In this case, we have things for which there exists leagues, boards, associations, governing bodies, or whatever they call themselves, and those entities often have FAQ pages, discussion and chat rooms, and other resources available to help resolve any sort of such issue. For the current topic of sailboat racing (assuming the United States) we have https://www.ussailing.org/about/media-center/ where it appears there is a conversation tab open to registered members. As just another example, for mountain biking, one might get started at https://www.uci.org/mountain-bike , which is an international organization.

I think the current question and any similar would be completely on-topic, but with the caveat that the asker should seek out these authoritative sources in addition to Stack Exchange.

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