This is a sport where everyone needs to be self-regulated. There is a set of rules that everyone needs to follow and enforce. If a competitor breaks a rule, then as a good sportsmanship he/she should take the penalty promptly. The penalties may be one tack and one gybe turning or two turns consisting of two gybes and two tacks.
Some major corrections were made in 1997. Now there are 97 rules out of which 15 rules are necessary regarding the movement of boat in the water. Some of these rules are our major concern.
There should be sufficient clear off distance between port tack and starboard tack.
In case the boats are on the same tack and on overlapping condition, the boat which is nearer to wind (windward) should keep a sufficient distance from leeward boat.
In case, the boats are on the same tack but are not overlapped, a boat which is behind should maintain sufficient distance from the boat ahead.
When a boat is changing tack, it should not get in touch with any other boat that is not tacking.
If it seems that the other boat is not keeping a clear distance, then even if you are in your right path of way, should maintain a certain more distance to avoid collision.
It is a sportsmanship type attitude to give the other boats the right of way, once you have achieved yours.
If your boat is changing its course even if being in the right way, then it is your duty to give the burdened boat nearby you for a chance to keep clear.
The sailor must abide by the rules and should follow it failing to which, he may be penalized. The violation of rules lead to any serious damage or injury which can lead to retirement. In case the competitor does not take the penalties, he/she may be disqualified from the whole tournament after a hearing from protest committee.