The racing rules make no mention of “helms”. According to rule 75.1 a boat must be entered by a member of an organisation affiliated to an ISAF member national authority, a club or organisation affiliated to anaffiliated to an ISAF member national authority, or a member of an ISAF member national authority.
Rule 46 requires that the person or organisation should designate a perosn in charge of the boat. No rule states that the person in charge should be the person who twiddles the tiller at the back of the boat!
SI 19 of Appendix L ‘Sailing Instruction Guide’ states “Substitution of competitors will not be allowed without prior written approval (…)”
I cannot see why the person who handles the jib sheets, spinny sheets and (on a well run boat) takes the tactical decisions should not be the person in charge.
I would suggest that as long as the designated person in charge is on board, whatever role they are occupying, then there has been no change to the entry. If the person in charge is not on board then the boat’s results should not count towards the boats series score.
On the other hand, I believe that the person in charge should be required to inform the Race Committee of any changes in the personnel on board. A Race Committee should know who is on the water – imagine if a boat sinks with all hands on board. The Race Committee needs to be able to identify any widow(er) that may need consoling
PS During many years in the front of various boats I noted:
– that a helmsman rarely crosses the finishing line before his crew
– that on a succesful boat the helmsmans fundamental obligation is total obedience to the instructions of the person who is in command of the boat!