Friday racing (for those aged 7 and above and
able to sail a triangular course)
Racing takes place on Friday
evenings throughout the summer and starts at 1830h
although in September we generally pull this
forward to 1800h to make sure we have enough
Briefing normally takes place at
1815h in front of the clubhouse where we explain
the course and a reminder of the flags we will be
using, so it is best to have your boat rigged and
ready to go by then.
Before you sail, you should also
put your name, type of boat and sail number (if it
has one) on the signing-in sheet which should be
on a table in the clubhouse.
The start line is generally
between a yellow ‘outer’ buoy and the centre
flag pole by the racing hut, and the course will
also be put on the side of the hut.
A red number means you have to
round that buoy with it on the port side of your boat
and a green number means you
have to round that buoy with it on the starboard side of your
During the racing, Kayleigh will be
in the safety boat offering words of
encouragement and help to those who need it,
whilst you may also hear us shouting
additional help or guidance from the race hut
if you are near enough to hear us.
Races generally last about 60 minutes.
At 5 minutes before the
start the Buccaneers flag or
Jolly Roger is hoisted or unfurled
at the top of the flagpole.
At 4 minutes before the
start, the Preparatory flag is raised and this
is when the racing rules come into force.
At 1 minute before the
start, the Preparatory flag
is lowered and then the race starts when the Jolly
Roger is lowered. All this hoisting
or lowering is accompanied by one sound
signal, normally a horn.
We don’t tell you how many laps to do before
the race because it very much depends on the
wind strength which is often changing.
However, when you hear 2 sound signals and see
the shortened course flag raised, it means
that you will finish the next time the front
of your boat crosses through the starting
line. If there is any doubt we will let you
The Racing Rules can appear to be
quite complicated, but to start with you just
need to know:
If you touch a mark you should do a complete
turn as soon as possible with one gybe
and one tack – even if no one else sees you!
If you hit another boat, you should do 2
complete turns as soon as possible.
As you get more experienced and if you start
competing in different races you will learn
that there a quite a few extra things you need
to know, but don’t worry at the moment, we are
all there to help you.
As long as we have sufficient numbers racing, and
as soon as we can see how competent you are, you
will be allocated to one of three fleets - gold,
silver or bronze
and we will keep the list updated for you to see.
This means you should generally be racing against
people of similar ability, but if you feel you are
in the wrong fleet, let us know.
Racing results are scored on a system called handicap
which means that faster boats have to
finish the race in a shorter time than the slower
ones. For example, if you are in a Topper and
finish in 60 minutes, somebody in a Laser 4.7
should have finished around 6 minutes earlier to
beat you on handicap! So don’t worry if they
appear to be going much faster than you.
When wind speeds approach 15mph (decided by the RO
in conjunction with the Safety Boat), no Oppies
will be allowed on the water, and Toppers will be
reefed. Depending on the strength of gusts and
mean wind speed, racing may be abandoned. The
RO/SB decision is final.