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Home > Racing Content - All folders & articles in this section are for content only > Sailing Instructions

Sailing Instructions

Stewartby Water Sports Club: Sailing Section

Sailing Instructions for Club Racing last reviewed 2018

1.1. Club racing will be governed by the rules as defined in The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), and the prescriptions of the RYA.
1.1a Provided the flag remains in its position on the buoy there shall be no penalty when a boat touches any part of the flag that does not surround the staff of a mark. This amends RRS 44.1

This allows the flag itself to be touched, but not where the cloth tube is in contact with the supporting tube on the mark. If however when touching the flag it gets removed from the mark, then the mark has been touched and a penalty turn is required.
This change has been introduced to avoid the problem caused particularly at off wind marks when a boat rounding the mark has the body of the helm or crew brushed by the flag. Sometimes the touch is so delicate that the sailor is unaware that it has happened.

1.2. The class rules of the class or classes intending to race will apply, lasers may use pattern sails and Rigs.
1.3. Competitors should note that Sailing Section of Stewartby Water Sports Club implements the RYA Racing Charter and that they will be required to undertake to sail in compliance with the Charter, which can be found at the front of the Racing Rules of Sailing, published by the RYA.
1.4. Club Racing will be sailed in accordance with the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme with the following prescriptions:
(a) Average Lap Racing (ALR)
(b) Published Portsmouth Numbers as amended by the Section Racing Committee. Portsmouth Numbers shall not be amended partway through a race series.
1.5. Competitors shall abide by the Rules and Regulations of the Sailing Section, and the Rules of Stewartby Water Sports Club at all times.

2.1. Notices to competitors will be posted on the club website

3.1. Any change to the sailing instructions, including changes to the schedule of races, will be posted 30 minutes before the start of the first race of the day

4.1. Signals made ashore will be displayed at the flagstaff located behind the race control building.
4.2. When a RED flag is displayed ashore the lake is closed and sailing is not permitted.
Attention may be drawn to the flag by repeated sound signals. Boats afloat must return to shore as soon as possible.
4.3. When the code 'H' signal is displayed ashore the support boats are unavailable or withdrawn from use and safety cover shall be suspended until the signal is removed.

Races not started will be postponed and those races started abandoned.

5.1. The schedule of races shall be stated on the sailing section online calendar at

5.2. The scheduled time for the warning signal for each race will be 5 minutes before the start time stated in the schedule of races.

6.1. The warning signal is code flag K.

7.1. Competitors should enter a race by writing their name, allocated short code, boat class and sail number on the entry form displayed on the official notice board.
7.2. Should a competitor arrive before the signing-on sheet is available, a white board with marker pen is available so that the competitor is able to sign up before launching.

8.1. No later than 10 minutes before the starting signal, the course to be sailed shall be displayed with coloured numbers from the committee boat. The course may also be displayed on the shore notice board, but in the event of a difference between the two displays, the committee boat version shall be the course.
8.2. The course shall indicate a start/finish line that boats shall cross at the start, finish and at the end of each lap.
8.3. The Race Officer shall display, at the same time [or before] as the course, a Planned Race Duration of 1 hour. .
8.4. The Race Officer may amend the Planned Race Duration at his discretion or as directed by the schedule of races prior to displaying the course. The Planned Race Duration may not be less than 45 minutes or greater than 90 minutes.

9.1. Marks used for racing may include
(a) orange dan buoys fitted with a numbered or lettered flag.
(b) orange dan buoy displaying a white flag; this buoy will only be used as the first mark of the course.
(c) a spherical orange buoy with an orange flag; used as the port end starting mark.
9.2. The approximate location of the spherical buoys is shown in the accompanying map. The Race Officer may move buoys may to set courses.

10.1. The racing area is bounded on the eastern and northern sides by white dividing- line buoys. Boats may only cross this line in the event of an emergency.
10.2. An imaginary line joining each dividing-line buoy will be considered a continuous obstruction while racing.
10.3. If the racing area is to be extended this will be made clear when the course is displayed.
10.4. Safety Boats in attendance or providing assistance to competitors capsized shall be considered an obstruction.

11.1. The minimum wind speed for starting will be that in which the race committee considers boats have sufficient capability for pre-start manoeuvres.
11.2. Races should not start, or races in progress shall be abandoned when:
(a) the wind exceeds 27kt.
(b) the race committee considers conditions unsafe for sailing
(c) there are insufficient fully manned support boats available. A minimum of one support boat afloat with two crew members is required to run a race.
11.3. Competitors shall be held ashore, or races abandoned and competitors sent ashore,
when lightning can be seen from the lake, club grounds or buildings.
11.4. During races held in conditions below 5 degrees centigrade the race committee or Officer of the Day may reasonably abandon or cancel races having considered the effect of cold temperatures on the race committee, support boat crews or any competitor.

12.1. The starting line will shall be:
(a) from the orange pole on the committee boat at the starboard end of the line and the port end starting mark.
(b) from a mark indicated on the course display board to a pole with a red cross mounted at its top erected ashore.
12.2. Races will be started by using RRS26.
12.3 If there are a significant number of catamarans racing, the race officer may elect to start them one minute later than the mono-hulls. In which case:
(a) An orange flag with 2 vertical bars will be displayed not less than 5 minutes before the warning signal for the race.
(b) If there is a general recall signaled for the mono-hulls, then this also applies to the catamarans. The whole start sequence begins again.
(c) There can be no general recall for the catamaran start.
(d)If flag X has been displayed for the mono-hulls and is still displayed as the catamarans are about to start, it shall be removed just before that start. If the catamarans start with no boats OCS it shall be displayed again with no sound signal until the offending mono-hulls have restarted, or until 4 minute has elapsed, whichever is the sooner. If a catamaran is OCS, then flag X shall be displayed with one sound signal.

13.1. When at the starting signal the race committee is unable to identify boats that are on-course-side of the starting line, or there has been an error in the starting procedure a general recall will be signaled. The new warning signal will be one minute after the removal of flag First Substitute.

14.1. The finish line shall be the same as the start line.
14.2. Before the end of the Planned Race Duration, the 'About to Finish' ATF signal shall be made.
This modifies Rules 32.2 & 32.1 in respect to Shorten Course only.
(a) The race office will display code flag 'S' with attention drawn by two sounds when the first boat to be finished reaches the final mark of the lap.
(b) The Race Officer may delay ATF signal to allow boats to cross the line and sail a further lap.
14.3. Boats that have finished shall clear the finishing area and must not interfere with boats that are racing.

15.1. A boat that may have broken a rule of RRS Part 2, or RRS Rule 31 or RRS Rule 42, may, after finishing the race concerned and before the start of a related protest hearing, notify the race committee that she accepts a 20% scoring penalty as stated in RRS Rule 44.3(c), (except that the minimum penalty is two places if that does not result in a score worse than DNF). This penalty does not reverse an OCS score, a disqualification under RRS Rule 30.3 or a penalty under Appendix P. It is not available for a breach of RRS Rule 2 or of class rules or for gross misconduct under rule 69. Nor is it available to a boat that caused injury or serious
damage, or gained a significant advantage by her breach: in these circumstances, her penalty is to retire.
15.2. When an Exoneration Penalty is accepted,
(a) Neither the boat nor a protest committee may then revoke or remove the penalty.
(b) The boat shall not be penalized further in a protest hearing when the protest committee decides that it was appropriate to the facts found and the applicable rules.

16.1. The Race Officer shall not place any time limit on a boat starting correctly and sailing the course until the 'About To Finish' (Shorten Course) signal is made.
16.2. Boats failing to finish within 30 minutes after the first boat sails the course and finishes may be scored at the discretion of the Race Officer based on:
(a) their performance in previous laps;
(b) their position on the course when the time-limit is reached.

17.1. Protest forms are available at the Race Office. Protests shall be delivered there within the protest time limit.
17.2. The protest time limit is 30 minutes after the last boat in the fleet has finished or the scheduled time of the warning signal of the next race if this is sooner. The same time limit applies to protests by the race committee about incidents they observe in the racing area and to request redress.
17.3. Protests will be heard as soon as possible if a committee cannot be connived the sailing section committee will consider the matter at their next scheduled meeting.
17.4. The protestor and those protested will be informed of the time and place of the hearing.
17.5. The protestor and those protested should ensure that the relevant persons, including witnesses are notified and available at the time and place stated.

20.1. The Low Scoring System (RRS Appendix A) will apply.
20.2. Scores will be allocated as indicated for the following conditions:
(a) DNF scores number of starters + 1
(b) RAF scores number of starters + 1
(c) DSQ scores number of starters + 1
(d) DNS scores number of starters + 1
(e) OCS scores number of starters + 1
(f) DNE scores number of starters + 1
(g) DNC scores the number of entries in the whole series +1
20.3. Tie breaking will be as described in Appendix A8 of the RRS

20.4 The race officer may at his discretion, on the advice of the OOD or by written or verbal instructions from the racing/duty coordinator, award an average points score to any competitor that forfeits his entry in a race to undertake a support duty. To be awarded the points the competitor must have been prepared to enter the race (or races) and any award may only be made for two races per series.

21.1. Adequate personal buoyancy for crew members shall be worn whilst afloat and failure to do so will result in immediate disqualification. Wetsuits and dry-suits do not constitute adequate personal buoyancy.
21.2. All competitors shall at all times comply with verbal instructions given by the Officer of the Day and Safety
Boat crews. Any instructions given are solely intended to ensure the safety of a competitor are not "outside help" as defined in RRS 41 and is not subject to protest from another competitor. The competitor may continue to race.
21.3. Any assistance given by Safety Boats other than verbal safety instructions, such as righting or re-orientating a boat, recovering equipment or making repairs the competitor shall have received "outside help" and boats shall immediately retire.
21.4 No races shall be run unless a minimum of one support boat with two crew members is afloat.

22.1. A boat or equipment may be inspected at any time for compliance with the class rules and sailing instructions.
22.2. Each boat shall produce on demand a valid measurement certificate with a current buoyancy endorsement.
22.3. boat and competitor may carry while racing an instrument that can log, velocity or geographic location including video, any live displayed data must be obscured.

23.1. A boat shall neither make nor receive radio transmissions while racing. This restriction also applies to mobile telephones.


24.1. It is intended that prizes will be given to First, Second and Third places in a racing series, and other places depending on the number of entries. Prizes may not be awarded to boats if they have not taken part in at least the number of races that is equal to the number being counted for the series. Inclement weather may change these requirements slightly.
24.2. Other categories may be decided at the discretion of the Section Racing Committee and subject to the entries received.

25.1. Competitors participate in the regatta entirely at their own risk. See RRS Rule 4, Decision to Race. The Organizing Authority will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with or prior to, during, or after the regatta.


Rule 4 of the Racing Rules of Sailing states: "The responsibility for a boat's decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone."
Sailing is by its nature an unpredictable sport and therefore involves an element of risk. By taking part in the event, each competitor agrees and acknowledges that:
a) They are aware of the inherent element of risk involved in the sport and accept responsibility for the exposure of themselves, their crew and their boat to such inherent risk whilst taking part in the event;
b) They are responsible for the safety of themselves, their crew, their boat and their other property whether afloat or ashore;
c) They accept responsibility for any injury, damage or loss to the extent caused by their own actions or omissions;
d) Their boat is in good order, equipped to sail in the event and they are fit to participate;
e) The provision of a race management team, patrol boats, umpires and other officials and volunteers by the organizer does not relieve them of their own responsibilities;
f) The provision of patrol boat cover is limited to such assistance, particularly in extreme weather conditions, as can be practically provided in the circumstances;

27.1. Each participating boat shall be insured with valid third-party liability insurance with a minimum cover of £3,000,000 per event or equivalent.



A.1. For the Winter racing the schedule of races shall be stated on the sailing section online calendar at
A.2. For the Boxing Day Hangover race, the start time shall be 11.30 am and comprise a single race of no less than 45 minutes.
A.3. The scheduled time for the warning signal for each race will be 5 minutes before the start times stated
in the schedule of races.

B.1. The Race Officer shall display, at the same time as the course, a Planned Race Duration whose value shall be:
(a) Autumn Series no less than 45 minutes, typically 1 hour.
(b) Icicle Series no less than 40 minutes, typically 45 minutes.

C.2 Those who race in the series must volunteer a duty date in writing on the roster before any results will be awarded. Any results obtained before fulfilling this obligation will not be re-instated.
C.3 Should a duty not be performed, then results will not be awarded.

Last updated 11:09 on 17 January 2024

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