Conduct of the Race

Regattas and championship events will be bound by their Notice of Race, their Sailing Instructions and the Racing Rules of Sailing. CLSA club races will follow the CLSA Sailing Instructions and the Racing Rules of Sailing.

Sailing Conditions

The sailing conditions will be within the parameters established to allow both fair and safe racing. If the wind is less than 2 mph, the RC should consider postponing for a better breeze. In high winds, the RC should take into consideration their resources as well as the water and air temperature when deciding whether to start or continue racing. If a consensus of the PRC, 1st Officer and the Safety Officer is not to race, then races not started should be postponed and started races shortened or abandoned.

In the event either too much or too little wind results in postponement of starts or abandonment of races, cancellation should not take place before 3:30 for club races unless it is obvious conditions will not improve.


Courses will be selected and laid out to provide a fair contest of reasonable duration. The configuration should include a number of tactical legs if possible. Every effort should be made to lay out the marks to provide true windward and leeward legs. Think spinnakers when selecting the angles of the reaching legs.

Before the Start

After the course configuration has been selected , the appropriate signals shall be displayed before the warning signal to inform the racers. The spotter and recorder will register all boats in the starting area.  The starting pin should then be set, although may be re-adjusted. The orange line flag should then be displayed. The starting pin must be in position before the preparatory signal. The position of the weather mark should be re-evaluated and repositioned if necessary.

Contrary to belief, the rules do not require the marks to be in position at the warning signal or even the starting signal. However, every effort should be made to have the first mark near position by the preparatory signal. This gives the RC more flexibility to set a good course and may make adjustments after the start. Waiting too long may cause confusion and invite redress.

The Start

As a courtesy, the RC should provide  a sound signal a minute before the warning signal for the first fleet starting. 5 minutes before the start (regatta sailing instructions may modify this time) the class flag is hoisted with 1 sound signal. (For CLSA club racing the warning signal is at 3 minutes.) At 4 minutes before the start, the preparatory signal (code flag P) is hoisted with 1 sound signal. (for CLSA club races this is at 2 minutes) At one minute before the start the preparatory signal is removed with 1 longer sound signal. At the start, the class flag is removed with 1 sound signal.

For multi-fleet races, the start of the first fleet is the warning signal for the succeeding fleet unless the sailing instructions otherwise dictate. If the display of the new class flag cannot be simultaneously made with the removal of the class flag of the starting fleet, it is the removal that must be on time. In the event the RC is not ready to start the start sequence for the subsequent class (fleet not all back from previous race) or the starting line requires adjusting, they just do not hoist the next class flag at the previous class start. Postponement is not necessary.

The spotter and recorder should check starters to confirm or correct their list of starters.

The line man should determine if any boats have started prematurely and display code flag X with one horn if this is the case.  It is beneficial to have a small boat at the pin end to help identify premature starters. Premature starters should be hailed, preferably in the order they are identified. If some do not return, they should be hailed again. The jon boat at the pin end may help with hailing.

If many boats are known to have started prematurely and cannot be identified then a general recall is signaled by hoisting the 1st repeater with 2 sound signals. In club races the new class flag is left in place and the recalled fleet is ordered to leave the course to be restarted later.

After all classes have been started the orange line flag is removed.

The Race

During the race the RC boats should be standing by with a spare mark in the event a mark must be moved or replaced. The RC should vigilantly monitor the wind on the course for persistent wind shifts that may affect the fairness of the race. The RC must also assure that none of the marks drift out of position.

The Finish

An RC boat should take position to establish the finish line well before the first boats are approaching. The finish line should be at a right angle to the course line from the previous mark. The finish boat will anchor and display a blue flag. The blue flag on a skiff or the mast on the committee boat serves as the boat end of the finish line. The course side of the finish mark is the pin end of the finish line. 

Safety on the Course

In the event of several capsized boats at the same time that require assistance, especially when the water is cold, rather than towing each boat to the harbor  they should be anchored out and the crews picked up. When all crew are out of the water, recovering the boats may begin. If all RC boats are involved in rescue operations the race must be abandoned.

After the Race

The finishing list is compared with the starting list to identify DNF boats. The appropriate forms should be completed and checked to be turned over to the authority in charge of the race results. As the committee boat docks, it should make a sound signal to mark the beginning of the time limit to file a protest. If a protest is filed, a protest committee is appointed. The protest committee may be members of the RC or other uninterested parties.

Check with crews of other RC boats for equipment problems and report them to proper committee heads. Top off all fuel tanks. Stow all gear properly. Check that all compartments are locked, the CO2 is turned off. Check that all vessels are moored properly.