SAUNDERSFOOT SAILING CLUB
RACE OFFICER GUIDELINES
FOR CLUB DINGHY RACES
• These notes should be read alongside the current Racing Rules of Sailing and the
Sailing Instructions and Notice of Race for the event concerned.
• Be careful as other events such as Coppet Week may have slightly different
requirements even though they are run around the club course.
• Larger events such as the Club Regatta, Championships and Opens will also have
different procedures, as will events run at other clubs.
• The general principle of the signals and procedures however will be common to all
events and all clubs as they are set out by the RRS.
• Copies of the Sailing Instructions are in the OOD file along with a copy of the Dinghy
Programme and Duty Rota, an up to date list of Club Handicap Numbers and Race
ARE WE RACING TODAY ?
• Check the general weather and inshore waters forecast the previous day and again
before arriving at the Club so that you know what to expect.
• Get there early, at least an hour before the start, don’t forget your binoculars, watch,
pencil, notepad, calculator and mobile phone, also bring sensible clothes a drink and
a snack as you could be there for a while!
• Check the wind strength and direction, tide, sea state and visibility on arrival, does it
match the forecast; but don’t just look from the dinghy park or balcony.
• Consider whether you should be running a race in the prevailing conditions or with
the present weather forecast, don’t forget it can be too calm as well as too rough.
• It’s your decision so don’t be unduly influenced by competitors and remember that
you are running a race for the bulk of the fleet not just the keenest and best.
• Talk to the patrol boat crew’s and check that they are adequately manned for the
conditions, if not then either recruit help more from the fleet or Postpone the race.
• At this point you can decide to continue, Postpone to see if conditions improve, or
Abandon racing for the day.
• Ask one patrol boat to escort the fleet out of the harbour and the other to come to the
seaward side of the race box with the start line buoys for further instructions.
• Make sure you take a handheld radio and the key for the race box from the office in
the Clubhouse, as it’s a long walk back.
• At the box hoist the Club Burgee to the masthead and check the horn is working, a
little hoot now let’s competitors know that you are there.
• Tie on the flags you are likely to need, there are 6 halyards so use them all: Warning,
Preparatory, Postpone, General Recall, Individual Recall and Abandon, see the
suggested layout later.
• Tune the Handheld Radio to Channel 37, do a radio check with all patrol boats and
use this channel to run the race.
• Turn on the Base Station Radio and tune to channel 16, use this to call Milford Haven
Coastguard to let them know we are racing, the expected number of boats, race
duration and present conditions in the bay, then continue to listen on CH16.
• The Harbour Master operates on Channel 11 or 16. Phone 01834 812094
CALL PATROL BOATS
• To call the patrol boats on M1 - CH 37 use the name of the helm and boat type:
• Graham Dory - Graham Dory - This is OOD - OOD - Over.
• They should reply:
• OOD - This is Graham Dory - Over.
• Then send your message:
• Graham can you please… - Over.
• Continue using call signs only once, and when the conversation is finished sign of as:
• …..OOD - out.
• Never use Roger, Roger and Out, Over and Out or Wilco your not in a spitfire.
• On some occasions Tenby Sailing Club are operating at the same time so either
agree for one club to switch to the second marina channel M2 - CH 80 or preface you
call sign with the club name. This is Saundersfoot OOD.
CALL THE COASTGUARD
• To call the Coastguard on CH16:
• Milford Haven Coastguard - Milford Haven Coastguard - This is Saundersfoot Sailing
Club - Saundersfoot Sailing Club - Over.
• They will call reply and then tell you which channel to tune to:
• Saundersfoot Sailing Club - This is Milford Haven Coastguard - Channel two six -
• Retune to that channel and wait for them to call you back when call signs need only
be repeated once, pass essential information and use correct procedures at all times.
• For further details on radio procedures including distress calls then the best thing
would be to attend a radio operators course.
POSITION OF FLAGS
START LINE SIDE
SETTING THE COURSE
• Where is there wind in the bay, is it constant or just in some parts of the course area.
• Which direction is it blowing in, don’t rely on the flag above you look out at the
course, ask the patrol boats and observe boats at anchor, wind on the water and
boats already sailing.
• Decide on a course, it must have a good windward leg but also think about the
reaches and possible problems of taking the fleet into areas of rough water, stronger
wind or calm patches, see suggested courses later.
• If unsure ask the patrol boat or competitors for suggestions on the wind direction and
course, specifically where the beat is as this is the most important leg to get right.
• Display the course on the board with the direction each mark is to rounded and the
number of laps to be sailed and then draw it for yourself to check it make sense.
• Which start line is to be used, Harbour or Seaward, display the correct start board.
• Get a patrol boat to lay the start line, follow the suggested layout shown in the start
line notes and plan later.
THE OOD NEEDS A Pee
• Even with just four buoys there are lots of course permutations but strangely there
aren't many good ones that don’t involve using the Pendine mark and quite often it is
the least visited one on the course so here are a few suggestions.
• Beat from H to M set MPH or MAPH
• Beat from H to P set PMH or PAMH
• Beat from H to A set APH or AMPH
• Beat from M to H set PMH or PAMH
• Beat from M to P set MPH or MPAH
• Beat from M to A set MAH or PMAH
• Beat from P to M set PMH or PMAH
• Beat from P to A set PAH or PAMH
• Beat from A to M set AMH or PAMH
• Beat from A to P set APH or MAPH
• Beat from A to H set PAH or PMAH
SETTING THE START LINE
• The Harbour Mark and the Inner Distance Mark are the small Yellow Cylinders.
• The actual line of the start and finish is from the mast at the Box to the Outer
Distance Mark, try and get the Inner Distance Mark either on the line or on the pre-
start side of it to help control the fleet.
• Keep the start and finish line well away from the harbour mouth so as not to interfere
with other boats use binoculars to read sail numbers!
• For the Harbour start line the Inner Distance Mark should line up with the Mermaid
Restaurant, and the Outer Distance or Harbour Mark with the Old Chemist Inn, there
is no real need to move the Outer or Harbour mark back in after the start.
• In big fleets the Outer Mark can line up with the rock and tree further across the
beach, you can move it back to its normal position after the start, but keep the Inner
Distance Mark in the same position.
• For the Seaward start line then keep the Inner Distance Mark a reasonable distance
from the back wall of the harbour and the Outer Mark around the outfall buoy.
• The points above also apply when setting the finish line if the alternative start line
seaward of the harbour has been used.
BEFORE THE START
• Take stock, are you ready and should you still be starting the race in the present
• If you are not ready, or are not sure of the conditions you can always Postpone and
wait a bit to get things organised or to see if conditions improve.
• Record the sail numbers of all boats in the starting area on your notepad if possible,
but at least make a count of potential starters, you can then get the class and sail
numbers onto the race recording sheet in the order that they complete lap one.
• Get a patrol boat to anchor beyond the line to watch the start with you, and to radio if
any boats are over the line, but agree with them how they do this to avoid confusion.
• Start on time if you can, three boats and a patrol boat is all you need, but only start
when you are ready, if not then Postpone at the time that the Warning Signal should
have been flown or earlier if it clear there is a problem.
• Before the start to Postpone and Restart the race AP up ! !
• When you are ready AP down ! and one minute to Warning Signal.
• Before the start to Postpone and Go Ashore AP over H up ! !
• Before the start to Postpone to Another Day AP over A up ! !
• 5 min Warning Signal R up ! Class Flag for other events.
• 4 min Preparatory Signal P up ! but could be I, Z, or Black, see later.
• 1 min Preparatory Signal P down ! make this a longer sound signal.
• START Warning Signal R down !
• Write down the actual time of the start just in case of timing problems later.
AT THE START
• If any boats are over the line OCS and you can identify them take their numbers.
• Recall them by hoisting the Individual Recall X up ! immediately
• Inform them either by shouting or by sending a patrol boat as soon as possible.
• Lower X after they all return or after four minutes whichever happens first.
• For a major problem at the start or if lots of boats are over and you can’t identify them
all then restart the race:
• By hoisting the General Recall First Sub up ! ! immediately.
• Wait until you are ready then First Sub down ! and one minute to
the new Warning Signal.
AFTER THE START
• Check that your watch is counting in stopwatch mode.
• Take down sail numbers of any boat that did not cross the line to start the race.
• Get a patrol boat to return the marks to their correct Harbour position if the Seaward
start line was used, see start line plan.
• Problems at or after the start that mean you have to stop the race.
• To Abandon and Re-sail then N up ! ! !
• Wait until you are ready then N down ! and one minute to Warning.
• To Abandon and Go Ashore N over H up ! ! !
• To Abandon to Another Day N over A up ! ! !
DURING THE RACE
• Monitor the conditions, is it safe to continue and how are the bulk of the fleet coping.
• If boats are in trouble then take the crew off onto a patrol boat and anchor the dinghy
until the end of the race, don’t let patrol boats get tied up with towing jobs when they
may be needed elsewhere.
• If boats are anchored and unattended then call the Coastguard so they know you
have dealt with the situation and to avoid a lifeboat being launched unnecessarily.
• Record the sail number and time of each boat at the end of each lap on the race
recording sheets provided in the order that they finish the first lap, see later.
• For bigger events just keep a list of every boat each time it passes you and sort
things out later as its too difficult to try and fit them all into the right slots.
• If only one race then it should last around an hour for most boats, if two then 30 to 40
minutes and try and avoid too long a wait between them.
• Make the race as fair as you can, check conditions, is the wind about to drop or pick
up and choose a point where the bulk of the fleet will sail for a similar time.
• Avoid sending boats that are close together on different numbers of laps.
• Boats won’t sail the same number of laps, make sure you count how many they do.
• At some point you will need to fly Shorten Course but not always for the leaders.
• To Shorten S up ! ! as the intended boat is on the last leg.
• Once the race is shortened then ALL boats finish the next time they cross the finish
line, usually this is the next time they get back to the Harbour.
• Not in the rules but for club races you could repeat the sound signal as they approach
the finish just to make sure.
• In rare circumstances such as dying wind with the fleet struggling to get to one of the
other marks you may wish to shorten course at this point instead of at the harbour.
• Ideally get yourself and the S flag in the patrol boat and anchor off the mark at ninety
degrees to the leg being sailed, and display the shorten course signal as above.
• If you cant or don’t fancy going then get the patrol boat to take the S flag a pad of
paper and pencil and get them to radio back the numbers as boats finish.
• Depending on where this happens you may have to adjust the elapsed times so that
they properly reflect the number of laps or legs sailed.
AT THE FINISH
• All boats must finish leaving the Harbour Mark to Starboard at all times.
• Give every boat that finishes correctly a hoot and a time even if they were OCS, it is
only an acknowledgement that they have crossed the line.
• If they do not finish correctly do not give them a hoot, but make a note of the time just
• Remember that if they finish the wrong way they must unwind before then crossing
the line again in the correct direction, don’t hoot until they have got it right!
• Split the tasks between you, one of you call out numbers and hoot as boats cross the
line the other record the sail numbers and finishing time.
• For bigger events its best to have four of you and several notepads, one calls
numbers in the order that boats finish, one writes down these numbers, one hoots
every time a boat finishes and one writes down the times. Every now and then tie up
a number and a time and check you agree on how many boats so far.
• If free get a patrol boat to anchor beyond the line to help record the order of finishers.
• After they finish boats should keep clear of the finish area and the Harbour and out of
your line of sight, if they are a problem then send a patrol boat to shift them on.
AFTER THE FINISH
• Make sure all competitors and patrol boats are accounted for.
• If a second race is to be run then check the conditions, wind direction and course,
reset the course if necessary, lower the shorten course flag and proceed with start
sequence as before when you are ready.
• If no second race then drop all flags and put race gear back where you found it.
• Sign off radio contact with patrol boats once they are safely back in the harbour.
• Sign off with Milford Haven Coastguard to let them know that our races are
completed for the day and that all our boats are accounted for.
• Work out results and display in results folder in Clubhouse
• Return handheld radio and key to Clubhouse.
• Have a well earned drink and bask in the praise of the competitors!
WORKING OUT RESULTS
• Correct the elapsed times to take account of the number of laps sailed by each boat,
it is best to make this the largest number of laps sailed.
• Calculate corrected times using either the formula below and a calculator or the Clubs
• Corrected time equals ELAPSED TIME IN SECONDS X 1000
• The common abbreviations for boats not getting a finishing time are:
• DNS for boats that came to the starting area but did not actually start the race.
• DNC for boats that did not come to the starting area, needed to work out a series
• OCS for boats on the course side at the starting signal who did not restart correctly.
• DNF for boats that did not finish.
• DSQ for boats that were disqualified after a protest hearing.
SAUNDERSFOOT SAILING CLUB ~ RACE RECORDING SHEET
Date: 1st April 2020 OOD: Rolfe John and John Griffiths Weather: Sunny
Event: Jollity Cup 2 Patrol: Graham Wellman and Tom Owen Wind: N 2 to 3
Race No: M8 Patrol: Charlie and Anita Osborne Course: MAPH
Helm Class Sail No Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Lap 4 Seconds Hcap Corr Pos
John Osprey 1238 25.06 50.32 75.45 ------- 4545 940 4835 2
Paul Fireball 14663 26.55 53.20 80.22 ------- 4822 982 4910 3
George Laser 77909 28.45 58.01 86.03 ------- 5163 1078 4789 1
Ringo GP 14 11019 30.10 61.35 --------- 5543 1127 49179 4
Stuart Mirror 44400 37.30 76.45 -------- -------- 6907 1386 4983 5
Pete Laser 113939 29.20 59.23 88.30 -------- 1078 OCS
Billy Grad 1701 33.56 RTD RTD
• Other abbreviations for boats not getting a finish time that might occur in larger
• ZFP for a 20% penalty under Z Flag start rule 30.2.
• BFD for a boat OCS on a Black Flag start rule 30.3, that competes in a restart, this
cannot be discarded.
• SCP for a boat that took a scoring penalty if in the instructions, rule 44.3.
• RAF for a boat that retired after finishing the race.
• DGM if misconduct is found by a protest committee rule 69.1(b)(2) this cannot be
• DNE for a disqualification that cannot be discarded under rule 89.3(b) fair sailing,
competing after a Black flag disqualification, propulsion if rule 42 or Appendix P in
the instructions, misconduct.
OTHER RACE SIGNALS
• Probably not used for club races but will be seen at regattas and championships.
• I up ! One Minute Round the Ends, if OCS in the minute leading
up to the start, displayed as the Preparatory Signal.
• Z up ! 20% Penalty Rule if OCS at the start, displayed as the
• up ! Disqualification if OCS at the start, displayed as the
• M ! - ! - ! Intermittent Indicates a Replacement Mark in use.
• L up ! Indicates a Change in Sailing Instructions or Race
Programme if displayed ashore, or follow or come to me for
further instructions if displayed afloat
• C ! - ! - ! Intermittent Indicate a Change of Course, displayed with
either the compass bearing of the next leg or a green triangle
or red square to indicate mark moved to port or starboard or a
board with a + or – to indicate leg is longer or shorter.
• Sailing is a self regulating sport and it is up to all competitors to obey the rules, sail
fairly, acknowledge incidents and take the appropriate penalties.
• If they do not take a penalty then it is normally up to other competitors to protest them
and it is important that this happens so that the sport is self policing.
• Race officials can only disqualify a boat without protest for being over the line at the
start OCS or for not finishing correctly DNF, but in both cases it is still sensible to
record their elapsed times just in case of a protest.
• Other infringement witnessed by the Race Officer or patrol crews such as sailing the
wrong course can only be dealt with by the Race Officer lodging a protest.
• You should still work out the results including all finishers but put a note on the results
stating your intention to protest.
• Protests have to be made on forms available at the Clubhouse
• If there is a protest then contact the Dinghy Captain if possible and help to arrange a
• There are three possible types of hearing for resolving rule disputes:
• Advisory Hearing with a rules advisor who could be another competitor, to discuss
and resolve disputes without a protest or penalty, although it may proceed to the next
stage or result in voluntary retirement.
• Mediation Pre-Protest Hearing with a mediator, who should be an experienced
sailor or official who didn’t compete in the race. This takes place after a protest is
lodged but before a hearing and can result in 20% penalty being taken by the guilty
party or in a voluntary retirement, if no agreement then proceed to the hearing.
• Full Protest Hearing only happens if the other options have failed with full protest
committee and the disqualification of the party found to have broken the rules.
• The Club has adopted the RYA Racing Charter which requires that:
• Race Officials should provide fair, enjoyable and safe racing in accordance with the
race management guidelines and dispute resolution services set out by the RYA.
• Competitors should show respect to other competitors and officials, compete in a fair
manner in compliance with the rules, acknowledge infringements, take penalties as
required and use the provided services to resolve disputes.
• The RRS at Rule 1.1 require that all possible help shall be given to a competitor in
danger by both race officials and fellow competitors.
• Then at Rule 41 they prohibit all outside help to a boat that is racing except under the
following circumstances when:
• (a) Help is given in accordance with Rule 1.1 to someone in danger.
• (b) Help is given for an ill or injured crew member.
• (c) Help is given after a collision from the other boat involved getting clear.
• (d) Help is given in the form of information freely available to all boats.
• (e) Help is given in the form of unsolicited information from a disinterested source.
• Any competitor assisted in these ways can continue to race as long as no advantage
has been gained, for example a competitor can be picked out of the water and
returned to their boat which as long as it does not gain an advantage by carrying on
during this time can continue to race.
• However once the danger ceases and the competitor is out of the water no other help
such as righting a capsize can be given without the boat the retiring from the race.
• Any competitor who assists another in danger can request redress for the time lost.
• We hope that you find these guidelines helpful, they along with other things of interest
to race officials can be downloaded soon from the Clubs website.
• Please don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure of anything, why not go along with a
more experienced race officer before your turn arrives and see just how easy running
club races can actually be.
• Above all enjoy yourself, it can be just as much fun officiating as competing and it is a
good place from which to watch the race and to pick up tips from how the other
competitors get round the course and handle their boats.