Sailing Instructions



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SAILING INSTRUCTIONS CLUB RACING (Scoring revision September 2019..)

Racing shall take place under the World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) 2017 – 2020, the prescriptions of the RYA, these Sailing Instructions and the appropriate Class Rules.

  2. 2.1  Safety

The safety of a boat and her entire management, including insurance, shall be the sole responsibility of the owner/ competitor racing the boat who must ensure that the boat and crew are adequate to face the conditions that may arise during the race. Neither the establishment of these sailing instructions nor the inspection of the boat under these conditions in any way limits or reduces the absolute responsibility of the owner/competitor for his crew, his boat and the management thereof. The race organisers shall not be responsible for any loss damage, death or personal injury howsoever caused by the owner / competitor, his skipper or crew as a result of their taking part in the race or races. Moreover, every owner / competitor warrants the suitability of his boat for the race or races.
Boats shall not proceed on to the water in order to race until rescue facilities are available and shall return to shore before those facilities are withdrawn. Competitors shall obey the instructions of rescue boat crews and abandon boats if necessary.

2.2 Boats and Competitors in Difficulty

When the race committee considers that a boat or competitor is in difficulty it may instruct the boat or competitor to accept outside help, retire or sail ashore.

2.3 Outside Help

When a competitor has been recovered from the water and no significant advantage has been gained by this action the competitor may continue racing. This instruction forms an addendum (e) to RRS 41 (Outside Help)

2.4 Eligibility to Win Trophies

Only fully paid up members of Downs Sailing Club are eligible to win Trophies for Club Racing events.

2.5 Measurement or Rating Certificate

Competing boats shall comply with their current class rules and documentary evidence of compliance may be required to be presented to the Sailing Committee prior to presentation of prizes for any Club Racing event or series of races.

2.6 Distinguishing Numbers

Boats shall display class boat number on their sail. Changes to sail numbers are at the discretion of the Race Officer.

2.7 Personal Buoyancy

Adequate personal buoyancy shall be worn at all times when afloat. Neither a wet suit nor a dry suit constitutes adequate personal buoyancy. This changes RRS rule 40.

2.8 Safety Log / Sign on Sheet

Competitors must indicate their intention to race by entering the required details on the Safety Log / Sign on Sheet provided adjacent to the course board. Any boat which fails to complete the Safety Log / Sign on Sheet will be penalised by a requirement to pay a (minimum) £1.00 fine to the RNLI provided that the OOD records them as a starter. Note: Any boat that fails to “sign on” and is subsequently not recognised, as a starter by the OOD will not be entitled to redress.


2.9 Signing Off / Declaration

Signing off / Declaration is not required.
When boats cross the finish line at the end of each race they are assumed to have completed the race within the Racing Rules of Sailing and should then proceed ashore before rescue facilities are withdrawn. Boats retiring for any reason should inform the race officer as soon as possible.


Notices to competitors will be posted on the official notice board, which is positioned, adjacent to the entrance to the male changing room. Additional race information may also be written on the course board.


Changes in sailing instructions will be posted on the Official Notice board at least 30 minutes prior to the advertised start time of the race or races concerned and will be indicated by displaying international code flag “L” from the Club Flagpole. Any major revision of these Club Sailing instructions or changes to the sailing fixtures contained in DSC Programme of Events document will be posted on the Official Notice Board in good time but at least one week prior to the date of the race or event in question.


Courses will be displayed on the Course Board. Diagrams indicate the number and description of marks together with the order of rounding. Distances and angles between marks are approximate only.

  1. 6.0  THE START
  2. 6.1  Start Times

Start times are as published in DSC Programme of Events booklet. Amendments to start times will be posted on the Official Notice Board at least one week prior to the date of the event in question.

6.2 Start Line

The Start Line is defined as the extension of an imaginary line drawn through the Club Flagpole and a moveable transit pole situated on the beach, the outer limit of the line being defined by a marker buoy or “Distance Mark”. The Distance Mark may not necessarily coincide with the line.

6.3 Starting Procedure (Pursuit Races)

Races will be started using the Electronic Countdown Display Board together with sound signals, each yacht starting at the display of its allotted number. The Electronic Countdown Display Board will be the only visual signal used for starting Pursuit races. Sound signals will be made at 10, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 minutes etc. whilst boats are starting. Times shall be taken from the visual signals; the failure of a sound signal shall be disregarded. To assist the race officers, competitors are requested to avoid crossing the start line in either direction prior to their allocated start time.

6.4 Starting Procedure (Handicap Races)

Handicap races will be started by using RRS rule 26 with the following changes:


a) b)

Warning and preparatory signals for each class will be as per Club S.I. No. 6.5

When two starts are scheduled, the warning signal for the second start will be 4 minutes after the warning signal for the first.

Starting Signals

Except in the case of equipment or power failure, coloured lights will be used instead of code flags for starting signals.

General handicap class Red Red E
Fast handicap class Red Red O
Slow handicap class Green Green E
Double handed class Red Red O
Fast Single – handed class Amber Amber F
Slow Single – handed class Green Green E

Details of the classes sailing in each series are given in the DSC Programme of Events booklet.


  2. 7.1  Pursuit Races

Recall signals will not be made for Pursuit races. Any boat which starts before its allocated start time and which does not return to re-start correctly will be deemed to finish one lap behind its actual finishing position on the water. This changes RRS 29.1

7.2 Handicap Races

Premature starters will be warned by displaying Code flag “X”, accompanied by a sound signal. Boats which fail to return to re-cross the start line will be docked one lap when calculating the results. This replaces RRS 29.1.


A General Recall will be warned by displaying Code Flag 1st Substitute, accompanied by two sound signals.
(Note: If there is a General Recall for the first class of a two class start sequence, then the 2nd class waits and does not start until the first class has started correctly).


If it is decided to abandon the race, either flag “N”, “N over H” or “N over A” will be flown and three sound signals will be made. If flags “N over H” or “N over A” are displayed all boats must proceed ashore immediately and report to the Race Officer.

  1. 10.0  THE FINISH
  2. 10.1  Finish Line

The finishing line is defined as an imaginary line drawn between the Club Flagpole and the Distance Mark.

10.2 Shortening Course

Shortening course for a class will be signalled by displaying the combination of Code Flag S and the warning signal light of that class accompanied by two sound signals.
Boats will finish when they next cross the lapping/finish line. A lap which has been started, must be completed.
This changes RRS Race Signals.

10.3 Finishing Procedure (General Handicap races)

Rolling finishes will be used.
The Finishing Procedure will be as per the Shortening Course procedure (Club SI 10.2).
The Race Officer will commence the finishing procedure after the approximate advertised race duration. The Race Officer will also aim to arrange where possible, that boats of the same class complete equal numbers of laps and that the whole fleet finishes within the shortest possible time span.

10.4 Finishing Procedure (Pursuit Races)

When the advertised race duration has been reached, the finishing procedure will be as per the Shortening Course procedure (Club SI 10.2).


General Handicap Races – Approximately 60 minutes. Pursuit Races – 75 minutes.
Other races – As advertised.


The time limit will be the nominal race duration plus 30 minutes. If one boat finishes within the time limit then all other boats finishing within 45 minutes after this boat’s finishing time, will be scored. If no boats finish within the time limit the race will be abandoned. This changes RRS 35.

All Pursuit races will be completed 45 minutes after the advertised race duration. When a significant number of boats have not received a finishing position, the result of the race will be referred to the Sailing Committee for a decision on its validity.


Touching a mark – As per RRS 31, 44.1 and 44.2(One turn including one tack and one gybe).
All other infringements – As per RRS 44.1 and 44.2 (Two turns including two tacks and two gybes).



The Low Point scoring system, RRS Appendix A4.1, will apply. Scoring for all club series races will be in accordance with RRS A9, i.e. DNS, DNF, RET or DSQ boats shall be scored points for the finishing place one more than the number of boats entered in that race. Non-entered boats (DNC) will be awarded points equal to the largest number of entries plus one in any one race in the series. This changes RRS A9.

Each helmsman who performs an OOD / Patrol Boat / Galley duty in lieu of a race during the main Club series races shall be awarded average points for each such duty. It is incumbent on the helmsman to check that the Race Officer of the day has recorded his or her details on the race results sheet.

Any helmsman who is a sailing member at DSC and who is away competing in a National or Open event for his or her class of boat shall be entitled to claim average points for one day’s racing per series missed at DSC. Claims should be submitted to the Sailing Secretary within two weeks of the said event.

“Average” in both cases shall be the average of the sum of points for races where the competitor has started the race but not necessarily finished.

Overall results published after each race session are preliminary until the end of the series.
A discard ratio of 35% of sailed races or nearest lower whole number will be used for each Points Series. Ties will be broken as per RRS A8.

Points are normally awarded to the helmsman sailing a single class of boat, however, helms and crews who normally sail together may swap roles and still retain a single set of points. When either person is unavailable, the remaining person must helm the boat to qualify for points. Changes to the class of boat within each Points Series are at the discretion of the Sailing Committee.


Handicap Numbers will be based on those allocated by the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick scheme but modified by the Sailing Committee as necessary to suit local conditions. Handicap numbers are published on the Official Notice Board.


Personal Handicap Numbers will be reviewed by the Sailing Committee using a mathematical system at suitable intervals and adjusted where necessary, the aim being to encourage a variety of race winners.
Competitors without a PHC number should approach the Sailing Committee who will allocate a temporary number. PHC numbers are published on the Official Notice Board.


The Exoneration Penalty [and the Advisory Hearing and RYA Arbitration procedures] of the RYA Rules Disputes Procedures will be available. See the Official Notice Board for details.


The intention to lodge a protest must be notified to the Race Officer verbally within 15 minutes of the protesters finishing signal. Protest forms are available from the Racebox.

Changing sail rig during a Series
A boat may sail with different sails during a series providing that there is a class PN for each rig.
A boat is entered in the series by specifying the class and rig in the first race that it competes in that series. A rig with a slower PN may be used with this entry and be included in the series results provided the entry specifies the original faster rig. The PN applicable to the entry will be applied to all the races with that entry. If the boat is entered in a race specifying a different rig than the first entry in that series it will be scored as a separate entry.