Race officer Guide 2023


These guidelines are intended to be used for club racing with less than 12 boats when running a race from the water.


• Check the weather and shipping forecast the previous day and again before arriving at the Club.

• Get there early, at least an hour before the start. You will need to bring your own race stop watch and a mobile phone, together with sensible clothes a drink and a snack, you could be on the water for a while.

• Check the wind, tide, sea state and visibility on arrival; but don’t just look from the dinghy park.

• 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.

• At this point you should complete the racing risk assessment. If there are more than 12 boats or conditions warrant you will need to consider having a second safety boat.


• Take a handheld VHF radio (plus spare) from the garage. Ensure they are fully charged and test they are working before leaving the shore.

• On the Flyer there will be 2 pillar buoys with ground tackle, a boat anchor (with quick release), poles for use as flag masts, plus a box with flags, horn, paperwork and equipment needed to run the race. If the box isn’t on board, it will be in the garage.

• Check fuel, safety box and all race equipment is on board and the boat is sea worthy

 • The handheld radio should be tuned to 37a, check and lock the unit. You may wish to call Milford Haven Coastguard (01646 690909) to let them know we are racing

• The Harbour Master operates on Channel 11 and 16, or phone 01834 812094

. • Once everything is sorted proceed out into the bay and assess the wind direction and strength and check the previously completed racing risk assessment, amend if necessary. SETTING THE COURSE

• Check wind direction with the flag and using the club marks decide on a course. It must have a good windward leg but also think about the reaches. Use the plan of the bay with mark positions to assist with setting the course.

• Using the two pillar buoys set a start (and finish) line approximately 1/3rd of the way up the first leg of the course which should be a windward leg, if possible. The line should be at 90 degrees to the leg. As a guide the start line needs to be the length of the boats competing plus two boat lengths e.g. 5 boats will need a 30m line (this isn’t critical). • Anchor the Rescue boat, on the outside of the course, so you see across the line,. This will also be the finish line.

• Display the course on the board with the direction each mark is to be rounded. Red board for port rounding’s, green board for starboard rounding’s.

• Do NOT say how many laps are to be sailed the fleet keeps going until you shorten course. Wind Start line OOD/Rescue Boat Club marks


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• Take stock, are you ready and should you still be starting the race in the present conditions.

• If you are not sure you can always postpone and wait to see if conditions improve.

• Record the sail numbers of all boats in the starting area if possible, but at least make a count, you can then get the sail numbers as they complete lap one.

• Start on time if you can.

• Advise all boats they must cross the start / finish line on every lap.


• Double check all the flags required for the start sequence, are all attached to the poles and ready to hoist. The start sequence is 5mins, 4mins, 1mins, Go.

• Set (and check) your stopwatch.

• 5 Warning Signal R up Hoot once !,

• 4 Preparatory Signal normally P up Hoot once !

• 1 Preparatory Signal P down (Long Hoot) !

• START Warning Signal R down (Hoot once) !

• Write down the actual time of the start just in case of timing problems later.


• If any boats are over the line and you can identify them, take their numbers and recall them by hoisting the Individual Recall X up (Hoot once) ! immediately and inform boats who are over (by shouting).

• For a major problem at the start or if lots of boats are over that you can’t identify then restart the race by hoisting the General Recall First Sub (Hoot twice) ! ! immediately.

• Or for simplification, you may want to shout to the fleet for an individual or general recall.


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• Check that your watch is counting in stopwatch mode.

• Take down sail numbers of any boat that did not actually cross the line to start the race. DURING THE RACE

• Monitor the conditions, is it safe to continue and how are the bulk of the fleet coping.

• All boats must travel through the start / finish line in the right direction on every lap.

• If boats are in trouble, untie your anchor and leave on the anchor buoy to attend rescue and deal with the situation appropriately.

• On your return to the start / finish line, reattach to the anchor buoy and continue to run the race.

• Record the sail number and time of each boat at the end of each lap on the sheet provided.


• The race should run for 30-45 minutes depending on conditions, so at some point you will need to fly Shorten Course flag to end the race.

• To Shorten S up Hoot twice ! ! as intended boat is on the last leg approaching the finish, don’t forget once it goes up then everyone from then on is a finisher.

• In rare circumstances such as dying wind with the fleet struggling to complete the course. You may wish to use the time from the previous lap as the finishing time. Advise all boats if this is to be the case. AT THE FINISH

• Once the race is shortened then ALL boats finish the next time they cross the finish line.

• Give every boat that finishes correctly a hoot and a time even if they were OCS at the start, getting a hoot does not mean they get a result it just acknowledged they have crossed the line correctly.

• At the finish take sail number and time of all boats as they cross the line correctly.


• 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 ready.

• If no second race then drop all flags and put race gear away tidily in the storage box to leave on the boat or return to the garage.

• Before returning to the harbour make sure all boats have returned safely ashore.

• If you decided to notify the Milford Haven Coastguard that we were racing, let them know that our races are completed for the day and that all our boats have returned ashore.


• Either give a hard copy of the race timing sheets to the dinghy captain (Paul G), Dave P or Keith, or take a picture of the sheets and send via WhatsApp.

• Completed Risk Assessment sheets should remain in the file in the box.


Download: raceofficerguideforrunningclubracesonthewaterv3.0.pdf