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Home / Club Documents / Thinking of joining a race
Home / Club Documents / Thinking of joining a race

Thinking of joining a race

This winter and spring (2020) we're running short races on Saturday mornings, weather permitting. On the Thursday or Friday beforehand I post a comment on Facebook about the weather etc, then others reply indicating if they are likely to come. I also put the comment into an email for those who don't use Facebook. If you want to be added to the circulation of this just give me your email address via

The races are fun with light hearted competiveness.

To catch the first race you should be ready with your boat rigged by 10.30 pm. Sign on in the corridor so that we can get your name right on the results! (But you can join in anytime.) We do a quick and social briefing on the beach or patio. If you don't get to this you may miss race details like countdown timings. Then we go out in Saddlesall for the first race to start at 11.

One of us acts as 'Officer of the Day' (OD) and takes out a power boat (PB). They will moor somewhere at the downwind end of the lake. They will usually set up a start line between the PB and a blue plastic drum. They will decide on the course, typically a triangle going up wind towards the centre of the lake then across to a mark and back to the line, going through it upwind again. The course will usually be given verbally so keep near the PB so that you can hear this and any other instructions.

Whistle or hooter starts the countdown to the race. There may be flags to help too useful if the wind makes it hard to hear the sound signals.

Then just keep sailing round the course doing as many laps as you can. From about 25 minutes in the OD will start finishing boats. You might have been warned that you are on your last lap as you went through the line last time. As you finish the OD's priority is to write down your time. Then, if hands free, they'll sound the 'gun' to say that you've finished. Keep out of the way of other finishing boats but don't go far because the next race will start soon and may have a different course.


  • 1.Are your clothing, sailing skills and boat matched to winter conditions?
  • 2.Carry a whistle. If you are in difficulty or see someone else is in difficulty use it to call the OD. If from the far end of the lake others may have to whistle too to pass the message on
  • 3.If the OD has left the line to help someone just carry on as though the PB was there. If you can remember how many laps you have done and can take your own time as you go through the line at about 30 mins that could help
  • 4.Avoiding collisions is more important than any rules.
  • 5.If you are doubtful whether your skills are a match for the weather talk to the OD and others. Maybe today you would learn more by going out with the OD in the PB than swimming.

Racing Rules and Tips

Don't be over concerned about rules. Prime rule is Avoid collisions. There are 2 basic rules, port gives way to starboard and the downwind boat has right over an upwind boat or 'windward boat gives way'. If you know you were over the line before the gun went, sail round the end of the line and start again and if you know you touched a mark you can do a 360 turn. But we are more interested in you having a good time. As you sail more you will pick up more.

Back at the Club house you might be able to have a coffee, natter and listen to the experts (what experts?!). Hopefully the results should appear there too for the enthusiasts.


Being OD means the OD misses racing. Could we spread the load; could you volunteer to be OD one Saturday? You must have PB level 2 but we can train you in this (Contact ). The OD side isn't difficult, just needs concentration, and we will advise and help.

Colin Reisner, Racing Secretary. Contact me at the Club or via

Last updated 17:01 on 9 February 2020

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