Sailing Instructions

The current sailing instructions are provided below and can also be downloaded as a pdf.

  1. Rules
    1. Racing will be governed by the ‘rules’ as defined in the Racing Rules of Sailing ( In the event of conflict, the Sailing Instructions shall prevail.
    2. Competitors shall undertake to sail in compliance with the RYA Racing Charter.
  2. Communications with Competitors
    1. Notices to Competitors will be posted on the Official Notice Board, located at the sailing club house.
    2. Any changes to the Sailing Instructions will be posted at least 45 minutes before the first race on the day it will take effect, and any change to the schedule of races will be posted 30 minutes before the next scheduled race on the day it will take effect.
    3. An e-mail may be used to communicate to competitors at least 24 hours before the first race on the day it will take effect, however not being in receipt of the e-mail will not constitute a valid reason for redress.
    4. Signals made ashore will be displayed at the Southern flag pole.
  3. Personal Floatation Devices
    1. Personal floatation devices must be worn at all times when afloat. Flag ‘Y’ will not be shown, this alters RRS 40. Wetsuits and drysuits are not designated as personal floatation devices.
  4. Schedule of Races
    1. The series will be posted on the Reading Sailing Club web site Calendar.
    2. Warning signals for each race shall be five (5) minutes before the scheduled starting time posted on the Reading Sailing Club web site Calendar.
    3. No warning signals shall be made after official sunset.
  5. Class Flags
    1. Class flags will be Club Handicap Club Pursuit Numeral 3
  6. Racing Area
    1. The Racing Area will be bound by the shoreline and the buoy line separating the sailing area from the Rowing Strip. See Appendix A.
  7. The Course
    1. The course to be sailed will be displayed at the location of the starting post, either onshore or on the committee boat.
    2. No later than the warning signal, the race committee will display the course at or near the designated starting post (either on-shore or on the committee boat). The race committee may alter the displayed course without notification up to the warning signal.
    3. Courses may be around fixed racing marks, numbered 1 to 9, or laid marks with flags flying from them to identify them, identified A to D. All racing or laid marks will be located within the Racing Area.
    4. Racing marks will be rounded to either port or starboard, with the rounding designation determined by the colour of the displayed mark identifier. A RED background signifies leaving the mark to PORT, a GREEN background signifies leaving the mark to STARBOARD.
    5. A Gate may be identified by displaying a ‘G’ between two mark identifiers. The ‘G’ will be displayed as a black ‘G’ on a white background. The Gate will be a minimum of 6 boat lengths long. See Appendix ‘A’ for an example of a Gate.
    6. The Start Line may be designated as a Gate as well, with a mark identifier as ‘S’. The ‘S’ will be displayed as a black ‘S’ on a white background and identifies the Gate as between the starting post (located either on-shore or on the committee boat) and the Outer Distance Mark with a flag on it.
      1. If mark ‘S’ is displayed, boats shall pass through the Gate in the same direction as boats started the race.
    7. The Start Line may also be identified as a Gate which is not allowed to be passed through on a leg of the course between two racing marks, two laid marks or between windward and leeward Gates.
      1. The designation for this is a black ‘S’ with a red ‘X’ overlying the black ‘S’, on a white background. See Appendix ‘A’ for an example.
  8. Areas that are obstructions
    1. The buoy line and posts marking the edge of the rowing lanes are designated as an obstruction.
  9. The Start
    1. The Start will be as per RRS 26 (5,4,1,go)
    2. In the event of a general recall, the race will be restarted as per RRS 26 (5,4,1,go)
    3. Boats whose warning signal has not been made shall avoid the starting area during the starting sequence for other races. Boats failing to do this may be disqualified by the race committee without any course of redress. This changes RRS 62.
    4. A boat starting after the first boat has completed 1 lap of the course shall be scored Did Not Start without a hearing. This changes RRS A3
    5. In a pursuit race, a boat starting more than 5 minutes after the last scheduled start shall be scored Did Not Start without a hearing. This changes RRS A3 and SI 9.4
  10. The Start Line
    1. The Senior Officer of the Day (SOOD) may elect to use either of the two shoreline fixed posts located adjacent to the sailing club and slip way and a moveable Outer Distance Mark, or a committee boat, with a fixed post and a moveable Outer Distance Mark.
    2. The Outer Distance Mark will be white buoy with a red and white pole and a flag on it.
    3. A white inner distance mark may be laid at the committee boat or fixed shoreline post end of the line.
      1. When an inner distance mark is laid, boats must pass between the inner distance mark and the Outer Distance Mark.
    4. If used, the committee boat will be located within the Racing Area and may be at either end of the line.
    5. The Starting Line may be used as a Gate in the Course (see 7.6)
  11. The Finish Line
    1. The Finish Line may be between the post on either of the two shoreline fixed posts located adjacent to the sailing club and slip way and a moveable Outer Distance Mark, a committee boat, with a fixed post and a moveable Outer Distance mark, a Gate or a rounding mark and a committee boat, with a fixed post.
    2. The Outer Distance Mark will be white buoy with a red and white pole and a flag on it.
  12. Number of rounds / laps
    1. All courses will be of 99 laps unless specified by displaying a number board below the course.
      1. The race may shortened by the Shortening the Course procedure; or
      2. In the case of a pursuit race, the time limit is reached as described in 15.2
  13. Change of the next leg of the course
    1. While boats are racing, the race committee may change a leg of the course that begins at a rounding mark or at a gate by changing the position of the next mark (or the finishing line) and signalling all boats before they begin the leg. The next mark need not be in position at that time.
    2. If the direction of the leg is changed, this shall be signalled by the display of flag C with the appropriate course board symbol shown, indicating the next leg of the course. This change to the leg of the course will remain in effect until the end of the race. This changes RRS 33.
    3. A change of next leg of course after the initial lap, can only be done if all boats complete the same number of laps
  14. Shortening the Course
    1. Courses will be shortened as per RRS 32 (flying Flag ‘S’ from the shoreline post or the post on the committee boat with 2 sound signals)
    2. Flag ‘S’ and 2 sound signals shall be signalled when the leader rounds any mark of the course or passes through any Gate of the course.
    3. The leading boat will then proceed to the next rounding mark or Gate (windward, leeward or Starting Line Gate), which will be designated The Finish Line.
    4. Shortening course by a part lap, can only be done if all boats sail the same number of laps.
  15. Finishing of Boats
    1. Club Handicap:
      1. No boat shall be finished before the leading boat passes through The Finish Line.
      2. Any lapped boats will be finished only once the leading boat has been finished.
      3. All boats will have their finishing time and number of laps recorded by the SOOD/OOD.
    2. Club Pursuit:
      1. At the end of the time limit, a single sound signal will be made. All boats shall continue to sail the course without overtaking the boat in front.
      2. The race committee will score boats based on their position on the course.
      3. Once the race committee had recorded all positions, two (2) sound signals shall be made, and all boats may leave the course.
      4. A boat failing to follow this instruction may be given a 20% scoring penalty without a hearing, except that the minimum penalty is two (2) places if that does not result in a score worse than Did Not Finish.
    3. If the race committee is absent when a boat finishes, they should report her finishing time, and her position in relation to nearby boats, to the race committee at the first reasonable opportunity.
  16. Time Limits and Target Times
    1. Pursuit Races
      1. A race designated as a pursuit race will have a time limit of 35 minutes from the warning gun.
    2. Any other race will run for approximately 45 minutes and will be stopped by following the Shortening the Course procedure.
    3. Boats failing to finish within 30 minutes after the first boat sails the course and finishes may be scored as their position as observed on the racecourse at that moment by the race committee. For Club Handicap racing, the race committee may choose to finish boats on a different number of laps and make a time correction. This changes RRS 35, A3 and A5
  17. Penalty System
    1. Appendix P of RRS will apply.
    2. RRS P2.3 will not apply and RRS P2.2 is changed so that it will apply to any penalty after the first one.
  18. Protests and Requests for Redress
    1. The protest limit is 30 minutes after the last boat has finished the last race of the day or the SOOD signals no more racing today, whichever is the later.
    2. Protest Forms will be available at the Reading Sailing Club. Protest and request for redress or reopening shall be delivered to the SOOD within the protest time limit. Contact mobile phone numbers should be included on the protest form.
    3. Notices will be posted on the Official Notice Board no later than 15 minutes after the protest time limit to inform competitors of the hearings in which they are parties or named witnesses. Hearings will be heard at the Sailing Club protest room, beginning at the time posted.
    4. Notices of protests by the race committee or protest committee will be posted to inform boats under RRS 61.1(b)
    5. A list of boats that, under SI 17.1, have been penalized for breaking RRS 42 will be posted.
    6. Breaches of SI 9.3, 20, 23, 24 and 25 will not be grounds for a protest by a boat. This changes RRS 60.1(a). Penalties for these breaches may be less than disqualification if the protest committee so decides. The scoring abbreviation for a discretionary penalty imposed under this instruction will be DPI.
    7. A request for reopening of a hearing shall be delivered no later than 20 minutes after the requesting party was informed of the decision on that day. This changes RRS 66.
    8. A request for redress based on a protest committee decision shall be delivered no later than 20 minutes after the decision was posted. This changes RRS 62.2.
  19. The Series and Scoring
    1. The handicaps for any class will be displayed on the Official Notice Board and will be set by the race committee for the entire series.
    2. One (1) race shall be completed to constitute a series.
    3. A boats series score will be the total of her best 40% +1 (rounded up) race scores.
    4. Where a boat can be sailed with different rigs, helms may change rigs during a series but must enter using their fastest (lowest) handicap or may elect to have the race using the different rig as a separate series entry specific to that rig. The race committee must be informed of the helms decision before leaving the shore, otherwise the race committee will assume their fastest (lowest) handicap rating will used for the race.
    5. A low scoring points system as per RRS A4 will be applied.
    6. Any competitor who acts as part of the race committee for a race will score average points for all races completed in the series for the race they act as part of the race committee.
      1. Where there are up to 11 races in a series, this can be only be claimed once. Where there are more than 11 races in the series, this may be claimed twice.
  20. Safety Regulations
    1. All boats shall sign on before going afloat for racing.
    2. A boat that retires from a race shall inform the race committee as soon as possible.
  21. Replacement of Crew or Equipment
    1. Substitution of helms will not be allowed without prior written approval of the race committee; however, crews may be changed.
    2. A double handed boat may be sailed without a crew, however it’s handicap will be adjusted as displayed on the Official Notice Board.
    3. A boat may be sailed for the entire series without a spinnaker and its handicap will be adjusted as displayed on the Official Notice Board.
    4. Any equipment may be replaced on a boat during a series if the replacement equipment complies to SI 22.1.
  22. Equipment and Measurement Checks
    1. A boat or equipment may be inspected at any time for compliance with the spirit of the class rules and sailing instructions. ie. a boat must make attempts to confirm to class rules, but nonspecific class parts and sails will be allowed if the boat does not gain an unfair advantage.
    2. On the water, a boat can be instructed by a race committee equipment inspector or measurer to proceed immediately to a designated area for inspection.
  23. Support Boats
    1. Team leaders, coaches and other support personnel shall stay outside the areas where boats are racing from the time of the preparatory signal for the first class to start until all boats have finished or retired or the race committee signals a postponement, general recall or abandonment.
  24. Trash / Rubbish Disposal
    1. Boats shall not put trash / rubbish in the water. Trash / Rubbish may be placed aboard a support and race committee boat.
  25. Radio Communications
    1. Except in an emergency, a boat shall neither make radio transmissions while racing nor receive radio communications not available to all boats. This restriction applies to mobile telephones.
  26. Prizes
    1. Prizes will be given as determined by the Reading Sailing Club Committee.
  27. Risk Statement
    1. Rule 4 of the Racing Rules of Sailing states:

      “The responsibility for the boats’ decision to participate in a race or continuing to race is hers alone”.

      Sailing is by its nature is an unpredictable sport and therefore inherently involves an element of risk. By taking part in the event, each competitor agrees and acknowledges that:

      • a) They are aware of the inherent element of risk involved in the sport and accept responsibility for the exposure of themselves, their crew and their boat to such inherent risk whilst taking part in the event:
      • b) They are responsible for the safety of themselves, their crew, their boat and their other property whether afloat or ashore:
      • c) They accept responsibility for any injury, damage or loss to the extent caused by their own actions or omissions:
      • d) Their boat is in good order, equipped to sail in the event and they are fit to participate:
      • e) The provision of a race management team, rescue boats and other official volunteers by the event organiser does not relieve them of their own responsibilities:
      • f) The provision of rescue boat cover is limited to such assistance, particularly in extreme weather conditions, as can be practically provided in the circumstances: and

      The fact that the race committee may conduct inspections of a boat does not reduce the responsibility of each competitor.

      The organising authority will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury of death sustained on conjunction with or prior to, during, or after sailing at Reading Sailing Club.

  28. Insurance
    1. Each participating boat is required to hold valid third-party insurance with a minimum cover of £2 million per event or the equivalent.
  29. Exoneration Penalty
    1. A boat that may have broken RRS Part 2, 31 or 42, may, after finishing the race concerned and before the start of a related protest hearing, notify the race committee that she accepts a 20% scoring penalty as stated in RRS 44.3(c), except that the minimum penalty is two (2) places if that does not result in a score worse than DNF. This penalty does not reverse an OCS score, a disqualification under RRS 30.3 or a penalty under RRS Appendix P. It is not available for a breach of RRS Part 2 or of class rules or for gross misconduct under RRS 69, nor is it available to a boat that caused injury or serious damage or gained a significant advantage by her breach: in these circumstances, her penalty is to retire.
    2. When an Exoneration Penalty is Accepted:
      1. Neither the boat nor the protest committee may then revoke or remove the penalty.
      2. The boat shall not be penalized further in a protest hearing when the protest committee decides that it was appropriate to the facts found and the applicable rules.
  30. Advisory Hearing
    1. When there is an incident that will not result in the lodging of a protest or a request for redress, a boat, protest committee or race committee may request an advisory hearing with the race office, and notify any boat involved in the incident. An advisor will then call a hearing to learn what may have happened and will state whether any rule appears to have been broken, and by which boat. A boat may as a result notify the race office that she accepts an Exoneration penalty when it applies to the incident or choose to retire.
  31. RYA Arbitration
    1. When a protest or request for redress is lodged, a boat may at the same time request RYA Arbitration, or the protest committee or race committee may offer it.
    2. If the parties and a member of the protest or race committee agree that RYA Arbitration is suitable, an arbitrator (who may be that member of the protest committee) will call a hearing confirming to RRS, Section B of Part 5, except that the first sentence of RRS 64.1 will not apply. Instead, when the arbitrator decides that a boat that is party to the arbitration hearing has broken a rule for which the Exoneration Penalty is available, the party will be invited to accept that penalty, and, if it is accepted by a protested boat, the protesting boat will be allowed to withdraw the protest, changing RRS 63.1
  32. RYA Charter
    1. Competitors should note that Reading Sailing Club has implemented the RYA Racing Charter and that, when entering, competitors will be required to undertake to sail in compliance with the Charter, which can be found at the front of the RYA rule book.

Appendix A

Figure 1 – The Racing Area and Permanent Racing Mark Locations

Example Courses Using Gates