RACING FACT SHEET
Why should I race?
As with all things, competition drives improvement. Sailing a course forces you to perfect all points of sailing. Sailing against others helps you to evaluate your performance and improve. Once you are competitive your enjoyment of the sport will continue to grow and grow.
How do I start?
It can be daunting to start racing. The best way to start is by looking at the course for the race posted on the OOD hut and sailing it either before or after the official race has started. This gives you experience of knowing the buoys and sailing a course. The course always starts with a beat upwind. You will also get experience of rights of way as you pass the other boats.
What do I need to know?
You need to know the flags that are used for the start sequence and the finish.
You also need to know the basic racing rules of sailing particularly 'when boats meet' and rights of way when approaching a buoy. The racing rules of sailing (RRS) can be found via links on the RYA website or the 'World Sailing' website.
What types of race are there?
Bartley runs 3 types of race: Pursuit, Handicap, Fleet.
Pursuit Race: The idea here is that the handicap system is applied by staggering start times for each class. You will need to check the start time for your class on the list in the OOD hut and make sure you set your watch so you know which sound signal corresponds to your start time. The start sequence is for the boat class that starts at '0 minutes'. Following sound signals denote each subsequent class. Some fast boats will start the race over 25 minutes later than the first boat. After 75 minutes a sound signal and flag Fwill be displayed to show that the race has finished. A rescue boat will then drive through the fleet taking down the position of each boat. It is important that you hold your position relative to the other boats until a second sound signal is heard and the F Flag is lowered to denote the race officer has all the boat positions. Pursuit races are a good place to start racing as there will be fewer boats on each start line and you can see where you came at the finish of the race.
Handicap race: All classes start together in this race so the start line can be very busy. If you are new to racing you may wish to hang back at the start to avoid the jostling for the best position, or start in the middle of the line as typically the seasoned racers will want the best position at either end. You will sail the course and will finish between either the committee boat and a buoy on the course, or between the OOD hut and a buoy on the course. As you cross the line there will be a sound signal and the race officer will record your time. The time for each boat is then input to a computer programme that calculates the position of each competitor. These results are posted on the Bartley Sailing Club website.
Fleet race: Perhaps the easiest to understand. The start sequence denotes the start of your class of boat or 'fleet'. You will sail the course against your class of boat and finish between a committee boat or the OOD hut and a Buoy. The order in which you cross the line denotes your position in the race. Fleet racing is typically used on Tuesday evenings in spring and summer.
Do I need to sign on and off for a race?
If you intend to race then you need to sign on at the OOD hut. There is a sign on sheet requiring helm and crew names and boat class and sail number. You do not have to sign off at the end of the race.
How will I know the course?
The course is displayed on the OOD hut. It may be a diagram or it may be a list of numbers with P or S next to them. This denotes the buoys in order that you will go around them and the side of the boat that you will pass the buoy (Port or Starboard). The start line will also be shown as well as information such as number or laps and areas to avoid due to obstructions. It can be difficult to remember the course so most sailors write it on a piece of white electrical tape (or similar) and stick it on their boat for the duration of the race.
Is there a race series?
Each race forms part of a series. There are 4 race series over the year where half the number of races in the series count for each competitor, and 'End of Series Regattas' which is are single days of racing with prizes for performance on the day.
How do I move from the back of the fleet to the front?
You will need to improve your starts so you are on the line at full speed when the sound signal goes off, you will need to set your sails for each leg of the course, you will need to keep your boat balanced correctly, you will need to learn which shifts to tack on and which to continue on, you will need to practice your gust response and learn where the wind is stronger, you will need to position your boat to ensure right of way over others; the list goes on, and that is why your should race as you will be perfecting these skills over a lifetime.
Last updated 16:48 on 10 February 2024