operation of launch outboard motor


1.  Unscrew the winged knob on petrol tank and squeeze bulb

           in petrol line until it is full of petrol (i.e., hard)

2.  Large lever is gear lever and accelerator combined. Put

          it in  neutral (vertical)

3. The small lever is an accelerator only, and is only used

          for starting in particularly cold conditions - it should

          normally only be necessary to use the choke. To

          operate the small lever, push it forward, past the

          upright position

4.  Engage the forked end of the kill cord onto the kill


5. Pull out choke on engine

6. Pull cord to start engine

7.  Once the engine has started, push in choke on engine,  and

           return the small lever (if utilised) to the off position

           (fully back and down)

8. Check that a small stream of water is coming from under

          the cowling at the back of the engine. If not, clear the

          outlet with the stiff wire provided or summon help. If

          you can't get the water to flow, switch the engine off

9. Engage gear by moving the gear shift forwards for

          forwards, back for reverse

10. Once the gear is engaged, push the lever further forward

          in the same direction to accelerate

11. To stop the engine, put it in neutral and remove the kill

           cord from the kill switch. Screw down the winged knob

           on the petrol tank




See race duty pack illustration no. 4:



                      'Launch Controls'


        [gear lever/accelerator in neutral:

           small lever in down position]




        Service launch operation and handling notes


BEFORE you let the launch down the slipway into the water, make sure that (1) the BUNG is securely in place at the bottom of the transom (the boat will SINK without the bung!), and (2) the mooring ropes are securely fastened to their respective bollards or rings (you don't want to have to swim after the boat as it drifts under Rainbow Bridge!). Loosen the black air vent screw on the top of the tank cap, remove the cap, and check the fuel level. If the tank is LESS THAN HALF FULL, ask the Race Officer (OOD) to get it filled up for you. REPLACE THE FILLER CAP SECURELY, and close the vent.


With the launch securely tied alongside the staging, pointing UPSTREAM, or in it's usual berth at the upstream end of the staging, OPEN THE AIR VENT ONE FULL TURN.

At the ENGINE GEAR CONTROLS, ensure that the larger lever is in the VERTICAL POSITION.

On the ENGINE, check that the RED ENGINE STOP SWITCH is UP, pull out the CHOKE KNOB next to it, and squeeze the bulb in the fuel line until resistance is felt.

Pull the 'T'-SHAPED RECOIL STARTER HANDLE FIRMLY; the engine should start. If it doesn't, try ONCE MORE. If the conditions are particularly cold, it may be necessary to use the small accelerator lever: push it as far forward as it will go. If the engine still doesn't start, go through the whole procedure again. If it still won't start, GET HELP.


With the engine started, check there is a STEADY STREAM OF WATER from the starboard underside of the engine casing (left-hand side as you look at it). IF NO WATER, STOP THE ENGINE IMMEDIATELY AND SEEK HELP.




When you are ready to go, with the engine running smoothly, CHECK BEHIND for dinghies and also for any cruisers approaching from up- or down-stream. Cast off the STERN rope, turn the steering wheel to STARBOARD i.e., to the RIGHT, cast off the BOW rope, put the gear lever into REVERSE, and GENTLY reverse into the stream, centralising the wheel as you go, until you are in approximately mid-stream, keeping a gOOD lookout all round for dinghies and other vessels.


Select NEUTRAL, then FORWARD GEAR, and GENTLY move off in the direction you want to go, and accelerate to a reasonable speed.


There are Environment Agency BY-LAWS concerning navigation at excessive speed and creating unnecessary wash, and the Service Launch should be driven so as to cause as little disturbance as possible to other river users. By keeping a station as close as you reasonably can to those sailors you consider to be the most vulnerable in the prevailing conditions, and therefore most likely to need your assistance, you can minimise the distance you might have to travel at high speed.


WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LEAVE THE STAGING IN A FORWARD DIRECTION. You will only drag the propellor through the gravel bank at the upstream end of the staging, damaging the propellor, filling the engine cooling system with grit, and possibly stalling the engine in the process.


Whilst patrolling the course, keep an eye on the cooling water jet. If it STOPS, or reduces to a DRIBBLE,slow right down, make for the MEDLEY bank, STOP THE ENGINE, beach or anchor the boat, and get the blockage cleared (there is a probe in the box under the console). If conditions are quiet, you may beach the boat on the Medley bank, in  a position where you can see most of the Reach. Keep the stern of the boat in the deepest water. When you move off again, push the boat into deeper water before starting the engine.


On your return to the Club, preferably moor the boat in it's dedicated berth at the upstream end of the staging. If this is not practicable, bring the boat into the staging facing UPSTREAM. Secure the BOW line first, then the STERN line, and stop the engine.


At the end of your tour of duty, land the buoys, recover the boat into the Boat Shed, remove the bung to let the boat drain, close the fuel tank vent, and leave the boat clean. Ensure that the slipway broom is put back in the launch.



       Yardsticks and how to apply them


              1. Work out in seconds how long each boat took to complete the race [the 'elapsed time']


              2. Multiply this number by 100


              3. Divide the result by the boat's py number


               4. This gives the 'corrected time' for each boat (in seconds), and thus the order of finishing





OPTIMIST                                        193

CADET & SKIPPER 12                   163

MIRROR                                          156

MIRROR S/H  *                                154                 S/H = Single-handed

HERON                                            152

HERON S/H                                     150

GULL                                                146

GULL S/H                                         144

TOPPER                                           143

TONIC                                              143

LASER PICO                                    138

TOPAZ uno & race                           135

COMET ZERO                                 134

MIRACLE                                        127

COMET                                            125

FIREFLY                                           124

BRIT MOTH                                    123

SOLO                                                121

GP 14                                                117

ENTERPRISE                                  116

OK                                                    116

ENTERPRISE S/H                           114

MERLIN ROCKET - aa                    114

MERLIN ROCKET - aa S/H             113

NATIONAL 12                                 113

LASER                                             110

LARK                                               109

SCORPION                                      109

ALBACORE                                     109

MERLIN ROCKET                          103

FIREBALL                                        98






                        [For the Spring and Autumn Series]


[These pursuit timings are derived from a modified set of Portsmouth Yardsticks. The RYA recommends that they be referred to as River Yard Sticks]


RACE LENGTH (minutes)         60                    75                        90


WARNING BELL                   1400                 1400                       1400

TIMING BELL                       1405                  1405                       1405



MIRROR                                 1410                  1407                      1409

MIRROR S/H                          1411                  1408                      1410

HERON                                    1412                 1409                      1412

HERON S/H                             1413                 1410                      1413



TOPPER                                    1416                 1414                      1418

TONIC                                       1416                 1414                      1418

LASER PICO                             1419                 1417                      1422

TOPAZ uno & race   **              1420                 1418                      1423

COMET ZERO                           1421                 1420                      1426

MIRACLE                                   1424                1423                      1430

COMET                                      1424                 1424                      1431

FIREFLY                                    1425                 1425                       1432

BRIT MOTH                              1426                 1426                       1433

SOLO                                          1426                 1427                       1434

GP 14                                           1427                 1428                       1436

ENTERPRISE                             1427                 1429                       1437

OK                                               1428                 1429                       1437

ENTERPRISE S/H                     1429                  1430                       1438

MERLIN ROCKET - aa             1429                  1430                       1438

MERLIN ROCKET - aa S/H      1430                  1431                       1439

NATIONAL 12                           1430                   1431                      1439

LASER                                       1430                   1433                       1442

LARK                                         1431                   1434                       1443

SCORPION                                1431                   1434                       1443

ALBACORE                              1431                   1434                        1443

MERLIN ROCKET                   1435                   1437                        1447

FIREBALL                                 1438                  1440                        1451


          Finish                               1525                   1540                         1602


** uno= 1 sail, single-handed. race = 2 sails, crewed

aa = age allowance


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