Operating the race sequence:


Introduction: types of races:


There are three sorts of races run at medley:


Spring and autumn series (6 races each):  = pursuit  races


Sunday summer series:                                          = class  races


Wednesday  evening summer series:            =  handicap   races


The differences are:


Pursuit race:  each type of boat starts at a different time,  according to the list at the end of this pack ['medley sailing club pursuit race start times']. Slow boats start before the faster ones. The idea is to give all boats an equal chance, through this system of handicapping.


Unlike the other two sorts of races, a pursuit is finished by the OOD on the water, from the service launch


                (see 'pursuit races [spring and autumn]' below)


Class race:  boats are divided into three fleets - moth (self-explanatory), fast (e.g., enterprise), and slow (e.g., mirror, topper). They  start in that order, and the results are calculated with reference to the portsmouth yardsticks  [see 'portsmouth yardsticks and how to apply them' at the end of this pack]


                      (see 'class races [sundays in summer]' below)


Handicap race: one fleet only.  All boats start together. Results calculated with reference to portsmouth yardsticks


                   (see 'handicap races [wednesday evenings in summer]' below



Nb: there is a laminated chart of the flag sequences used for class and handicap races on the desk in the starting box.  It is reproduced here:



See race duty pack illustration no. 3:


                  'Flag and hoot sequences'



Pursuit races (spring and autumn):


          decide how long the race is to be (usually one hour)


Note: the idea of different race lengths is to take account of the available light at the beginning and end of the season. Thus it may be appropriate at the beginning of the season to run 2 of the (6) sunday races @ 60 minutes, then 2 @ 75 minutes, then 2 @ 90 minutes, and use the converse arrangement for the end of the season. However, the duration of the race is a matter for the od, taking account of conditions on the day.


         Start boats according to the times listed at the end of this guide ['medley sailing club pursuit race start times']. There is a copy on the signing-on desk in the clubhouse.


         identify the lead boat throughout the race


           some 15 minutes before the end of the race period, get in the launch, and drive up the course. There is a yellow flag on a stick in the launch. Raise this to let the fleet know you are about to start the finish procedure.


Close up on the lead boat, and, on the expiry of the allotted race time, give it the winner's hoot (there is a hooter on the launch). Then motor back down the fleet, and record the positions of the rest of the boats. There is no need to hoot (or time) these, but it is advisable to let them know verbally that they have finished.


                note: since the differences between different boat types are already taken into account in the staggered start, no calculations are necessary after the finish.  Just enter the sail numbers, names of helms, order of finishing, and type of race on the official race results sheet, and leave it in the 'race results' file in the clubhouse




Class races (Sundays in summer):


[first bell is at 1400 in the spring and autumn series: 1415 in the summer series. This example assumes first bell is at 1415.]


The sequence is:


                first bell         1415                               ( = under race orders)

                second bell    1415 + 3 minutes       ( = preparatory)


                third bell       1415 + 6 minutes:       moth fleet starts

                fourth bell   1415 + 9 minutes:       fast fleet starts

                last bell         1415 + 12 minutes:     slow fleet starts



1415:  hoist moth flag and give hoot with the electric hooter


1418:  hoist fast and preparatory flags, and give hoot


1421:  lower moth flag, hoist slow flag, and give hoot


1424:  lower fast flag and give hoot


1427:  lower all flags and give hoot


             log each boat's position at the end of each lap


            give each boat a hoot as it passes the finishing line, and log it's finishing time


            repeat sequence for any subsequent race [there are normally two races on summer sundays]                


          if you have time, you can calculate the results as worked out on the portsmouth yardsticks. If not, please just enter the following information for each boat on the official race results sheet:


                                  name of helm

                                  sail number

                                  time of starting

                                  time of finishing

                                  type of race


       - and leave the results sheet in the 'race results' file:





Handicap races (Wednesday evenings in



          for summer evening racing, there are only two designated officers: the OOD and the launch driver. If extra assistance is required, get/pressgang others to help.


          all boats are put into the same fleet [dubbed 'fast' for convenience], and there is thus only one start time


First bell is at 1900


1900:  hoist fast flag and give hoot  ( =  under race orders)


1903: hoist preparatory flag and give hoot  ( = preparatory)


1906:  lower both flags and give hoot   ( = start)


           otherwise, proceed as for sunday races, logging and finishing each boat, and recording the results on the pre-printed official race results form.


            if you have time, you can calculate the results as worked out on the portsmouth yardsticks. If not, please just leave the results sheet in the 'race results' file, with this information for each boat:


                                  name of helm

                                  sail number

                                  time of starting

                                  time of finishing

                                  type of race


Next Section: Notes

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