Racing at Poole Radio Yacht Club 

Updated 12/05/2021

All racing will take place using The Racing Rules of Sailing in force at the time. 

Please sign in before racing. 

Fair Sailing - This is one of the Fundamental Rules – A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalized under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. The penalty shall be either disqualification or disqualification that is not excludable. 

Rule E3.8 (c) is altered to - The course may be shortened whilst a race is in progress as long as it is done before the leading boat reaches what will then be the last mark before the finish. The OOD/RO will tell all helms where the finish line is to be.

 All boats racing must conform to their class rules. 

If an OOD , RO or observer calls an incident such as a boat over at the start or a collision with another boat etc. the helm(s) involved will take suitable action (return to correct side of start line including a penalty turn, or make penalty turns as appropriate). This is not the time for discussion with the OOD/observer. 

The start sequence will commence 1 minute before the start. A 2 minute option is available. Competing boats must be on the water at the start of this sequence. 

If a helm misses a race or does not finish a race because they are assisting another person who has fallen in or has had an accident, or they have gone afloat in the dinghy to collect another boat they shall be awarded their average points for that race. 

To comply with ruling E3.9 re giving equal opportunity to the disabled. Please make every effort to avoid blocking the sight lines of those who cannot move around the lake. By keeping well back from the lake edge. 

Racing will start at the advertised start time, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The ideal number of races shall be 8 with the OOD/RO adjusting the length of the races so that the competition lasts for approximately two hours.  If less than 8 races are completed in that time, racing may continue for a maximum of an extra half hour. If more than 8 races are completed only the first 8 will be used for the results.   

All helms should check the finishing sheet for errors at the end of racing. Please bring any errors to the OOD/RO’s or scorers attention. If you retired from a race please make sure you are recorded as such.

Frank exchanges of views over on the water incidents should also be avoided so as not to give offence. It is also against the rules, see Section C Misconduct, and can result in disqualification or a greater penalty (rule 69.2 h.) 

If there is no designated RO for the day and fleet numbers and/or conditions require one, helms will be taken off for one race either as an OOD or Observer. Every competitor will therefore sail 7 races and receive their average points for the other race.

 See Race Officers and observers sheet for further clarification. 

Scoring will be as in Appendix A. Low points system. There will be 1 discard if 4 races are completed 2 discards if 8 races are completed and 3 discards if 12 races are completed. For a mornings racing to be scored as part of the series at least the same 3 boats must all complete the first 3 races of the day. 

Helms must register their boat with the class captain stating:- type, reg. Number and sail number to be used in a series on the first occasion it is sailed in that series. If there are any changes to the above please consult with the Sailing Secretary/club official or Class Captain before substituting a boat.

Specific to Longham

Sailing at Longham is controlled by additional requirements of the SW Lakes Trust. These requirements are set out in the Longham Responsible Officer Instructions which club members should familiarize themselves with and/ or seek advice from a Responsible Officer. Although Longham is less frequented by the general public we must still be aware that walkers and other may be around us. Do not obstruct the paths or leave equipment on the benches. Longham is only available for approved club sessions and events as listed in the club calendar (and on the web site).  On no account must individuals use the site on an ad-hoc basis as this would contravene our agreement with the trust.


Specific to Poole

No helming from the walkway. Please be aware that in Poole we sail in an area frequented by large numbers of the general public and we must not obstruct the area around the lake with boat stands and spare sails. Do not leave equipment on the park benches. Behavior should not cause offence as stated above. (Rule 69.2h,) Also every effort should be made to avoid obstructing/bumping into members of the public and other helms. Try to position the starting trolley so that Push chairs, bikes and walkers can pass by easily.


Race officers and observers


The increasing number of boats participating in the regular race series means that the AD-Hoc Race officer system is no longer adequate in the management of large fleets.

 Your committee backs the introduction of the following guide lines for future race management. 

Background and Principles

With a competitive fleet, race management should be separated from active sailing and competitors should be largely free to sail a race without having responsibilities for managing the start, finish or race results. Ideally a dedicated Officer of the Day (OOD) for the sessions racing would be the best solution, however previous experience has shown this to be difficult to manage within some fleets in a sustainable way.

 In the absence of an OOD for the session all helms will in future participate in the race management either as Race Officer or Race observer for one race. When there is an OOD helms will also assist with the race management once numbers reach a level difficult for one person to manage easily. 

RO and Observer requirements

If there is no OOD for the session 

1. Up to 7 boats no RO or Observers taken out of the fleet. 1st past the post records finishes. 

2. 8 or more boats each helm to be RO or Observer for one race. Taking helms in the order in which they sign on is the easiest way to select them. 1 st past post assists RO if required.

 If there is an OOD for the session 

1. Up to 7 boats no observers required. 1 st past post to assist OOD if asked. 

2. 8 to 12 boats if the OOD desires (due to conditions, course length, distant finish line etc.) Observers will be withdrawn from the fleet with each helm doing one duty. 

3. More Than 12 boats – Observers will be withdrawn from the fleet with each helm doing one duty



If an OOD volunteers for the whole session they will get their average score from the series after discards have been taken out. 

All RO’s and Observers that have officiated for one race will get their average score for the session, (discards taken out) for the race they officiate in.


 The results for each class will be published on the club web site as soon as possible after the sessions racing.  

Race Officials’ notes

1. Make sure the banner and flag are displayed. 

2. Get out the trolley, attach entry/score sheet. 

3. Record your name on the results sheet indicating that you are the OOD/safety officer for the session. If no OOD has come forward for the whole session then the helms present should take it turn to officiate a race. They will receive their average points for the race they miss. It is not sufficient for a racing helm to observe the start line, a dedicated RO is required for each race if there are more than 7 competitors. ( See Race Officers and observers page for more details) 

4. Fill in the date and class details on the scoring sheet eg. IOM Fri 

5. Set the course. If you need assistance ask the Class Captain or Sailing Sec. Or suitably experienced person for assistance. Remember that you are in charge and do not have to listen to several people’s uninvited opinions. 

6. Get all competitors to sign in. Your may have to ask several times!! 

7. At an appropriate time e.g. 2 to 3 minutes before the start call for boats on the water. This may need repeating several times!! 

8. Get to a position to judge the start line. Get helms to move if necessary. If you have observers ask them to call contacts and note down actions taken (did anyone do a penalty turn). It is always easier to have one person call the start line and the observers concentrate on contacts and persons hitting the start line marks. If you cannot sort out who was over the line at the start call a general recall. Make two sound signals and announce general recall. 

9. A tangle of boats just before the start, but within the one minute countdown, is not a reason to abandon the start or announce a general recall. 

10. Any calls by the OOD or Observers should be made using the individual number format e.g. one three not thirteen. 

11. Check the number of boats that make the start. 

12. Let observers move with the fleet to call contacts between boats and also contact between boats and buoys.

13. If a smaller fleet then the OOD will have to “walk the course” but needs to be back at the finish line in good time. 

14. At the finish line give a sound signal to the first boat to finish and call out sail numbers as they finish (ask help from one observer or an early finisher if they are coming thick and fast). Consider using a voice recorder or the voice recorder on your phone (just leave it recording from when the first boat rounds the last mark) to record the finish as this can then be used to sort out any errors in the written record. 15. Call out the number of any boat hitting one of the finish marks so they know they have to finish correctly. 

16. Remind those who have finished to keep clear of the finish line. If a finished boat interferes with those still racing he can be disqualified. 

17. After all boats are finished check number of finishers against boats entered and ask for retirements and non finishers. Also check that all helms sailed the correct course.  Observers should note down anyone missing a mark and not correcting their mistake.

18. Before going into the next race check if conditions have changed and consider changing the course. Also consider the time it took to get round the course. Does the course length need altering. Aim for 10minutes up to a max of 15minute. Make 2 sound signals and announce any course changes. 

19. After 4 races call for a coffee break. This can be moved if conditions are not good ie. brought forward if there is no wind. (Please keep Patsy informed of your intentions). 

20. After coffee round up competitors in good time to complete races 5 to 8. 

21. After racing check the completed race sheet for inaccuracies, (most commonly boats not recorded or someone recorded twice in one race) then place the completed sheet in the wall mounted box opposite the door in the clubhouse or hand them to the sailing sec. Alternatively a scanned copy or a photograph of the results sheet can be emailed to the sailing sec. but please make sure that any photographs are printable and easily read.

22. Return the trolley to the club house and plug in. 

Check that the banner and flag have been brought back inside.


Other things that may happen


Unusually there may be a protest after a race. This should be dealt with before the next race can proceed. This will normally be dealt with by arbitration verbally at the lake side, the arbitrator giving judgment on the facts as presented by each party and their witnesses. This will normally lead to one of the parties retiring. The arbitration may, but does not have to, include the OOD however they may be called as a witness. If one of the helms does not retire a 3 person protest committee will need to be formed and they will make a judgment after hearing from both parties and any witnesses. They will then make a judgment, this will lead to one of the parties being disqualified. 


Request for Redress


The helm must tell you he is going to do this within 3 minutes of the end of the race in which the incident occurred. They then have to make their request in writing with supporting evidence. The request will be dealt with before the results are published and does not involve the OOD unless they are called as a witness.