Sailing Instructions

All races are carried out under these instructions and organised by the Duty Team. The Duty Team comprises; the Duty Officer, Assistant Duty Officer and Timekeepers.

The safety of a yacht and her entire management including insurance is solely and inescapably the responsibility of the owner/competitor racing that yacht. The decision to participate or continue in a race is solely the responsibility of the participant. The Club shall not be liable for any loss, damage, death or personal injury howsoever caused to the owner/competitor his skipper or crew as a result of their taking part in any Club race. Moreover, every owner/competitor warrants the suitability of his yacht for the race or races.

Safety Boat in Action

Safety Boat in Action

1. RULES. All races will be sailed in accordance with International Sailing Federation (ISF) Racing Rules of Sailing, RYA and appropriate class rules (except that the helm need not necessarily be a member of the appropriate class associations).

2. CHANGES to these sailing instructions will be shown on the Race Board 10 minutes before the warning signal of the class and international code flag ‘L will be displayed on the starting line until after the race/races has started.

3. ENTRIES. All boats must be helmed by Full, Intermediate or Junior members (except in Ladies or Crews races). Crews must be club members or visitors who have signed the visitors book. In points series the intention is to award points on the basis of the helmsman and not the boat. If a member changes his boat or sails another members boat during a series he should inform the Sailing Secretary and must make it clear on the declaration so the points can be allocated to his original boat. Any yacht in the vicinity of the starting line at its published start time is eligible to count as a starter. If only one boat starts, on completing the course it is eligible for class points for the series

ENTRY FEES. Non payable except for R.N.L.I. Pennant, open meetings and regattas. Race entries will be those boats seen to be clear of moorings prior to the preparatory signal and recorded as starting by the timekeepers.

4. TIMES OF STARTS Unless otherwise indicated races will be started as follows:-

Sunday morning Handicap Racing (Code Flag No. 1) :12.00

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5. COURSES. Courses will be indicated on the starting line at the five minute warning signal for each race. Yachts racing must pass North of Garricks Ait and South of Benn’s Island. In the event of the course being shortened, races may finish in an upstream or downstream direction. Marks shall be rounded to port unless otherwise shown on the race board. The course for the Long Distance Race and Sunbury Rally shall include the rounding of a mark upstream of Platts Eyot.


A. Upstream of Platts Eyot
B. South side of Platts Eyot
C. North side of Platts Eyot, downstream of bridge
D. Immediately downstream of Platts Eyot
E. Between culvert outfall, Surrey bank and downstream end of railings, Middlesex bank

F. Upstream of Club House but downstream of E
G. Abreast of Club House
H. Between Club House and Garricks Ait
I.  Abreast of Garricks Ait
J. Between Garricks Ait and Three Tree Island
K. Between Three Tree Island and Taggs Island Bridge

Where two marks are required in the same vicinity the letters M (Middlesex) and S (Surrey) will indicate the bank nearest to which the buoy is placed. See Race Map.

7. STARTING AND FINISHING LINE. This will be a line across the river being the projection of the beacons on the Club House in transit. An outer distance mark will be set for starting only. A different finishing line may be used for the Magpie Race and Sunbury Rally. Yachts which have not had their preparatory signal or who have finished their race must keep clear of the starting and finishing lines.

8. STARTING SIGNALS. Five minute warning, class flag and sound signal. Four minute preparatory, normally Blue Peter, and sound signal. One minute preparatory flag removed and sound signal. Start, class flag removed and sound signal.

9. RE-CALLS. Individual re-call numbers will not be allocated. Re-calls will be indicated by a second sound signal. Flag X will be used as prescribed in the ISF Rules. Yachts over the line at the starting signal will be re-called by hailing her sail number whenever practical.

10. GENERAL RE-CALLS. Will be indicated by two consecutive sound signals and the first substitute flag displayed. To avoid interference with subsequent races the class subject to the general re- call will immediately clear away from the starting area and will not restart earlier than five minutes after the last race of the series of starts in which the general re-call occurred.

11. SHORTENING OF COURSES. A shortened course signal may be made during any race at an appropriate time except for handicap races which must be finished at the end of a complete lap. In addition to the provisions of RRS 32, the Race Committee may shorten the course in the interests of the well-being of the competitors or in order to allow later races to be started on schedule.

12. FINISHING. Once the leading yacht in the race has finished, all other yachts in the same race shall be finished as they cross the finishing line in the same direction as the leading yacht. In Class racing, finishing positions will be determined in the order that the yachts finish with the exception of yachts that have been lapped, which will be awarded finishing positions following those yachts which sailed the same number of laps as the leading yacht.

HANDICAP RACES. In Handicap races the leading boat will always be finished first. The point in the race at which the leader is finished is at the Race Officer’s discretion, bearing in mind the likely finishing time of the slowest yacht. Sunday morning races are to be based approximately on an hour’s duration and the number of laps to be sailed specified accordingly.

13. TIME LIMIT. Any yacht failing to complete the course in 21/2 hours shall be deemed to have retired, except for the Long Distance Race when the time limit shall be 4 hours.

14. PENALTIES. The 720o turn penalty as provided in ISF rules 44.1 and 44.2 shall apply.

15. DECLARATIONS. Helms must sign the declaration that they have complied with the sailing instructions within an hour of finishing their race or they will be recorded as DISQUALIFIED.

16. PROTESTS. Protests must be entered on the protest form within one hour of finishing. The Duty Officer must be verbally notified within half an hour of finishing of any intention to protest.

17. CERTIFICATES. All class yachts must have a valid class certificate and/or comply with the class rules.

18. INSURANCE. All yachts must have adequate third party insurance.

19. BUOYANCY. Adequate personal buoyancy is compulsory during the Frostbite Series and RNLI Pennant Race and is strongly recommended particularly during the first points series and at all other times of severe conditions.

20. SCORING. For period awards, each class shall count four races in any series of seven for the purpose of determining their class winner, except when fewer than four races have been able to be sailed, when all races will count. Sunday morning handicap period awards shall count four races in any series of seven.The Low Points System, RRS, Appendix A.2 will apply.  Frostbite Series:

  • 6 races shall count if 10 sailed
  • 5 races shall count if 8 or 9 sailed
  • 4 races shall count if 6 or 7 sailed
  • 3 races shall count if 4 or 5 sailed
  • 2 races shall count if 3 sailed
  • 1 race shall count if 2 sailed

GENERAL: It is strongly recommended that all helms and crews wear adequate personal buoyancy. All under 8 years of age must wear adequate personal buoyancy at all times when on club premises and on boats or when sailing, except when inside the Club House under supervision.

CLUB AND FERRY BOATS: Members are reminded that a person propelling a ferry or club boat is deemed to be in charge of it and responsible for ensuring that all passengers are properly accommodated and that the boat is handled in a seaman-like manner. Under no circumstances should the permitted number of passengers, as displayed on each boat, be exceeded at any time. Children under 8 years old must not operate Club boats and Ferry without supervision.  Members are reminded that they use the Club and Ferry boats at their own risk.  Swimming off the Clubhouse is not permitted whilst racing is in progress, and diving or jumping off the roof is prohibited at all times.

CLUB RACING AND AWARDS HANDICAPPING: All classes will be based on the Portsmouth Yardstick with adjustments to suit local conditions at the discretion of the Sailing Committee.