GETTING PREPARED TO RACE
Racing at Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club is fun but don't be fooled by our friendly atmosphere as we have current and past members that are world champions in their classes.
Arrive at the club allowing an hour to get rigged, changed and to put your boat on the water. When you get to the clubhouse put your racing card into the rack, if you don't have a card there a plenty of temporary ones to use. Failure to enter a race card may mean the race officer won't score you.
About half an hour before the race starts the race officer will mark the course on the board in the clubhouse. There will be a map showing the route around the reservoir and number boards detailing the marks/buoys and which way to round them (red numbers indicate pass the buoy to the port side of your boat and green indicate pass to the starboard side). The last number in the sequence indicates at which mark the race will start.
Aim to be leaving your pontoon 15 minutes before the race start time , this will allow you get to the start line (it could be on the far side of the reservoir) and position yourself for the start.
The start line is between the flag mast (in the committee boat, or on the shore if wind direction permits) and the outer distance mark (an orange buoy). To start you must pass between the outer distance mark and the committee boat (occasionally a race officer will set an inner distance mark instead of the committee boat).
THE STARTING SEQUENCE
To ensure we get out fleets away quickly we use 4 minute, 2 minute then go signals (as opposed to the standard 5 minute, 4 minute, 1 minute and go)
Four minutes to go: one hoot, and one flag goes up
Two minutes to go: one hoot, and a second flag goes up
Start: one hoot, and both flags lowered. Go!
Same principle, only one of the flags indicates the class. You can memorise your class flag, the fast fleet goes first then the slow fleet 2 minutes later.
4 minutes for the fast fleet: one hoot and fast fleet flag is rased
2 minutes for the fast & 4 minutes for the slow fleets: one hoot and the slow fleet & preparatory flags are raised
0 minutes for the fast & 2 minutes for the slow fleets: one hoot and the fast fleet flag is lowered - FAST FLEET START
0 minutes for the slow fleet: slow fleet and preparatory flags are lowered - SLOW FLEET START
It's good practise to keep clear of the start line when it is not your start.
For back to back races, the start sequence for the second race should commence soon after the last finisher crosses the line in the first race. If you are one of the last finishers, you'll have to go straight to the new start line and note the new course from there; as it is a back-to-back race you are automatically entered.
POSTPONEMENTS, COURSE CHANGES, RECALLS AND OTHER CONFUSIONS
Winds shift and die, and race officers have to respond. So the course might change or the race be postponed between your visit to the clubhouse and the start.
If the race offer requires more time to determine when, how or where to race s/he will sound two hoots on the horn and raise a red and white striped flag. One s/he has determined what to do and the postponement is over, s/he will sound 1 hoot and lower the flag. the start sequence will commence 1 minute after that.
If the course is changed, you will hear two hoots and see an blue-and-white checked flag. The new course should be displayed at the start, and the race officer may well be calling out that s/he's changed the course.
Most race officers will set a course with more laps than they think will be needed and shorten the course at an appropriate time as it isn't possible to lengthen races. If you hear two hoots from the committee boat and see the 'shorten course' flag, (white with a blue square in the middle) you will be finishing the next time you go through the finish line.
We finish pursuit races by driving the rescue boat from the front of the course to the back, noting numbers as it goes. The crew will tell you when you have finished. If you're on a beat, don't stop sailing until you have been finished as you need to carry on to the next mark.
Any boat over the start line (OCS - on course side) before the final hoot of the start sequence will hear their sail numbers or names called and a white flag with a blue cross will be held by the race officer. If that is you then you must come back and re-cross the line without getting in anyone else's way.
If too many jump the line the fleet is recalled - if it is a class race the guilty fleet goes to the back of the queue and has to wait until all the other boats have gone. If it is a handicap, everyone goes back and tries again.