These sailing instructions apply to Club (i.e. closed) events for which no other Sailing Instructions have been issued. Competitors should note that the RFYC implements the RYA Racing Charter and that they will be required to undertake to sail in compliance with the Charter, which can be found at the front of the RYA rule book (Racing Rules of Sailing 2013-2016). The club trophy list (pp 7,8),  Notes on the Sailing Programme (p20)  and the published Sailing Programme as amended together comprise the Notice of Race.


Racing will take place under the Rules as defined in the current Racing Rules for Sailing (RRS), the prescriptions of the RYA, the Notice of Race, the appropriate class rules and these Sailing Instructions. In the event of a conflict with the Notice of Race these Sailing Instructions shall take precedence. Supplementary Sailing Instructions may be issued as necessary


2.1 Conditions of Entry

The safety of a boat and her entire management including insurance to the value of £3,000,000 shall be the sole responsibility of the competitor racing the boat who must ensure that the boat and her crew are adequate to face the conditions that may arise in the course of a race.  Neither the existence of these sailing instructions nor the inspection of the boat if required by the SSIs or NoR or Club or Class rules in any way limits or reduces the absolute responsibility of the competitor for the crew, the boat and the management thereof.  The race organisers shall not be responsible for any loss, damage, death or personal injury howsoever caused to the competitor, skipper or crew as a result of their taking part in the race or races; moreover, every competitor warrants the suitability of the boat for the race or races. The RFYC accepts no responsibility whatsoever for loss, damage, death or injury caused by the action or omission of any person involved in the organisation, management or conduct of a race or its associated safety facilities; by the act of entering a race, whether or not an entry form is completed or the helm ‘signs on’, competitors are deemed to have accepted these conditions. The RFYC may or may not provide a safety boat but when such a boat is provided, the RFYC accepts no responsibility for its effectiveness.  While the Race Officer has the authority to cancel a race if conditions are considered to be unsuitable he has no absolute duty to do so, neither is it accepted that such a decision is part of his ‘duty of care’.  The decision whether or not to take part in an event rests entirely with the competitor.  Young persons taking part in Club events remain the responsibility of their parents.  The Race Officer is not responsible for deciding whether or not a young person should be on the water.

2.2 Constitution of a Race

Dinghies.  One or more starters shall constitute a race.  If only one starter enters a Long Series Race, (eg a ‘points’ series such as the Spring Points) points shall be awarded for first place provided the competitor starts correctly within the time limit. For a “Trophy” race the course must be completed, ie the boat must cross the finishing line after the required number of laps has been completed or after a Shorten Course signal has been made.  If the competitor starts correctly but does not finish, the trophy will not be awarded.  If there are no starters or no finishers the event may be re-sailed at a later date.

2.3 Signing On

Competitors shall “sign on” before each race at the veranda notice board.           

2.4 Personal Buoyancy and Trapeze Hooks

Dinghies. Competitors shall wear adequate personal buoyancy at all times whilst afloat. Wet/dry suits alone are not considered to be adequate personal buoyancy. Inflatable life jackets/ buoyancy aids should be at least partially inflated unless fitted with built-in buoyancy or an automatic inflation device.  This replaces Rule 1.2 and Rule 40. Users of trapeze harnesses are advised to comply with current advice on the avoidance of entrapment by the hook.            

2.5 Passage Races  (deleted)

2.6 Measurement and Rating Certificates

Boats racing as a particular class must comply with the appropriate class rules. Boats claiming a particular rating are to have a valid rating certificate. Owners of boats which do not comply with their class rules or do not have a valid rating certificate are to inform the Sailing Committee through a Club official. Provided safety is not compromised, boats which do not comply with class rules will normally be allowed to race in handicap events.  In these circumstances an ad hoc handicap will be allocated.

2.7 Handicaps

A variant of the Portsmouth Yardstick system will be used unless otherwise stated.  Modified Portsmouth Numbers (PN) as used by Grafham Water Sailing Club with further adjustment to take account of tidal conditions are published in this handbook and may be adjusted during the season in accordance with the provisions of Portsmouth Yardstick publication on the RYA website.  Classes for which no Portsmouth Number has been issued will be allocated an Experimental or Club Number. Numbers to be used will be displayed on the noticeboard and on the club website.             


Notices will be posted on the blackboard below the Race Box


Any changes to these instructions and any notice to postpone a trophy race will be notified in accordance with the RRS  - Flag ‘L’ flown from the Race Box or Committee Boat will denote a change to the sailing instructions. The change will be posted on the blackboard under the Race Box.


Signals will be made from the Race Box except when a Committee Boat is in use.  


The time of each race is indicated in the Sailing Programme. The time specified is for the Warning Signal.


National 18 Class - Flag R

RS400 Class - Flag W

RS200 Class - Flag Q

Dinghies, all classes - Flag D  Used when there is no separate start for another class

Handicap - Flag F  Used for when N18s, RS400s and/or 200s have their own start                  

8 and 9    Intentionally blank


10.1 The 3-2-1-Go system will be used; this changes Rule 26

The handicap class will start before the RS400 class unless otherwise indicated.    

10.2 Multiple starts.

When classes are starting in sequence, the Starting Signal for the preceding class will be the Warning Signal for the subsequent class.

10.3 Summary

Warning Class Flag / 1 Sound Start minus 3
Preparatory P or I or Z or Z with I or Black Flag / 1 Sound Start minus 2
One Minute Preparatory flag (above)  removed / 1 Sound Start minus 1
Start Class flag removed /1 Sound Start

Note 1.  A series of sound signals may be used to indicate that the start sequence is about to begin.

Note 2.  Timings are to be taken from the sound signal.  If a sound signal fails, timings are to be taken from the previous (or next) sound signal

10.4 Starting Without Flags

In some circumstances it may be necessary to start a race without flag signals.  On these occasions the procedure will be as follows:

Alert (optional) series of short blasts
Warning three short blasts Start minus 3
Preparatory two short blasts   Start minus 2
One Minute one long blast Start minus 1
Start one short blast Start

Recalls: one or two blasts iaw RRS 29 plus hail when practicable

10.5 Light Signals Instead of Flags

For single starts light signals may be used instead of flags as follows:

 SIGNAL   Colour TIME    
Before start sequence
Postponement Blue  
Starting sequence
Warning Amber Start minus 3
Preparatory Amber plus Blue Start minus 2
One Minute Blue off Start minus 1
Start Amber off Start
Individual recall Blue  
General recall Blue and Amber  
Approaching the finish
Blue All boats finish  next time through the gate  
Blue plus Amber Finish if you get a toot, otherwise keep going  

10.6 Time Limit

A boat must start within twenty minutes of its starting signal.


The starting line shall be indicated on the blackboard.  For a Committee Boat start, the starting line shall be formed between the mast displaying an orange flag and the outer starting line mark. If an orange flag is not available the mainmast of the committee boat shall be the relevant mark. If the Club’s committee boat is in use the flag rail above the windscreen will count as the mast.


12.1 Individual Recall 

Individual recalls will be signalled in accordance with RRS 29.1 (Display Code Flag ‘X’, one sound signal).

12.2 General Recall

General recalls will be signalled in accordance with RRS 29.2 (display Code Flag ‘1st Substitute’, 2 sound signals) or equivalent lights. The warning signal for the recalled class will be made one minute after the first substitute is removed (one sound) and the starts for the succeeding classes will follow the new start.


13.1 Alternative Handicap Not In Use

Shortening course procedure will be in accordance with RRS 32. When Flag ‘S’ is flown at the Race Box the finishing line will be at the end of the round still to be completed by the leading boat. When Flag ‘S’ is flown at a Committee Boat or a Mark Boat, the finishing line will be between the Committee Boat mast or the Mark Boat and the nearest mark which may be a Mark of the Course or one laid for the purpose of creating a finishing line. When Flag ‘S’ is flown over a Class Flag, only the race for that Class is shortened. When Flag ‘S’ is flown alone, races for all classes are shortened.

13.2 Alternative Handicap In Use    

See para 19. 


14.1 Committee Boat. 

The Finishing Line will be between the mast  or flag rail of the Committee Boat and a nearby mark.

14.2 Race Box

The finishing line will be between the indicator board on the front of the race box and a mark specified on the course board.


The time limit will be 2 hours from the actual start of each class. One boat finishing within the prescribed time limit will make the race valid for all other boats in that race subject to an extension of 30 minutes, which may be further extended at the discretion of the Race Officer.  A boat not finishing within the extended time limit will be scored DNF. This changes Rule 35. See also para 19 ‘Alternative Handicap’. When one or more boats will take an unreasonably long time to finish, the RO may take such action as is reasonable to allocate the slow boats a finishing position based on their position on the water, or abandon the race, rather than wait until the time limit has expired.


Competitors shall sign the declaration sheet at the notice board within three hours of the last boat finishing the last race of the day. Competitors retiring from any race shall enter this fact on the sheet.   

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