Sailing Instructions

Sailing Instructions for Handicap Dinghy Racing Events

1. Rules
Racing takes place under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) “Racing Rules of Sailing 2017-2020”, Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Prescriptions, these Morecambe Sailing Club (MSC) Sailing Instructions and appropriate Class Rules.

2. Entrants
Racing in Club Series Events is open only to those catamarans and dinghies (hereafter referred to as dinghies) whose owners are Full Members of MSC. Guests may crew and use the facilities of the MSC Clubhouse a maximum of 6 times, in any one year. If they wish to take part on more occasions they must apply for Club Membership.

Regattas will be Open Events, not restricted to MSC dinghies

3. Insurance
It is a requirement of Owners that their dinghies must carry insurance cover of not less than £2,000,000 in respect of third party and crew liabilities.

4. Notices to Competitors
When possible Notices to Competitors and any change to these Sailing Instructions will be handed out at the Clubhouse, put on the club website, sent by e-mail or by post. Copies of notices and sailing instructions, plus racing results, will be displayed on the Club Noticeboard.

5. Safety
a. Safety shall be paramount
b. The safety of a dinghy and her entire management, including insurance, shall be the sole responsibility of the person in charge of the vessel, who must ensure that the dinghy and her crew are adequate to face the conditions which may arise at sea. It is the sole responsibility of competitors to decide whether to start or continue in any race, bearing in mind the weather forecast and the conditions at the time and to be expected.
c. The Morecambe Sailing Club, its Sponsor, Officers and Agents, shall not be responsible for any loss, death, damage or personal injury, howsoever caused, to the person in charge or the crew of a dinghy, or to another competitor, or to safety or spectator boat crews, as a result of their taking part in sailing and racing in Club events. Moreover, every person putting to sea warrants the suitability of the vessel and crew for the expected conditions.
d. Competitors are required to wear appropriate Safety Equipment (in particular Life Jackets or Buoyancy Jackets) at all times on the water or slipway
e. The provision of a safety patrol craft does not relieve participants of their responsibilities, although reasonable efforts will be made to provide safety boat cover, competitors are reminded that, particularly in extreme weather conditions, cover should not be relied upon and in any event they can only be given such assistance as can practically be provided in the circumstances. This is particularly relevant in winter and spring sailing when hypothermia risk is at its highest.
f. Dinghies may be subject to a safety inspection and may be refused entry to the race at the Officer of the Day’s (OD) discretion.
g. All boats are required to sign-on and sign-off before and after going afloat each day.
h. All boats must have a suitable tow rope of at least 6mm in diameter.

Winner 1 point then 1 point for each place position, ie 2nd place 2 points, 3rd place 3 point. One discard is allowed if four races have been sailed or as per race instructions.

7. Handicaps & Timing
Handicapping will be based on the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick System.

It is the duty of Skippers to declare to the OD any changes which may affect their handicap (eg uni-rig, single-handed or crew numbers)

8. Courses
The principal method of communicating with skippers and crews will be by a verbal pre-race briefing and the course blackboard. The Officer of the Day will announce the Course to be sailed at least 10 minutes before the preparatory signal.

It is up to skippers and crews to ensure they attend the briefing and are in or near the Starting Area in good time.

9. Starting Procedure
When making Light Signals the OD shall also make appropriate Sound Signals.

When the Club Committee Boat is being used by the OD, appropriate Flag & Sound Signals will be used. When there is no Committee Boat, then a combination of Light and Sound Signals will be used.

5 Minutes – Warning Signal, Light Signal (Red), plus One Sound Signal.
4 Minutes – Preparatory Signal, Light Signal (Red plus Yellow), plus One Sound Signal.
1 Minute – Light Signal.(Red, Yellow and Blue), plus One Sound Signal
Start – All Light Signals off, plus One Sound Signal.

10. Recalls
Individual to three boat Recalls will be indicated by Light Signal (Blue), plus One Sound Signal.

 General Recalls will be indicated by Light Signal (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow), plus Two Sound Signals.

11. Start & Finish Line
The Start and Finish Line will be identified by the OD during the pre-race briefing and displayed on the course chalkboard by the race offices. Races will normally start to windward

12. Finishing Procedure
The OD will indicate the order in which marks are to be taken. Normally the finish will be to windward in the same direction as the Start

In the event of a Shortened Course, when the leading boat begins the final leg of the course, the OD will indicate by Light Signal (Green) plus One Sound Signal that the course will end when competitors round the next buoy (or cross the original Finish Line in the case of courses being shortened by a whole lap(s).

If the OD is based on a Committee Boat, a Shortened Course will be indicated as above but by One Sound Signal only and, if practicable, by the stationing of the Committee Boat in the vicinity of the final buoy.

When finished please keep clear of the line so as not to impede other dinghies trying to finish.

13. Time Limits
The RYA Average Lap Racing Rules will apply.

The time limit will be set by the OD at the race briefing.

In the case of very light weather with a dropping wind, or worsening weather, the Officer of the Day may, at his discretion, either Shorten Course or Abandon the Race.

The OD may also Abandon the Race, at his discretion, on safety grounds.

14. Race Abandonment
Race Abandonment shall be indicated by Light Signal (Green and Yellow) and Two Sound Signals.

15 Penalties
Penalties for infringements shall be as follows:-

a. For touching any Mark of the Course, the Dinghy must do a 360 degree turn.
b. For infringing the rights of other Competitors, the Dinghy must do a 720 degree turn – i.e. two complete 360 degree circles.

Penalty turns should be taken as soon as possible after the incident and in any case must be made before the end of the race.

When doing penalty turns a dinghy must keep well out of the way of other competitors so as not to risk a further infringement.

16. Protests
Protests shall be made in writing on the appropriate Form in accordance with Rule 61. A Protestor must inform the Protestee promptly after the incident by hailing “Protest!” to the infringing dinghy and must fly a Red Protest Flag until the end of the race. The Protestor must inform the Officer of the Day at the end of the race if he intends to pursue the Protest. The written Protest should be given to the OD within One Hour of boats returning to the shore along with a £10 fee. A copy must be provided for the Protestee. The Protest will be heard as soon as possible after crews return to the Clubhouse. If there is a problem in finding sufficient experienced people to form a Protest Committee, the OD will advise a time, date and place for the Protest to be heard.

17. Retirements
Any dinghy retiring from a race should inform the OD as soon as possible.

18. Sportsmanship & Fair Sailing
The Racing Rules of Sailing are written to encourage sportsmanship and fair competition. (see Part One – Fundamental Rules). It is also the intention of the ISAF that the rules should impose on all Competitors the obligation to avoid collisions and damage to dinghies (see Rule 14). Right of Way dinghies should be aware that they may be penalised if they deliberately cause a collision and make no attempt to avoid contact.

19. Penalties imposed by the Sailing Committee
In the event of a serious dispute, whether arising from a Protest or not, the Sailing Committee may impose whatever penalties it deems fit on a dinghy or owner who it considers has transgressed the rules.

20. Acknowledgement
By taking part in a race all competitors acknowledge that they have read, understand and will abide by these Sailing Instructions in their entirety