Guide to running the Race Control Box
BEFORE THE DAY
The team responsible for the day will have been organized by a Team Leader.
The Team Leader should have communicated to you, as part of the team, who is the dedicated Officer of the Day. Should you be unable to attend for your duty please inform (at the earliest opportunity) the Team Leader. It is however your responsibility to ensure a swap with another member of your team is organized. If this is not possible then you will have to arrange a swap with another club member. In all cases you should keep your team leader aware of the changes and if you are taking up a swap in another team then the alternative team leader also needs to be informed. Whenever necessary, any swaps of duty required by a designated OOD or team member should be with another similarly experienced person
The designated Race Officer should contact other members of the team to ensure their availability, but this should not absolve the other members of the team from their responsibility to contact the Race Officer. Your Sailing Committee will continue the practice of contacting the Race Officer by phone approximately one to two weeks before your scheduled duty.
Failure to turn up for your duty may cause sailing to be curtailed or cancelled for your fellow members and you will be letting down your team members that have turned up.
ON THE DAY
Please ensure that you arrive for your duty at least one hour before the first race. The normal start time of the first race on a Sunday is 10:30. If insufficient people are available to run the Box, then the Officer of the Day should request another member to assist instead of sailing. Also please remember to wear warm and waterproof clothing for outside activities. Not all the duties are in a nice warm Box – it can get cold and wet in the Safety Boat! The OOD will allocate duties to the team.
Sound Signals: check the klaxon, and the alternative sound signals - air horns and bell.
Radios: take radios from their charging points in the Committee Room and check that they are working. Instructions are on the Box wall next to the radio control point.
Ensign and Flag Officer’s flag: (that of the senior Flag Officer present) – raise these to the yard arm and the top of the flagpole respectively. Do it when you feel organised.
Safety Boats – Tigris IV, V and VI.
Tigris IV Dory (white boat) has a 2 stroke engine – red can for fuel.
Tigris V Oyster (blue boat) has a diesel engine – black can for fuel.
Tigris VI Rigiflex (orange boat) has a 4 stroke engine – green can for fuel
Tigris V should be used for mark laying. The other 2 should be launched and used as required as safety boats using a 1:7 ratio of safety boats to dinghies.
Race Entry Sheets: mark-up a set with details of all races and place on table outside Box with a pen.
Setting and Displaying the Course
Load up the buoys and get out on the river as soon as possible to lay the course, noting the wind direction and strength and any dead spots in the wind pattern; try to avoid laying a buoy in a dead spot. Decide on the direction of the rounding of the marks and the number of laps to be sailed. Most races should be estimated to last 60 - 90 minutes, so if in doubt it is probably better to set more laps than is necessary and then shorten the course. If the programme indicates back to back races these should each be 35 – 40 minutes long.
Wind strength:if this is either very light or very strong you may need to delay laying a course, and therefore postpone the racing until you have more indication of what the wind might do. In very strong wind conditions, it is the right decision to postpone or even abandon racing if it is felt that the safety of competitors may be put at risk.
Position of the Buoys (Marks of the Course) – The Race Officer and his team have the discretion to lay buoys wherever they consider would provide the best course to create interesting sailing. However, the normal position of the buoys for club racing is:
Short Mark – above Spade Oak Quay opposite the bungalow “Rippleby”. This is within sight of the Clubhouse, which will allow racing to proceed with limited safety boat cover.
Medium Mark – approximately halfway between the Short and the Long marks.
Long Mark – just upstream of the outfall, but if the wind conditions are good it may be laid anywhere between the outfall and the island.
Home Mark – 20-40 metres above the Club Start Line, but it may be laid below the start line if the wind conditions are suitable. If you decide to lay the buoy downstream then you MUST finish the boats on the Club line AFTER they have rounded the Home mark.
Gybing Marks – Take care in setting mark rounding that will require a gybe, particularly in stronger wind conditions. It is probably good practice, but not always possible, to set tack rounding upstream, and gybe rounding at the Home Mark, as this gives better safety scrutiny of the mark, and provides a measure of entertainment at the Clubhouse!
Courses – Please do not set over-complicated courses unless your team is very competent in communicating and managing them, although some measure of innovation is to be encouraged to provide variety.
Upstream Starts – For more experienced Box Teams, an upstream start may be appropriate in an Easterly breeze to provide an upwind start.
Displaying the Course – this is done by the using appropriately coloured, Port & Starboard (Red and Green) boards displaying either S,M,L & H to indicate the direction of the mark rounding , followed by the white number boards for the number of laps. Check that you display the Mark boards in the order the marks are to be rounded.
Above these boards display the smaller yellow Class boards, for the classes that are sailing that particular course. At your discretion, (and often to your advantage) you may set different courses for different classes – e.g. sail the faster boats on longer courses.
Special course – If you set a special course that cannot be indicated in the normal way, or you wish to deviate from the Sailing Instructions in some way, write the information on the official notice board, and fly flag “L” with a single sound signal. Try to post this information at least 30 minutes before the start(s).
Starting Flags– Attach the various class flags, pennants, preparatory signals (Blue Peters) and the postponement and general recall flags to the halyards on the balcony. The positioning of these signalling flags can be indicated in chalk on the balcony top-rail. The flags should preferably be set to be “broken-out” at the top of the halyards, but in strong winds, or if you have trouble tying the flags so that they “break-out”, then you can hoist the flags already broken-out.
The warning signals for classes sailed are as follows:
IC Pennant 7
IC Flag J
IC Flag F
IC Flag I
IC Flag M
IC Flag O
IC Flag T
IC Flag H
IC Pennant 1
IC Pennant 2
Arrange the Team ready for the Starts – the suggested allocation of tasks within the box is to have one person on the clock and “X” Board, one person on klaxon and watching the line, and one/two people on the flags.
The safety boats should be ready, the engines having been test-started, and possibly left running during the start sequence. At least one but preferably two members of the team should be dressed in wet/cold weather gear, if appropriate, and ready to use the safety boat.
In the event of a serious incident on the water during the start sequence, then do not hesitate to abandon the start sequence and attend to the incident immediately. Remember that races can always be restarted, but it may be critical to recover somebody as quickly as possible.
Do not start a race before the advertised time.
Postpone the start if you are not ready – display “Answering Pennant” (AP), plus two sound signals.
Postpone if it is apparent that not all competitors are ready, but are likely to be ready very soon.
When ready, lower “AP” plus one sound signal.
After one minute commence start sequence.
The Starting Sequence
Lock door of Box at least 1 minute before start.
Clock-person is in charge of start sequence and will call time to flag person.
Call time at:
5 minutes to go – break-out class flag(s) and one sound signal.
4 minutes to go – break-out Preparatory signal (Blue Peter) and one sound signal.
1 minute to go – haul down Preparatory signal (Blue Peter) and one sound signal.
4, 3, 2, 1, GO! Haul down class flag and one sound signal.
If at any time during this sequence, the timing is wrong or there is any problem, postpone as described above and restart. If you have made a mistake the competitors can request redress.
The Line-person is now in charge, and should be the only one to speak. This person should not say anything until all the boats have started unless a boat is over. As soon as the Line-person indicates that a boat is over, he/she makes a sound signal and the Clock-person displays the "X" board (or Flag) and writes the numbers down. Remember that if you do not display the "X" Board (or Flag), the boats are entitled to believe that no-one was over. This should be displayed until all the premature starters have returned back across to the pre-course side of the line and restarted, or 4 minutes after the start, whichever is the shorter.
Advising Premature Starters:
The “X” board (or Flag) must be displayed until premature starters have re-crossed the line.
The onus is on the boat to restart. Do not call out boat number(s) as this can cause confusion.
Mark any boats that are over the line and that do not re-cross as OCS (On Course Side)
General Recalls - If most of the fleet is over the line, or it is not possible to take all the numbers of the boats over the line, then the Line-person should call “General Recall" and make a further sound signal (total of two), and the Flag-person flies the General Recall Flag (First Substitute). Follow this as soon as possible by:
Lowering First Substitute flag accompanied by one sound signal.
One minute later restart the starting sequence as above.
After the Start
Get the safety boat with two crew on the water positioned near Spade Oak (don’t forget the radio).
If windy, have second safety boat with 2 crew to cover top end of course.
Bring race sheets in and mark the sheets as boats round mark on each lap.
Note first and last boats’ times on separate paper.
Keep in touch with the safety boats by radio.
Get ready to shorten if race looks likely to last longer than 90 minutes.
Give one sound signal for each finisher.
Record finishing time.
Unless you are running a cup races that is specifically noted as a long distance race, the time limit is 2 hours for the leading boat and the target time for the first boat is 60-90 minutes.
Any boats finishing more than 30 minutes after first boat will be retrospectively shortened and a place allocated.
Keep galley and bar advised if racing is delayed.
Be aware that your intention is to ensure safe and enjoyable racing and use your best judgment in deciding whether or not to shorten.
For Spring Series and Series 5, the time target for each of the back-to-back races is 45 minutes.
Only shorten if it is apparent that weather conditions require shortening for safety reasons or the wind has dropped entirely and the first boat will take more than 90 minutes.
To shorten the race, always display flag "S" accompanied by two sound signals. If you wish to shorten only one fleet display "S" with the appropriate class flag.
If it becomes necessary to shorten, you have several choices:
Finish the fleet from the Box at the next rounding of the Home mark; display the "S" flag as early as possible so that the leader(s) are made aware of your intention.
Finish the fleet at a rounding mark; set up the flagstaff in the launch and take with you a klaxon and the necessary flags. Station yourself at the rounding mark setting a line between the flagstaff and the mark. Fly a blue flag or shape to indicate that you are on station at the finishing line, and shorten as described above.
Finish the fleet at a line that you lay; take a distance mark as well as the equipment indicated above and lay a finish line that is as fair as you can make it to the competitors yet to finish. (Remember not to obstruct the cruisers too much). The line is then between the distance mark and the flagstaff on the launch and the procedure is as described above.
After the Finish
Safety boats should stay out until all boats are home.
Bring in the marks.
Store safety boats and return keys to committee room.
Retrieve flags and race boards.
Work out results and handicaps, marking clearly for scratch (CPN) and PHC – using pencil in case of errors.
How to work out Personal Handicaps
Example: Competitor on PHC 1.09 that took 45 minutes 12 seconds to complete the race.
Work out the elapsed time of each competitor in minutes 00.45.12
Convert this to seconds 45 x 60 +12 =2712
Obtain individual (PHC) or Class (CPN) numbers from sheets in box 1.09
Divide the number of seconds by either PHC or CPN 2712/1.09 =2488.07339
Multiply the result by 1000 2488.07339449 * 1000
Enter the result in the ‘corrected seconds’ cell on the race sheet = 2488
The Winner is the competitor with the lowest total corrected seconds
Ensure race sheets are clear and fully marked up, including race details (name of series, race number etc.) date, wind strength and direction, and names of box team and place on clipboard in Clubhouse. (Members who miss a series race because of a duty will receive for that race points corresponding to their average points at the end of the series).
Return radios to charging points.
Lock Fury, Varnish Shed and sail locker and return keys to cupboard in committee room.
Take down the Club flags from the flagpole and lock box before you go home.
Encourage the participants to take advantage of the Racing Charter informal procedures.
If they do not agree to this, provide protest forms as requested, and remind the protestor to read the Racing Rules and Sailing Instructions thoroughly.
Write down on the protest form (in ink) the time of receipt of the form, and sign it, as this time may be crucial later.
Contact a member of the Sailing Committee or a Flag Officer as soon as possible, so that a preliminary hearing may be arranged as quickly as possible – preferably on the same day.
If in doubt about the protest procedure please ask the Sailing Secretary or a Flag Officer.
Back to Back Racing
It will almost certainly be appropriate to use short courses for these races, so that you have the whole race in your sight. You should advise all competitors to remain on the water after the first race, as the second start will be signalled as soon as possible after the finish of the first race.