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Race Management Guide


This document is primarily for the guidance of Race Committees and race Officers planning to officiate at major events such as Ranking, National or International.

However, it also provides a good basis for those clubs wishing to host small events such as District or Open Events where there are limited resources in terms of volunteers etc. available.

Some of the Race Organisation Positions that have been identified can be combined, such as:

Race Officer/Start Line/Finish Line/Timekeeper
Scorer/Fleet board Administrator (If one is required)
Course setter/Rescue Officer

Where possible, it is recommended that Race Committees and Race Officers implement these guidelines, as it provides good practice if and when they feel confident enough to manage larger events at some time in the future.

It is essential that regardless of the size of the event a full Safety Risk Assessment is carried out prior to the event, to ensure the safety of all competitors and organisers. It is also essential to take into account the ability and age of competitors as both young and old have different requirements when compared to fit adults. Consideration should be given to the amount of walking required when setting a course and regular breaks should be taken if there is only one heat and high temperatures are encountered.

At the end of any event, always evaluate your own performance and that of your Race Committee. What went wrong? Why did it go wrong? What can be done better? What went well? How can we make it even better?



This guide attempts to highlight best practice, accommodate many IRSA Race management Policies and interpret the rules accordingly. It is not intended to be a fully comprehensive manual of race management but rather an aide memoire for race officers and those wanting to know more. It May also be appropriate to vary the practices described in this guide for smaller events when there are other constraints on the race management to be taken into account.


Throughout this document some phrases are used a lot and so are abbreviated in many instances:

  • Race Officer – RO
  • Assistant Race Officer – ARO
  • Racing Rules of Sailing – RRS
  • Notice of Race – NOR
  • Standard Sailing Instructions – SSIs

Racing Rules of Sailing

The Race Official’s bible is the Rule Book – the Racing Rules of Sailing. We are duty bound to know the rules and so be very familiar with the Rule Book. Racing is governed according to the Rules as defined in the RRS. The rules that are contained within the RRS book are defined as Definitions, the Race Signals, the Introduction, the preambles and the relevant appendices.

Through its prescriptions to the RRS, a member National Authority (The RYA for the UK) states how certain of these rules are to be interpreted or applied at it’s own events or those organised by an Organising authority affiliated to that MNA such as the Model Yachting Association.

RYA Racing Charter

As MYA race officials we must be familiar with it and uphold its principles.

RYA Racing Charter

Application of RYA Racing Charter

Through the Racing Charter, the RYA seeks to promote fair and enjoyable racing for all.

What competitors should expect:

  • Racing that, as far as possible, is fair, enjoyable and safe.
  • Shore facilities, administration and race management to acceptable standards and appropriate to the event.
  • A way to complain or make a suggestion, and a response to complaints and suggestions.
  • Prompt resolution of any disputes.

What is expected of competitors:

  • Courtesy and respect to other competitors, officials, and other users of the water, both afloat and ashore.
  • Compliance with the rules, and take a penalty when required by the rules.
  • Use of the provided services to resolve any disputes.Resolution of Racing DisputesThe RYA encourages the adoption of the Exoneration Penalty, Advisory Hearings and RYA Arbitration in addition to protest hearings to improve the understanding of and compliance with the Racing Rules of Sailing.See

Unacceptable Behaviour

The RYA encourages the use of rule 69 and rule 2 to penalise and deter unacceptable behaviour both on and off the water. Guidelines on their application in the UK are included on the RYA website.

See RYA Racing Rules Page

Organising Authority

The Member National Authority (MNA) for the UK is the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). TheMYA is affiliated to the RYA and as such is entitled to be the ‘Organising Authority’.

  1. The Organising Authority will set up or appoint both the:
    Event Organising Committee (Event Committee)
    The Organising Committee will accept responsibility, usually through a number of sub-committees, for all aspects of the event, such as measurement, social events, press and sponsor contacts. One of these committees is the:
  2. Race Committee
    The organising Authority is required by the RRS 89.2 9b) to appoint the Race Committee. It is delegated with all the powers required to conduct the racing. It can only be appointed by the
    Organising Authority.

The Organising Authority also has sole responsibility to publish the NOR. This should be published in a manner appropriate to the event concerned.For many events this would be the host authority’s website (and/or class website). If there is a closing date for entry this should be as close to the regatta as possible whilst allowing sufficient time to plan for the number of entries received. Such planning will cover all areas of the event including safety management.

The Organising Authority may appoint the Protest Committee or delegated the task to the Race Committee.If an International Jury is to be in place at an event, it can only be appointed by the Organising Authority (when this may require the approval of the appropriate MNA).

It is essential that the Organising Authority complies with the requirements of the RRS otherwise competitors will not have the protection of the RRS or the appeal procedures provided by the National Authority.

Throughout the organising and running of a regatta the Organising Authority, through its subcommittees and particularly the Race Committee, should remember that its prime objectives are:

Provide fair competition for all competitors
Ensure the regatta is run in accordance with the RRS and the rules of other relevant authorities when they apply; they should also comply with the RYA Racing Charter and MYA SSI’s
Ensure that all competitors can, and do, conform to the rules of the regatta.

As far as possible give satisfaction to all competitors

Ensure that SSI’s are produced which follow the RRS Appendix J2

Event Organisation

Good Organisation is the key to a successful event – There are three types of event:

Championship, International, National, Ranking – The organising authority will negotiate with the Club/Class involved as to the number of competitors to be allowed, the number of days involved, the types of courses to be used, etc.

District Open Meetings – to which visitors outside of that club are invited to take part. There is generally negotiation with the classes involved but the event is organised using the same checklist used for championships.

Club events – these may prescribe that only members of that club can participate. No negotiation with Classes is needed.

Pre-evaluation of the Event:

The committee structure will vary according to the needs of the event, its size and its status. Before it is set up it is important that the Organising Authority goes through a process to determine the appropriateness of the host club to manage the proposed event. It is important that an evaluation is carried out prior to accepting the role of Organising Authority.Can the host clubmatch all the requirements requested by the class association or other body proposing the event?

Risk Assessment:

It is most important that the venue assesses the risks involved in running the event. Is the launch area suitable? Are there any potential trip hazards that should be identified to competitors? Are there any potential hazards for members of the public?

Once the club has answered the above questions, and other questions which may be venue specific, then a decision whether or not to proceed with the event can be made. Do not say ‘YES’ to an event simply to host a prestigious event.


Can the club cope with the number of competitors expected?

Will the venue be clear of weed and can a good course be set irrespective of wind direction?

Is there sufficient car parking, toilet and if necessary catering arrangements to meet the demands of all competitors.

For multiple day events, consideration should be given to boat storage and a covered workshop area to work on boats during inclement weather, together with provision for battery charging.


Does the club or venue, have sufficient experienced personnel toman all the duties required for the proposed event? Will it be necessary to arrange for training sessions with club members for different aspects of the event?

Will the club have to look for assistance from outside its own organisation – referees etc?

Social Events (National and International Events)

For National and International events, there should be an Event Dinner before the start of racing and a prize-giving dinner on the final day of racing, and consideration given to other ‘events’ for non-competing personnel.

If there is any doubt about the ability of the venue to fulfil the expectations of the competitors, now is the time to stop the process and say ‘NO’ we cannot host this event. If the answer is ‘YES’ then planning can start.

Equipment that will be required

Marks – it is recommended that all marks (including starting marks) have stripes or numbers or other markings in a contrasting colour which help to see if the mark spins.Ensure these are in good order and clearly marked with numbers the same size as the sail number for the class being sailed (it immediately becomes obvious when any mark has been set too far away), with a suitable length of rope and counter-weight. Because of factors involving the physiology of the human eye, red marks are not recommended.

Boat – preferably manned by two people; to position marks and recover disabled boats as necessary; buoyancy aids must be worn at all times.

Start Machine – if possible a back-up should be available, both fully charged.

Notice Board – for all official notices such as NOR, MYA SSIs etc.

Heat Board – required if entry is such that more heats are to be sailed Course Board – to display the marks of the course and the route round the

Scoring – Computer for HMS; instructions for HMS, heat record sheets, master score sheet, pencils (suggest ‘B’ or ‘2B’ in case it is a wet day (ball point pens are next to useless in the wet), pencil sharpeners – manual back-ups should always be available!!

Latest Rules – National; Ranking (as necessary downloadable from the MYA web site); RRS, MYA SSI’s, Class Rules and HMS, should all be readily available.

Protest Forms – together equipment (table, chairs, model boats, paper, pens, etc.with protest checklist for Protest Committee in a suitable position for hearings.

Audible sound signal – whistle or air horn.


First aid box (details of nearest A&E Hospital)

Organising Committee

The Organising Committee is responsible for all aspects of the event. It will appoint several sub-committees to oversee particular aspects of the event. For many smaller events, some of the functions will be combined into one sub-committee.

Event Director or Principal Race Officer (PRO) – The PRO liaises closely with the RO, supports and directs him/her and authorises changes to SSI’s. The PRO keeps and overview of the course and is the ultimate decision maker on the overall conduct of the event. The PRO also supervises the onshore aspects of race management, ensures all notices are displayed correctly on the official notice board. It is strongly recommended that the PRO has a pre-event meeting with the Race Team, National Delegates and Jury as appropriate, followed by daily pre-race meetings and end of day debriefs as appropriate.

Race Officer (RO) – This position can be combined with the PRO at smaller events. Ideally the RO lets his team get on with the job without interfering, although he or she should take the decisions regarding boats on the course side of the starting line, course changes etc. In the case of a general recall the RO will order a new start sequence from the Preparatory Signal – RRS E3.6

Before the first race the RO will brief the Race Committee on their jobs, making certain that all tasks are covered. The ROalso ensures (whether or not through delegation) that all the necessary equipment is available and functioning.

The RO shall at all times keep an overview of what goes on around the entire race course. The RO and ARO should record all their actions on tape recorders for later reference. The tape recorders should be left on during all start, recall and finishing procedures. As the responsible person, the RO will usually represent the Race Committee at protest hearings.

Start/Finish line team

The team is responsible for administering the start line and finish line. This entails identifying and recording boats that do not start correctly and the finishing order of boats. There should be two or three members of this team.

Tape recorders are useful to record all calls at the start and finishing positions as they are called while actually crossing the finishing line. This is very handy for sorting out any confusion later on particularly where a lot of boats have finished in a close group.

With the heat two-thirds completed the team move to the location of the finishing line.

The line judge should be in place at least 60 seconds before the start and may use a piece of card or plastic with a straight edge to shield the pre-start side of the line to judge if there are boats over the line at the start signal – it is the beginning of the start signal which denotes the start.

It is essential to use the word “RECALL” together with the sail number(s) of boats over the line twice. Clarity and volume are important as there is often other noise at the start. If the call has been masked by other calls, call another time.Where it is not possible to identify one or more boats that are OCS, it is permitted to call a general recall by hailing “General Recall”, “General Recall”. The start procedure is then restarted using the preparatory signal – RRS E3.6

Secretary to Finish Line Judge and Timekeeper

This is, after the RO, the most important position on the Race Committee.

More start’s have been spoiled by the Timekeeper being distracted than any other cause. It is a Position that requires single-minded concentration and a good clear voice.He/she has responsibility for all the sound signals at the start and finish.

At the start record the sail numbers of any OCS boats hailed by the line judge, using the word ‘Recall’ followed by sail number(s); If boats have been identified by their hull or equipment rather than sail number, help find out which sail numbers belong to each of the boats; Record as DNS any boat that sailed around at the start but which failed to cross the start line;

Record as DNC any boats that did not compete, that is they did not come to the starting area.

At the finish, record placings and importantly, the time at which the first boat finishes. The instant the first boat finishes, sound a clearly recognisable signal (Whistle or air-horn) so that other competitors have a time reference to the first finish.

If there are 4 or less boats still on the water racing five minutes after the finishing time of the first boat, those boats are recorded as DNF. At that time also record the order of those 4 boats on the water.

If there are more than on the water still racing five minutes after the finishing time of the first boat record the finishing places of boats until there are only 4 still racing. These boats are recorded as DNF, and at this time also record the order of those 4 boats on the water. Note that according to Clause 2.11 of the MYA SSIs 2014 these boats should be scored according to their finishing places on the water.

Be aware that boats often infringe rules near the finish and will need to make exonerating penalty turns. Do not attempt to decide which time the boat crosses the line is its correct finishing place.

The correct approach is to record each boat’s sail number each time it crosses the line. The last time the competitor crosses the line will probably be his correct finishing position and, if there is doubt, the RO will advise.

Every boat must be recorded as she finishes, regardless of whether it is alleged that she may not have sailed the correct course. IRSA CASE 80 makes clear that, without a hearing, a boat may not be penalised for failing to sail the course. It is always possible that the hearing decides the boat did indeed sail the correct course, and if her finish was not recorded then the Race Committee has made a serious error.


The course-setter needs to be able to set an accurate course following the Race Officer’s directions. The Course-setter must have the confidence to take up and shift marks to the right position as soon as the RO says “Go”. Ideally he/she should have enough information, nautical skills to operate on his own and to be independent of detailed orders from the RO. His judgement concerning mark placement can have a decisive influence on the success of the event. If possible the Course-setting vessel should be a fast power boat. The RO may want to wait as long as possible before
finalising the course, and then wait as little as possible whilst this is being done. It is rarely necessary to have more than one course-setting vessel.

Rescue Officer

The Race Committee should appoint a capable Rescue Officer,who will be responsible for rescue operations of disabled boats (maybe the same person as the course-setter).He/she must be familiar with the event venue, with the characteristics of the class competing and any applicable governmental or similar rules.

For large events, the Rescue Boat and Course-setting boat should not be the same, since both may be required at the same time. The Rescue boat should be of adequate capability to assist boats in distress under adverse conditions and should be manned by at least two competent persons.

Fleet Board Administrator

Managing the fleet control board is a demanding and non-trivial role, and usually requires the attention of the most experienced officer, after the RO, available to the event Organising Committee. The major control mechanism for a radio sailing fleet event is usually the fleet control board.

This provides two major functions:

  • The heat composition, i.e. the list of boats in each heat, for the currently scheduled race.
  • The frequency allocation of each boat.

The fleet control board requires continuous updating as the results from a heat arrives, so the promoted boats can be identified and placed into the next highest heat.

The fleet control board also requires continuous maintenance with regard to the frequency allocations of each boat, although this is less important these days. Should there be boats on the same frequency in a particular heat, the RO or ARO must always scan the heat composition of the next heat to catch and correct frequency clashes before they are discovered during the starting sequence.


This role may be combined with that of the Fleet Board Administrator for smaller events, but especially for larger events, is a demanding role in itself and is best carried out by someone able to devote their entire time to it.

Provisional results will be received from the Line Judge team and are normally subject to change only as a result of a protest hearing.The RO has to be informed within 5 minutes of the finish of a heat if there is to be a protest so, at that point, the results can reasonably be taken as final. At that point the result sheet can be used to determine the scores attributable to each competitor—add these to the master score sheet. It is useful for competitors to see the overall results of all competitors as they progress.

This may be achieved by transferring the information to another sheet which is posted on the Notice Board after each race.

Observer Marshall

The Race Committee usually appoints an Observer Marshall, who has responsibilities of:

  • Preparing notebooks and pens/pencils for the use of the Observers during the event.
  • Arranging the appointment of temporary observers from the skippers not sailing.
  • Issuing each observer with a notebook.
  • Briefing any Observer not familiar with the role.
  • Ensuring the Observers are on duty from the warning signal.
  • Receiving the notebooks from the Observers going off duty and enquiring if there are any incidents not resolved on the water.
  • Advising the RO of any unresolved incidents.

The Observer Marshall should have an ‘observer system’, which is communicated to the Observers as they come on duty. The following system is recommended:

Observer System

There should be one observer per four boats in the heat, plus a ‘roving’ or ‘senior’ Observer if the Observer Marshall does not take on this role himself.

Each Observer is given a numbered notebook, which identifies the section of the fleet to which he/she is expected to pay primary attention. Ideally the notebook has a diagram which illustrates this.

During the pre-start, the start, and on the first beat:

Section 1 comprises the starboard end of the starting line, thereafter the starboard side of the first beat.

Section 2 comprises the mid-part of the starting line, thereafter the mid-part of the first beat.

Section 3 comprises the port end of the start line, thereafter the port side of the first beat.

For larger heats, section 4 and 5 repeat the coverage of sections 1 and 2.

As the boats prepare to round the windward mark, and for the remainder of the heat:

Section 1 comprises the first four boats

Section 2 comprises boats in 5th to 8th or 9th place

Section 3 comprises boats in 9th to 12th or 13th place

For larger heats, Section 4 comprises boats from 13th to 17th and 5 from 17th to 20th.

The overlap implied between the sections is deliberate. The Observer Marshall does not have a section, but instead provides backup for any section where contacts look likely or contacts have been called.

Equipment Inspector

The Race Committee should appoint a qualified measure for the class intending to race as an Equipment Inspector. It is intended that all boats should be inspected as required in accordance with the appropriate Equipment Rules of Sailing. If any boat’s equipment does not comply with the rules the competitor should be advised and a short written report made to the RO. It is not clear what effect a protest against a boat would have before the start but it seems likely that this action alone would have the effect of confirming to the competitor that this action is serious and that serious consequences may follow.

Before the event

Having decided to host the event, the next thing to do is to issue the Notice of Race (NOR). The NOR must be prepared in accordance with the RRS Appendix J&K. The simplest thing to do is use the NOR template downloadable from the MYA website knowledge base. The MYA SSI’s normally apply but check that the starting and finishing times are acceptable but change these if necessary and ensure the information is included on the NOR.

As a minimum the NOR must contain the following:

  • Name of the Organising Authority, this is the MYA – your club is organising on behalf of the MYA; the title of the event; the venue; date(s) of the event.
  • That the race will be governed by the RRS amended by Appendix E and the MYA SSI’s.
  • List any other documents relevant to the conduct of the event, such as Class.
  • Rules; Equipment Rules of Sailing etc.
  • Class of Boat to be used.
  • Time of Competitors Briefing and start and finish times of the event.
  • The NOR is a ‘rule’ and must therefore be written correctly.

Applications forentry should use either the MYA Online Entry Form or email but the following information should be provided as a minimum:

  • Name
  • MYA Number – check membership and number on-line
  • Emergency Contact Details including name and Telephone Number (Mobile)
  • Identification of any health issues – this should include any action required in the event of an issue arising due to the identified condition.
  • E-mail address
  • Telephone Number
  • Hull Design
  • Hull Number
  • Sail Number
  • Frequency – preferred and alternatives, unless 2.4Ghz is being used.

Receipt of entry must be acknowledged together with confirmation of sail number and frequency to be used on the day.

At the event

Setting the Course and laying marks

It is commonly suggested that an unbiased start line is one, which has approximately 5 degrees of port bias to encourage boats to spread along the line which should be about 1.3 – 1.8 times the sum of the lengths of the boats in the largest heat/race. It is 1.3 for light wind and wave conditions, 1.5 for medium conditions, and 1.8 or even 2.0 for heavy conditions. And if in doubt, a Race Officer should lengthen the line.

This is an excellent starting point, but thereafter it is the behaviour of the fleet, which determines whether the starting line is fairly biased. The recommendation is that if boats cluster at one or other end so as to give rise to incidents or near misses, or numerous boats are unable to gain a first rank position on the start line, then the line bias must be adjusted until the boats are reasonably spread along the line and the risks of incidents are minimised – start lines that are too short or badly biased will result in too many boat on boat contacts and general recalls. Set the finish line at right angles to the direction of the last mark and about 6 – 10 boat lengths, with a beat to the finish.

N.B Both the finish and start lines are judged as being on the course side of the relevant marks – RRS E3.4 (b)

Decide on the format of the course e.g. triangle and sausage,windward and leeward with or without a gate at the leeward end. Ideally mark rounding should in one direction and primarily to port at the windward mark.

Race Officers are acutely aware that reacting to wind shifts or changes of conditions on the course take time that may be lost to unnecessary changes to try to make racing perfect. The recommendation is that clear guidance be given to a radio sailing Race Officer about the appropriate balance between 10 starts which give excellent racing and 20 starts which merely give a lot of time on the water. In general, competitors at all levels prefer 10 excellent races. It is suggested that a Race Officer should, instead of number of races, judge the quality of a race as to whether boats were evenly spread out along the start line, sailed both sides of the beat and both sides of the run, and rounded both gates.

Heats of 12 – 15 minutes are recommended although seeding races make be longer. The first leg of the course should be a long beat to windward if possible or
alternatively it may be a running start to a leeward gate.When a windward/leeward course is used it is advisable to set an offset mark about 8 boat lengths to port of the windward mark, with the leeward mark being a gate about 9 – 10 boat lengths wide. Do not lay marks so far away that sail numbers can not be seen, or in areas of disturbed wind or too close to the bank.

Fleet size

HMS – 2014 defines the number of boats in a heat and reference to the tables should always be made whenever the fleet size changes at any time throughout the event.

Seeding Races

Good seeding is important to ensure each seeding heat has an even distribution of skippers of mixed ability. Aim for an even spread of top, middling and novice skippers in each heat. The seeding races should be prepared taking into account the latest National, Ranking, District and League Lists followed by local knowledge. If there is any uncertainty on a skippers ability always feel free to ask others. Keep a record of the seeding list.

Competitors Briefing

This is a very important part of the Race Officer’s duties and sets the tone for the days racing. The briefing should be given in a businesslike but friendly manner.

Events vary greatly in the duration and content of the meeting for competitors. For many small events, briefings are not even considered necessary. However, a pre-race meeting can be very helpful in building up contact between the Race Officer/Race Committee and the competitors, especially when there is no opening ceremony.

Although event waters should be as ‘neutral’ as possible, there is often some advantage favouring local competitors. The advantage extends to knowledge of the shore facilities and even to familiarity with the officials. To this end its prime purpose could be described as countering differences in familiarity with the local scene thereby contributing to the fairness of the competition.

Announce the briefing with a sound signal Subjects, which may be covered at the Competitors Briefing include:

  • A friendly word of welcome (if there has not been a formal Opening Ceremony)
  • An introduction to key officials
  • An identification of main shore locations (Race Office, protest area, toilets etc.)
  • Location of official Notice Board, Course Board and Fleet Board
  • Any changes to the Racing times set out in MYA SSI 5.04
  • If HMS is being used announce whether Schedule A/B (4 boat promotion) or Schedule C (6 boat promotion) is being used
  • Explain where and when results will be posted

Identification of marks

  • Identify the sound signals to be used during the event.
  • Hazards and prohibited areas.
  • The course and control areas.
  • Food arrangements if any.
  • Social arrangements if any.
  • Prize giving.
  • Specific rules of the host club.

Observing – notepads will indicate the section of the fleet to observe.

Because the meeting has no authority in terms of the rules and Sailing Instructions, statements made are not protestable and there is a responsibility upon the official conducting it to exercise great caution not to mislead.

Sailing instructions should be unambiguous and not require further explanation; nevertheless there is usually a valid point or question from someone on them. To act correctly, such questions should be submitted in writing, but this may look to formal. Therefore oral questions as well as written ones may be acceptable.

During the event

The RO should ensure that any line judges and observers are in position before sounding a signal (whistle/air-horn) and calling “Boats on the Water”.

It is up to the competitors to identify which heat they are in and so the RO should not call the sail numbers of the boats as any mistake could lead to a protest hearing.After an appropriate interval and when all boats are within reach of the start line – start the countdown.

Once the race has started, observe the boats in order to decide whether a start line or course change is required at any point for any of the following reasons:

  • A large number of general recalls at the start.
  • Boats crowding to one end of the start line.
  • No starboard tack lay line to the windward mark.
  • A permanent wind shift that places the windward mark in very little or no wind causing boats to pile up as they approach it.

Any course change should be identified using the appropriate sound signal (whistle or air-horn) and bringing the change to the attention of all competitors – competitors are responsible for ensuring they know the course.

N.B Courses shall not be shortened or abandoned – RRS E3.8 apart from foul weather or thunderstorms – RRS E3.8(d)

At the finish of the first boat, sound the signal (whistle/air-horn) so that other Competitors have a time reference.

The definitions of finishing and racing should be clearly understood by the RO sighting the finish line. Once any part of a boat breaks the plane of the finish line from the course side, that is its finishing time or position. The whole boat does not have to cross the line.However, a boat has not finished if after crossing the finish line it corrects an error underRRS 28.2 (the string rule) made at the line or continues to sail the course.

If a boat still racing hits a finish mark it must then complete the penalty turn and sail Completely onto the course side of the line before crossing the line for a second time – it is then that it has finished correctly. A boat stops racing when it has finished and cleared the finish line and its marks. It can clear the line by sailing forward until its transom is clear of the line or by falling back onto the course side of the line. Immediately its bow drops below the line it is clear of the line. However it is still subject to the RRS because it must keep clear of boats that are racing.

MYASSI 5.02 states that “Except for refreshment breaks announced at the initial Briefing, a warning signal will indicate the starting sequence for the next heat as soon as practicable, after a heat has been concluded”. However, the RO should be aware that there may be a protest or request for redress by a competitor, which has to be advised to the RO “ as soon as reasonably possible after finishing or retiring – the competitor then has ten minutes after the last boat in the heat finishes or after the relevant incident, whichever is later – RRS E6.5

N.B The RO/Race Committee can not give redress or disqualify a boat without a protest hearing. However, the Race Committee may apply a scoring penalty in the case of a boat that did not start, finish, failed to comply with RRS 30.3 or retired – RRS Appendix A; E3.7 and E3.8.

When racing in heats, it saves time and avoids unnecessary delays to convey the sail numbers of all those boats promoted or demoted from that heat to the Fleetboard Administrator and Scorer as soon as they are known, in order that the heat board can be amended, without waiting for the scores to be processed. Be prepared to advise skippers of promotion or demotion when asked at the end of a race.

The Race Committee can only score:

  • Finishers — they are allocated the appropriate number of points according to their position
  • Boats that did not start – DNC & DNS
  • On the course side – OCS
  • Did not comply with RRS 30.3 – BFD
  • Did not finish – DNF
  • Boats that retire – RET

Only the Protest Committee can take other scoring actions that worsen a boat’s score. The implication of this is that the Race Committee cannot score a boat DSQ for any reason. It can only protest the boat if it believes it infringed a rule (e.g. failing to sail the proper course or hitting a mark without taking a penalty).


Once processed, a copy of the provisional results should be placed on the official notice board so that they are available at the end of each race. Provisional results remain as such until after all protests and requests for redress have been heard. Even then, corrections can be made to the results until the end of the event, and, in some cases, even after.

Redress Hearings

If it is possible, try to correct the reason for the redress hearing before you reach the protest room. Allow competitors to listen to your tapes at any time during the event—many will be entirely satisfied that they are wrong if that is what your tape(s) demonstrate; if they are correct then you should score them appropriately without the need for a competitor to continue with their submission requesting redress.

Race Committee Protests

Since the primary responsibility for protesting breaches of the rules rests with competitors, the race committee will not normally protest a competitor. However, the race committee is obliged to protest a boat when it receives a report from an event equipment inspector for an infringement concerning measurement etc. Outside of this, it is considered best practice to only protest a boat for a blatant breach of the rules that affects the fairness of a race such as failing to take a penalty after knowingly touching a mark or failing to sail the course. The race committee would also normally protest a competitor for a breach of good sportsmanship.

At the end of the event

The RO should call racing to a close in accordance with the SSI’s or as agreed at the competitors briefing and ensure the score sheets are completed correctly.

Members of the Race Committee and helpers should all be thanked, followed by announcing results of the events and prize giving. Dependent on the type of event, a copy of the results, together with photos and a full report, including the outcome of any protest hearings, should be sent as soon as possible to the Racing Secretary, the League Secretary and Web site webmasters as required.

Copies of all the results and any additional paperwork such as Protest forms etc. should be retained.

Finally, it is worth having a debriefing meeting with the race committee, either face to face or by e-mail to review the day and assess if any improvements can be made for next time. Get the opinion of others; be prepared for criticism; Listen to it; it may be useful. Talk to the competitors; Talk to the Protest Committee Chairmen.