club logo

Dinghy sailing and racing in Christchurch Harbour

A unique friendly club that brings together sociable and competitive sailing in a safe harbour location

club logo

[Home] [Join & Renew] [Directions and map] [Club Rules] [Safety Policy] [Data Protection] [Discounts] [A short history] [Learning to Sail] [Club boats] [Dinghy storage] [Social] [Racing] [Race Officers] [Do Race Officer?] [Set a Course] [Set a start line] [Flags] [Run the Finish] [The Pontoon] [Open Regattas] [Inter Club] [Mudeford Week] [Results] [For Sale]



You will almost certainly run a race “under instruction” before you have a go solo.

If in any doubt at all, ask one of the more experienced sailors, or a Committee member, for advice, especially if you are concerned over safety aspects, and particularly if Juniors are involved.

Talk to the safety crew as soon as you get to the Club to make sure they are prepared to support the racing.


Time of first race?

Enough tide to race?  (Dabchick afloat is really the minimum)

Conditions safe? (More than 20 kts of wind is probably too much, but ask the racers)

Signing on sheet and pen on the table.

Battery and start hooter out onto the jetty.  Instructions for use are here and on Vrouwe Johanna.

Decide on Jetty or Committee Boat start. Make amendments as necessary.

Dabchick on the water (The safety team will probably do this). Put the anchor, flags, the hooter and the battery on Dabchick.

Flags set up on the pole.  No 1 Pennant, Blue Peter, I Flag and S Flag, or use flags on sticks.

Leave an S flag on the jetty flagpole.

Safety boat crewed and ready to go?  Minimum crew is 2.

THE COURSE (see detailed notes)

Decide on the course (ask someone else to do this if necessary) and “post” it using the discs.  You can change the course between races as long as all sailors are informed.  Almost always have the sailors come round Buoy 6 at the end of the lap and finish at the Jetty


10-15 minutes before the start, motor Dabchick out to your chosen ODM and set the start line, about 50 metres long directly across the wind.

Try to run the start on time. (But don’t get into a tizz if it’s a bit late!) Don’t wait for late boats.  They’ll learn!

Run the start. 

  • 5 minutes: turn on the hooter, start your watch and raise the No 1 Pennant: the hooter is now on auto and will hoot at 4 minutes, 1 minute and the start.  (Turn the hooter off after the start)
  • 4 minutes: raise the Blue Peter.
  • 1 minute: lower the Blue Peter
  • Start: lower the No 1 Pennant and start your stopwatch (if you forgot to start it at the 5 minute point).  Turn the hooter off.

If anyone is across the line on the start, press the red hooter button once, raise the I Flag and note the sail number.  If they go back below the start line and restart, OK, but if not, they should be dsq from that race. (It’s pretty rare!)

Check your stopwatch at the start signal (or run the start exactly on the hour).  Most first-timers forget to start the watch, which is why it’s a good idea to start on the hour.

Turn off the hooter (or it will carry on counting) and motor back to the jetty.  Tie up Dabchick on the pontoon and run the finish from the jetty.


Write down the sail numbers as the come round on each lap.  Aim for a race for the slowest sailor of 50 – 60 minutes.  Best to let the fast fleet do one more lap than the slow fleet. If in doubt, 3 laps/2 laps in most wind conditions.

THE FINISH (see detailed notes)

Well before the leader gets to Buoy 6 (and at least 100 metres from the finish). fast or slow fleet, doesn’t matter, raise the S Flag and give 2 hoots.

As sailors cross the finish line, note their sail number and elapsed time in minutes & seconds.  Give them a toot on the hooter to let them know they have finished.  (An assistant is very useful at this stage!)

Run the second race after a break of 30 minutes for the last sailor.

Give the results sheets to the Sailing Secretary.

[Home] [Join & Renew] [Directions and map] [Club Rules] [Safety Policy] [Data Protection] [Discounts] [A short history] [Learning to Sail] [Club boats] [Dinghy storage] [Social] [Racing] [Race Officers] [Do Race Officer?] [Set a Course] [Set a start line] [Flags] [Run the Finish] [The Pontoon] [Open Regattas] [Inter Club] [Mudeford Week] [Results] [For Sale]