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Dinghy sailing and racing in Christchurch Harbour

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

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Normally, the “fast” fleet will do 3 laps of your course and the “slow” fleet will do 2.  Keep track of the sailors throughout the race (ticking them off on each lap is the ideal way).

When the leader is about 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.


This really needs 2 people. The principles are the same as for a Club event, whether the fleet is 15 or 150.


Try to have the finish on a reach, with you at the downwind side, so that the boats almost always come past in a nice orderly line, with the sail number easily visible.  The most difficult finishes are at the end of a beat or a run, when boats come in at all angles, you can’t read their sail numbers and there are all sorts of rules problems to be aware of. Definitely something to avoid!

The rules state that a boat has finished when the first part of it (usually the bow) crosses the line.  The boat must then cross the line completely.  If it incurs any penalties while attempting to finish, these must be completed before it can recross the line to finish.


Unless it’s a small fleet, don’t try to record times onto the signing-on sheet.  Use a separate sheet with the watch on your non-writing wrist or clipped to your millboard.

One-design fleets (like the Comets or Oppies) don’t need times.

When working with someone else, one of you calls out the numbers and gives the hoots, while the other writes down the numbers and records the time, something like this:

Caller “Approaching…125679…135678…158401…”

Writer writes down the numbers IN THAT ORDER and makes the best guess at the minute they will finish.

Caller “finishing…125679…hoot…135678…hoot…158401…..hoot

Writer notes the exact seconds as the boats are hooted across the line – if their places changed in the last few seconds, just make sure that the seconds are allocated to the correct sail number.

This method of recording works perfectly until there is a bunch of boats all at once.  Keep calm – Don’t rush the writer by hurrying or he’ll miss numbers.  Better to get all the numbers down in the order they finished, and then catch up with the seconds during the inevitable gap.

You might find, the first time you try this, that like me you are slightly dyslexic with numbers: calling out 124801 instead of 128401, or writing down 542 instead of 524.  This is quite common and all you need to do is to be aware of it and carry out the occasional check.  The person doing the results will soon notice and will check with the signing-on sheets for the right number.


You do need to concentrate and keep calm while doing the finish.  You’ll get all sorts of comments, usually while you are in the middle of the busiest period!  Anything from criticisms of the course to declarations of protests, to the time of the next race, whether Rule 18 applies before or after the 3-boats length circle or the location of the Quiz Night the following evening.

Ignore them all.  If you don’t have time just say “later please”.  Do make a note of any Protests (just jot down the sail numbers) – everything else can wait.


You don’t need to do the results, but the formula for calculating the “correction” is: elapsed time in seconds divided by the PN, times 1000, rounded to the nearest whole number.

For a Radial that took 45 mins 27 secs, that would be: 45*60+27=/1101*1000 (answer is 2477)


It’s only a game…….

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