Bournville Yacht Racing

   Radio Control and Free Sailing yacht Racing

                           A part of the Bournville Radio Sailing and Model Boat Club

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Racing score sheets can be downloaded from the Download area on the home page

A Race Officers Brief….

This  covers club events only - for district, ranking and national events the RO MUST refer to the MYA Knowledge base for the correct and up to date process



1.  Decide on the format of the course; e.g. triangle and sausage, windward and leeward.

2.  Ideally mark rounding should be consistently in one direction.

3.  Port rounding is preferable at the windward mark.

4.  The first leg of the course should be a long beat to windward if at all possible

5.  When a windward/leeward course is used, set an offset mark about 8 boat lengths to port of the windward mark.

The single leeward mark is replaced by a gate about 9 - 10 boat lengths wide.

6.  Do not lay marks so far away that sail numbers cannot be read.

7.  Do not lay marks in areas of disturbed wind or too close to the bank.

8. The windward mark must have a starboard tack lay line.

9. Set start line; about 5 degrees of port bias i.e. at about 85 degrees to the wind, to encourage boats to spread along the line, and 1.5 times the sum of the lengths of the boats in the largest heat/race. If in doubt about how long to make the line err towards longer rather than shorter to minimize start line ‘incidents’. The start line should be adjusted to encourage boats to spread along the line if it becomes obvious that one end is favoured.

Start lines that are too short or badly biased will result in too many contacts and general recalls.

10. Set finish line; about 6 -10 boat lengths long and at right angles to the direction from the last mark. To encourage good tactical racing at the finish, don’t set the finish line too long. A beat to the finish line is normally preferred.

11. As a guide line the course and/or the start/finish lines should be adjusted if boats can lay the windward mark without any need to tack, if the course becomes a ‘reach’ all the way round or if a permanent wind shift results in there being only one lay line at the windward mark.


Record all the entrants on the score sheet (and the HMS spreadsheet if being used) & collect entry fee!

Ensure there are no sail number conflicts – request the addition of a “1” in front of the sail number to overcome the conflicts – this makes life much easier for the scorer and observers


This is a very important part of the race officer’s duties and sets the tone for the racing. The

briefing should be given in a businesslike but friendly manner

1. Announce the briefing with a sound signal.

2. Give a friendly and encouraging few words of welcome. –

Introduce yourself and the other key officials.

Remind the skippers :

 this is a public park and to respect the members of the public using the park facilities

 It’s a non contact sport

 we rarely have observers (even if we do) self police – you know when you have made an error – let the effected skipper(s) know take the penalty and tell them when you have completed the penalty

3. If due to number of entrants we need to use fleets explain the process to the skippers

4. Identify the control area and any prohibited areas.

5. Explain race and lunch break timings if relevant

6. Identify and explain any deviation from the SSI’s

7. Explain the system of observing to be used. Ensure observers of any contact or infringement make sure the appropriate penalty is taken.

8. Identify the course, the marks of the course and the route the race will take.

9. If due to the number of entrants we need to split into fleets explain that it is the responsibility of each sailor to consult the heat board to ensure that they sail the correct heat and that they are on the water in good time.

10. Explain that protests will be heard if necessary and where they will be heard.


1. Ensure that any line judges and observers are in position.

2. Sound signal (whistle) and call ‘Boats on the water’ and the sail numbers involved when sailing in heats.

3. Check that the correct boats are on the water.

4. After an appropriate interval and when all boats are within reach of the start line - start the count down.

5. sight the start line in the final few seconds of the countdown, the RO/line judge will recall any boats that are on the course side of the start line (OCS) at the start. Boats that are even only slightly over the line at the start must be recalled by promptly and loudly twice hailing, “Recall (sail numbers)”. Repeating the hail as necessary - RRS E3.5. If a sail number can’t be identified, use other identifying features such as hull colour.

The line judge should remain in place to be able to judge this because competitors may not be in a position to do so themselves. It is good practice to help them by hailing, ‘Clear - sail number”.

If there are so many boats OCS that they can’t be individually identified and recalled, twice hail, “General recall” and make two loud sound signals (whistle or air horn).

 A general recall means that the race is abandoned and another start initiated from the preparatory (one minute) signal, as soon as all the boats are back behind the line.

6. Observe during racing as necessary.

7. At the finish of the first boat, sound signal (air horn or whistle) so that the other competitors have a time reference, call loudly and clearly the sail number and log the time.  

Finishing positions shall be recorded by the scorer. Record the sail number of each boat each time it crosses the finish line. It is necessary to do this because a boat may have to complete an exonerating penalty turn before re-crossing the finish line a second or even third time. The last time a boat crosses the finish line is likely to be the correct one. If there are 4 boats or fewer still racing 5 minutes after the finishing time of the first boat, immediately record their places on the water as if they had finished at that point. If there are more than 4 boats still racing, the time out limit is extended until only 4 boats remain on the water still racing. At that point record their places on the water.

8. It is the race officer’s responsibility to make any decisions regarding course changes. RRS 32.1(e) allows a race to be abandoned if the course is judged to be unfair - for example if the leading boat can lay the first windward) mark without any need to tack. If this decision is made the start line, windward mark or course to be sailed should be changed before restarting the race. Abandonment of a race in these circumstances would be unusual and because of the number of heats and races likely in a day it may be considered preferable to complete the heat or race in question and make the necessary course changes before the next race.

9. Other reasons to consider a course change are;

a) a large number of general recalls at the start indicating a heavily biased start line.

b) boats crowding to one end of the start line, also indicating a heavily biased start line.

c) No starboard tack lay line to the windward mark.

d) A permanent wind shift that places the windward mark in very little or no wind, causing boats to pile up as they approach it.