OOD Tips

The following are some tips for OODs (officers of the day) written from the pespective of dinghy races, but much of the following is also relevant to yacht races.

Take with You

  • Flags - class flag, P, S and X (ideally also AP and 1st sub.)
  • Pencil/paper or other means of recording times, remembering they may get wet
  • At least one (preferably two) digital watches, clocks or timers that show clock time
  • VHF set to Ch 8 (club communicatons) and dual watch on Ch 16 (coastguard)
  • All gear necessary for acting as safety boat

Setting the Course

  • Select a course shape, e.g. sausage or triangle. See Dinghy Courses.
  • Lay the upwind mark.
  • Lay the two startline marks so that they are perpendicular to the first leg and directly downwind of the upwind mark.
  • Having a red buoy for the port end of the start line and a green one for the starboard end is useful.
  • Lay additional marks as necessary.
  • Where possible, specify port rounding of the marks.
  • Do not specify any number of laps - we use average laps so that slow boats do not have to do the same number of laps as faster boats.
  • Communicate the course to the racing boats.


  • Give a couple of hoots to check the hooter is working and to warn the sailors that something is about to happen.
  • At 3 minutes, raise the class flag and sound the hooter.
  • At 2 minutes, raise the P flag and sound the hooter.
  • At 1 minute, lower the P flag and sound the hooter.
  • At 0 minutes, lower the class flag and sound the hooter - the race has now started.
  • If any boats are over the line raise the X flag and sound the hooter. Keep the X flag raised until all premature starters have started correctly. If they don't, lower it after 5 minutes.
  • If you can't tell which boats were over the line, do a general recall (probably unknown at Fishrrow)


  • You should aim for the race to finish after say 20-30 minutes
  • Raise the S flag (and keep it raised) and sound two hoots - all boats will now finish the next time they pass through the finish line
  • The best time to raise the S flag is just after the leading boat has rounded the final mark
  • When all boats have finished or retired, lower the S flag


  • Always use clock time, not elapsed time.
  • For each race, record the start time
  • For each boat, record the time they pass through the finish line on each lap. If the S flag is flying, mark an X after the time to confirm that this is their finish time.
  • If a boat retires before passing though the finish line with the S flag raised, they are scored Did Not Finish.

Further Information

If you're really lkeen, there is lots of information on the web and elsewhere e.g.