Sailing Instructions and Amendments

Si Amendments

Amendments to the Sailing Instructions will be listed here in chronological order, with date of issue. An amendment will remain in force until withdrawn by a subsequent amendment. The amendments should be read in conjunction with the Sailing Instructions below, whose wording will not be changed once formally issued. 

FYC Sailing Instructions for Club Racing - 2022

The organising body is Fisherrow Yacht Club in conjunction with RYA Scotland.

1 Rules

Racing will be governed by rules as defined in the Racing Rules of Sailing.

2 Responsibilities

2.1 Rule 3 of the Racing Rules of Sailing states: "The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone."

2.2 Sailing is by its nature an unpredictable sport and therefore inherently involves an element of risk. By taking part in the event, each competitor agrees and acknowledges that:

(a) They are aware of the inherent element of risk involved in the sport and accept responsibility for the exposure of themselves, their crew and their boat to such inherent risk whilst taking part in the event;
(b) They are responsible for the safety of themselves, their crew, their boat and their other property whether afloat or ashore;
(c) They accept responsibility for any injury, damage or loss to the extent caused by their own actions or omissions;
(d) The boat they are sailing is in good order, equipped to sail in the event and they are fit to participate;
(e) The provision of a race management team, patrol boats and other officials and volunteers by the event organiser does not relieve them of their own responsibilities;
The provision of patrol boat cover is limited to such assistance, particularly in extreme weather conditions, as can be practically provided in the circumstances.

3 Insurance

Owners/skippers are required to carry insurance cover for third party and public liability of a least £3,000,000, which must include third party racing risks.

4 Safety

4.1 Personal Buoyancy and Clothing

Dinghy sailors shall wear an appropriate buoyancy aid – wetsuits alone do not constitute adequate personal buoyancy. It is recommended that yacht sailors also wear a suitable life jacket or buoyancy aid.

4.2 Safety Equipment

All yachts shall conform to the requirements of FYCA Category 4R and the RRS.

4.3 Safety Boat

Dinghies belonging to the Club shall not leave the harbour/beach until a safety boat is on station. They shall return to the harbour/beach when directed to do so or if the safety boat is no longer in attendance for any reason. Other boats that are on the water without a safety boat in attendance do so entirely at their own risk and are advised to remain close to the harbour/beach.

4.4 VHF Communications

Boats equipped with a VHF shall maintain a watch on CH8 for communication with the Race Officer and are advised also to maintain a watch on CH16 for communication with the Coastguard.

5 General

5.1 Courses

The courses are as described in the Courses section of the FYC website. The course shall be communicated to competitors from the Safety Boat.

5.2 Schedule of Races

The schedule of races is as described in the Sailing Calendar section of the FYC website.

5.3 Class Flags

The Yacht class flag is Pennant 1. The Dinghy class flag is code flag W.

5.4 Start and Finish Line

(a) The start lines for both yachts and dinghies shall comprise two marks laid for the purpose.

(b) The finish line will normally be the same as the start line, but could also be between a mark of the course and the committee boat flying the S flag.

5.5 Start Sequence

(a) The class flag for yachts shall be raised 5 minutes before the start.

(b) The class flag for dinghies shall be raised 3 minutes before the start.

5.6 Late Starting

A boat arriving late in the vicinity of the starting line may be propelled by means other than sails after her Prepare Signal provided that, after stopping her means of propulsion, she carries out a 720-degree turn penalty under sail on the pre-start side of the starting line.This applies to boats under tow, under engine power and those pumping, sculling or paddling. Such a boat shall have no rights over, and must keep clear of, all other boats until the required turns are completed.

5.7 Sternchases

5.7.1 Each boat will be allocated a setting off time (a count-down in minutes) based on its handicap and the length of the race. This setting off time is the duration in minutes of that boat’s race, not a clock time. Boats’ setting off times, rounded to the nearest minute, will be displayed in the Clubhouse and distributed electronically (e.g. email and web).

5.7.2 The class flag shall be raised at least 5 minutes before the setting off time of the slowest boat. As each subsequent minute passes, the Race Officer will communicate the progression of time to competitors on the water by a display or verbally (hailing or VHF), with a sound signal every minute. The class flag will remain flying until the start time of all boats has passed.

5.7.3 A boat may start as soon as the displayed time reaches its allocated setting off time.

5.7.4 If a boat is OCS a recall signal will be displayed for five minutes or until another boat's start time occurs.

5.7.5 The race will finish after the allotted time has elapsed, taken from the first start signal. There will not be a finish line. Race positions are determined by the positions of boats on the water at this time.

5.7.6 Each boat should keep track of time and note its position at the finish time, shortly before the finish, boats should converge, e.g. head towards the rhumb line (the line between their last mark and their next mark).

5.7.7 The Race Officer’s decision will be final.

5.8 Time Limits

Races have no predefined time limits or extensions and the Race Officer may abandon any race.

6 Race Officers and Safety Boat Drivers

6.1 Selection

Race and Safety Boat Drivers and crew will be drawn from the ranks of members willing and able to assist. All those racing and funsailing will be deemed to have volunteered for such duty in the current year and the subsequent year, unless compelling circumstances prevent this. All Race Officers should familiarise themselves with the procedure and equipment in advance.

6.2 Exchanging Duties

A Race/Safety Boat Driver who cannot fulfil a duty must make arrangements to exchange with another member and report the change to the Sailing Secretary or another member of the Sailing Committee.

6.3 Absence

A Race/Safety Officer, who does not turn up for duty without making adequate alternative arrangements, may be disqualified from the series of races concerned.

7 Fleets:

While all dinghies will still start together and compete against each other, each dinghy helm will also be allocated to a fleet by the Sailing Committee and prizes will be awarded in each series, the regatta and overall for the season within each fleet.

  • Longhorns

    • Those sailors often on the podium, who have previously won a series or regatta race

  • Silverhorns

  • Greenhorns

    • Sailors in their first 2 years of learning or first season of racing

Greenhorns may not be protested unless there is reason to believe the novice knowingly infringed upon a rule. The fleet to which a helm is assigned may be reassigned mid-season at the discretion of the Sailing Committee.

8 Scoring

8.1 Average Laps

(a) All races will use average laps (though in some cases there will only be one lap). When a boat crosses the finish line and there is no S flag displayed, it shall do another lap. If the S flag is raised, a boat finishes its race as it crosses the line. If more than one class is racing, but not all classes are being stopped, the class flag(s) will be displayed along with the S flag. Once the S flag has been raised for a class, all boats in that class subsequently crossing the line at the end of a lap will be deemed to have finished.

(b) Average lap races shall be scored by dividing the elapsed time by the number of laps.

(c) If the wind dies or other factors affect the latter part of a race, the Race Officer may rewind the race back to a previous lap if this achieves a fairer result. They will choose a time, e.g. between two boats crossing the line, at which the S flag would best have been raised.

8.2 Handicaps

(a) Yacht racing will be run using handicaps allocated by the FYCA Committee and published on the FYCA website.

(b) Dinghies will use the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme, but if there are sufficient numbers class starts will be used.

(c) The Sailing Committee may allocate and revise handicaps for boats that do not have an allocated FYCA or PY handicap or are deemed to have an inappropriate handicap..

8.3 Discards

Discards will be allowed in each series as follows:

Discards = (Number of starts - 3) / 2 (rounded up)

For example:

   Number of starts in series   1-3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10-11
  Number of discards 0 1 2 3 4


8.4 Finishing Points

(a) The RRS Appendix A Low Point Scoring System will apply.

(b) Points will be awarded in a series to those performing official race officer and safety boat duties. This will be the average of their points earned in the other races they have sailed in that series, but if there are no finishers in the race, average points will not be awarded.

8.5 Sailing in Different Boats

When a competitor sails in different boats in a dinghy series, the series points will be calculated as if the competitor had sailed one boat throughout the series.

8.6 Club Championship Prizes

The Sailing Committee will award prizes for a club championship competed for over the course of a whole season. High point scoring will be used in which points are awarded according to the following formulae

Nr = number of boats starting the race
Pr = finishing position in the race
Nf = number of boats starting the race in a particular dinghy fleet
Pf = finishing position within a dinghy fleet


Points_race = Nr - Pr +1
Points_fleet = 2 x (Nf - Pf) +1
Dinghy_points_championship = Points_race + Points_fleet


Points_yacht = 2 x (Nr-Pr) + 1

Race Officer points = Nr the number of boats finishing the race

DNF, RTD, RAF and DSQ will score 1 point.

Race weighting

To compensate for days on which there is a single race scheduled, for example a sternchase, points for competitors, race officers etc. will be multiplied by a factor 2 for yachts and 3 for dinghies. This will not apply if the number of races sailed is reduced due to conditions.

9 Schedule of Races

9.1 Calendar

The schedule of races will be as published on the web.

9.2 Additional Back to Back Races

Apart from when a sternchase is scheduled we would normally run 3 races for the dinghies on each race day. This number can be reduced at the discretion of the Race Officer.

10 Rules Disputes

10.1 Exoneration Penalty

(a) A boat that may have broken a rule of Part 2, or rule 31 or 42, may, after finishing the race concerned and before the start of a related protest hearing, notify the race committee that she accepts a 20% scoring penalty as stated in rule 44.3(c), (except that the minimum penalty is two places if that does not result in a score worse than DNF). This penalty does not reverse an OCS score or a disqualification under rule 30.3. It is not available for a breach of rule 2 or of class rules or for gross misconduct under rule 69. Nor is it available to a boat that caused injury or serious damage, or gained a significant advantage by her breach: in these circumstances, her penalty is to retire.

(b) When an Exoneration Penalty is accepted:

(i) Neither the boat nor a protest committee may then revoke or remove the penalty.

(ii) The boat shall not be penalized further in a protest hearing when the protest committee decides that it was appropriate to the facts found and the applicable rules.

10.2 Advisory Hearing

When there is an incident that will not result in the lodging of a protest or a request for redress, a boat, protest committee or race committee may request an advisory hearing with the race office, and notify any boat involved in the incident. An adviser will then call a hearing to learn what may have happened and will state whether any rule appears to have been broken, and by which boat. A boat may as a result notify the race office that she accepts an Exoneration Penalty when it applies to the incident, or choose to retire.

10.3 RYA Arbitration

(a) When a protest or request for redress is lodged, a boat may at the same time request RYA Arbitration, or the protest committee or race committee may offer it.

(b) If the parties and a member of the protest or race committee agree that RYA Arbitration is suitable, an arbitrator (who may be that member of the protest committee) will call a hearing conforming to Section B of Part 5 of the Racing Rules of Sailing, except that rule 64.1(a) will not apply. Instead, when the arbitrator decides that a boat that is a party to the arbitration hearing has broken a rule for which the Exoneration Penalty is available, the party will be invited to accept that penalty, and, if it is accepted by a protested boat, the protesting boat will be allowed to withdraw the protest, changing rule 63.1.

(c) When there is not an agreement to use RYA Arbitration, or when, after RYA Arbitration, a protest is not withdrawn or the Exoneration Penalty is not applicable to the facts, there will be a normal protest hearing, at which the arbitrator may be a member of the protest committee. Rules 66 and 70 (reopening and appeal, respectively) do not apply to the arbitration decision since this is not a protest committee decision or procedure. A boat may still accept an Exoneration Penalty at any time before the start of a protest hearing and receive its protection from further penalization. She may also retire.

(d) When redress is offered and accepted by boats at the RYA Arbitration, all parties, the protest committee or race committee may seek to have this reviewed by asking for a full hearing. When redress is offered and not accepted, or not offered at all, all parties may ask for the request to be heard before a protest committee