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Start Racing

For Start Racing Training

See bottom of the page.

When does racing take place?

Wednesday night racing                            Handicap Racing          2 starts for  Fast and Slow        7pm start time

Sunday                                                          Fleet racing and Handicap racing for the first 2 races

Personal Handicap is the 3rd race in the summer

Bank Holidays and some Sundays         Handicap or pursuit racing.

See calendar for details of the fleets and the start times Bowmoor Racing Program 2014-2015

Fast handicap is for boats with a PN less than 1111.


We will always have a rescue boat on duty for any organised racing. Their priority is to rescue people in trouble and if they have time they will help you to recover your boat. However you should be capable of righting your own boat in normal circumstances. It is your decision as to whether it is safe for you to race.

How good a sailor do I need to be?

You should be able to sail a triangular course.Racing is by far the quickest way to improve your sailing skills and we all started off with a lot to learn and are still learning.

How do I let people know that I am new to racing?

There is red plastic tape that should be flown from the top of your mast or the end of your boom to say to people “please be nice to me I am new to racing.”


It is very useful to have a watch and something to write the course on.

What boat can I use?

You can use any mono hull which does not have a double trapeze.

Before racing

Write your name, boat class ie Laser, Solo, oppy and your sail number on the sheets under the race hut.

The start line is between the gold pole and the orange S outer distance mark sometimes limited by an Inner distance mark

The course is shown on the lake side of the race hut. Colour of the number shows which side you should leave the mark. Red numbers should be left to Port (Port wine is red) and green numbers should be left to Starboard. Write the course down and work out where you should go

Marks go clockwise round the lake, marked 1 to 12, odd ones are yellow and even marks are red. 1 just past the training boats Can also  use moveable marks ie X, Y, Z.

10 laps is the standard number of laps at Bowmoor but the course will normally be shortened before you have sailed this far. Sail until shorten the course flag a blue square surrounded by white  which will be accompanied by 2 sound signals

Shorten Course

Starting procedure

Hoots and flags are at 3 min intervals. Flags are the official signals the hoot is to draw attention to the flag.


6 min
before the start
Warning signal 1 hoot and Handicap flag up Handicap Flag
3 min
before the start
Preparatory signal 1 hoot and preparatory flag up
Racing rules apply and if you infringe them you must take a penalty
Preparatory Signal
0 min Handicap start 1 hoot and Handicap flag down Handicap Start
3 min
after Handicap start
Laser start 1 hoot Laser flag down Laser Start
6 min
after Handicap start
Solo start 1 hoot Solo flag down Solo Start
9 min
after Handicap start
Oppy start 1 hoot Oppy flag down. Optimist Start

If any part of a few boats are over the line then a single hoot, and flag X is flown (Blue cross on white background).

Shorten Course

Boats that are over the start line must get the whole of their boat to the non course side of the line and start again. They must keep clear of all other boats that have started. It is your responsibility to know if you are over the line. When everyone has returned then the X flag will be lowered.


If a lot of boats are over then two sound signals and the general recall flag ( 1st Substitute) yellow triangle on blue triangle will be flown.

Shorten Course


The whole fleet to return and restart at the end of the start sequence. Not likely in club racing.


Where to start?

In theory the best place to start is at the end of the line from which the wind is blowing. However that is where everyone wants to start so if there are more than one or two people starting then if you are in experienced don’t start there. Aim to start in the middle or towards the correct end on Starboard tack. Look for some space.


Basic Sailing Rules

Do not collide.


Port tack boat gives way to Starboard tack boat.

You are on Port when the wind is coming from the Port side. Ie sitting on the port side.


Windward Boat gives way to leeward boat.

Windward boat is the boat closest to the wind.


While tacking you have no rights and must keep clear of other boats.


Inside boat. The boat closest to the mark 3 boat lengths from the mark is allowed to round the mark on the inside. Except for a windward mark where Port and Starboard applies as if the mark was not there. Inside boat does count if on the same tack.



If you hit a mark of the course then do a 360 turn. As soon as possible sail clear of the other boats. 1 tack and 1 Gybe.


If you cause a right of way boat to alter course.  2 turns inc 2 tacks and two gybes.



Almost all Bowmoor finishes are when the course is shortened. Two hoots when the lead boat goes round the last mark and the S flag is flown (blue square on white background).

Shorten Course


Having rounded the last mark you should head for the closest of the odm or idm bearing in mind the wind direction. Often it will be the opposite end to the favoured end when starting. All ways you must cross the line from the direction of the last mark.


How do I find out where I have finished

The results are posted on the website and in the club room.


Any Questions

Please do not hesitate to ask anyone in sailing gear any questions you may have. Lunch time on a Sunday and after racing on a Wednesday evening ( when meals are served) is an excellent time to discuss the race with your fellow competitors.