Autumn Racing Series – Return to Race Box Starts


Autumn Racing Series – Return to Race Box Starts

Following the careful re-introduction of Sunday racing using the Pursuit Race format – we have been able to trial key shore based and support boat arrangements to enable a return to racing. Pursuit Races have many positives but it is difficult for ROs to identify places for all competitors (which is important for a series held over a number of races) and some fleets have been precluded from racing because it is difficult for them to start from the hard.

Therefore, we propose to move to racing using Race Box starts for the Autumn Series and the Last Fling Race.  We will pilot this on Sunday 6th September and evaluate with regards to the rest of the Series.

Members who do not wish to race, but would like to sail when there is Support Boat cover available, are very welcome to go afloat whilst racing is taking place on Sunday mornings. We would just ask that you avoid the hard and avoid launching/recovery when the racing fleets are setting off and coming ashore. This will minimise congestion on the hard and assist with social distancing.

Autumn Series – Racing Arrangements

The Race Box will be used for starting in the normal manner.

It is proposed to run two races back to back for each fleet – rather than come ashore in between races.

There will be three starts – Fast/Medium Cats, Sprint 15s and Handicap. As previously, separate courses will be set and results recorded for Solos, Handicap, Short Course, Sprint 15s, Medium Cats and Fast Cats.  (This is the same as our usual Sunday racing arrangements).

Competitors do not need to complete a sign on/sign off sheet. Instead, you should verbally advise the Assistant Race Officer of your intention to race and this will be noted. You must also advise the PY of your boat so that handicap results can be calculated.   The ARO will make a note of racing boats as they come ashore to sign them off.

To avoid delays between the back to back races – Race Officers will likely set shorter courses with Average Laps.   Check as you cross the line at the end of each lap to see if your race has finished!

Long line starts & finishes will apply to all fleets – (as A mark has not been laid) – namely:

Start – transit between the pole behind the race box and the mete on the foreshore.  Competitors must start between “D” as the inner distance mark and “G” as the outer distance mark.

Finish – transit between the pole behind the race box and “G” mark.   Competitors must finish between “D” as the inner distance mark and “G” as the outer distance mark.

We will retain the previous start sequence of 5,4,1 with the following start times for race 1:

  • 11:00am – Medium Cats and Fast Cats
  • 11:08am  – Sprint 15s
  • 11:16am – Handicap, Solo, Short Course

Note:  to avoid low tide congestion on hard, racing on 6th and 20th September will start at 11:30am. 

Race 2 will follow the same sequence – to be started as soon as possible after race one has finished.

The computer operated start sequence will be used – including lights and flags in line with previous operation.

What you need to bring with you

  • A copy of these notes
  • Pens and paper to note down info, courses etc
  • Your PY number to advise the ARO when you verbally sign on
  • Your own boat/craft and sailing kit – club boats, equipment and kit are not available for use
  • A changing robe or similar to get changed into/out of your kit – changing rooms are closed

On the day

The Race Officers and Support Boat crews will review conditions and determine whether sailing will go ahead.  The decision of the Support Boat Crews, RO and ARO will be final in this regard.  They will also decide the sailing area and the race courses for each fleet.

This information will be posted on the Information Whiteboard near the entrance to the hard.

For the safety of our volunteers, members must not approach the Race Officers / Support Boat Crews with questions – please check the Information board or these notes.

Subject to conditions, it is planned that Support Boats will be on the water around 15 minutes before the first race start and will come ashore when the final competitor finishes race 2.

It is strongly recommended that members who are not racing still sail within the specified sailing area and times where the support boats will be operating.

If you are not racing – please try to launch/recover before or after the start sequence to minimise congestion and also try to avoid racing boats / marks.

An Orange flag will be flown from club mast when the Support Boats launch.  It will lower to half mast 15 minutes before the Support Boats come off the water and will be lowered when they come ashore.

Help us keep the Hard – and You – Safe

Please DO NOT bring your boat onto the hard until you are dressed for sailing and ready to rig up and launch straightaway. Until that point, your boat must be left in the dinghy/cat park. You must also not bring your boat onto the hard if it is already congested. Please do not rig near the hosepipes on the hard as someone coming ashore may wish to use them.

If you plan to return to shore and the hard is busy – you MUST sail away again and return later on when the hard is clearer. You may also be asked by a Support Boat to delay your return to the hard if it is congested.

Please do not crowd the hose pipe area of the hard. Whilst waiting for the hose, use the full range of the hard to temporarily park your boat. A little extra patience will be required for space to safely approach the hose pipe area with your boat. As soon as you have washed down your boat, please take it round to the dinghy or cat park to make room for others.

Please give the RIB crews plenty of space to take the RIBs on and off the hard and for launching and recovery.

Members are responsible for maintaining social distancing at all times and ensuring there are not gatherings of more than six people from different households on shore.

On the Water

All sailors must ensure:

  • They have checked the forecast and the conditions on the day
  • That they only go out in conditions well within their experience and capabilities – even if the support boats are on the water. If in any doubt, do not go
  • Their boats are seaworthy, safe and fit for the conditions – particularly if their boat has not been sailed for some time
  • They carry aids for self-rescue such as a paddle, tow rope, some basic spares/tools for on the water repairs and carrying a phone or VHF radio
  • They have told someone on shore when they are setting off, where they intend to sail and when they intend to return

Proposed Autumn Series Dates and Times

Date Tide Ht. Tide Ht. Event First Start
Sun 6th Sep 3.49 5.1 16 5.2 Autumn Points 1 & 2 11:30am
Sun 13th Sep 9.22 3.9 22.06 4.2 Autumn Points 3 & 4 11:00am
Sun 20th Sep 3.22 6.3 15.4 6.4 Autumn Points 5 & 6 11:30am
Sun 27th Sep 9.58 3.9 22.43 4.1 Autumn Points 7 & 8 11:00am
Sun 4th Oct 2.47 5.3 14.58 5.3 Autumn Points 9 & 10 11:00am
Sun 11th Oct 7.28 3.9 20.19 4.0 Autumn Points 11 & 12 11:00am
Sun 18th Oct 2.15 6.3 14.34 6.5 Autumn Points 13 & 14 11:00am
Sun 25th Oct 7.09 3.8 20.03 3.9 Last Fling (one race only) 11:00am


Things all sailors need to know

  • By necessity, things will be quite different to normal Sunday sailing/racing so please ensure you have read all the notes above and are prepared for the additional actions you need to take
  • Only paid up members may visit Marconi – no non-member guests are permitted at any time
  • The clubhouse lounge, bar and galley will be closed – as will most other ancillary buildings
  • The changing rooms and showers will also be closed. Please plan to arrive in your sailing kit or change by your car. But you must be discreet for both decency and safeguarding purposes – a changing robe or similar is recommended
  • The toilets will be open but with reduced capacity and members must ensure they maintain 2m distance at all times, use the sanitiser spray provided and wash their hands thoroughly. You must not use the toilets for changing
  • Shore side – all members must maintain 2m distance at all times and ensuring no more than 6 people from different households gather together
  • Certain activities that would normally result in groupings of people eg. rigging in the boat park, signing on/off, launching and recovery need to be managed differently to normal. Please read the notes above carefully so you know what is expected and remain vigilant on the day
  • Club boats (including kayaks & paddleboards) and other equipment such as sailing kit will not be available for use
  • Providing assistance on the water presents Covid-19 related risk to the support boat crew and the person(s) they are assisting. Arrangements are, therefore, heavily focused on mitigating against this scenario arising in the first place. This may include a member or members being requested not to go on the water
  • If you or any member of your household have suspected Covid-19 symptoms – you MUST stay at home in line with government regulations and you must not visit the club during the self-isolation period. 

Sailing Sub Committee
26th August 2020


About Author

Andrew is Marconi Sailing Clubs webmaster. He sails a Tornado Sport Catamaran and Sprint 15.

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