Racing is a great way to improve your sailing and is also very sociable!
At Marconi we hold a range of racing, from cruiser racing in river and offshore to dinghy racing on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.
Wednesday Evening Racing
If you’re starting out then the Wednesday evening pursuit races are a perfect place to start. The format is simple and you simply push off from the shore at your designated time. The idea is the slowest boats go first and the faster you are the later you go, whoever is in front at the end of the timeframe wins. Pursuit ranges are great for beginners because there is usually always someone in front to follow, you can also copy and learn from other sailors around you.
There are also weekend pursuit races available in the sailing calendar, do have a look and identify the dates.
On Sundays there is typically two races per day, they start from the race box and start line which is around 250m East of the club hard. The first race starts at around 11am and the second around 2pm.
Dinghies typically start inside the moorings and catamarans outside. If you look from the race box you will notice two yellow marks which are permanently in place during the sailing season. The first mark is D, the dinghies start inside this, the next mark is G, the catamarans start between D and G.
If you were to draw an imaginary line from the top of the race box across the river that would be your start and finish line providing you go in between the correct marks/buoys. The race officer sets a course for each fleet to follow and an amount of laps, that’s displayed in race reception where you also have to sign on and off before and after the race.
The start process is based on a 5min, 4min, 1min, go system. Your class flag will go up at 5mins, the prep flag will go up at 4mins, the prep flag comes down at 1min then your class flag drops at the go. It’s worth popping up to the race box to watch the start process before going out and trying it, that way you’ll be able to get information on how it all works before hitting the water.
During Sunday racing the sailors and boats are split into fleets which tends to be by the type of boat or your age/ability. For example we have a Cadet series for our members who are under 18.
Other Racing Formats
Throughout the main sailing season (March to October) there are a range of different races, everything from a ladies series, an over 40’s race, long distance and pursuits series. These are designed to split up the normal points series and most of the races have individual prizes/trophies.
If you are interested in trying racing then do speak to others, there are always plenty of people around who can help provide the support and information you need to get you onto the water. If you are really new then why not crew for someone who already races, this is a fantastic way to learn the basics.
Most importantly, don’t worry, if you do something wrong it doesn’t matter – we as a club are keen to see more people on the water having fun, learning and racing.