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Home / Duties / Race Officer FAQ's
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Home / Duties / Race Officer FAQ's

Race Officer FAQ's

Is there a handy guide for Race Officers?

The Race Officers Day Book is in the bridge office (top right shelf as you face the window) and has the sailing instructions, information on the Autohoot, flags, course cards, and other useful information

When should I arrive at the club?

About 90 minutes beforehand the time stated in the duty roster allows for this.

How do I know who else is on duty with me?

The easiest way currently is to log on to the members' area of the club and look at the duty roster. It can be helpful to contact your team a day or two in advance to confirm.

How do I know who has entered the race?

Competitors enter via and the system will e-mail the race officer 60 minutes and 20 minutes before the race starts with the list of entries.

In the period before the start of the race, check off the listed entries against boats on the water, so you have an accurate final list of starters - some competitors may choose not to participate at the last minute.

How can I get a hard copy of the entry list?

You can print the entry list off from your phone wirelessly at the printer in the bridge office. Or you can log on to the computer in the bridge office and access the computer password is in the Race Office Day Book. (esc)

What if a competitor tells me they've forgotten to sign on?

Ask them to sign on at the iPad in the wet bar.

How do I use the Autohoot?

A handy instruction sheet is in the Race Officer day book. The key to the autohoot and radio is in the bridge office (and goes into the hidden socket inside the console by the flag pole). It is a good idea to test the system well before the start so you know how it works!.

Please put the key back where you found it after your duty.

How do I use the lights?

The light pole fits into the bracket on the corner of the bridge and the cable connects into the nearby hooter box. When turned on at the control unit, the lights are controlled automatically by Autohoot. If you need to re-run the start sequence it is best to "reset" the lights by turning them off and on again.

Where do I find the flags?

Flags (for bridge race-officer duties) are in a crate in the bridge office, and a flag sequence guide is in the Day Book.

Please put flags back in the correct pigeonhole in the crate after your duty.


Check the weather forecast to help in your decision-making. Cambermet and Chimet give current conditions.

Do you have any advice on choosing the course?

Pick a course suitable for the wind direction, strength and recommended race duration, which is event-dependent and stated in the club programme. (The guide is for a mid-speed boat e.g. 2000)

It is a good idea to check with the competitors for any preferences, and any specific considerations for example to avoid seaweed-prone areas, or if racing marks are missing. If there is a very large number of entrants, a southerly start may be recommended.

If conditions are variable, you could pick a shorter course and set 2 laps, e.g. L2 or a course such as H then A, which would make shortening course easy if the wind drops.

If you are running two races, check that mark roundings and direction across the finish line are consistent.

Can I set a special course (not on the standard course card)?

While it is usually most convenient to use a standard course, a special course can be set if needed. Fly code flag L if you intend to do this and consult the sailing instructions, and communicate the special course to Slipper.

How do I display the course?

The course is displayed via letter boards which are placed in the rack on the corner of the bridge, or if it is a special course, via the noticeboard on the terrace.

What if I want to cancel the race?

A decision to cancel will depend on the conditions, the forecast, number of entrants, type of race, patrol boat availability, etc. Talk with your team. The Race Officer can decide not to run a race if not happy to do so, and the race officers decision is final.

What should I cover when briefing the patrol boats?

Brief the patrol boats on your intended course so they can sort out how to cover the race area, on the number of competitors, and your plans if the conditions change.

We recommend you pick a "lead" patrol boat to assist you if needed in shortening course, communicating a general recall to competitors, etc. Ensure they have the relevant flags on board. (S, W, X, 1st Sub). Check they have a way to record boat finish times in the event of a shorten course.

Perform a radio check.

Remind the patrol boats that they are on duty until you stand them down, when all entrants have been accounted for.

What if I make a mistake in the start sequence?

If you make a mistake with timing the start sequence, then abandon the start (2 sound signals + Answering Pennant) and then re-run the sequence when you are ready. This is fairest for all.

Do you have any advice regarding General Recalls?

Have 1st Sub flag ready to fly as needed and proceed as quickly as practicable to a restart. You can use the "lead" patrol boat to also display 1st Sub flag and herd competitors back to the start area. Races starting later (if any) are delayed until the initial race starts successfully.

What if I need to shorten course?

The race can be shortened to finish either at a patrol boat or at the finish line (see sailing instructions for more details). Allow yourself enough time to communicate with the "lead" patrol boat so that it can be on station at a mark of the course in a timely manner and display the appropriate flag, and fly flag "S" at the club signal mast.

What do I record at the finish?

Record sail numbers and finish times, and give sound signals. If you can't see the sail numbers, capture any other details class, hull colour, spinnaker colour, partial numbers etc that will help identify the boat later. You may be able to identify numbers in the run up to the finish or shortly afterwards.

Once all entrants are accounted for, you can stand down the patrol boats.

What do I do with the race records?

Please leave the race record sheets in the bridge office, so the results can be calculated later. Please ensure you've recorded the race start time and indicated whether timings are clock time or elapsed time.

What do I do in the event of an emergency?

Talk to the patrol boat to establish the situation, any help that may be needed, and follow the clubs major incident plan which is displayed on the board in the bridge office.

The agreed emergency call from patrol boats at Chichester Harbour clubs is "Code Red". If the emergency is elsewhere, stay off the radio (unless you can help).

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