Scheduled Races Explained

Dinghy Racing at Portchester Sailing Club

Introduction

Dinghy racing at PSC is open to all and newcomers are particularly welcome. Whilst we have a variety of competitive racers, we’re a friendly bunch and are keen to help those who wish to join in with the fun. If you’re new to dinghy racing or Portchester SC, please let us know and we’ll assign you a “buddy”; somebody who knows the ropes and who will help you through your first season in the club.

Dinghy racing is based upon a boats handicap (RYA Portsmouth Number, as modified appropriately by Sailing Committee). Racing is sometimes divided into fast and slow fleets. Fast fleets are boats that rate as <1060 and the slow fleet has a yardstick of >1060. The RYA PY numbers can be found here.

Before setting out, please make sure that you sign on to race, even if you think you will just be “following round the course”. This means that those in charge will keep an eye out for you and will not release safety cover until you are safely ashore.

All race starts use the standard 5-4-1-GO sequence (in minutes). Advertised start times always relate to the actual start of the race, so the sequence will normally commence five minute prior to this.

Races are usually started and finished from one of the club start lines. The start and finish lines will be indicated when signing on to race, as will the course to be sailed. The Race Officer will be happy to help with anything that you don’t understand, so please ask. If a race is started from a different line this will be clearly advertised and will generally be within 10 minutes sail from the club slipway.

Where appropriate, races may employ a system of “average laps” to calculate the overall race times. This allows boats of very different speeds to compete whilst spending a similar time on the race course. When we use this system it will be indicated on the course board and in the event everybody starts together, races a number of laps of the same course and when the shortened course signal is made, everybody finishes at the end of the lap they are on. The computer does the rest.

Race results are normally available in the bar after sailing has finished and are posted on the club website within a few days (sooner if possible).

The club organises a variety of training and coaching sessions throughout the year that are designed to help you get more from your sailing. Please use these facilities to help your racing or approach any of the dinghy racers who are generally well placed to give help and advice.

Series Racing

Wednesday and Friday Summer Series

  • Start times – races start at 19:00.
  • Race format – racing is split into Fast and Slow fleets, but may also be run using the average lap system. The races usually last between 45 and 80 minutes depending on conditions. The course to be sailed depends on the state of tide but will comprise a number of different legs including beats, reaches and runs.

Saturday Summer Series

  • Start times – racing is scheduled on the top of the tide, so please check the fixture list (PSC Handbook or Website) for the start time.
  • Race format – racing is run as one fleet under the average lap system, lasting between 75 and 90 minutes. As the race will be at high tide, the course will be set to utilise the available space and normally utilises club marks that are in view of the Castle and Club.

August Series

  • Start times – racing is scheduled on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1900, and on Saturdays on the top of the tide (so check the fixtures list for the start times).
  • Race format – racing is run as one fleet under the average lap system, lasting between 45 and 90 minutes depending on the prevailing conditions.

Autumn Series

  • Start times – racing is scheduled on the few remaining Wednesdays and Fridays in September where light permits, so start slightly earlier at 1830. During September and early October, racing runs on Saturday and some Sundays on the top of the tide – check the fixtures list for the start times.
  • Race format – racing is run as one fleet under the average lap system, lasting between 45 and 90 minutes depending on the prevailing conditions.

Bank Holiday and Trophy Races

  • Start times – races scheduled over a weekend or a Bank Holiday Monday and run on the top of the tide, so please check the fixture list (PSC Handbook or Website) for the start time.
  • Race format – racing is usually run as one fleet under the average lap system, lasting between 75 and 90 minutes. As the race will be at high tide, the course will be set to utilise the available space and normally utilises club marks that are in view of the Castle and Club.

Windward/Leeward Series

  • Start times – races are scheduled on occasional Sundays and run on the top of the tide, so please check the fixture list (PSC Handbook or Website) for the start time. These races are additions to replace the very low tide evening races that have been dropped from the Calendar.
  • Race format – racing will be sailed as a simple “Sausage” format consisting of a beat and a run, racing as one fleet under the average lap system. Racing will last between 75 and 90 minutes consisting of one race or two shorter races and will be decided on the day. As racing will be at high tide, the course will be set to utilise the available space and normally utilises club marks that are in view of the Castle and Club. Racing may be started from a “Committee Boat” on the race course, in which case please leave 10 minutes extra to sail to the start area. Windward Leeward is now the most popular race format for open meetings and championships, therefore this is an opportunity to develop those skills or just have a go at racing.

Pursuit races

  • Start times – starts will be communicated before the event. Each boat sets off on at their “individual” start time based on the boats handicap.
  • Race format – in theory every boat equally sailed would finish at the same time on handicap, therefore the first boat to finish wins! Because the finish time is critical a moving finish line might be employed! This is a fun event for all to take part. The idea is catch the boat in front and cross the line in front of your competitors at the finish line. The course will be similar to other high-tide racing, but may be adapted for the strict purposes of this race, utilising the available space. Racing may be started from a “Committee Boat” on the race course, in which case please leave 10 minutes extra to sail to the start area.

Regatta weekends – (formally SuperCup)

  • Start times – Saturday and Sunday racing scheduled on the top of the tide, so please check the fixture list (PSC Handbook or Website) for the start times. These are special all-in weekends where we look to get as many boats on the water as possible.
  • Race format – two races are planned each day back-to-back (without coming ashore). Each race is planned to last between 45 and 60 minutes and is run as one fleet under the average lap system. As the races are at high tide, the course will be set to utilise the available space and normally utilises club marks that are in view of the Castle and Club, and there is a prize giving and social in the club each day after racing in the clubhouse.

Penguin weekend – Winter Regatta

  • Start times – a weekend of Saturday and Sunday racing held close to Christmas and scheduled on the top of the tide – please check the fixture list (PSC Handbook or Website) for the start times.
  • Race format – two races are planned each day back-to-back (without coming ashore). Each race is planned to last between 45 and 60 minutes and is run as one fleet under the average lap system. As the races are at high tide, the course will be set to utilise the available space and normally utilises club marks that are in view of the Castle and Club
  • Overnight storage of Sailing Dinghies is possible from the Friday night for competitors’ craft – please contact your fleet captain for details.

Vectis

  • Start times – the race start is at 1100 outside the harbour entrance. Competitors (and non-competitors alike) are advised to leave the PSC slipway by 0930 to allow sufficient time to reach the start.
  • Race format – this is a race from a line just outside the Harbour entrance, via a few passing marks and into a finish line in Priory Bay, just off Seaview. Most dinghies complete the course in around an hour. Thereafter, beach BBQ’s, relaxation and team games are the order of the day before a leisurely sail back to the club in the afternoon. Certain eligibility requirements apply for dinghy sailors, however for the less experienced most Cruiser sailors are more than happy to embark extra crew. Similarly there is usually ample capacity for dinghy sailors to transport dry kit, towels, BBQ’s, food etc aboard bigger boats. Please contact your fleet captains for further information.

Rum Run

  • Start times – a one-off end of season Saturday race on the top of the tide, held in conjunction with the Cruiser fleet. Please check the fixture list (PSC Handbook or Website) for the start time. The start is usually from a Committee boat, so please allow 10 minutes to sail from the club slipway to the start.
  • Race format – this is a round-the-harbour race following the channel for the main part, and will last between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the course and conditions. All boats sail the same course. Please check the location of the start line and the details of the course before going afloat.
  • There is a spirited prize giving after racing with a rum punch in the Club house. This event completes the regular season before boats are removed from the compound.

Related Links

Portchester Sailing Club Cruiser SailingScheduled Races Explained
Portchester Sailing Club TrainingScheduled Races Explained
Portchester Sailing Club AnglingScheduled Races Explained
Portchester Sailing Club Club MembershipScheduled Races Explained

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