Racing Rules


Basic Rules

The use of the following abbreviated rules does not constitute grounds for a lack of knowledge of current CYA/ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

Sportsmanship and the Rules

Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty or retire. 


1.1 A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.

10 When boats are on opposite tacks, a port tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard tack boat

11 When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

12 When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.

13 After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close hauled course. During that time, rules 10, 11, and 12 do not apply. If 2 boats are subject to this rule at the same time, the one on the other’s port side shall keep clear.

16 When a right of way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.

17.1 If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within 2 of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack she shall not sail above her proper coursewhile they remain overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

17.2 Except on a beat to windward, while a boat is less than 2 of her hull lengths from a leeward boat or a boat clear astern steering a course to leeward of her, she shall not sail below her proper course unless she gybes.

18 Rounding and passing marks and obstructions In rule 18, room is room for an inside boat to round or pass between an outside boat and a mark or obstruction, including room to tack or gybe when either is a normal part of the maneuver.

18.1 Rule 18 applies when boats are about to round or pass a mark they are required to leave on the same side, or an obstruction on the same side, until they have passed it. However, it does not apply:
a) at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time the boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them, or
b) between boats on opposite tacks, either on a beat to windward or when the proper course for one of them to round or pass the mark or obstruction is to tack.

20 A boat sailing towards the pre-start side of the starting line or its extensions after her starting signal to comply with rule 29.1 or rule 30.1 shall keep clear of a boat not doing so until she is completely on the pre start side. A boat making a penalty turn shall keep clear of one that is not. A boat moving astern by backing a sail shall keep clear of one that is not.

31.1 While racing, a boat shall not touch a starting mark before starting, a mark that begins, bounds, or ends the leg of the course on which she is sailing, or a finishing mark after finishing.

31.2 A boat that has broken rule 31.1 may, after getting well clear of other boats as soon as possible, take a penalty by promptly making one complete 360 degree turn including one tack and one gybe. When the boat takes the penalty after touching a finishing mark she shall sail completely to the course side of the line before finishing. However, if a boat has gained a significant advantage in the race or series by touching the mark she shall retire.

40 When Flag “Y” is displayed with one sound before or with the warning signal, competitors shall wear life jackets or other adequate personal buoyancy. Wet suits and dry suits are not adequate personal buoyancy.

Wednesday Series I, Series II, Series III, & Fall Series

    These Sailing Instructions (SIs) apply to the TH&SC weekly races, normally held on Wednesday nights. Separate instructions may be issued for other events. Amendments to these instructions may be made at any time. Such amendments shall be in writing and posted on the racing notice board no later than 5:00 PM on the day of the race for which the amendments take effect. It will be the responsibility of the skipper to check the racing notice board prior to each race for any changes in the sailing instructions. Updates on the notice board take precedent over the SI’s posted on the club website.
    Any boat owned by a member of the TH&SC (or an outside Club that has applied to the Race Captain) may participate in Club races, providing it has registered and carries sufficient liability insurance ($2M). If a member/owner’s boat is to participate in a club race and the member is not present, the member shall inform the Race Captain or their designate the name of the person who will be in charge of the boat during the race.
    All races will be sailed under the current Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) of World Sailing (formerly ISAF) and the current prescriptions of Sail Canada, except as modified in these SIs.
    Divisions’ Splits will be determined and posted by the Race Committee.
    Division #1 (Flying Sails)
    Division #2 (NFS – Phrf <= 225) Division #3 (NFS – Phrf >225)
    The course to be used will be selected from the Marks of ABYC/TH&SC or otherwise as posted. The starting mark will be where the RC is stationed. For all Divisions, the sequence in which the Marks are to be rounded will be displayed on the aft of the Committee Boat starting with the number of the first Mark on the left-hand side of the display with the number of the next Mark displayed immediately to the right, and so on, for the remainder of the sequence. For Divisions 1, the Mark Rounding Sequence will be a windward /leeward type course and will be displayed on the Committee Boat prior to the Warning Signal. A typical course consists of 4 legs, however depending on the conditions, a course could have more legs, fewer legs and/or shorter legs. Examples of 6262, 5252 and 959595 courses are shown below:
    The Mark Rounding Sequence for Divisions 2 and 3 will be displayed on the Committee Boat prior to their Preparatory Signal. A typical course consists of 5 legs, however depending on conditions, a course may have more or fewer legs. An example of a 93292 course is shown below:
    In the event of a missing mark the race committee may use a drop mark in the vicinity of a missing mark. All marks will be rounded to port unless a Green Flag is flown on the Committee Boat in which case they will be rounded to starboard.
    Prior to starting a race all boats must report to the Race Committee on the course. This should be done by crossing past the transom of the Committee Boat on starboard tack and hailing the Committee Boat, indicating an intention to race (i.e. “Blue Eagle checking in…”). Boats failing to report may be considered non-starters. TH&SC will use the Start as outlined in the current Racing Rules of Sailing RRS 26, with the Warning Signal made five (5) minutes before the Starting signal for each division. Boats will start by Divisions, as follows:
    For the Wednesday Series I, II, III & Fall Series ONLY
    Note: After Sept 1st all times will advance by 15 minutes, first horn at 6:30 pm
    6:30 Red Shape up Gun Warning Signal Division #1 & 2
    6:31 P Flag Up Horn Preparatory Signal Division #1 & 2
    6:34 P Flag Down Horn
    6:35 Red Shape Down Gun Start Division #1 & 2
    6:35 Blue Shape up Gun Warning Signal Division #3
    6:36 P Flag Up Horn Preparatory Signal Division #3
    6:39 P Flag Down Horn
    6:40 Blue Shape Down Gun Start Division #3
    The starting line will be between the orange flag on the Committee Boat and the nearest Mark on the course (normally Mark 9) or a pole topped with Code Flag “M” if placed. The Race Committee may use a distance marker, in which case, no boat may pass between the distance marker and the Committee Boat. Any boat that fails to cross the starting line within 5 minutes of its start will be scored Did Not Start (DNS) without a hearing. This changes rules RRS – A4 & A5. If the Committee Boat has to move off station prior to all boats starting, it will leave a Marker in its place and all boats, still to start will cross the line between this Marker and the start Mark. After the Warning Signal, the Race Committee may protest any boat deemed to be interfering in the starting area, at any time prior to a previous Division’s start. The starting area is defined as the area inside one half of the length of the starting line beyond each end of the line and the same distance behind and ahead of the line. The penalty is at the discretion of the Protest Committee. If there is an On Course Side Starter(s) (OCS) the Race Committee will make a sound signal and display CODE Flag “X” (individual recall) until all premature starts have started properly or four minutes after the starting signal or one minute before any later starting signal, whichever is earlier. Although the Race Committee will attempt to hail all premature starters by Boat name or sail number, it is the individual skipper’s responsibility to ensure that they have started properly. A failure to hail will not be grounds for a protest by a boat. In the event there are unidentified OCS starters the Race Committee may signal a General Recall (First Substitute Flag). The first division subject to a General Recall will start after all other scheduled Division starts. This changes RRS 29.2. The decision to delay the start of, or cancel a race is at the sole discretion of the Race Officer. Reasons to delay the start or cancel a race may include the threat of thunderstorms, excessive wind and/or wave conditions, deemed unsafe for the Race Officer and Sandy Grant or the lack of wind. In the case of the latter, a minimum, sustained wind of 4 knots, measured aboard the Sandy Grant may be considered the criteria to determine if a race can be started. The Race Officer may elect to start a race with less than 4 knots of sustained wind, if the wind strength shows signs of improvement during the delay period or upon consultation with boats in the fleet, who are able to provide an accurate masthead wind speed reading.
    The finish line will be between the Orange Flag on the Committee Boat and the designated Mark and must be crossed from the direction of the last rounded mark. If it is necessary to shorten course a line may be established between the Committee Boat and a Mark of the course. The decision to shorten course shall be made by the Race Officer at their sole discretion. If such a decision is made the Race Committee will indicate this decision by hoisting Code Flag “S” and firing two guns or other sound signal as the first boat approaches the Mark, at which the course is to be finished. The course may be shortened only for certain Divisions, in that case, the Division pennant for those divisions affected will also be hoisted. If for any reason the Committee Boat is not on station at
    the Finish Mark, all boats will finish themselves by noting their position and GPS time (hrs: min: sec) of passing as close to the Finish Mark as possible and the names or sail numbers of the boats immediately in front of and behind them together with their crossing times, if possible. This information should be reported to the Committee Boat as soon as possible after docking at which time a time check should be made with the Committee Boat. (Use GPS time only) The Race Officer may abandon a race at any time. If any boat of a particular Division has crossed the finish line by this time, then that Division will be deemed to have completed the race and the finishers will be scored accordingly. Any Division, which does not have any finishers at the time of abandonment, will be considered not to have raced and the number of races for that Division will be reduced by one. If no boat, from any Division, reaches the First Mark of the Course within one hour of the first Division to start, all races will be cancelled. All racing will cease 30 minutes after sunset or 9:00 PM whichever is earlier. Boats finishing more than 30 minutes after the finishing time of the first boat, of the last Division, will be considered as non-finishers.
    Flags are defined in the current version of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), as published by the Sail Canada.
    Protests should be reported to the RC boat before leaving the racing area. Protests must be submitted in writing on standard forms available from the Race Committee or the Protest Committee. Forms will be available in the scoring room (lower level of clubhouse). Completed forms must be handed to the one of the protest committee (John Morris (Chair), Lee Rixon, Mike Wheatstone, Vaughan Passmore, or the Race Captain) within one hour of the Committee Boat docking. An Arbitrator may be assigned by the Race Captain or his representative to arbitrate a settlement of the protest with the skippers concerned. If this arbitration is not successful the Protest Committee will be convened. Protest dates will be determined as required. After reviewing the protest, the Protest Committee Chair or his delegate will inform the Protestor and the Protestee when and where the protest hearing will be held. If, in considering a Protest, the Protest Committee finds that any of the boats involved either deliberately infringed the rules, or otherwise behaved in a manner not consistent with good sportsmanship, or submitted a frivolous Protest, then it must report such a finding to the Race Captain. After considering the facts of the case and on the advice of the Race Committee, the Race Captain may take any action he deems appropriate. Any boats involved in a collision during an TH&SC race event, where damage or injury occurred must go before the Protest Committee to review the situation leading up to the collision, the collision itself, race rules broken and by whom. Appropriate scoring penalties will be assessed, and a report will be written by the Protest Committee and provided to all skippers involved, for insurance claim purposes.
    Arbitration will be offered and will conform to RRS Appendix T. The arbitrator may be a member of the Protest Committee or attend the Protest hearing. If a boat asks to withdraw her protest, the arbitrator may act on behalf of the protest committee in accordance with rule 63.1 to accept the withdrawal.
    All skippers and crew participating in the Club races are expected to have knowledge of the Race Rules and to behave while racing in a sportsmanlike manner. The Race Committee and the Protest Committee will report to the Race Captain the skipper or crew of any boat, which either consistently or deliberately infringes the Race Rules or otherwise behaves in a manner detrimental to the sport of yacht racing. After considering the facts, the Race Captain may take any appropriate action against the skipper or crew. Such action could include suspension of the skipper or crew from Club racing either for the series or the season.
    The finishing position of a boat in each race will be determined by the Time-On-Time scoring method. All boats competing, must have a current and valid PHRF-LO certificate. The makeup races shall be assigned to a series, as determined by the Race Committee and posted on the Race Notice Board. A boat which goes to the assistance of any vessel or person in peril, during a race or which, holding right of way, is disabled by a foul upheld by sustained protest and does not finish the race for either of these reasons, shall, at the end of the race series, be given a score for that race equivalent to its average score in that series.
  13. SAFETY
    Whether to start or continue in a race is the sole responsibility of the skipper, likewise the Committee boat Crew have the right to venture forth or not, depending on their view of the pending weather conditions. When racing, all boats must have a minimum of two persons on-board; carry the equipment specified by the Transport Canada Safety Guide and a working VHF Radio. It is recommended that all boats obtain a Coast Guard Safety Inspection Certificate and all crew wear approved life saving devices at all times.
    In severe weather, the race Committee may, at its discretion, fly the “Y” flag (wear personal buoyancy). When flown, any boat observed by the Race Committee to have one or more of its crew not wearing personal buoyancy may be disqualified for that race. The Race Committee will monitor VHF Channel 73. Any boat unable to finish a Race must report to the Race Committee, either directly or by radio before leaving the racing area. Failure to report, will
    incur a 20% scoring penalty in the next race sailed.