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Home / Sailing / Club Racing / Race Officer Guidance / On the day
Home / Sailing / Club Racing / Race Officer Guidance / On the day

On the day

Get to the club at least 90 minutes before the start of the race - and don't stop to chat! you will need all of that time. When you first arrive:

  1. write on the course board the time and the direction of a good beat.
  2. put your name on the board, so that people know who is RO for the day.

Get a radio (from the top of the filing cupboard upstairs in the club room) and carry it with you at all times, be sure to do a radio check prior to launching

Find the red Race Officer Manual. It is your bible and guide and instruction leaflet. Read it as necessary.

Prepare the Committee boat

Put onto the committee boat:

  1. Green bucket with the flags in it
  2. Radio (That's OK: You are still carrying one!)
  3. Red Race Officer Manual: If you are experienced there are still 2 pages you MUST read! The instructions for the electronic timer and the instructions for which flags to hoist when and in which sequence.
  4. Petrol - from the fuel bunker at the end of the path from the chandlery
  5. Committee boat keys and the electronic timer - from the rescue boat garage. For a normal Sunday you wont need the big electronic display board. For a Wednesday or Bank Holiday pursuit, you will.

Unlock the boat and engine padlocks. Set up the timer. Check you know how to operate the electronic timer, and which program you need. Press the buttons a few times to confirm its all OK. Please set an example to others by wearing your buoyancy aids when on the Jetty and on the Committee Boat. Boat drivers must wear the kill cord. Organise one of your assistants to put the correct flags onto the hoists.

Prepare the race hut

  1. Sign your name onto the officials register. Leave it ready for your AROs (Assistant Race Officers).
  2. Put out the race sign-on sheets. Date them and specify AM or PM.
  3. If you want to get a message to all competitors, put it in the Race Hut.

Set the course

This is one of your opportunities to turn a normal Sunday into a great days racing!

About 40 mins before the start, go on the water:

  1. Take a burgee.
  2. Get a rescue boat driver to drive you - as that will take less time than using the committee boat, especially if you are having to check the wind at the far end of the lake.
  3. Get to what looks like the best leeward mark, and check with the burgee at arms length in front of you which is the windward mark.
  4. Look out for windshifts that can change things.
  5. Check where you could have a run that is not under the trees.
  6. Get in your mind where to put the start line.
  7. If the wind is NOT West / SW / E / NE, then you will probably need to set two beats per lap - so check the wind on both beats - it often blows 20 degrees differently at the other end of the lake.

Back on shore at the course board, do some checking:

  1. The beat you wrote down when you first arrived (has the wind shifted since then?)
  2. The weather forecast (is it predicted to shift?)
  3. The OOD for his advice and guidance
  4. The fleet captains or other senior racing members (but do NOT check with too many people! You are in charge of the course and you don't have much time)
  5. The organisers of other events (Oppie Club, Open Meetings, Training events etc.).

Set the best beat you can, and follow this with a combination of:

  1. A reach to keep the fleet out of the way of the beating boats
  2. A dead run
  3. Another reach (at a different angle to the first)
  4. A second beat if it is required
  5. Unless the wind is very light, try to use most of the lake for the course.

Make sure you avoid:

  • Any reach or run under the shelter of the trees
  • Windward marks that are too close to the trees
  • Too many / too few marks: 4, 5 or 6 is the best to aim for
  • Too many crossing places (especially in the gap between the islands).


Get onto the water with plenty of time!

Gather your AROs and make sure you leave the shore in the committee boat AT LEAST 20 MINUTES BEFORE THE FIRST START. That gives you:

  1. 5 minutes to get to the position of the start;
  2. 5 minutes to set the start line;
  3. 5 minutes to get the people organised and duties assigned

...and now you are already a minute late for the first 6 minute gun!. :-)

Set the course on the course board at the back of the committee boat. Hoist code flag U if you are using the windward / leeward option. If you need to change it, remember to fly code flag L with two hoots at least a minute before the first 6 minute gun with flag U if required. The competitors will be watching you leave, and the first ones will start to launch as you motor away.

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