• Home
  • BSC Sailing instructions 2022



  • 1.1  Racing Rules: Racing will be governed by the ‘rules’ as defined in the Racing Rules of Sailing – 2021 - 2024 [RRS].
  • 1.2  Notice of Race and Notices to Competitors: Information in the BSC Race Programme, a poster giving notice of a race, or a notice on the Club board are deemed to be part of these Sailing Instructions [SIs].
  • 1.3  Changes in Sailing Instructions: Any Change in the Sailing Instructions or Notice of Race will be posted on the board in the Clubhouse at least forty minutes before the start of the first race of the day.


  • 2.1  Risk Statement: Rule 4 of the Racing Rules of Sailing states: “The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.” Sailing is by its nature an unpredictable sport and therefore involves an element of risk. By taking part in the event, each competitor agrees and acknowledges that:
  • a)  They are aware of the inherent element of risk involved in the sport and accept responsibility for the exposure of themselves, their crew and their boat to such inherent risk whilst taking part in the event.
  • b)  They are responsible for the safety of themselves, their crew, their boat and their other property whether afloat or ashore.
  • c)  They accept responsibility for any injury, damage or loss to the extent caused by their own actions or omissions.
  • d)  Their boat is in good order, equipped to sail in the event and they are fit to participate.
  • e)  The provision of a race management team, safety boats, umpires and other officials and volunteers by the organiser does not relieve them of their own responsibilities.
  • f)  The provision of safety boat cover is limited to such assistance, particularly in extreme weather conditions, as can be practically provided in the circumstances.
  • g)  It is their responsibility to familiarise themselves with any risks specific to this venue or this event drawn to their attention in any rules and information produced for the venue or event and to attend any safety briefing held at the venue.
  • 2.2  Helping Those in Danger: Every boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger. [Rule 1.1]
  • 2.3  Boat Buoyancy: It is the responsibility of the owner or person in charge to ensure that a boat complies with her Class buoyancy rules.
  • 2.4  Personal Flotation Device: Personal flotation device adequate for the conditions shall be worn by all dinghy and windsurfing crew whilst racing. The RO will disqualify without a hearing any boat for any such infringement while racing. [Change to Rule 1.2, Rule 40, and Addition to Rule 63.1] Cruisers shall carry adequate personal flotation devices for each of their crew. Each crew member is individually responsible for wearing personal flotation devices adequate for the conditions. All crew members shall wear adequate personal buoyancy when a Met Office strong wind warning is in force or flag Y is flying from the club mast or note directing personal buoyancy to be worn displayed in the clubhouse. [Change to Rule 1.2].
  • 2.5  Safety Boats: From the warning signal for the first race, the Coxswains of safety boats will be under the direction of the RO and will move to suitable positions to keep the racing area under surveillance, and to assist boats as required. The Coxswain of an official safety boat may, in the interests of safety, order a boat to retire, or any crew member to come aboard the safety boat. The decision to salvage a disabled boat if other crews may be in danger is at the sole discretion of the Coxswain. [Club Rule D4 and Change to RRS Rule 4]
  • 2.6  To get clear after grounding a boat may use an engine provided the boat does not gain a significant advantage in the race. [Change to RRS Rule 42.3 (g)]

  • 2.7  Sailing Barges & Viking Saga are deemed to be moving exclusion zones, which competitors are to treat as obstructions. The exclusion zone extends to 30m (1 barge length) in front of the vessels. No competitor is to enter the exclusion zone. RRS 60.2, 63.1 and A5 are modified to add that the Race Officer may disqualify a competitor infringing this instruction without a hearing.


  • 3.1  Eligibility: Except for Open or Invitation events, only Members of the Club may enter races. Boats kept at the Club will only be eligible to enter races when the appropriate boat park fee for the current season has been paid. The RO may exclude a competitor, subject to Rule 76.1. Sailboards are eligible to enter dinghy races. Visitors may enter a race at the RO’s discretion but may not be awarded a Club Trophy [See SI 7.5]
  • 3.2  Number of entries: A minimum of three boats shall start within 5 minutes of their start signal for a race to score as a club race.
  • 3.3  Measurement Certificate: Every boat belonging to a recognised class shall comply with her class rules. A valid measurement certificate may be demanded as proof of compliance.
  • 3.4  Entry and Declarations: Every competitor shall enter by recording his entry in the Race Book, registering online where applicable, or by signing the entry form or sheet for each race before the preparatory signal for the race. For Open or Invitation events, entries from visitors who sail to the starting area may be accepted orally by the RO or a Coxswain. By participating in a race conducted under these racing rules, each competitor and boat owner agrees to be governed by the Rules; to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the Rules, subject to the appeal and review procedures provided in them, as the final determination of any matter arising under the Rules; and with respect to such determination, not to resort to any court or other tribunal not provided by the Rules. [Rule 3]. If a competitor has not so complied, or does not intend to finish, the competitor shall notify the RO or a Coxswain as soon as possible. For Open or Invitation events, declarations from visitors may be accepted orally by the RO or a Coxswain.
  • 3.5  Insurance: A competing boat must be covered by adequate insurance including in particular insurance against third party claims in the sum of at least £5million. By entering for the race, the owner or person in charge declares that the boat is covered by such valid and current insurance.


  • 4.1  Courses: The course for each race, unless given in the Notice of Race, will be displayed in the Clubhouse, or otherwise indicated from the Bridge or from a Committee Boat. Where a course mark is indicated as ‘enc’ this mark must be rounded. The course for the first race for each class on each day will be displayed at least thirty minutes before the start. Courses for second or other races will be indicated as agreed with Class Captains. Courses may be amended, provided that each competitor is advised before the warning signal. [Addition to Rule 27.1]
  • 4.2  Marks of the Course: Any of the yellow or orange racing buoys which are shown on the course chart board in the Clubhouse, together with inflatable buoys, may be set as marks of the course.
  • 4.3  Starting and Finishing Lines: Unless otherwise indicated in a Notice to Competitors, the starting and finishing lines will be the Club Line between the race box and the metes on Northey Island. The inner limit mark is ‘Club Limit’, and the outer limit mark is ‘Colliers’, and boats shall pass between them when starting and finishing
  • 4.4  Club Line Gate: Where the course includes “Club Line Gate” boats shall sail between the outer limit mark “Colliers” and the inner limit mark “Club Limit”.
  • 4.5  Time Limit: Unless otherwise prescribed, at least one boat shall finish within one and a half hours (for a handicap race) or two hours (for a class race) after the time of High Water given in the Club Race Card for the race to be valid, and any other boat which has not finished by two hours after High Water will be scored as ‘Did Not Finish’ [Change to Rule 35]. Where no boat finishes within the time limit, the race will be abandoned. The Race Officer may use his / her discretion and signal a race abandonment sooner depending on tide or weather conditions.


  • 5.1  Flags: Visual signals will be made by the display of flag boards or flags from the Bridge and may be repeated from a safety boat, unless otherwise indicated in a Notice to Competitors.
  • 5.2  Class Warning Signals: The Class Flag for each class will be as shown on the Course Chart Board in the Clubhouse, unless otherwise provided.
  • 5.3  Starting a Race: To start a race, the Class Warning Flag will be displayed six minutes before the scheduled start time, with one sound signal. A Preparatory Flag will be displayed three minutes before the start, with one sound signal. At the start, both Warning and Preparatory Flags will be removed, with one sound signal, except that, if another class is due to start three minutes later the Preparatory Flag will remain in place. Times shall be taken from the visual signal, and absence of a sound signal shall be disregarded. [Change to Rule 26].
  • 5.4  Postponement: When Race Signal ‘AP’ is displayed, with two sound signals, all races not started are postponed. The Signal ‘AP’ will be lowered with one sound signal, and one minute later the Warning Signal for the next race will be made.
  • 5.5  Individual Recall: When at a boat’s starting signal any part of her hull, crew or equipment is on the course side of the starting line, Race Signal ‘X’ will be displayed with one sound signal. The flag will be displayed until all affected boats are completely on the pre-start side of the line, but not later than two minutes after the starting signal. [Change to Rule 29.1]
  • 5.6  General Recall: Race Signal ‘First Substitute’ will be displayed, with two sound signals. The ‘First Substitute’ will be removed after two minutes, but no sound signal made. [Change to Race Signal ‘First Substitute’ and Rule 29.2] If there is more than one other class scheduled to start, recalled classes will be restarted after the last scheduled start, following each other in their original sequence, at three minute intervals. Otherwise, the Warning (and Preparatory if removed) signals will be re-displayed three minutes after the Recall, and the class will be re-started three minutes after the Recall.
  • 5.7  Abandonment: Race Signal ‘N’, together with the appropriate class flags if only some classes are affected, will be displayed, with three sound signals. Competitors shall then report to the RO or to a Coxswain for further instructions. [Change to Rules 27.3 and 32.1 and Race Signal ‘N’]
  • 5.8  Changing the Course after the Start: The course may be changed at any Rounding Mark [Rule 28.1]. Prior notification of the Change will be hailed to every boat affected. [Change to Rule 33. Race Signal ‘C’ does not apply]
  • 5.9  Shortening Course: A race may be shortened at the RO’s discretion. For a race which crosses the Club Line to be shortened to finish at the Club Line, Race Signal ‘S’, together with the appropriate class flags if only some classes are affected, will be displayed, together with two sound signals, when the leading boat is at a reasonable distance from the finishing line. To finish a race at a Rounding Mark, Race Signal ‘S’ will be displayed from a safety boat flying a blue flag stationed near the mark, and boats shall finish between the mark and the flag staff on the safety boat. Notification to finish will be hailed to all boats affected. [Addition to Rule 32.2 and Race Signal ‘S’]

  • 5.10  Replacement or Additional mark: A buoy or vessel will display Code flag ‘M’ or ‘O’, or an inflatable buoy without a flag may be used. No sound signal will be made. [Change to Rule 34 and Race Signal ‘M’]


  • 6.1  Launching and casting-off: At her Preparatory Signal, a boat becomes subject to the Rules, and in accordance with Rules 45, 46, and 47 shall be afloat or off her moorings, together with her person in charge and all equipment at that time. The RO may disqualify without a hearing for any such infringement [Addition to Rule 63.1]
  • 6.2  The Exoneration Penalty and the Advisory Hearing and RYA Arbitration of the RYA Rules Disputes Procedures will be available. This sets out three types of hearing for resolving Rules disputes: Type 1: Advisory Hearing not involving a protest. Type 2: Arbitration: a pre-protest hearing with a mediator and an Exoneration penalty of 20% of starters (min 2 places, max 5 places) Type 3: A full protest hearing. The three types give a competitor or other party, who has a dispute he wishes to resolve, a choice of resolution processes. It allows him to choose the one that best suits his wishes and circumstances. Type 1 and Type 2 as above are available as additional options for all club races. The full SI text is displayed on the Notice Board and is available online at Http://www.rya.org.uk/racing/charter see best practice/rules disputes.
  • 6.3  Protest Flag: The requirement to display a Red Flag to inform the Protestee does not apply [Change to Rule 61.1(a)]
  • 6.4  Protest Time Limit: The intention to Protest shall be notified to the RO as soon as possible after finishing. Completed Protest Forms shall be lodged with the RO within forty five minutes of the finish of the protesting boat, or within such time as the Protest Committee may consider appropriate in the circumstances. [Addition to Rule 61.3].
  • 6.5  Disqualification without a Hearing: A boat which has been so disqualified [Rule A5 and SIs 2.4, 6.1 and 7.2] shall nevertheless be entitled to a hearing upon request. [Rule 62.1(a)].


  • 7.1  Handicaps: Handicaps will be based on the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme as published by the RYA. Portsmouth Numbers will be set, and may be adjusted at any time, at the discretion of the Sailing Secretary, in conjunction with the Class Captain. An adjustment in handicap number is not grounds for redress. This changes RRS #62.
  • 7.2  Series Scores: The Low Point System of scoring [Rule A4.1] will be used. Points will be scored by each boat finishing a race as follows: winner - 1 point, second - 2 points, third - 3 points etc. Boats that are DNC, DNS, OCS, DNF, DSQ or RAF will be scored points one more than the total number of boats entered in the series.In  the case of a Club Series held over a period longer than a regatta e.g. a club series held over a number of weekends, Rule A9 will apply. Boats that are DNS, OCS, DNF, DSQ and RAF will be scored points one more than the total number of boats that came to the starting area whereas a boat that DNC will be scored one more than the number of boats entered in the series. The boat with the lowest total score will win the event or series, subject to SI 7.3.
  • 7.3  Races to count: Unless otherwise prescribed in the Notice of the event or the current dedication of the trophy, the number of races to count shall be as follows: (a) In an Event lasting two or more consecutive days, when more than three valid races in that series are sailed, then the worst score may be discarded, otherwise all races will count. (b) In a Club Series of N valid races, the races to count will be (N+1)/2 where N is an odd number, or (N+2)/2 where N is an even number. A race abandoned or postponed to another day, may be re-sailed at the discretion of the Class Captain in conjunction with the Sailing Secretary, in which case new entries may be accepted [Rule 81] If, after starting, a Club Series race is abandoned and not re-sailed, points will be scored as if the race was valid and each of the boats had failed to finish. Helms who carry out official Bridge or safety boat duties and are thus unable to compete in a Series race sailed, may claim for that race points equal to the average of all points gained in the races of that Series in which they do sail, and finish without due penalty. They must count a minimum of three such races. The average will be rounded up to the nearest tenth of a point (0.05 to be rounded upward).
  • 7.4  Series Ties: If there is a Series score tie, each boat’s race scores shall be listed in order from best to worst, and at the first point where there is a difference the tie shall be broken in favour of the boat with the best score. No discarded scores shall be used. If a tie still remains, the boats scores shall be ranked in order of their scores in the last race. These scores will be used even if they are discarded scores. Any remaining ties (e.g. if both DNC in last race) shall be broken by using the tied boats scores in the next to last race and so on until tie is broken [Rule A8].
  • 7.5  Award of Trophies: Except in Open or Invitation events, a Club Trophy may only be awarded to a Full, Honorary, or Cadet member of the Club. All dinghy trophies will be awarded to the helm, irrespective of the ownership of the boat, unless otherwise laid down in the current dedication of the trophy. In any Series or Event of more than one race, at least two valid races must be sailed for a trophy to be awarded.

Issued by the Hon Sailing Secretary                      Download a pdf  HERE

Reviewed 24th February 2022     

Copyright 2022
Blackwater Sailing Club Ltd
Website not to be copied
without permission

Blackwater Sailing Club, Basin Road, Heybridge,
Maldon, Essex, CM9 4SD
or Contact us by email

CCTV  has been registered with the Information  Commissioner and all images are recorded in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. To view our CCTV policy click HERE

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software