GOING RACING

Here it is race day. You’ve polished up your boat. Polished up your good manners so you won’t abuse you crew. And you are ready to race. But are you? Do you know that the start sequence for sailboat races has been a five-minute countdown series since 2001? If your club is still using the old 10-minute system, someone needs to take the 21st century by the horns and get things modified. So, here’s how the sequence goes. If everything is on schedule, when you get out to the committee boat you will see an RC flag and an orange flag that delineates the committee boat end of the start line. If things are running late, you will see the previous two flags and the AP signal. That's a red and white pennant, which is also called the Answering Pennant. When the AP comes down, it signifies one minute until the class flag is raised. The class flag is the one which is so designated by the Sailing Instructions. So, at this point, there are six minutes until the start. The Class Flag goes up at five minutes before the start and remains up until the start. This is a warning flag only. The Rules of Racing (RRS) don’t kick in for another minute. It is accompanied by a sound signal.

The Class Flag goes up at five minutes before the start and remains up until the start. This is a warning flag only. The Rules of Racing (RRS) don’t kick in for another minute. It is accompanied by a sound signal. The P (Preparatory) flag goes up at four (4) minutes before the start. The P flag is blue with a white, square center. It is accompanied by a sound signal. This flag will remain up for three minutes. The P flag comes down at one minute before the start. It is accompanied by a LONG sound signal. The only flag still up is the Class Flag. START: The Class Flag comes down. It is accompanied by a sound signal. You should be at or very near the starting line going fast. FINNISH: Blue Flag with Class Flag. No sound signal. The race committee boat is in position.