Duty Officer 6

6. Running handicap races with the old timer.

6.1 Plug in and switch on

On 'Stan' make sure connector is securely plugged in (outside or inside brackets can be used, depending on the weather). You must hear a firm 'click' otherwise you are wasting your time, as a slight knock will cause the timer to switch off.


Press the side button. Note this box used to run on batteries which were inside the timer itself. This is no longer the case - it now runs off the the Committee boat battery. Do not unplug until you have all your data for the race.


Put up yellow flag to indicate you are 'on station' see race management section.


6.2 Handicap Race - set to P1.

Having set your start line and course. Placed yellow ('on station') flag in a convenient place and have your flag sequence ready.
Press START to show 00.00 on the upper display, 5.10 on the lower. Get the H flag ready
Press START again. The machine will count down from 5.10 to 5.00; warning beeps start at 5.05.
At 5.00 the horn sounds. Place the Handicap Flag in the holder
At 4.00 the horn sounds. Hoist the Preparatory flag.
At 1.00 the horn sounds. Lower the Preparatory Flag
At 0.00 the horn sounds. Lower the Handicap Flag
The race has STARTED and the upper display will start counting up. If the start is OK, press SELECT and START together and the lower display will revert to a small square. If you forget to do this, the horn will sound and a new start process will commence.

6.3 Craft over the line before the start

If any identifiable craft were over the line press the horn button once and hoist the Individual Recall Flag. If possible shout out the sail number or person over the line. When the ‘early’ starters have re-crossed the start line lower the flag without a sound signal. Disqualify any that do not return.


If too many craft to identify are over the line sound the horn twice and hoist the General Recall Flag.

Then turn the timer off. Restarting a race To re-start the fleet/race sound the horn once and lower the General Recall Flag, then ONE minute later start a new sequence of 5, 4, 1, GO.

6.4 Finish line and shorten a race.

Move the Committee boat to make the finish line at 90 degrees to the last mark. As each craft makes a complete lap of the course record their sail numbers and number of laps. After the first lap, positions will not normally alter much. Aim for a lead boat to finish at about 50 mins.

1. A race can be shortened on any complete lap. Hoisting the Shortened Course Flag with 2 sound signals at the time the leading boat rounds the last mark prior to the finish line. These sound signals will be recorded so ignore when checking times.
1. The race finishes for all boats after the lead boat crosses the line regardless of the number of laps
2. For handicap racing the finish line must be set at the same mark as the start, otherwise set the finish line at the end of a beat.
3.. When each craft finishes press the horn button on the wand lead ONCE for each craft and note the sail numbers and time shown on the display.

6.5 Multiple Fleet Starts

  1. For multiple fleet starts do not press SELECT and START after the first fleet has started.
  2. The timer will repeat the 5,4,1 GO sequence using the start of the first fleet as the warning signal for the next fleet.
  3. Any general recalls with multiple fleets mean that recalled fleet re-starts after the other fleets have gone as a fresh start.
  4. When all fleets have started press SELECT and START.
  5. Duplicate and different flags are needed for each fleet. The count up for the first race will remain in the upper display, so 5 minutes will need subtracting from the second fleet times at the finish (or 10 or 15 etc. depending on how many fleets start) to properly calculate the times.

6.6 The rewind button

To replay the times you have recorded (every time the wand is pressed the machine records the time).

  1. Press and hold the upper button on the left side of the timer for five seconds until the upper display shows 00000.
  2. The finishing times of the competitors will be shown in order in the upper display by pressing the upper button repeatedly. Using the lower button as well, scroll up and down with the 2 buttons until all the times are SAFELY recorded against the sail numbers on paper.
  3. Now switch OFF the timer.

6.7 Running Pursuit races with the Old Timer.

6.8 Select length of race

Switch ON the timer and test the horn with the remote lead button.
Select P2 for ½ pursuit,
P3 for ¾ pursuit and
P4 for full pursuit.
Press START, the upper display shows 00.00, the lower 5.10.
Display the following flags 1. WHITE (Pursuit) flag with black P 2. Preparatory Flag, BLUE with WHITE rectangle in the middle

Note: we have an alternative number system mounted on a long board.


The two most common questions asked by pursuit racers are:
1. What is my PY number? Ans. Look on the official race notice board, (yes, we do have one)!
2. When do I go? Ans. When your number disappears, you disappear!

6.9 Starting a pursuit Race

REMEMBER THE BOOK OF NUMBERS. Open the PY number book at the PY (rounded to three digits) number of the first craft to start. (e.g. 1101 = 110, 1155 = 116)
1. Press START, no more than 5 mins before the programmed start time
2. The timer bleeps and counts DOWN from 5.10.
3. At 5.00 hoist the Pursuit Flag as the horn sounds.
4. At 4.00 hoist the Preparatory Flag as the horn sounds.
5. At 1.00 lower the Preparatory Flag as the horn sounds.
6. Show their PY number to the first class of craft waiting to start
7. At 0.00 lower the Pursuit Flag and change the PY number display to the next (lower numerically) number.
8. Press the START button. The upper display will now start counting up and the lower display will show a small square.
9. If any craft are over the line press the horn button once and hoist the Individual Recall Flag. Leave it flying until the premature starters return and restart. Disqualify any craft that do not return, and lower the flag without a sound signal.
10. The horn will continue to sound every ½ minute, 45 seconds or full minute depending on the Pursuit selected. Change to the next (lower) PY number displayed at each sound signal until all craft have started.
11. When the last craft has started press START and SELECT together and the horn will stop sounding. Put the PY display book away.

6.10 Finishing a Pursuit Race

1. Unlike a Handicap Race the committee boat stays on the start station until the very last minute before creating the ‘moving’ finish line. At the pre-race briefing tell competitors that when ‘their PY number goes’ they GO. They will see ‘their’ PY for 30, 45 or 60 seconds before the sound signal and number change, depending on the length of pursuit.
2. To determine the time a Pursuit runs for, use the PY of the first craft starting as the reference that the time is calculated from.
3. e.g. If a Mirror starts first and its PY is 1386, corrected PY -139. So 139 is the number shown for the last minute prior to the Pursuit Flag being lowered. If the race is a full pursuit the finish will be 139 minutes on the count up display. For ½ or ¾ pursuits divide by ½ or ¾ and note the time allowed.
4. At least 5 minutes before the display nears the predetermined race time prepare to move the start/finish line to ahead of the leading craft on the water by using the committee boat at one end of the line and if possible a safety boat as the other end.
5. Drive back up the course until all craft have been logged in order. Finish all craft as the finish line moves back up the course with a horn blast using either the centre button on the timer or the wander lead, and note their time.

To get in touch either send us an email or call into the club when we are running organised racing.