Duty Officer 9

Still to do -incident handling

9.0 Common Flags

Handicap Race

All boats start together. First flag up (5 mins) , last flag down (0 mins). A second fleet start will require a different flag.


Racing rules now apply - 2nd flag up 4 mins until race start. Down at 1 min left until start.

Individual Recall

If the Duty Officer can identify boats that has crossed the line early the Individual flag (with ONE horn sound) is raised. The DO may (but not obliged too) call out the boats number. When the ‘early’ starters have re-crossed the start line lower the flag without a sound signal. At HSC we may just shout 'clear' as the offending boats come back over the line. Disqualify any that do not return.

General Recall

A general recall flag (TWO blasts on the horn) is raised if there too many boats over the line early and culprits cannot all be identified. Indicates start has been abandoned - all need to come back and start the race sequence again. You might want to assess why this happened eg bias start-line, line too short, change of wind. Consider putting up postponed flag. Take your time do not be rushed. However, do see 'Black Flag'.

Postponed Race

Sound TWO horns going UP. ONE horn when coming DOWN. Try to have one minute between taking down and a race start.

Pursuit Race

Replaces H flag when it is pursuit race. Gives the 'first off' slower boats a 5 minute warning.

Race Officer on Station

Yellow flag on yellow pole, Gives accurate sight of line for start and finish.

Shortened Course

Two horns then flag raised as first boat rounds last mark on course. Persuade boats being lapped at the front of the lead boat to either 'hold back' or give them the option of doing another lap. As DO you also can 'give them a time' ie assume they will finished just behind the lead boat and take that time or if you have been recording lap times give them an average. What you must NOT DO is sound the horn for early finishers, a whistle or just a shout will cause less confusion.

9.1 Rarely Used Flags

Black flag – a flag you should know about if you attend other junior events. Mostly used after one or two general recalls, it means that if any part of a boat is over the start line during the one minute before the start, you will be disqualified. Takes the place of the Prep flag in the start sequence

INDIA (I) (Yellow with solid black circle). This indicates that Rule 30.1 (the around-the-ends rule) is in effect at the start. If over the start line before the start, they must sail back BUT NOT back across the line itself ie go around the pin end or Committee boat. Boats breaking this rule are disqualified.

The U Flag, (red and white check) A boat within the triangle formed by the ends of the line and the first mark during the minute before the start will be disqualified without a hearing. If a restart or re-sail is called, the disqualification is rescinded, unlike the black-flag rule.


Cancelling Racing

Always a controversial area - and just to make it clear, that this is separate from abandoning racing. An abandoned race would be where racing is about to, or has actually started. A variety of fairly obvious reasons include: no wind, too much wind or bad weather imminent, immediately there is threat of thunder and lightning - then its all boats off the water. Its an ultimate decision by you, but do discuss it with your Boat Officer. Don't forget one option is to radio ashore and ask for the other rescue boat to come out if the situation demands it. Chances are in bad weather some sailors will have gone ashore and still be in sailing kit.
In a 'no wind' situation, do discuss with other sailors but it's your choice in the end. Any abandoned race decision will often come as a relief, as in a keenly fought series there can be, 'I'll go out if you go out' attitude.

Where a decision needs to be made in advance about cancelling sailing (not just racing). The most common one is simply access to the club. Even in frosty conditions our drive and car park can become very slippery. Both are untreated and where there is snow or ice, its almost certain that most cars will not be able to get back out.
You are still the one in charge, but you are not alone in making the decision to close the club for the day. Your first contact regarding this is the Commodore, although in practise there is often discussion previous to the actual day. Issues are getting the information out to members as soon as possible. So either contact Dutyman (Stewart) or post something yourself on Facebook. The Dutyman (Stewart) or Membership (Ruth) will have contact details for your duty crew.

We hear phrases like, 'Cancel racing, that’s boat damaging weather!' Sailors need to make their own decision on whether they go out or not. An example, was when a race line was set up (in strong winds), the start sequence commenced and the only boat to cross the line was one that was upside down as it crossed the line.... racing was then abandoned because no boats were in the race.
You will often find that ceasing racing for the day will not stop people going out!
On another occasion, this time both raining and windy, some boats were capsizing but all were coping very well and in a sailors perverse way, enjoying the conditions. The Boat Officer contacted the DO and explained his boat was full of water, both were cold and wet and they were nearly out of petrol. Race was therefore abandoned mid-race. Much to the displeasure and confusion of the racers until it was explained to them that proper rescue cover was getting doubtful.

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