Start Line Etiquette
The St. Croix Sailing Club has a busy starting area. With 2, 3, or more starts, and over 25 boats in many races, the start line can be a confusing time. Here are some tips to keep your boat in good standing with your fellow racers, the RRS, and the Race Committee.
What is the Starting Area?
It is the area between and around the Committee Boat and the nearby mark (orange buoy to port). Any boat currently in sequence defines this area, and all other boats MUST keep clear!
The R/C regularly notes that boats not currently racing interfere with boats currently in sequence and racing. (see RRS definition of “racing”) If you are affected by this, speak up – to the offending boats and to your R/C. Protest if required.
Program your GPS devices ONLY when your division flag is flying. The R/C is permitted to reset her position between start sequences. The Orange flag may or may not be dropped during these changes. (see Orange Flag below)
The R/C recognizes that our shortened 4-minute sequence may contribute to crowding on the start line. SCSC may return to the standard RRS 26 sequence in 2018 to alleviate congestion at the start line.
Watch the Flags – Is your Division flag flying?
If the flag for your division isn’t flying, then stay away from the starting area. This is for several reasons:
- The Committee Boat may be moving
- Other boats may be starting
- Aliens may be attacking, or a million other reasons…
Interfering with other boats currently in sequence carries harsh penalties! Please stay away or pay very close attention to other boats around you.
If your start is upcoming, simply pay attention to the flags on the Committee Boat. They are huge and visible from quite a distance. You’re welcome to venture close, but pay attention to other boats currently in sequence.
Prior to every sequence, the R/C hails via VHF 72 and sounds 5 horns prior to the start of each sequence.
What is the Orange Start Line Flag?
The staff holding the orange/red flag on the Committee Boat denotes the starboard end of the start line. Anyone above the line drawn between that staff (per SI’s) and the course side of the port mark shall be called OCS (over early).
The Orange Flag has no bearing on the Committee Boat’s status – she could be setting anchor and drifting or resetting due to a drifting anchor. Or she could be parked and waiting for late boats to approach the line.
Traditional courtesy states that the Orange Flag flies when the Committee Boat is on station at the starboard end of the start line. While the Race Committee will continue to honor this courtesy to the best of their ability, it’s important to note that this cannot always be done!
That massive Orange/Red bedsheet has a story behind it… Ask KT sometime.
The Committee Boat must be on station (anchored, not drifting) no later than the Prepatory Signal (RRS 27.2). Our R/C extends this to the Warning signal out of courtesy, but it is not required of the R/C and will not be grounds for redress.