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Home / On The Water / Racing
Home / On The Water / Racing


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South Cerney Sailing Club prides itself in providing the high quality of the racing. From club racing to class based national events.

To debunk the myths, racing is just sailing a specific direction as quickly as you can. You don't need to be an expert to take part. Practice makes perfect and it is a fantastic way to get you sailing the boat properly, watching others around you.

The Racing Rules of Sailing are applied to all racing with any modifications posted in the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions for each event or series.

South Cerney Sailing Club also applies a Lake based handicap, PY number, for each boat based on the potential performance of the class of boat on our lake. This help boats not designed for lake sailing to compete on terms with those that are ideal for lake sailing.

The club racing is typically one of 3 different formats.

Pursuit Racing

Typically, 90 minutes long with different boat classes starting at different times depending on their PY (handicap) number e.g. all Solos will start at one time, RS200s at another and so on. All sailing the same course ideally if all boats are sailed to their optimum, they should finish side by side at the end of the race with the faster boats catching the slower ones. This rarely happens but the end of the race does get more exciting when a faster boat is chasing you down and tactics start to come into play. The winner is the one who is in the lead on the course at the end time and counting back from there.

But a Pursuit race is also a fantastic way to get stared in racing as the start line is less congested and you can sail to your own ability.

Handicap Racing

In this form of racing all boats start at the same time on a line and finish across a line after a defined number of laps. The typical race length being 45 minutes depending on the series and lap time. After all boats have finished the Race Officer, with lots of help from our IT, calculates the race finish order based on a boats PY number. A good nerve is required to hold best position on the line for a flying start, then you can compete directly with other boats in close quarters. There are also usually other boats of your class in the race to pace yourself against, but the goal is it not let those faster boats get away.

Depending on the number of competitors this can be some full-on racing with lots of close combat especially in the early stages of the race. There is nothing wrong getting involved even if you are sailing out the back, you will get quicker.

Class Racing

Much like a Handicap Race however different boat classes start at different times. At our club there are traditionally 3 starts. First the Flying 15s, 3 minutes later all the handicap boats (al boats not a Flying 15 or Solo), 3 minutes later the Solos start. Each of these 3 races are separate form each other although the rules of the road on the water applies to all equally.

Whilst the start line can be less congested the competition can be more intense pitting sailors against each other in matching boats. Great for sharpening the tactics and learning from others.

Personal Handicap Racing

At South Cerney Sailing Club we also run several fun series. Typically based on Pursuit or Handicap racing these often have an element of personal handicap as well as the boats PY number. This levels the field allowing a sailor new to racing to compete directly with a star racer. The Chilli Dogs series from January to spring and the Hotdogs series on Wednesday evening throughout the spring and summer are classic versions of these racing styles.

Go on get out on the water and take part, you will get lots of help and support and some of the advice is worth noting.

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Last updated 07:37 on 15 April 2024

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