Race Officer Duties

In addition to these guidelines for Race Officer Duties, there is a hard copy white folder in the Race Office, which can be used on the day.  It provides advice on duties, basic RRS, suggested race courses, Starting and Race Management procedures, Emergency Plan and club boat hire. 

NB If uncertain on whether to sign out a club boat please consult with one of the club sailing instructors.

Turn up at least 1½ hours before the start of the First Race.

Ascertain weather forecast either before you arrive or use club computer.

Set a course on the board clearly showing the order of fleet starts, starting sequence, start and finish lines, the marks to be rounded (indicate by arrows  ‘Leave Mark to Port / Starboard’, the maximum number of laps and the following additional information:

Weather forecast, including forecasted wind direction and strength

Height and time of high tide

Names of those on duty

Any other relevant information.

Put up the aerial and connect to the radio in the Starters Box. Check the Base Radio and the Handheld Portables are working and undertake radio check of fixed and hand-held with patrol boat.

Position the hooter on the race office counter and test. Get out the Start Line pole, flag boards, signing on forms for both lasers and other boats, penalty turns/retirement form, binoculars and chronometers.

Ensure Patrol Boat Helm and Crew are ready. There is no racing without a Patrol Boat on the water. Ensure the Patrol Boat Helm gets the Patrol Boat on the promenade, checks the oil level, runs the engine, and checks that the boat has a radio, handheld radio as back up, compass, first aid kit and a survival blanket. The boat should also be equipped with a flare, knife, bolt croppers, an anchor and warp, a small buoy and 2 paddles.  Check that there is a full tank of fuel.

Brief the Patrol boat crew on the course to be laid and the required number of buoys for the course to be set. Ensure that there are enough people changed to safely launch the Patrol boat and standby to receive advice from course layers regarding conditions. If a course change is necessary post flag “ L “ with 2 sound signals and change the course on the board.

Ensure that novice sailors are given assistance to launch, if required

The Race Officer should be familiar with the Emergency Plan as displayed on the office notice board and remind the Patrol boat crew that lives must be saved before property.

Ensure the safety of the fleet (be vigilant at all times and remain in touch with the patrol boat).

RACE RECORDING SHEET – It is essential that the Race Officer and/or Assistant Race Officer provide clear, legible race results noting:- a stock of blank forms can be found in the Race Office filing cabinet.

  1. The timing for each lap for all boats
  2. If a boat is OCS (on course side) DNF (did not finish) DNS (did not start) RAF (retired at finish) DNC (did not compete – this means did not sail in starting area between 5 min signal and 5 mins after the start).

At Force 4 or a declining sea state ensure that all Club Boats come ashore.

If the Patrol boat is overwhelmed with capsized boats needing assistance, the race should be abandoned. Advise them that a damaged boat should be anchored until it can be retrieved safely with the assistance of more people.

Ensure that all boats have returned to shore safely before instructing the Patrol boat to return ashore.

Ensure that warning notices are put out and that all winch operations are carried out safely by suitably qualified members over the age of 18.

At the end of the day, ensure the Patrol Boat Helm arranges for the Patrol Boat to be washed, the engine run in clean water, and all equipment to be put away in its correct place. If any gear is damaged or broken the Coxswain must be informed.

Ensure the boathouse is locked up and if advised the storm boards are put in place, or appoint another member to do so if you are not the last person to leave.


To ensure the safety of the fleet (be vigilant at all times and remain in touch with the patrol boat)

To record the number of laps that each boat sails.

To register the finishing order, or in a handicap race the elapsed time of each boat to the nearest second.

If you have any queries, please speak to any member of the Sailing Committee.