Club Racing

All levels of sailors are welcomed and the guidance below covers the basics of what you need to know:-

Club racing at PBSC

  • Club racing Races generally last for 45 minutes and are run to back to back if there are two together.
  • Start line – this is usually defined by a transit between the clubhouse flagpole and the mobile vertical pole in front of the clubhouse. The end of the start line is marked by a small orange buoy known as the ‘pin end’.
  • Light signals – five minutes pre start – one light, four minutes – two lights, one minute – one light, start- no lights.
  • Sound signals – five, four, one, minute(s) pre -start and at start. Single boat over the line (‘single recall’ – offending boat must re-cross the line) – one klaxon, many boats over the line (‘general recall’ – restart 5 minute sequence for all) See guide to the Automatic light controls

See PBSC’s club racing rules here

Handicaps by dinghy – these are determined by the RYA annually and adjust the time on the water to a corrected time to determine the ranking. These are known as the PY List, the lower the number the faster the dinghy. Click here for a more detailed explanation.

Key racing rules for beginners

For club racing there are only a few key rules you need to remember

  • Don’t cross the start line until the klaxon has sounded. If you cross the line early you must dip behind it and cross again after the klaxon has sounded.
  • Boats on starboard tack (wind blowing over starboard side) have right of way over those on a port tack
  • When overlapped, the windward boat (i.e. the boat closest to the direction of the wind) must keep clear from the leeward boat (the one furthest away from the wind).
  • When three boat lengths away from the mark, where one boat overlaps another and is on the same tack the outer boat must give the inner boat sufficient room to round the mark when asked. It is customary for the inner boat to call ‘water at the mark’ ‘water please’ or ‘mark room please’. If on different tacks the starboard boat has right of way and this rule is not applied.


  • If you hit a mark, complete one penalty turn.
  • If you hit another boat and did not have right of way, complete two penalty turns.

See here for a more detailed rules extract.

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