Advice to Race Officers
A Race Officer who has not run an LWA event before is kindly requested to contact Rod Davis, the LWA Event Liaison Officer by telephone or email prior to the event to iron out any queries. (email ) phone 01895 846707). He will usually be sailing at the event and will make himself available for consultation on course setting and other matters as soon as possible on the morning of the event. Ask the LWA Registration Desk to point him out. He will probably be looking for you!
An LWA one-day event consists of four races, two in the morning, back to back, and two in the afternoon, back to back, conditions permitting. Briefing is normally held at 10.30 am with the first race scheduled for 11.00. The LWA provide our own Registration Staff, Results Service and Prizes.
There are three suggested courses -
- the "Olympic Box" course - a trapezoid (This is the PREFERRED course)
- the "S" course which has the advantage of providing a comparatively short run which the competitors prefer in light winds yet allows more scope for tactics in how to sail the run in the case of stronger winds.
- the "M" course, which whilst it can become a procession in light winds does provide more gybing action round the marks in stronger winds.
Whichever course is chosen the Committee Boat should be positioned five or six board lengths to leeward of the leeward mark so that the line between them will become the finish line. The length of this line is important, not so short as to make it difficult for half a dozen boards to cross the line together but again if the line is too long the sound signal given to each board on finishing can be swept away downwind in anything but calm weather. In this way the Committee Boat need not be moved during the entire event. All reaches should be as near as possible to 120 degrees.
"Olympic Box" Course: WIND:
*---- Start Line----------- *
For the Box the reaches should be as near to 120 degrees as possible.
"S" Course: WIND:
*---- Start Line----------- *
"M" Course: WIND:
*-------Start Line----------- *
Inevitably, some venues will not permit such courses to be laid, in which case we have to sail whatever is possible. However:
NOTE THAT FOR ALL COURSES SET COMPETITORS MUST BE WARNED AT THE BRIEFING THAT THEY MUST CROSS THE FINISH LINE ON EVERY LAP AS FAILURE TO DO SO WILL MEAN THEY ARE NOT RECORDED AS HAVING COMPLETED THAT LAP.
For a board race it is NOT a good idea to set a Start/Finish line part way up the beat. From experience the line is either too short for a start line - a normal board start will find all the boards sitting on the start line then pumping away - or too long for a finish line (see "Audible Sound Signal" below). It also restricts the beat and most importantly our competitors are not used to this layout. It is better to err on the long side for the Start Line but keep the Finish Line quite short.
It is NOT a good idea to set the middle gybe mark close to the line between the windward and leeward marks as this could prove dangerous in windy weather because boards on the beat are often unaware of boards reaching down on them at a fast speed. The reaching boards should, of course keep clear anyway as being to windward, but accidents have happened before.
It is NOT advisable to set a starboard-hand course as this will probably cause chaos around the windward mark. Boards have no rudders and need plenty of room to tack.
The LWA Start Sequence follows the pattern used at the UKWA national events, which is the same as the ISAF sequence, however as standard procedure Flag I (Round the Ends Rule) will be flown in place of Flag P. The LWA will supply the flags and a waterproof sheet showing the flag movements for you to take on the Committee Boat. Care should be taken to ensure that the flags are compatible with the attachment system used on your Committee Boat, otherwise the organising club's set of flags may have to be used instead.
In the sequence shown below, there is a flag movement and a sound signal at 5 and 4 minutes prior to the start and at 1 minute and go.
a) 5 minutes before the start:
- Class Flag R (RED WITH YELLOW CROSS) is hoisted + one sound signal.
b) 4 minutes before the start:
- Flag I (YELLOW WITH BLACK SPOT) (Round the Ends Rule) is hoisted + one sound signal.
c) 1 minute before the start:
- Flag I (YELLOW WITH BLACK SPOT) is lowered + one sound signal
- Class Flag R (RED WITH YELLOW CROSS) is lowered + one sound signal
In the event of a General Recall, one minute after the First Substitute flag is lowered the Class Flag will go up indicating 5 minutes to the Start.
In the Icebreaker Series a Gate start is often used. The LWA will supply the Pathfinder for Race One, after which the board in 5th position will be pathfinder for the subsequent race.
Race Duration is time-based not lap-based.
In board fleets there is a very large discrepancy between the speed of the leaders and the back markers who can frequently be lapped in a three lap race. These then have to exhaust themselves doing another whole lap whilst the rest of the fleet are waiting for the next start.
To minimise this problem we do NOT set a fixed number of laps for the races, simply an approximate time limit for the race leaders. This means in practice that ALL races are shortened! The Race Officer should select a suitable moment about 25 minutes after the start when there is a gap in the fleet on the last reach (preferably just before a bunch of back-markers are about to round the next to last mark) and then raise the "S" flag with two sound signals. It is not necessary to wait for the race leader to come round the next to last mark as our software will sort out the results.
If the leader is completing his first lap at around 25 minutes then he would complete two laps in about 50 minutes. This would be one and a half hours or more for the back markers! If he completes two laps in about 25 minutes and were allowed to continue for a third, then this would mean a sub 40 minute race for him and well over an hour for the back markers. However if there is plenty of wind and the leaders have completed two laps well within the 25 minutes there is every reason to let them continue for a third lap.
The Race Officer is encouraged to use his discretion, bearing in mind the wind conditions, to finish the race earlier than 25 minutes if he feels it appropriate. Competitors appreciate not having to pump their boards round an unnecessary extra lap in light wind conditions. It is usually a good idea to err on the shorter side for the first race.
Frequently Junior sailors will start on the same line and at the same time as the main fleet. However, depending on numbers, abilities and conditions, a separate start may be used, usually one minute after the main fleet.
Junior sailors will often sail just one lap and a separate windward mark or other mark may be designated to produce a smaller course for them.
These arrangements will be discussed with parents and the Race Officer on the day and details will be given at the Briefing.
Recording the results:
Because the LWA uses a Grand Prix Finish system, it is essential for the Committee Boat to record in sequence the numbers of all the boards crossing between the committee boat and the leeward mark ON EVERY LAP. No attempt should be made to divide them up into laps completed, our computer program will do this more efficiently.
However PLEASE MAKE A NOTE OF THE NUMBER OF LAPS COMPLETED BY THE WINNER and note this clearly on the score sheets as this saves time for the results team.
PLEASE ENSURE THAT THE RECORD SHEETS ARE SENT ASHORE AS SOON AS A RACE HAS ENDED SO THAT THE RESULTS TEAM CAN BEGIN
WORKING ON THEM.
At the Briefing it MUST be emphasised on the course diagram that ALL BOARDS MUST CROSS THE FINISH LINE ON EVERY LAP.
Clearly audible finishing signal:
The importance of giving a clearly audible sound signal to ALL boards crossing the Finish Line can not be overstressed, because some sailors who are not used to this system still think they have to do a fixed number of laps and they continue round the course and consequently delay the start of the next race. Hence the importance of having a short Finish Line so that sailors can actually hear their finishing signal!
Time between races:
Two races are usually sailed "back to back" in the morning and two in the afternoon. Especially in cold weather, sailors appreciate a fairly rapid move to start the second race. Back-markers do of course need a short rest but this has to be weighed against the well-being of the rest of the fleet, some of whom are likely to give up before the next race because they are suffering from the cold. It can be extremely unpleasant floating about on a board praying for the Race Office to start the next race before you freeze to death!
Whilst it is appreciated that the Race Team has been cold and probably wet all morning and will have to endure a similar afternoon, the lunch break should also be kept as brief as possible. Most sailors do not eat a huge meal and again they can get very cold in a sweaty wetsuit.
The intention is that all racing takes place in suitable conditions. The Race Officer shall be the sole judge of the suitability of conditions, with a recommended windspeed of 3 knots or above consistently across the course. If the leading board has not passed the windward mark after 15 minutes from the start, the race should be abandoned unless there is clear evidence that the wind is filling in. There is a 1pm cutoff for cancellation of the event.
All competitors have been instructed to bring buoyancy aids with them to be used at the discretion of the Race Officer. Unless conditions are force 4+ sailors will not expect to be instructed to wear them however. Competitors under 18 years of age must wear them at all times. At certain venues buoyancy aids are compulsory for ALL sailors.
In the Summer Series, depending on weather conditions, we may choose to run a Fifth Race in the form of a “Fun” handicap/pursuit, with handicaps based on the results of Race 1 and Race 2. Competitors are divided into four or five groups based on their finishing position and these are sent off at one or two minute intervals.
The idea is to keep the format very simple and for competitors just to enjoy themselves. So far it has worked well and produced enjoyable racing. If a Handicap Race is planned, this will mean an extra briefing either after lunch or before the last race.
The usual Start Sequence is used for the first group to start, then a gun at either one or two minute intervals as the signal for the remaining groups.
Whether this will take place will be decided by the Race Committee on the day.