Posts Tagged ‘start’

PostHeaderIcon Black Flag Rule

Racing Rules of Sailing for 2013 – 2016 rule 30.3 states in part, “If a (solid) black flag has been displayed, no part of a boat’s hull, crew, or equipment shall be in the triangle formed by the ends of the start line and the first mark during the last minute before her starting signal. If a boat breaks this rule and is identified, she shall be disqualified without a hearing….” The black flag rule imposes a severe penalty on any boat that is on the course side of the start line for any reason during the last minute of a start sequence (such as being over early). See also: BFD.

PostHeaderIcon Individual Recall

when the line sighter on the race committee boat identifies one or more individual competitors as being on the start line’s course side at the race’s official start (OCS). The race committee displays the International Code Flag “X” (square flag with a blue cross dividing a white field) and sounds a signal—to avoid confusion, it is probably a different sound than is used as the start signal. The X flag remains on display until all identified boats have properly restarted. If the applicable Sailing Instructions allow, the race committee may also notify those competitors who were over early by hailing them or alerting them over the radio. However, competitors are expected to know whether they started correctly. See also: Racing Rules of Sailing for 2013 – 2016 rules 29.1. For penalties that are applied for rule violations at the start, see rule 30, Black Flag Rule, I Flag Rule, and Z Flag Rule.

PostHeaderIcon General Recall

a recall that occurs when the race committee is unclear which competitors violated the starting sequence rules, or when there is an error in the starting sequence. The race committee initiates a general recall by displaying the First Substitute (a blue pennant with a smaller, inner yellow triangle)and simultaneously firing two sounds. See Racing Rules of Sailing for 2013 – 2016 rule 29.2.

PostHeaderIcon Starting Sequence

the display timing for the various flags and optional sounds used to indicate the countdown to and a race’s start. Typically, a warning flag is displayed at five minutes before a race’s start and, optionally, one sound is sounded. At four minutes, a preparatory flag is displayed and one optional sound is sounded. At one minute before a race’s start, the prep flag is lowered with an optional long sound, and at the race’s start the warning flag is lowered along with the sounding of one optional sound. The starting sequence is specified in Racing Rules of Sailing for 2013 – 2016 rule 26 and may be modified by the applicable Sailing Instructions. See also: attention flag, class flag, rolling starts and signal boat. For some special rules that apply only during the starting sequence see: black flag rule, general recall, individual recall, round-an-end rule and z flag rule.


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Bob Roitblat is an avid sailor, writer and professional speaker. If you have any comments about this blog, or you are interested in having Bob to speak at your club, contact the author here: bob@sailorspeak.com

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PostHeaderIcon Start Line Bias

whether and how much a start line’s angle differs from being perpendicular to the wind. See also: favored end.

PostHeaderIcon Wrap Up

sailing legend Terry Hutchinson’s term for the final approach to the start line, just prior to the starting gun, when the boat is brought up hard on the wind.

PostHeaderIcon ZFP

an initialism for “Z flag penalty.” The scoring abbreviation used to indicate that a boat violated Racing Rules of Sailing 2013 – 2016 Rule 30.2 and has been assessed a 20% scoring penalty. The adjustment may be different for an individual race than for a race that is part of a series longer than a regatta. See Racing Rules of Sailing 2013 – 2016 Appendix A11. The applicable Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions may also modify the number of points assessed. See also: Z flag rule.

PostHeaderIcon Code Flags

short for International code flags or signaling flags. A set of flags in different colors and shapes and with various markings that, when used singly or in combination, have different meanings. They also have different meanings when used for racing than they do for fishing or shipping. The flags include 26 square flags that depict the letters of the alphabet, ten numeral pendants, one answering pendant, and three substituters or repeaters. See also: cat-in-the-hat, class flag, prep flag, recalls, and warning flag.

PostHeaderIcon Pin End

Slang for the start line’s end opposite that marked by the principal race committee boat. It is almost always the port end of the start line when you are facing towards the weather mark. Pin end is also slang for the finish line’s end opposite that marked by the principal race committee boat. Known as the outer distance mark to British and Commonwealth sailors. See also: line start.

PostHeaderIcon Postponement

there are three types of postponements: indefinite postponement, races postponed – further signals ashore, and races postponed to another day. When racing is postponed indefinitely the race committee displays the AP flag and sounds two signals. When racing is postponed and there are further signals ashore the race committee displays the AP flag over the International Code Flag “H” (square flag with the left half white and the right half red) and sounds two signals. When races are postponed to another day the race committee displays the AP flag over the International Code Flag “A” (square flag with the left half white, the right half blue and a notch in the right vertical edge) and sounds two signals. Compare to: abandonment and general recall.

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