A guide to the WiSH SC Sunday Experience

This simple guide is how to make the most of the activities which take place at WiSH SC on Sunday. Although it focuses on racing, many members of all ages also come down to have a leisurely sail or simply to enjoy each other’s company.

Please note

  1. Some members will take part in all races, others just one, two or three.

  2. Recreational sailors are welcome on Sundays.  They are asked to launch and recover during races to avoid the busy times and to note the course and keep away from busy race marks.

There can be three different race formats during the day. You can check which take place on our racing calendar here.

  1. The pursuit race. This is where the boats are started in reverse order of their PY (Portsmouth Yardstick). The boats start at intervals with the slowest designs going first. The race stops fifty minutes after the first boat starts. The final positions are simply the positions on the water.

  2. The average lap handicap race. The boats all start together. However, the final finishing times are adjusted using the PY and average lap times to make a fair competition.

  3. The flight race. This combines the boat’s handicap with the helm’s ability. Each helm is placed into a flight, or category. The more experienced or successful you are, the later your start time. All members are given a flight category which are displayed in the club house. Guests and new members should see the sailing secretary for further information.

Both the flight and the handicap races use average lap times with races lasting between forty and fifty minutes. This means that a slower boat could complete one less lap than the winning boat, but still get a credited time and position.

The racing is competitive, but always friendly. Most races contribute to a “series” of races running over several Sundays with a scoring system that allows for absences.  Sometimes all the races on one day count towards a special trophy.  Those new to racing are advised to start off “following the sails” for a few races in order to get a feel for the events. It is important that all helms are familiar with the rules of racing. A simplified version can be found here.

All races use a 5, 4, 1 start system. Often there is a ten-minute warning signal too. More information can be found in the Sailing Instructions

Sunday procedures

Most Sundays follow the same pattern.

  1. Crews start arriving from about 10.30 to get their boats ready.

  2. Tea (50p) and coffee (60p) is available from the galley.

  3. Now is a good time to order your hot lunch if needed (Change out of £5.00). Payment is by cash or card.

  4. The changing rooms are opened. These are now equipped with air purifiers as part of our Covid precautions. Keys can be left in the safe. Please see a member for the combination.

  5. The Race Officer (RO) posts the course on the blackboard by the main door. There are plenty of willing members around to point out the location of each mark. This must be checked before each race as the course can change as the wind shifts.

  6. If you are new to racing, please make yourself known to the RO so that your boat is entered. You will need to give your boat class and sail number plus your name and the name any crew. Once done a few times this is captured in the race computer.

  7. The first race is usually the pursuit race with a start time of 11.30

  8. Most members eat lunch from the galley, some bring sandwiches. There are indoor and outdoor seating areas for this important social time.

  9. The afternoon racing will depend on the amount of daylight, so check the racing calendar. The first race will start at 1.30 (summer) or (1.15) winter and is usually an average lap handicap race.

  10. The third race 14.45 (summer) or 14.30 (winter) might be a flight race.

  11. In summer, there is usually a short gap to the last race.

Remember

We were all beginners once and we are all (or should be) learning from each other. Never feel embarrassed to ask a question. There will always be someone available to help. This includes rigging your boat, getting around the course, or advising on gaining that extra bit of speed.

We look forward to seeing you for the Sunday experience soon.

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Wigan and St Helens 
Sailing Club
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