NIHSA Regatta Sailing Instructions

Last updated in 2016

Click here for a printable PDF of the NIHSA Regatta Sailing Instructions.


This regatta will be conducted, and must be sailed, by the rules as defined in the current Racing Rules of Sailing of the International Sailing Federation, except where superseded by these Sailing Instructions. The Race Committee Chairman has sole authority for all decisions affecting the regatta.

As in any regatta run under ISF rules, it is the responsibility of each skipper and crew to decide whether or not to start or to continue to race. NIHSA cannot be held responsible for any accident or injury.

Skippers’ Meeting

Promptly at 9:00am the Race Committee Chairman (or the Chairman’s designated representative) will meet at the dock with all skippers to review the sailing instructions and provide any additional directives. Modifications to these sailing instructions may be given orally by the Race Committee, either at this meeting or on the water (this modifies Rule 90.2c).

Sail to Race Course Site

At the conclusion of the skippers’ meeting, all boats are expected to leave the dock and, as quickly as possible, sail to the designated racing area. The race course will be set depending on the conditions: a) in the South River opposite Selby Bay or b) in Selby Bay.

Report to Committee Boat

Upon arriving at the race course site, each boat must report directly to the Committee Boat located at the start/finish line by close hailing (call out your sail number) at which time it will be acknowledged as a starter. Failure to report to the Committee Boat within a reasonable period could disqualify a boat from the first race. The Committee shall sound a series of short horn blasts to signify the start of the regatta. The Warning Signal (5 minutes to Start) may be hoisted at any time after this signal.



Letter(s) identifying which course is to be sailed (WL = Windward Leeward Course, T = Triangle Cours, MG = Modified Gold Cup Course, DWS = Down Wind Start Course) will be displayed by the Committee Boat prior to the Warning Signal for each race. The Windward Leeward course is to be sailed once around (WL) or twice around (WL2) depending on which signal is displayed. For WL courses, the “reach” (or “gybe”) mark shown above is NOT taken as a mark of the course (and may not be set at all). Boats may freely chose their courses between the windward and the leeward marks.


Starting and Finishing Line

The starting and finishing line will be between the yellow flag on the Committee Boat and the starting mark which is an 18 inch round red buoy. Another small, white, "keep off" mark without a flag may be attached to the transom of the Committee Boat. This "keep off" mark must be passed on the side away from the Committee Boat.

The committee Boat is considered a mark, as is the "keep off" mark. A boat is not entitled to room between a leeward boat and the Committee Boat; nor is a boat clear ahead or leeward entitled to room to tack to avoid hitting either the Committee Boat, including its anchor rode, or the "keep off" mark. Barging the Committee Boat is not allowed; beware – a leeward boat has a "right of way" and the windward boat is not entitled to room at the Committee Boat! AVOID SAILING CLOSE TO THE COMMITTEE BOAT.

The starting and finishing marks are not marks of the course except when starting and finishing. All marks other than the starting and finishing marks are rounding marks. These rounding marks are 24 inch round yellow bouys.

Changing the Course

The positions of the marks may be adjusted either before or after the start of a race. The Race Committee need not signal this by visual or sound signal (this modifies Rule 33). No mark will be moved, however, while a boat is sailing the leg ended by that mark.

Starting Signals


Warning signal

Prep signal

One-minute signal

Start signal

Visual Cue

Class flag up

"P" flag (Blue Peter) up

"P" flag down

Class flag down

Audio Cue



Horn (long)


Time to Start

5 minutes to start

4 minutes to start

1 minute to start


Other Signals

Individual Recall – Boat(s) over early will be hailed by name and must perform penalty (see Penalties below). Other boats continue racing. Committee Boat will hail “all clear” if no boat is over early. Recall flag (blue plus on the white background, "X") may or may not be used by committee.

General Recall – A series of short blasts of the horn will be the general recall of all boats in the race (this modifies Rule 29.2). Recall flag ("First substitute") may or may not be used by committee. The restart sequence for that race will begin with the Warning Signal (Class Flag up, horn signal, at 5 minutes to Start), and may be raised at any time greater than one minute after the general recall is sounded.

Finishes and Subsequent Starts – The Committee shall sound a short blast of the horn and call out the sail number of the first boat over. Subsequent finishers will be acknowledged by calling out their sail number. The last boat crossing will be acknowledged by a long horn blast and calling out their sail number. The Warning Flag for the next race in the series may be raised at any time greater than one minute after the last boat finishes the preceding race.



Postponement or Delay of Start – Red and white, Answering Pennant. Lowered with horn signal one minute before Warning Signal (5 minutes to Start).

Come within Hail – Black and yellow squares, “L”. All boats report to the Committee Boat.

Wear a personal flotation device - Red and yellow diagonal stripes, "Y". Raised with one horn signal. All competitors must wear a personal flotation device (life jacket).

Course shortened - finish here - Blue square on white background, "S". Two horn signals given when raised and as each boat approaches. Finish now between the committee and the pin; do not sail the next lap.

Come Within Hail

Come Within Hail

Use of Turtle Busters – In the interest of preserving club property, at the discretion of the Race Committee, the use of club-owned masthead flotation devices (“turtle busters”) may be required. Use of these devices is otherwise at the option of the skipper and crew.




To initiate a protest, a skipper must notify both the boat being protested (by hailing “Protest” at the time of the alleged infringement) and the Race Committee (upon completion of the race; the protest need not be in writing (this modifies Rule 61.2 and 61.3)). The Protest Committee appointed by the Race Committee Chairman shall hear both sides immediately preceding the awards ceremony and render a decision.


Class rules provide that the same skipper shall handle the helm through all races except that he or she may have the crew handle the helm while making adjustments or handling the spinnaker, including setting, flying, and dousing the spinnaker.


Penalty for being over early at the start – Return to behind the line and restart without interfering with any other boat.

Penalty for touching a mark – Upon touching a mark, the boat must sail directly off the course without interfering with any other boat, immediately execute a 360° turn, and return to the course without interfering with any other boat.

Alternative penalties – If a boat infringes any rule or sailing instruction during a race, it should either retire immediately or execute a 720° turn (360° turn for boats that must recover a spinnaker (this modifies Rule 44.2)) as soon as it can execute that turn without interfering with any other boat.

Time Limits

Any boat(s) that have not yet crossed the finish line 1/2 hour after the preceding boat will be scored DNF for that race and will be offered a tow to the starting line (if necessary and possible) so as to be able to compete in the following race without further penalty. The committee shall exercise its judgment in enforcing this rule, subject to conditions, position of boats on the course, and the intended goal of facilitating competition. (This modifies Rules 35 and A4.1).


In each race, points will be awarded as follows (all races count):

1st: ¾
2nd: 2
3rd: 3
4th: 4
5th: 5
6th: 6
RET, DSQ, OCS, DNF, DNS: # of boats in regatta + 1

RET = Retired (started at least one race in regatta, but did not complete the regatta).
DSQ = Disqualified because of failure to do penalty
OCS = On Course Side at start – did not return below line to restart
DNF = Did Not Finish the race in the allotted time
DNS = Did Not Start the race

Tied scores will be resolved by applying the following criteria in order until the tie is broken (only first place ties will be resolved, all other ties will stand):

  1. The boat which beat the other the most number of times.
  2. The boat which had the higher number of better place finishes (numbers of 1st, 2nd, etc.).
  3. The boat that scored best in the last race competed by the tied boats.