Date effective: 3rd October 2023
Please note that these policies are guidelines for the Race Committee. These guidelines do not change the rules that apply at an event. Failure to observe these guidelines is not grounds for redress.
1. Definitions 1
1.1 Class Representative (CR) – appointed by ILCA to represent the Class on-site during the event responsible for conduct of a championship in a manner which will ensure fair and equal competition in conformity with the Class standards and requirements.
1.2 Class Course Representative (CCR) – the ILCA Race Officer appointed by World Sailing or ILCA responsible for the conduct of racing on the course area.
1.3 Principal Race Officer (PRO) – the chief Race Officer appointed by World Sailing, ILCA or Local Organizing Authority (LOA) responsible for the conduct of racing on all course areas.
1.4 Course Race Officer (CRO) – a race officer appointed by the LOA responsible for managing the race committee for an assigned course area.
1.5 Race Committee (RC) – the Principal Race Officer, Class Course Representative(s), Course Race Officer(s) and all on-the-water volunteers responsible for managing racing.
1.6 Technical Committee (TC) – the Chairman of Technical Committee and its members responsible for equipment inspection.
1.7 International Jury (IJ) – the Chairman of the International Jury and its members, responsible for on-the-water judging, conducting the hearings and interpretation of the rules.
1.8 Attachment A outlines the respective roles of the ILCA Course Representative, the Principal Race Officer and the Course Race Officer.
1.9 “Will” means the intentions of the race committee.
2. General Principles
2.1 The role of the race committee is to conduct the races and to facilitate racing as directed by the organizing authority as required by the rules.
2.2 These guidelines are applicable for any course and any target time.
2.3 A shortage of time or completed races is not a basis for variance from these guidelines.
3. Times/Timing/Changes in Schedule
3.1 Times will be based on GPS time. The starting sequence will begin on an exact minute – hh:mm:00.
3.2 Starts will not be delayed for competitors to reach the race area if they could have arrived with reasonable diligence.
3.3 The orange starting line flags(s) will be removed (with no sound signal) four minutes after the starting signal unless the race committee intends to make the warning signal for the next fleet to start within ten minutes of the previous start.
3.4 When racing back-to-back, the interval between the finish line closure and the new warning signal for that group will normally not be less than 5 minutes. This may be varied according to conditions.
3.5 If the weather forecast suggests it is unlikely that racing will be possible on an upcoming day (too much or too little wind) the schedule may be changed to sail more races in a day. The number of races sailed will not become more than one race ahead of schedule and any change will be notified on the day before it is to take effect.
4. Weather Conditions for Racing
4.1 The race will be started at the scheduled time if the wind conditions and visibility are within the parameters outlined in these guidelines. Waiting for ‘better’ conditions may be unfair, and will be avoided.
4.2 The race committee will not wait for the wind to ‘stabilize’. Competitors can compete in “shifty” conditions.
4.3 The start may be postponed if a major wind shift is expected based on a known pattern or other reliable information (example: sea breeze can be seen in the distance and is expected to fill in). Otherwise, the race committee will start the race. The wind shift may not occur, the course can be corrected or the shift may occur after the race is completed.
4.4 Wind will be measured from drifting boats.
4.5 Average wind speed will be determined over a five-minute period.
4.6 Races will not be started in less than an average of 5 knots of wind established over the entire course area. This limit may be higher if there is strong current in the racing area.
4.7 Races will not be started in more than an average of 25 knots. For ILCA 4 Youth and ILCA Masters fleets this upper limit may be less and the decision will be made by the ICR after considering the safety and fairness for all competitors.
4.8 Races will not be started if reduced visibility prevents the race committee from sighting the starting line and identifying boats on the course side of the starting line. The fact that the first mark cannot be seen from the starting area is not, in and of itself, a reason to postpone racing.
4.9 Where possible, the race committee will postpone the racing ashore (AP, or AP over Numerical pennant) or send competitors ashore (AP over H) if existing weather conditions are not suitable for racing.
4.10 For ILCA 4 Youth and ILCA Grand Masters and Legend fleets the suggested maximum time in the water after the first warning signal of the day is 5 hours, depending on the weather conditions (for safety reasons).
5. Format of Racing
5.1 The event will be sailed as a Single Series. If the number of entries will exceed the limits stated in 5.4 below, the event will be split into the fleets and the Series will be divided into a Qualifying Series and Final Series.
5.2 No medal series races, or similar should be sailed, except for the Olympic fleets (ILCA 7 Men and ILCA 6 Women) when the event is an Olympic Qualifying event.
5.3 Any other division(s) referred to in the appropriate Notice of Race will race in the fleets of the main event. When racing is to be in more than one fleet, the number of fleets and the assignment of competitors to fleets are at the discretion of the ILCA Course Representative.
5.4 The number of fleets is likely to be based on the number of entries as follows:
5.5 Qualifying Series
- (a) Boats will be assigned to the fleets of, as nearly as possible equal size and ability according to their ranking in specified championship(s) and finally in random order.
- (b) Boats will be reassigned to fleets after every day of racing, except if on the first day of racing fewer than two races are completed by all fleets. If all fleets have completed the same number of races, boats will be reassigned on the basis of their ranks in the series. If all fleets have not completed the same number of races, the series score for reassignment will be calculated for those races, numbered in order of completion, completed by all fleets.
- (c) Reassignments will be made as follows: If two or more boats have the same rank, they will be entered in the left column in the order of fleets.
- (d) In case of an odd number of competitors, the last competitor in odd fleet to be assigned will race in higher fleet.
- (e) If all fleets have not completed the same number of races by end of a day, the fleets with fewer races will continue racing the following day until all fleets have completed the same number of races. All boats will thereafter race in the new fleets according to 5.5(b).
5.6 Final Series
- (a) Boats will be assigned to the Gold, Silver, Bronze, Emerald fleets on the basis of their ranks in the Qualifying Series (discards applied) but with no ties broken.
- (b) At the break point any competitors with the same score will race in the higher fleet.
- (c) In Final Series there will be the same number (and approximate size) of fleets as in Qualifying Series.
- (d) Any recalculation of Qualifying Series overall rankings after competitors have been assigned to Final Series fleets will not affect the assignments except that a redress decision may promote a competitor to a higher fleet.
6.1 The race committee will attempt to set the longest possible first leg within the constraints of the course area and the target time. The compass bearing to Mark 1 will be displayed on the start vessel.
6.2 The course length will be laid to give the first boat of each fleet the best chance of achieving the target time.
6.3 For trapezoid courses, the length of the reaching leg between Marks 1 and 2 will be approximately two-thirds of the length of leg 1.
6.4 The reaching leg angle is 110° off the wind.
6.5 Gates will be approximately 10 hull lengths wide, laid square to the sailing wind. Variations in width and angle may be appropriate to adjust for current or other prevailing conditions. Laser range finder is a helpful tool to be used to determine the width of gates.
6.6 Usually leeward gate Marks 4p/4s will be laid after the start (last start of the sequence in case of multiple fleets). In deep water or strong current Marks 4p/4s may be laid before the start. They will be laid approximately 0.05 nm above the starting line.
6.7 When only one gate mark is in a position, that mark shall be rounded to port. A suitable sailing instruction is: “In the event that a gate mark is missing and has not been replaced with an object displaying flag M, the remaining mark shall be rounded to port.”
7. Starting Line
7.1 Windward starting lines will generally be laid square to the median sailing wind. Current, favored side of the course, expected wind shifts and other variables may justify variation from this guideline in order to achieve an even spread on the starting line.
7.2 The following formula is a guide for the length of the starting line. A larger multiplier may be used in strong winds or heavy seas.
Starting line length = number of boats x Boat length (4.24m) x Multiplying factor (1.5).
7.3 For medal races with 10 boats (the Olympic fleets only), the starting line length should be approximately 100 metres.
7.4 Laser range finders and/or GPS will be used to determine starting line lengths.
8. Starting Procedure
8.1 The RRS Rule 26 will be used.
8.2 Flag U (RRS 30.3) will be used for the first attempt of the start of each race.
8.3 For medal races (the Olympic fleets only), flag P will be used for the first attempt.
8.4 In the event of a postponement or a general recall that has been caused by the length or angle of the starting line, the race committee will adjust the starting line and make another attempt using the same preparatory signal.
8.5 If the race committee is satisfied that a postponement or a general recall was not the result of the starting line, it will use the black flag for each subsequent attempt. The black flag will only be used when general recalls are caused by the boats themselves, or rapid oscillations of the wind, and not by actions of the race committee.
9. Sighting the Line
9.1 The race committee will sight the starting line from each end.
9.2 When Class Course Representative(s) are appointed, they will sight the starting line with another member of the race committee.
9.3 Each line sighter will use a hand-held voice recording device and record, without stopping, from at least 90 seconds before the starting signal until after anything of interest after the start. A commentary of anything of interest will be recorded (such as boards getting close to the line, bunching, etc.).
9.4 Each day’s recording will be saved and indexed for easy retrieval.
9.5 Competitors, who have been scored UFD or BFD, and their support persons, may review the recordings of the applicable start(s). A time and location for doing so will be announced.
10. Postponing a Race During the Starting Procedure
10.1 The race committee will postpone the race during the starting procedure if the mean wind shifts more than 10 degrees or in the event other influences cause boats to bunch at one end of the start line. In rapid oscillations the race committee will endeavour to lay a starting line based on the mean oscillations expected.
10.2 The race committee will consider postponing the start for any of the following reasons: a drifting mark,
- (a) a significant error in the timing of signals,
- (b) other boats interfering with the competing boats,
- (c) other boats interfering with the competing boats,
- (d) inappropriate starting line length or angle,
- (e) a reduction in visibility preventing the race committee from sighting the starting line or identifying premature starters,
- (f) other factors that might affect the fairness of the race.
10.3 If the race committee considers that adjusting the starting line is unlikely to improve the chances of fair start then the start will be allowed to continue.
10.4 For a postponement that the race committee anticipates will be longer than 10 minutes, the orange starting line flag(s) will be removed (with no sound signal).
11.1 When using P flag (medal races only), if the race committee is satisfied that all boats on the course side of the line have been identified, an Individual Recall will be signalled. In no circumstances will an individual recall be signalled later than 5 seconds after the starting signal.
11.2 The race committee will signal a general recall if it believes that unidentified boats were on the course side of the line.
11.3 When using U flag, if a general recall is going to be necessary due to unidentified boats on the course side of the starting line early in the minute prior to the starting signal, a postponement will be signalled immediately. If the race committee is satisfied that the starting line was fair, then the next start will use black flag.
11.4 Except after a black flag general recall (when the requirements of RRS 30.4 will be met), sail number of boats recorded UFD or BFD will be posted on the start vessel after boats have started, or in the case of more than one fleet on the same course, after the last fleet of that sequence of starts has started.
11.5 If a race management error is discovered after the starting signal (e.g., timing), the race committee may abandon the race (by using flag N). In these circumstances, the race committee will not signal a general recall.
12. Shortening The Course
12.1 Race committee may decide to shorten the course according to RRS 32 however, the course should not be shortened before the end of the second upwind leg.
12.2 Reducing the length of a leg, even the final leg, may be done by using a minus sign as specified in RRS 33.
13.1 On the first half of the first leg, the race committee may abandon a race in the event of persistent wind shift of more than 25 degrees. After that, the race committee will let the race continue if it is able to adjust to the changed conditions.
13.2 Visibility: The race committee will consider abandoning a race if it is satisfied that a reduction in visibility affects its ability to safely manage racing. The fact that boats cannot see the next mark from the prior mark is not, in and of itself, reason to abandon the race.
13.3 Collapse of wind: The race committee may abandon the race when it is unlikely that the leading boat will complete the course within the overall time limit given the wind conditions at that point in time.
13.4 Once a race has been started, the race committee will not abandon the race simply because the average wind speed increases beyond the stated limits. The race committee will consider abandoning the race if it is unable to safely manage racing.
13.5 The race committee may abandon the race when a new wind has caused the fleet to invert.
13.6 The race committee will make every effort to ensure that other vessels do not interfere with racing. The race committee will consider abandoning the race if it determines that an outside influence has made the race unfair.
14. Adjusting the Course to a New Wind Speed or Direction
14.1 Change in wind direction:
- (a) With a persistent wind shift of 10° or less the course will not be changed unless necessary to adjust for current or to provide a true downwind leg.
- (b) Between 10° and 15° consideration will be given to adjusting the course to the new wind provided that the race committee is confident that the shift is likely to persist.
- (c) With a persistent wind shift of more than 15°, the race committee will attempt to change the course to the new wind.
- (d) With a persistent wind shift of more than 45°, the race committee will consider its influence on the race. Under these circumstances, the race committee may either change the course or abandon the race.
- (e) Frequent and violent oscillations: Under these circumstances the race committee may not be able to adjust the course sufficiently or quickly enough to maintain the fairness of the race. In this case the race may be abandoned.
- (f) Changes in current or a difference in the angle of the current relative to the wind may justify variations from these guidelines.
14.2 Changes in length of legs:
- (a) The race committee will attempt to minimize the number of changes in leg length to achieve target times. In general, changes in length will only be made if it appears that the time for the first finisher will be more than 20% outside the target time.
- (b) Change in leg lengths will not be made to reduce a leg to less than 50% or increase a leg to more than 150% of original leg length.
- (c) Changes in current may justify variations from these guidelines.
15. Finishing Line/Finishing Procedures
15.1 For trapezoid courses, the finishing line will be set 0.15 nm from the mark 3 gate, or from the mark 5 in case of upwind finish.
15.2 The finishing line will be laid before the first boat begins the final leg.
15.3 The blue flag on the finish-vessel will be displayed (with no sound signal) as the first boat rounds:
- (a) Mark 2 for the final time in case of trapezoid courses; or
- (b) Mark 1 for windward-leeward courses; or
- (c) Mark 3p/3s gate for windward finishes.
15.4 In the case of a late course change for the final leg, the blue flag will be displayed as soon as possible after the finishing line has been laid.
15.5 The finishing line will be approximately 50 metres in length, set square to the direction from the last mark for reaching finishes and square to the sailing wind for upwind finishes. Laser range finders should be used to establish the length of the finishing line.
15.6 The blue flag on the finish boat will be removed (with no sound signal) upon the earlier of:
- (a) Expiration of the time limit, or
- (b) Immediately after the last boat finishes.
15.7 There will be two line sighters on the finish vessel.
15.8 Each line sighter will use a hand-held recording device to record the order of finish.
15.9 Each day’s recording will be saved and indexed for easy retrieval.
15.10 A written record of the finishing order will also be maintained by a finish vessel.
15.11 Competitors and support persons may listen to the voice recording(s) and review the written records of their finishes.
15.12 If possible, the finishes should be video recorded from both ends.
16. Corrections Due to Scoring Errors/Requests for Redress
16.1 The race committee will adjust posted finishing places according to RRS 90.3(c), if it is satisfied that, based upon its records or observation, it has made a scoring error.
16.2 If the race committee believes it may have made any other error affecting the outcome of the race for which redress may be available, it may request redress on behalf of the potentially affected boat(s).
17. Race Committee Protests
17.1 Since the primary responsibility for protesting breaches of the rules rests with competitors, the race committee will not normally protest a boat.
17.2 The race committee may protest a boat in the following circumstances:
- (a) A breach of a sailing instruction that may not be protested by another boat;
- (b) An apparent breach of good sportsmanship (RRS 2);
- (c) Failing to take a penalty after knowingly touching a mark and not protested by another boat;
17.3 The Sailing Instructions may permit the race committee or technical committee to impose the standard penalties in some circumstances. The list of breaches, standard penalties and the criteria for making these decisions will be published in sailing instructions and will be posted on the official notice board.
18.1 All race committee vessels (signal, pin, finish and mark boats) should be equipped with a GPS.
18.2 All GPS units will be set up to display as follows:
- (a) Distance in nautical miles (nm), however the starting line length in meters (m).
- (b) Time to local time zone in 24-hour format
- (c) Compass bearing in magnetic
- (d) Latitude and Longitude in degrees, minutes and decimal minutes (example: 39° 27.928 North, 034° 17.464 East)
- (e) Map Datum WGS 84
ATTACHMENT A – THE ROLES OF RACE OFFICERS
ILCA Course Representative (ICR):
- Is appointed (one for each course area) by the ILCA (International Laser Class Association);
- Is the technical representative of ILCA for race management on site during event;
- Is responsible to ensure fair and equal competition of a consistent standard according to ILCA requirements;
- Will approve the sailing instructions, changes to the sailing instructions, notices to competitors, marks, ground tackle and race committee vessels;
- Will work closely with the Principal Race Officer (PRO), or Course Race Officer (CRO) and may initiate action in relation to any matter concerning the race management (including decisions relating to preparatory signals, OCS, postponement, change of course, shortening, abandonment, protesting competitors and scoring) in which case the PRO or CRO will be governed by the ICR decision.
Course Race Officer (CRO) and if appointed, the Principal Race Officer (PRO):
- Is appointed by the Local Organizing Authority (LOA);
- Is responsible for managing the race committee and conducting the races according to the directives of ICR and for the management of all safety procedures.
- Will not take action in relation to any of the following matters (weather or not altered by the sailing instructions) without the approval of the ICR for that course area:
- Postponement [RRS 27.3];
- Course selection, location, configuration and race duration;
- Whether a starting line is to be moved or adjusted [RRS 27.2];
- Starting line decisions (OCS and recalls [RRS 29], starting penalties [UFD, Black Flag – RRS 30]);
- Changing Course/moving marks – adjusting the course to a new wind strength or direction [RRS 33];
- Abandoning [RRS 27.3, 32 and 35];
- Determination of finishing position;
- Corrections due to scoring errors [RRS 90.3(c)];
- Requesting redress on behalf of a boat;
- Protesting a boat;
- Imposing a penalty [RRS 90.3, A5];
- Amending the sailing instructions or notice of race;
- Racing areas to be used; and