Summary and Introduction
So, you have the job of running RC this Sunday. Thank you! Without volunteers like you there would be no sailboat racing. We have posted a great deal of important and useful information here to help you. Please take the time to read through the links carefully so that you are prepared to run safe and enjoyable races.
The PRO is required to hold a skipper’s meeting at 1000 in the area near the launch cranes. The PRO should report the risk assessment for the day and announce any other weather or safety-related concerns. This means paying attention to weather reports and other information Saturday and Sunday morning before arriving at the marina. Please refer to the PRSA “Decision to Race Based on a Risk Assessment” guidelines in making this decision. Additional information on the skipper’s meeting and other aspects of RC service can be found below.
Planning the Work
- Who is signed up for RC duty? View the RC signup sheet on the PRSA website.
- RC Priorities: Safety of People, Running Races, Rescuing Capsized Boats
- How many people does it take to run the RC? When using two skiffs, 4-5 people is a good number. Read about the RC jobs here.
- Just FYI, all PRSA series races and regattas must have a Marine Event Permit, issued by the DC Metropolitan Police Department Harbor Patrol. The PRSA Rear Commodore applies for and has copies of these permits.
Starting, Launching, and Operating the RC Boats
Most boat drivers use PRSA’s boats only once or twice a year, so it is critical that each boat driver review the instructions in the links below. If you have any questions or problems with a boat you should contact PRSA Rear Commodore Jim Lane.
- Care and Use of PRSA’s Larger Skiff
- If gas is above the black line on the built in tank under the center console, that is plenty.
- Turn the battery switch at the rear to “Off” at the end of the day. Otherwise, the battery will be dead next week.
- This boat must be launched and retrieved using the ramp. When retrieving the boat carefully center it using the guide-posts on the trailer. Do not run over the guide posts with the boat or they will break.
- Care and Use of PRSA’s Smaller Skiff
- Turn the battery switch in the seat to “Off” at the end of the day. Otherwise, the battery will be dead next week.
- This boat must be launched and retrieved using the ramp. When retrieving the boat carefully center it so that the long rails on the trailer are both inside the long ribs on the bottom of the boat.
- Marks and Ground Tackle
- The inflator should be in the seat of the large skiff. It plugs into a cigarette lighter outlet on the right side of the center console. There is a toggle on the dashboard to activate the lighter socket. It is easiest to inflate the marks at the dock.
- When deflating and storing the marks please keep the anchors away from the mark — that is one way they get holes.
- Ollie Race Start Machine
- The Ollie should be in the seat of the larger skiff. If someone took it home to be charged the vice-commodore should have emailed you who that was.
- VHF Radios
- Use channel 68 to communicate with the other RC boat(s).
- It is a good idea to occasionally monitor the WX channel as well (especially on days with uncertain weather forecasts).
- Turn the volume up high — otherwise you may not be able to hear over the engine.
- Race Signals (Flags)
- The flags you need are stored on the larger skiff. A few may be on the smaller skiff.
- What the flags mean and what sounds go with raising and lowering them.
Running the Races
What the Sailors are Looking For? When doing your work, consider what the sailors are looking for. It will help you set priorities.
- Topics for the Skipper’s Meeting
- The PRO must hold a skipper’s meeting (1000 am in the launch area near the cranes).
- Describe the assessment of risk (see “PRSA Decision to Race Based on a Risk Assessment” guidelines).
- Provide any other relevant information to racers; answer questions.
- Introduce and help out new skippers and guests.
- Who is Racing?
- Fill in the skipper name and sail # on a PRSA Check-In Sheet as skippers check in on the water prior to the first race.
- Make sure to note boats that arrive late or depart early (DNS/DNFfor one or more races).
- You can look up current PRSA skippers, their boats, and the sail numbers if needed: skippers and their boats
- If you don’t know who a skipper is, don’t be shy–ASK! Think of it as an opportunity to meet your fellow sailors, especially those in other fleets.
- Setting Courses and Running Races
- Tradeoffs in Running Races
- Setting and Choosing a Course
- At PRSA we use a pair of flags, one with W, T, or O and a second with a 1, 2, or 3. What they mean is described in the “courses and marks” attachment to the sailing instructions.
- The course must be signaled before the warning signal.
- Is the start line closed? No. This idea has not existed in the rules for the past several years.
- Starting Races (Rule 26 or Appendix U)
- A minimal set of flags need to start a race using rule 26 is a class flag and a preparatory flag, e.g. the P-flag which is a blue flag with a white square in the middle.
- The Laser fleet uses Appendix U (Audible Signal Racing System) of the US Sailing Prescriptions. The Ollie Race Start machine has a switch on the inside that produces this starting system: 3-minute dinghy start.
- Signaling ‘Over Early’ boats and General Recall (Rule 29)
- Shortening Course (Rule 32)
- White flag with a blue square in the middle.
- Usually used when the wind dies or is dying and it is unlikely any sailor will finish in the time limit.
- Course may be shortened when bad weather is coming or so that other scheduled races can be sailed.
- Changing Course (Rule 33)
- Means changing the position of a mark.
- This is very difficult to do properly with multiple fleets and on short courses, as the courses on the river are, so I recommend you not attempt it with multiple fleets.
- Properly means telling the sailors at the previous mark whether the related mark is left or right, closer or further than the where it was.
- It means leaving the old mark in place if there are sailors that still need to sail around that mark
- That then means the SIs need to be amended so that sailors can recognize the difference between the old and new marks.
- Recording Finishes
- Use a PRSA Order of Finish Sheet to write down the sail # of boats as they finish each race. Do not organize by class, clean up, or reorder the listing — the scorer needs just a straight list of sail numbers as they finish to score the races properly.
- Other common scores include DNS (did not start), DNF (did not finish, e.g. capsized or withdrew), and DNC (did not compete). Unless the SIs specify otherwise, these sailors get number of boats entered in the series + 1.
- Time Limits and Scores (Rule 35 & Appendix A)
- Record the time the race starts so that you can determine if the first boat finishes within the time limit. If none does, the race is abandoned. (Rule 35)
- Record the time the first boat finishes so that you can determine if the remaining boats finish within the time allowed for them.
- How boats that do not finish within the time allowed are scored depends on the sailing instructions. For example, many SIs specify they be scored TLE (time limit expired) which is number of finishers within the time limit + 1.
After the Races
- Results: The check-in sheet and the order of finish sheet for race should be scanned and emailed to email@example.com. Do NOT try to compile the results, clean up the order of finish sheets, or otherwise rewrite the scores. The scoring program will do that and anything you do to sort or reorder the scores will just make the scorer’s work harder!
- Boats and Equipment
- Leave boats clean, covered, and tidy. Leave keys, marks, Ollie, inflator in their designated spots.
- Email a a post-race equipment report noting, in particular any equipment issues, damage/breakage, operating problems, or other items of note, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also note the gas level for each skiff.