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Sierra Point Yacht Club
500 Sierra Point Parkway · Brisbane, CA 94005-1896
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HomeRacing Instructions

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Sailing Instructions

Intent: These races are intended to be a casual introduction to sail boat racing for new racers, and an opportunity for more experienced racers and crews to practice and develop their skills. The Club sponsors these races to encourage and improve camaraderie, good sportsmanship, fair play, and skill development among the participants; actions by racers or their crew which are contrary to these goals will be viewed with dismay and alarm by the Race Committee

  • 1   Rules
    • 1.1   The races will be governed by The Racing Rules of Sailing (“RRS”), latest edition, except where these Instructions provide different or contrary direction; in the event of a conflict between these Instructions and RRS, these Instructions shall prevail.
    • 1.2   At all times racers, yachts, and crews shall comply with United States Coast Guard requirements for recreational vessels and with RRS 1.2 “Life Saving Equipment and Personal Flotation Devices”.
    • 1.3   Racers shall make themselves familiar with and comply with the United States Coast Guard “Navigation Rules”. Note in particular that when a race course enters the shipping channel racers shall yield any and all rights of way to commercial traffic or other large vessels in accordance with the “Navigation Rules”.
    • 1.4   Racers are strongly encouraged to have a functional VHF radio on board and to monitor channel 72 at all times before and during the races. Failure to do so may cause the racer to miss important announcements or direct communications from the Race Committee; inability of the racer to communicate with the Race Committee which results in penalties to a racer may not be appealed.
      • 1.4.1   Any racer making inappropriate, misleading, or otherwise specious radio calls or announcements to the Race Committee or other racers may be disqualified at the sole discretion of the Race Committee.
    • 1.5   Pursuant to RRS Rule 42.3(i) a boat’s use of propulsion by engine or any other method while racing is permitted only as follows:
      • 1.5.1   When in immediate danger of striking a fixed or rigid mark or other obstruction due to conditions of calm or very light wind and tidal current. A boat using propulsion in these conditions shall notify the race committee as soon as possible of the duration of its use, the circumstances, and what actions were taken to insure the boat did not gain an advantage in the race. The race committee shall review each instance of propulsion use for compliance with this rule.
      • 1.5.2 After a boat finishes.
  • 2   Schedule of Races
    • 2.1   Races will be held every Tuesday evening starting May 5, 2020 until the final race on August 25, 2020.
    • 2.2   Races may be cancelled due to inclement weather or other reasons at the discretion of the Race Committee. Racers will be notified by e-mail (at their e-mail address written on the Racing Registration Form) by 1500 if that day’s race is cancelled. If a race is cancelled shortly before start time or after it has started the Race Committee shall hail racers on VHF channel 72.
    • 2.3   Race 1, including all yachts with PHRF rating of 160 or above, will start at 1800.
    • 2.4   Race 2, including all yachts with PHRF rating of 159 or less, will start at 1815.
    • 2.5   The standard time reference for starting and timing races shall be local “GPS time” as it appears on a standard GPS receiver.
  • 3   Handicap
    • 3.1   Northern California PHRF ratings will be used for time-on-distance handicapping.
    • 3.2   Yachts with a valid certificate must provide a copy to the Race Committee.
    • 3.3   Yachts with no certificate will be assigned the rating for their yacht (manufacturer and model) listed in the Northern California PHRF Base Rating Report, latest edition, before the first race of the series.
      • 3.3.1   The Race Committee shall adjust base ratings according to the information provided on the Racing Registration Form in accordance with NCPHRF “Rules and Guidelines” part VIII “Adjustments to Base Ratings”.
    • 3.4   Yachts without a certificate and not listed shall be assigned a rating at the discretion of the Race Committee, including revision of said rating in the course of the series also at the discretion of the Race Committee.
  • 4   Courses
    • 4.1   Courses shall be as shown on the “SPYC course marks” and “SPYC start/finish area” charts which are part of these Instructions. For more detail on the permanent marks refer to Coast Guard chart 18651 “San Francisco Bay, Southern Part”.
    • 4.2   Starting line shall be a line between the Committee boat and the orange “Z” mark south of it. Starting direction shall be westbound unless an east wind course is chosen by the Race Committee.
    • 4.3   Finish line shall be a line between the E1 or E2 marks, whichever is applicable to the particular course, and the south east corner of the yacht club building.
    • 4.4   Racers will be advised of the course for the day no later than 1745 via VHF channel 72.
    • 4.5   Racers are advised and cautioned to stay out of the exclusion zone around the San Francisco International Airport.
  • 5   The Start
    • 5.1   Not less than 10 minutes prior to the start of a race each yacht shall hail the Committee Boat on VHF channel 72 to confirm their intent to participate in the race.
    • 5.2   The Signals for starting a race shall be as follows:
      before start
         Signal    Meaning
      5 red flag up and 1 horn blast warning
      4 blue flag up and 1 horn blast preparatory
      1 blue flag down and 1 long horn blast one minute
      0 red flag down and 1 horn blast starting signal
    • 5.3   If any yacht shall cross the start line before the start time the Race Committee shall sound one horn blast and hail the yacht on VHF channel 72. Said yacht shall return to the start line and re-cross it in the correct direction.
    • 5.4   If more than one yacht shall cross the start line before the start time the Race Committee shall, at its sole discretion, recall the individual yachts as described in part 5.3, or, shall make a general recall. The signal for a general recall shall be three (3) long horn blasts and a hail on VHF channel 72. Restart shall occur exactly 5 minutes after the scheduled start using the signals noted in part 5.2.
    • 5.5   Any yacht coming in contact with the any part of or attachment to the Committee Boat including its anchor rode prior to, during, or after a race will be penalized by having 5 places added to their finishing place for that race, regardless of the number of boats participating in the race.
    • 5.6   Note that a yacht is considered to be “racing” from the time of her race’s preparatory signal and all rules apply from that time onward; under rule 5.2 that time is 4 minutes before the race start.
    • 5.7   Racers attention is drawn to RRS rule 24.1: “a boat not racing shall not interfere with a boat that is racing.” Boats in Race 2 shall stay clear of the area on the pre-race side of the start line until all Race 1 boats have started and entirely crossed the start line, and, clear of the area on the course side of the start line until all Race 1 boats are well away from the start line.
  • 6   Time of Race
    • 6.1   The Race Committee shall record the time of the start of the race and the time each yacht crosses the finish line.
    • 6.2   A race will end:
      • 6.2.1   When the last racer, except those that have notified the Race Committee of retirement from the race, crosses the finish line, or, 20 minutes after sunset.  Racers who have not completed the course before the race end shall be scored DNF.
      • 6.2.2   If no racer finishes before time of sunset the Race Committee shall abandon the race.
  • 7   Protests
    • 7.1   In consideration of the Intent of the Club in holding the Beer Can Races protests are strongly discouraged. Only protests involving serious violations will be heard by the committee; such protests must be presented to the Race Committee within one (1) hour of the end of the race on a standard US Sailing Protest Form, fully completed with permanent ink.
    • 7.2   The Race Committee shall rule on any protest prior to the start of the following week’s first race, or sooner at its discretion.
  • 8   Race Scoring
    • 8.1   For each race each yacht shall have their actual finish time corrected according to the course length and their handicap to determine each yacht’s finishing place. Refer to NCPHRF Rules and Guidelines part IV for Time-on-Distance race results.
    • 8.2   Prizes shall be awarded to the first, second, and third place yachts in each race.
    • 8.3   Race results shall be posted in the Club dining room within one hour of the end of the day’s last race.
  • 9   Series Scoring
    • 9.1   17 races are scheduled for the 2020 season. There shall be 3 series of races within the season: the first 5 races completed, the second 5 races completed, and the remaining races.
    • 9.2   The series shall be scored according the Low Point System in RRS Appendix A. Prizes will be awarded to the three lowest scoring yachts.
    • 9.3   In each race series all races will be counted excluding the worst score. Yachts must participate in not less than 4 races of a series to be considered for a prize in the series.
    • 9.4   Yachts which do not start or do not finish (including retiring) a race shall be scored for that race by the number of boats finishing plus 1, except that in the case of a race where 3 or fewer yachts are scored as finishing the additive number shall be 2.
  • 10   Disclaimer of Liability
    • 10.1   Racers and their crew participate in the Beer Can Races entirely at their own risk; racers agree to be bound by RRS Rule 4 “Decision to Race”. The Sierra Point Yacht Club will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with or prior to, during, or after a race or races. Each racer or yacht owner is solely responsible for informing his or her crew and passengers of (i) the substance of this part 10.0, and, (ii) that this Disclaimer applies also to them, one and all.

Sailing Instructions - Addendum A

“Most Improved Time” Prize Award
  1. The basis of this award is the ratio of a racer’s uncorrected elapsed time divided by the uncorrected elapsed time of the first racer to finish the race.
  2. The “Most Improved Time” award is made by comparing a racer’s ratio in the current race with their average ratio.
    1. Only the boat with the lowest ratio for that race will be eligible.
    2. To be eligible the boat’s ratio must be below their average.
  3. The average ratio is calculated on the racer’s 5 most recent finish ratios.
    1. The highest ratio will be discarded and the average calculated on the remaining 4.
    2. If a racer has only 4 finishes, they will be averaged with no discard.
    3. If a racer has fewer than 4 finishes in the current season their most recent results from the previous season will be used.
    4. Racers with fewer than 4 finishes recorded by the Race Committee are not eligible for the “Most Improved Time” award.
  4. No “Most Improved Time” award will be made if the racer who would have won it places first, second, or third in the current race.