In an effort to provide longer and more interesting courses for class 3 and the white sail class on Thursday evenings, a decision has been made to introduce rolling starts for the cruiser fleet on Thursday evenings. This decision has been made in consultation with the class captains and with a number of sailors from different classes.
The sailing committee is very pleased to see that there has been very strong attendance on Thursday evenings and in fact up to 35 boats have taken part on a given night. From the feedback we have received a big factor in this increased attendance would seem to be the decision to offer the classes separate starts for class 1, class 2, and then a third start for class 3 and the white sail class.
This has led however to a slight delay in racing for class 3 and white sail which has often meant that their courses have been shortened as the time limit approaches. It has been suggested that perhaps an extension of this time limit be considered but it must be borne in mind that all competitors are anxious to receive results as soon as possible and the results do not get from the committee vessel to the results office until at least 15 minutes after the last boat in the last class finishes. In order not to inconvenience the majority of the fleet, but also provide meaningful races for class 3 and the white sail class, a decision has therefore been made to introduce rolling starts for each class on a Thursday evening.
In effect this means that the starting signal for class 1 will become the warning signal for class 2. In other words as the flag is lowered and the sound signal is given for the class 1 start, the class 2 class flag will also be hoisted and the 5 minute countdown for the class 2 start will begin immediately.
This procedure will also be followed for subsequent classes, in other words the class 2 starting signal will be the warning signal for the class 3 and white sail fleets.
An individual recall in any fleet will be treated as normal and competitors should pay close attention to the flags on the committee vessel.
If a postponement is signalled then the starting sequence will stop as normal and resume as normal for that class.
If there is a general recall for any class, a general recall will be signalled as usual. That class will then not go into a subsequent starting sequence but will instead go to the back of the queue and start after the last class has started. The general recall flag will remain up for approximately two minutes before being removed. Failure to remove the general recall signal within this time shall not be grounds for redress.
This measure has been introduced following representations from various sailors within class 3 and the sailing committee would welcome any feedback from competitors on how the new system works. Competitors are asked to be patient with the new system as it will put added pressure on the race officer.
We are aware that the measures taken this year have led, perhaps coincidentally, to increased fleet numbers on Thursday evenings and we are anxious not to disrupt this pattern. If any competitor has either positive or negative feedback on the new starting system then they might please pass this feedback onto their class captain.
Competitors might also please note that it is the intention of the sailing committee to provide separate starts for classes on a Thursday night and that the only combined start should be that of class 3 and white sail. The sailing committee is aware that some competitors were confused by a combined start in recent weeks but this was a decision of the race officer on that evening and it is not the intention to combine starts for class 1 and class 2.