Racing Rules/Sailing Instructions

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Garrykennedy Sailing Club 2022





These Sailing Instructions apply to all regattas, races, series and other events run by Garrykennedy Sailing Club (herein referred to as “GSC”).

  1. Rules: GSC regattas/races/series are governed by The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), save as changed by these sailing instructions.  

 2. Schedule of Events: The schedule of races, series and other events and the briefing time for each race, are set down in the annual GSC Race Calendar which is posted on the GSC Website and/or circulated by email to GSC members each year before the first event.  The GSC Committee reserves the right to revise the calendar during the year, to cancel events, giving due notice to members, and to run other events additional to those on the calendar.

 Some events on the calendar are run by other sailing clubs.


3.1. Eligible boats must enter each race by attending the briefing held in advance of that day’s racing as detailed on the Race Calendar, notifying the Principal Race Officer (PRO) at the briefing of their intention to race and paying the race entry fee, save where other arrangements are made by the GSC Committee or the PRO giving due notice to participants.

3.2. Eligible Boats are boats owned by paid up members of GSC for which GSC has provided a current racing handicap and such other boats as GSC may designate for the purpose of any race and for which GSC has provided a current racing handicap.

3.3. Certain races organized by GSC, as specified in the GSC Race Calendar or otherwise, are Open Races. On Open Race days, the definition of Eligible Boats is expanded to include boats owned by paid up members of Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Lough Derg Yacht Club and such other clubs as the GSC Committee decides to designate provided the owner of the boat has advised the GSC Committee of their club of membership on entering the race or before.

  1. Changes to Sailing Instructions: Any change to the Sailing Instructions not already advised will be advised at (or broadcast following) the briefing on the day it will take effect, except that any change to the Race Calendar will be advised to members by email and may be posted on the website 24 hours before it will take effect.  Where possible, changes to these Sailing Instructions will be posted on the GSC website or sent by email to boat owners in advance of racing. Failure to post or notify in such manner will not be grounds for redress.

  1. Signals Made Ashore: Signals made ashore will be displayed at the GSC Flagpole.


  1. Racing Classes

6.1. Racing in GSC may be run as a single class or in two classes.

6.2. Generally, the faster boats will be in Class 1 and other boats in Class 2.  Prior to each series boats will be allocated to each class by the GSC Committee and the Committee’s decisions in this matter are final.

6.3. Class Flags:

Class Flags are:


Flag as per Racing Rules of Sailing


Pennant 1


Pennant 2

  1. Racing Area: The racing area is in the general area of Lough Derg typically between Oilean Mor (to the north) and Scilly Island (to the south) but marks may be set anywhere on Lough Derg.

  1. Courses:

8.1. The course for a given race will be as written down at the briefing and as clarified by the PRO where appropriate.  In the event of any doubt as to the correct course, the course as written and as clarified by the PRO at the briefing will prevail.

8.2. Racing at GSC uses a combination of Shannon Navigation marks, and special race marks laid by GSC, which include the following:

Mark Name

(4 digit number)




Navigation or GSC Mark


52o 54.46’ N

08o 20.70’ W

Yellow Round


Hare (1192)

52o 55.38’ N

08o 20.61’ W

Red Can


Inishparran (1200)

52o 55.23’ N

08o 23.80’ W

Red Can



52o 55.55’ N

08o 19.19’ W

Green Can


Scilly (1223)

52o 54.05’ N

08o 24.77’ W

Green Can


South Shore

52o 54.44’ N

08o 22.88’ W

Yellow Round



52o 54.07’ N

08o 18.40’ W

Yellow Round


Williamstown (1173)

52o 56.41’ N

08o 19.64’ W

Red Can



52o 54.88’ N

08o 19.43’ W

Yellow Round


Forest (Formerly “Gerry”)

52o 54.42’ N

08o 21.22’ W

Yellow Round


8.3.  Shannon Navigation marks are not named by Waterways Ireland, and the naming convention used in Instruction 8.2 is purely for the assistance of GSC sailors. The actual identifiers of these marks are their 4 digit codes, usually written on their top marks and as indicated above. The positions tabulated under Instruction 8.2 are approximates, are not to be used for navigation purposes and are provided only to give a general indication of the location of the marks.


8.4. Other marks may be used from time to time.  The approximate location and description of these marks will be provided at the briefing.

8.5. Other than where being rounded as part of the course in use, all navigation marks must be passed on their correct side.

8.6. Other than the start and finish marks, all course marks are rounding marks unless otherwise advised at the briefing.

  1. Changing the Course: This instruction changes RRS rule 33. 


9.1. The PRO may change the next leg & subsequent legs of the course, prior to the leading boat rounding the mark at which the change of course will come into effect, by broadcasting the change of course to all competitors on the VHF Working Channel designated at the briefing, advising them of the new next mark and subsequent marks to be rounded, and whether the marks are to be rounded to port or starboard. 


9.2. Races may be shortened by the PRO at any mark (and particularly at the Garrykennedy Mark where the PRO is on shore) by flying Flag S, and/or making the appropriate sound signals (2 hoots) as the lead boat approaches the mark to finish and/or by broadcasting the shortened course to all competitors on the VHF Working Channel designated at the briefing before the lead boat reaches the mark to finish.

  1. The Start: Intended starting times will be stated in GPS time.

10.1. Races will start under RRS rule 26.  Races may be started without visual signals.  This changes RRS rule 26.  Where races start without visual signals the following rules will apply.
– Races are deemed to start under the P Flag.
– Races will be started using Horn or VHF Radio signals or both. 
– Where both Horn and VHF signals are used times shall be taken from whichever has issued first.

10.2. The intended starting times will be advised at the briefing and will normally be:

Class 1:
Warning Signal:               The listed briefing time plus 40 minutes.
Starting Signal:                The listed briefing time plus 45 minutes.

Class 2:

Warning Signal:               The listed briefing time plus 25 minutes.
Starting Signal:                 The listed briefing time plus 30 minutes.

Where the PRO decides to start both classes together the boats will start at the Class 1 starting time.

10.3. Two or more boats are required to start a race. 

10.4. Where separate series are in course for Classes 1 and 2, two or more boats in the same class are required before a start will be provided to such class.  Where a class has less than two starters the fleet will race as a single class.

10.5. Where the fleet races as a single class consequent to Instruction 10.4, series scoring will be provided as per Instruction 13 to any class from which two or more boats start the race.


10.6. Start Line: Unless otherwise advised at the briefing, or on the Race Calendar, the start line will be between the GSC Flagpole on the shore and the Garrykennedy mark.

10.7. Boats whose warning signal has not been made must avoid the starting area when other boats are in a starting sequence.

  1. Recalls: Where races are started without visual signals sound signals only will signal a recall.  This changes RRS rules 29.1 and 29.2.  The PRO may advise effected boats by VHF Radio but the absence of such advice will not be grounds for redress.

  1. The Finish:

12.1. Finishing Line: Unless otherwise changed by the PRO under Instruction 9, the finish line will be between the same marks as the start line as in Instruction 10.6 and crossed in the direction from the last mark rounded.

12.2. Time Limit: The Time Limit for each class or a single class to complete a race and finish after its starting signal will be advised by the PRO at the Race Briefing and, for each class or a single class, provided the first boat has finished within that time, the Time Limit for subsequent finishers in that class will be extended to 30 minutes after the finish of the first boat in that class.  Boats that finish outside of the Time Limit will be scored DNF.


  1. Scoring & Handicapping:

13.1. Scoring: Boats will be timed, and the boats scored based on their corrected time (elapsed time adjusted by the boat’s handicap). The lowest corrected time will be declared the winner, and thereafter boats will be placed based on their corrected times, subject to the outcome of any protest which might change the order of finish on corrected time.

13.2. Series Race Scores will be awarded to boats participating in the Series based on Instruction 13.1 and excluding boats not participating in the Series using the Low Points system set down in Appendix A of the RRS.

13.3. Scoring for Non-racing PRO Boat: The Race Calendar specifies the designated PRO for each race. In circumstances where the boat owned by the PRO is unable to race because its owner/skipper/crew is acting as PRO for that race, such boat will be awarded average points for that race in calculating her series result. Average points will be calculated based on that boats actual results in all of the other races sailed or not sailed by such boat in that series, less any discard if applicable. Average points may therefore include DNS and DNF results. Where a designated PRO does not attend on the race day where he/she is designated PRO, and does not have a prior arrangement with the Sailing Secretary for a replacement PRO, then such boat will be ineligible for that series prizes. Where the boat owned by the PRO is entitled to average points for that race the boat owner shall advise the Sailing Secretary as soon as possible but at the latest within one hour of the last boat finishing in the last race of that Series.  In the absence of such advice average points will not be awarded.

13.4. Handicaps: All boats competing in the race/series/regatta must, in advance of racing in any race, have a current handicap provided by the GSC Sailing Sub-committee. All handicaps are provided at the discretion of the GSC Sailing Sub-committee. The starting handicap of each boat in each race can be obtained from the Sailing Secretary before each race and will normally be advised to competitors in advance.  The decisions of the GSC Sailing Sub-committee on handicaps are final.  A summary of the handicapping process in current use in GSC is maintained on the club’s web site.

13.5. Series Racing: Save as changed under Instruction 2, racing each year is divided into 4 periods of 5 weeks each corresponding broadly to the months of April, May, September and October.  In each month there will be, at the discretion of the GSC Committee, either one series for a single class or two series, one for Class 1 and one for Class 2.  Each series normally comprises of 5 races less any races cancelled or abandoned. Some series races may be run by other sailing clubs.  Details of the series are contained in the Race Calendar. Two races are required to be completed to constitute a series.

13.6. Discards: When 3 or more races have been completed in a series, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores excluding her worst score.



  1. Safety Regulations

It is the responsibility of the skipper of each boat to determine whether to start and participate in any race or other event, to inform him/herself on the weather and sea conditions forecast, and to provide safety equipment and an appropriate personal flotation device for each member of his/her crew. 

It is the responsibility of the skipper to ensure that all necessary safety equipment is on board, its location known and accessible to all crew members, and is in good working order at all times when on the water.


PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE COMPULSORY Each member of the crew must wear an appropriate personal flotation device at all times when not tied up alongside or made fast to an anchor, marina, pier or mooring.

VHF RADIO Each boat must have a VHF radio switched on at all times when racing.  It must be immediately accessible, audible in the cockpit and tuned to the race working frequency (one of CH 6, 8, 72, 76) and to CH 16.

ANCHOR Each boat must have available an anchor (with chain and line) capable of anchoring that boat on Lough Derg in the weather and conditions likely to be experienced.

RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT It is strongly recommended that all crew have the following equipment securely attached to their person or foul weather gear when racing:
A knife
Safety Harness and Tether

14.3. Retiring: A boat that retires from a race must notify the PRO as soon as possible by VHF Radio or by other means if VHF notification is not feasible.

  1. Protests:

15.1. Protest forms are available from the PRO.  Protests and requests for redress or reopening of protest hearings must be delivered to the PRO within the appropriate time limit.

15.2. For each class, and for each race, the protest time limit is 60 minutes after the last boat has finished the last race of the day.

15.3. Unless the PRO can assemble an appropriate Protest Committee on the day, protests will not be heard on the day. Protests will, where possible, be held in advance of the briefing on the next following race day, at a time and place notified to protestor, protestee and PRO by the Sailing Secretary.  Notices of protest hearings will be sent by email or text to the contact details supplied with the protest forms and/or supplied by boats at registration. Notices of decisions by the Protest Committee will be advised to the protestor and protestee within 48 hours of the decision by email.

15.4. A request for reopening a hearing must be delivered to the Sailing Secretary in writing or by email within 48 hours of the decision of the Protest Committee being advised to the protestor and protestee.  This changes RRS rule 66.


  1. Radio, Data & Telephone Communication: Except in an emergency or in matters of personal urgency, a boat must not make radio, data or telephone transmissions while racing nor receive radio, data or telephone communications not available to all boats, except that a boat may monitor communications of the PRO without interfering with PRO communications and respond if called by the PRO and may advise the PRO by VHF Radio if retiring. The PRO may communicate with competitors using a VHF channel which will be specified at the briefing.


  1. Prizes:

17.1. Series Prizes:
Only boats owned by paid up members of GSC will be awarded trophies and/or other prizes for series run by GSC.

17.2.  Race Trophies:

 Only boats owned by paid up members of GSC and boats made eligible under Instruction 3.3 will be awarded Race Trophies.  Each Race Trophy will be awarded to the qualifying boat with the lowest corrected time as determined by Instruction 13.1 on a single class basis.

17.3. Race Prizes:

Where the fleet races in two classes up to three prizes will be awarded in each class.

Where the fleet races in a single class up to five prizes will be awarded.

Subject to the above stated maxima, the number of prizes awarded will be one less than the number of boats that started the race in each class or in the single class.

Prizes will be awarded to eligible boats as provided for at Instruction 3 sequentially from 1st place to up to 5th, as determined by Instruction 13.1.

The prizes to be awarded will be determined from time to time by the GSC Committee. 

  1. Disposal of Trash:  Boats participating in GSC events must not dispose of trash (whether solid or liquid) in the water.


  1. Disclaimer of Liability: Competitors participate in the GSC regatta/series/race or other event entirely at their own risk. See 14.1 Decision to Race.  GSC does not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with, prior to, during, or after any regatta/series/race or other event.


  1. Insurance: Each participating boat must be insured with valid third-party liability insurance with a minimum cover of €2,000,000 per event.

    Further to Instruction 19, it is the responsibility of each boat owner and/or skipper to ensure that they and their boat have appropriate insurance cover in place for all and any risk/s that may arise while participating in any GSC regatta/series/race or other event.  GSC will not, and has no responsibility to, check or ensure that any participating boat complies with Instruction 20 but any boat found to be in breach of this Instruction will, in addition to Instruction 22, be retrospectively disqualified from any race/s participated in while in breach of this rule and will be ineligible to race until insurance cover is in place in compliance with this rule.


  1. Entry of any boat into any GSC regatta/series/race or other event represents acceptance by her owner and/or skipper of each and all of the rules and conditions of these Garrykennedy Sailing Club Sailing Instructions.

  1. Where the PRO becomes aware of a breach in the course of a race of any obligation set down in these Instructions not penalised under the RRS, the offending boat or boats will be disqualified from the race.