Racing Rules

favicon Garrykennedy Sailing Club



SAILING INSTRUCTIONS (2014 version – updated January 2014)


These Sailing Instructions apply to all regattas, races and series run by Garrykennedy Sailing Club (GSC) as set out in the GSC Race Calendar.

  1. Rules: The regatta/race/series will be governed by the rules as defined in The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), except as any of these are changed by these sailing instructions, and by the rules of the organising authority Garrykennedy Sailing Club (“GSC”).
  2. Entries: Eligible boats must enter each race by either i) registering their participation on the day of the race with the Principal Race Officer PRO by VHF Radio no later than 15 minutes prior to the Start of Class 2, or ii) by attending the briefing held in advance of that days racing (details as per the Race Calendar), notifying the PRO at the briefing of your intention to race. In both cases boats must pay the race fees specified in the Race Calendar either at the briefing or immediately on coming ashore.

Eligible Boats are boats owned by fully paid up Members of GSC for which valid insurances (see Clause 20 below) are in place, for which GSC has provided a current race handicap, and for which a current signed insurance and safety equipment declaration has been provided to the Secretary.

Certain races organised by GSC, as specified in the GSC Race Calendar and Notice of Race, are Open Races. On Open Race days, the definition of Eligible Boat is expanded to include boats owned by fully paid up members of Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Lough Derg Yacht Club and such other clubs as the GSC Committee shall designate. Course details (and any other SI changes) will be broadcast by VHF Radio on the designated working channel (Channel 72 unless changed) 30 minutes (and repeated 15 minutes) before the scheduled start time of Class 2.

  1. Notices to Competitors: Notices to competitors will be advised at the briefing, and, where possible, will be posted on the GSC website ( and/or facebook page (, or sent by text/email (to the text and email address advised by each boat owner) to boat owners in advance of racing.


  1. Changes to Sailing Instructions: Any change to the Sailing Instructions 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 posted on the website and/or facebook page 24 hours before it will take effect. Where possible, changes to these Sailing Instructions will be posted on the GSC website and/or facebook page, or sent by text/email to boat owners in advance of racing. Failure to post or notify in such manner shall not be grounds for redress.


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


  1. Lifejackets: All competitors are required to wear Irish Coastguard approved PFD’s at all time while racing. This changes Rule 40.


  1. Schedule of Races: The schedule of races and series, the briefing time for each race, and the prizes for each of those races and series are set out in the Race Calendar. Please note that some races start and/or finish in Mountshannon and Dromineer.


  1. Class Flags: Where possible Flag Signals will be used, in accordance with Rule 26, to advise competitors of Start Times. However, the absence of a visual flag signal shall be disregarded, this changes Rule 26. Class flags will be as follows: Class 2 – International Code Flag Numeral 2 and Class 1 – International Code Flag Numeral 1. Where the fleet sails in just one class (for example where numbers in a class in a given race are below the minimum of 2 boats), unless otherwise advised at the briefing, the fleet will start together as Class 1 using Code Flag Numeral 1, at the class 1 start time.


  1. Racing Area: The racing area is in the general area of Lough Derg typically between Oilean Mor (to the north) andScilly Island (to the south). Certain races have courses, which run the entire length of Lough Derg (e.g. Gortmore Bell) and so marks may be set anywhere on Lough Derg.


  1. Courses:

10.1 The course for a given race will be as written down at the briefing; and as broadcast by VHF Radio before the start. In the event of the course being described other than as written (and/or as broadcast pre start), the course as written shall prevail. 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) Latitude Longitude Colour/Shape Navigation or GSC Mark
Garry 52.54.46N 08.20.70W Pink Round GSC
Hare (1192) 52.55.38N 08.20.61W Red Can Nav
Inishparran (1200) 52.55.23N 08.23.80W Red Can Nav
Mountaineer 52.55.55N 08.19.19W Green Can Nav
Scilly (1223) 52.54.05N 08.24.77W Green Can Nav
South Shore 52.54.44N 08.22.88W Yellow Round GSC
Youghal 52.54.07N 08.18.40W Yellow Round GSC
Dromaan (1173) 52.56.41N 08.19.64W Red Can Nav
Bunlahy (1191) 52.55.91N 08.20.08W Red Can Nav
Garanfada 52.54.88N 08.19.43W Yellow Round GSC
Gerry 52.54.42N 08.21.22W Yellow Round GSC


10.2 Please note that no navigation marks are named by Waterways Ireland, and the naming convention used in 10.1 is purely for the assistance of GSC sailors. The actual identifier of the mark is their 4 digit codes, as written on their top marks and as indicated above. These positions are approximate, are not to be used for navigation purposes, and are provided only to give a general indication of the location of the marks identified.

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

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

  1. Changing the Course: This instruction modifies rule 33.  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 & subsequent marks to be rounded, and whether the marks are to be rounded to port or starboard. Races may be shortened at any mark (and particularly at the Garry Mark where the PRO is on shore) by flying Flag S, and making the appropriate sound signals ( 2 hoots) as the lead boat approaches the mark to finish.


  1. The Start: GPS Time determines Start Time

12.1 Unless otherwise advised at the briefing (or by posting such change on the GSC website a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the Start Time) races will be started using Rule 26, using time determined by GPS Time. The absence of either visual (Flag), or sound signals (Horn or VHF Radio) shall be disregarded. This changes Rule 26. The warning signal will be given 5 minutes before the starting signal.

Unless otherwise advised at the briefing, the warning signal for Class 2 will be at the listed briefing time (in GPS Time) plus 25 minutes, with the start at the listed briefing time plus 30 minutes. The warning signal for Class 1 will be at the listed briefing time (in GPS Time) plus 40 minutes, with a start time at plus 45 minutes.

The PRO will endeavour to broadcast the time signals (in accordance with Rule 26 and GPS Time) on the designated VHF Radio channel. The absence of VHF Radio broadcast of the Start Signals shall be disregarded.

The split of boats between Class 2 and Class 1 will be advised to competitors at the first briefing of each series of races, and will typically be based on a cut off by way of TCF or handicap. The GSC Committee reserves the right to designate any boat to a particular Class.

Two or more boats in the same class are required before a start will be provided to such class.

12.2 Where the fleet sails in just one class (for example where numbers in a class in a given race are below the minimum of 2 boats), and unless otherwise advised at the briefing, the boats will start together as Class 1 at the class 1 start time.

12.3 Start Line Unless otherwise advised at the briefing, or in the Race Calendar, or posted on the GSC website not less than 48 hours before the scheduled start time, the start line will be between the GSC Flagpole on the shore and the Garry mark, a buoy, situated approximately 200m north of the entrance to the old harbour in Garrykennedy. The start line for races starting in Mountshannon and/or Dromineer will be as specified at the briefing for those races.

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

12.5 A boat starting later than 10 minutes after her starting signal will be scored DNS Did Not Start. This changes rule 26.

  1. The Finish: Unless otherwise changed by the PRO under 11 above, the finish line will be between the same marks as the start line as in 12.3 above, and crossed in the direction from the last mark rounded. The finish line for races finishing in Mountshannon and/or Dromineer will be as specified at the briefing for those races.

13.1 Time limit: Unless otherwise specified in the sailing instructions for a particular race, the time limit for each class to complete a race and finish shall be 210 minutes (3.5 hours) after its starting signal; and provided the first boat has finished within that time, the time limit for subsequent finishers in that class shall be extended by 30 minutes after the finish of the first boat in its class. Boats that finish outside of the time limit will be scored DNF.

  1. Scoring & Handicapping:

14.1 Scoring: Boats shall be timed, and the boats scored based on her corrected time (elapsed time adjusted by the boats 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 impact the order of finish on corrected time. Boats shall be scored based on their corrected time using the Low Points system outlined in Appendix A.

14.2 Scoring for Non Racing PRO Boat: The Race Calendar specifies the designated Principal Race Officer (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 shall 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 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 shall be ineligible for that series prize.

14.3 Handicaps: All boats competing in the race/series/regatta must, in advance of racing in any race, have a valid handicap provided by the GSC Handicap Committee. The decision of the GSC Handicap Committee is final. The purpose of the handicapping system is to give each boat and its normal crew, sailing to the best of their abilities, an equal opportunity to win each race. Handicaps can and may be adjusted throughout the season as required and as often as the GSC Handicap Committee deems appropriate, including after each race. The handicapping system used is the Progressive ECHO Handicapping System. A boats handicap may be adjusted (up or down) where that boat is being sailed by a crew (or helm) different from the normal crew (or helm) that typically sails the boat, where a boat uses new sails, where a boat doesn’t use its spinnaker, or for any other reason which may alter the typical or expected performance of that boat. This adjustment may be done after the start of a race to cover circumstances where information which might have led to a change in handicap was not made available to the GSC Handicap Committee before the start.

14.4 Racing in GSC is divided into 4 series, corresponding broadly to the months of April, May, September and October. Each series comprises approximately 5 races. Details of the series are contained in the Race Calendar. Two races are required to be completed to constitute a series.

14.5 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:

15.1 Skipper is Responsible for decision to Race:   

It is the responsibility of the skipper of each boat to determine whether to start and participate in any race, 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.


Only the skipper can know whether the capabilities of the boat, its equipment and crew are adequate for the weather (wind and sea) conditions likely to be experienced during the race and while at sea. 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 in good working order at all times when at sea.


The Irish Coast Guard produces several publications with advice for those involved in recreational boating activities, see The Irish Coast Guard has published a code of practice to assist the skippers and it is available on their website



For boats participating in GSC racing the following minimum safety equipment is required (and the GSC Committee reserves the right to inspect any boat at any time to determine compliance with Rule 15.2). Failure to have the required safety equipment on board shall be grounds for disqualification:


  • LIFEJACKETS COMPULSORY Each member of the crew must wear an appropriate personal flotation device (PFD) at ALL times when afloat. PFD’s worn should include crotch straps (or other means) to prevent it slipping off when in the water.


  • VHF Radio Each boat must have on at all times when racing, immediately accessible, audible in the cockpit, a working fixed (or waterproof handheld) VHF Radio, tuned to the race working frequency (one of CH 6, 8, 72, 76) and CH 16.


  • Safety Equipment Each boat must carry a MOB Buoy, throwing line, a knife, a First Aid Kit and a small pack of flares.


  • ANCHOR Each boat must have available an anchor (with chain and line) capable of anchoring that boat on Lough Derg in the weather and sea 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
  • Whistle

15.2 Retiring: A boat that retires from a race shall notify the PRO by VHF Radio as soon as possible.

  1. Protests:

16.1     Protest forms are available from the PRO, protests and requests for redress or reopening of protest hearings shall be delivered to the PRO within the appropriate time limit.

16.2     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.

16.3     Unless the PRO can assemble an appropriate Protest Committee on the day, no protests will 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 posted on the GSC website and/or facebook page. The Protest Committee Chairman will endeavour to inform the protestor and protestee of the decision in advance of it being posted.

16.4     A request for reopening a hearing must be delivered within 7 days of the decision of the Protest Committee being posted on the GSC website and/or facebook page. This changes rule 66.

  1. Radio, Data & Telephone Communication: Except in an emergency, a boat shall 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.
  2. Prizes: Prizes will be given as specified in the GSC Race Calendar and Notice of Race. In addition daily prizes will be awarded to each of Class 1 and Class 2 on the following basis:
  • If 3 or more boats in a class start a race, 1 glass will be awarded to the first placed boat in that class on handicap.
  • If 4 or more boats in a class start a race, a bottle of wine will be awarded for 2nd
  • If 5 or more boats in a class start a race, a second bottle of wine will be awarded for 3rd
  1. Waiver of Liability: Competitors participate in the regatta/series/race entirely at their own risk. See Rule 4, Decision to Race. The organizing authority will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with, prior to, during, or after the regatta/series/race.
  2. Insurance: Each participating boat shall be insured with valid third-party liability insurance with a minimum cover of €2,000,000 per event.
  3. Disposal of Trash: No boat shall intentionally dispose of trash (whether solid or liquid) in the water.



Version January 29th, 2014