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Kielder Water Sailing Club

OOD Duty.............

You have an OOD Duty on the Programme and are not sure what to do? Here we have a simplified checklist to get you started and which you can read in advance of your duty. A laminated copy of this list is in the race offce for use on the day and of course you can always seek the advice of a mre experienced members before the vent and on the day. They will be only too willing to help.

OOD Abbreviated Checklist

Before hand

  1. Perhaps the week before check who is on Patrol Duty - check they are available and know what their responsibilities are.
  2. New to the job? Phone someone more experienced and talk through any concerns.
  3. Get a weather forecast the day before and keep an eye on the weather. What conditions are expected and what direction will the wind be.
  4. Good preparation prevents problems arising. What races are taking place, do you know what is exected of these races what specific Sailing Instructions apply - club or open meeting specific? Not sure - ask someone. How many laps might you expect on you possible choice of courses?

On the Day

  1. The week before confirm that the Patrol Officer will be there and understands what you want done and he / she has to do.  Check the sailing programme to see what races will be sailed.  If you have any doubts call S Gibbon / Mike Scott /Paul Turnbull /Ian Little for advise and help.
  2. The day before you duty check the weather forecast.
  3. Arrive at 09.30
  4. Put out a race sheet for entries.
  5. Seek advice on courses and laps if you are not sure.  Remember, though that other members will be getting their boats ready and want to sail.  It is much better to call for advice in the week previous.
  6. Switch on the race office radio.
  7. Collect:
    • Course Board and any required flags.
    • Sound equipment (horn, spare canister, backup whistle)
    • 1 or 2 yellow stop watches
    • Pen, pencil paper board / cover to write on
    • Hand held radio
    • Copy the race sheet for entries (it may not be complete, but it will give you a head start). Record boat type and sail numbers.
    • Warm clothes, waterproofs and sunblock etc
  8. Get the Committee Boat – the White Orkney – ready (Undo wheel lock, mount engine, get fuel, mount mast and flags). Load the items in 7 above and take the committee boat to the jetty, (a 2 person job).
  9. Check that the Patrol Boat has the right marks.
  10. Do a radio check with Patrol Boat and Home base
  11. Moor the Committee boat at the centre mooring.
  12. Check wind direction and speed and set a course and laps. Check that all the flags are correct.
  13. Patrol Boat should be laying the Pin and Hitch Mark (if this is needed) Check the mark positions. The start Line should be at right angles to the wind.  The Patrol Boat to adjust to your orders.
  14. Set the watches to 3 minute start sequences.  You should now be about 15 minutes to the start time.  This gives you time to check that everything is in order and the boats on the water against your entry sheet.  You must start on time.  If people are not ready they will soon learn and losing time at the start encourages poor time keeping by the competitors and the whole day’s racing gets later and later.
    • 3 minutes before the start time start the stop watch and flag sequence
    • 3 minutes display Numeral Pennant 4
    • 2 minutes display Flag P
    • 1 minute remove Flag P and ready flags X and First Substitute for possible recalls.
    • 0 minutes remove Numeral Pennant 4. Be ready for appropriate flag and sound signal recalls.
  15. Check boats that have started against the entry list.
  16. Record the number and time of each boat as it goes through the finish line on every lap and at the finish.
  17. For slower boats after the agreed race time (preferably not less than 25 minutes) display the S Flag when the lead slow boat rounds the last mark. Leave this displayed until all the boats have finished. Time all boats through the finish line. If you have recorded the times as in 14 above you will have the number of laps.  If you have not you could be in trouble!
  18. Start another race if needed, otherwise go ashore (if there are more races later call a patrol boat to take you ashore).
  19. Enter the time and laps on the computer, if necessary seek assistance.  Print the results and display them on the notice board.

Normal Club Racing Flag Sequence

3 mins before start

Handicap Class Flag

1 Hoot

2 mins before start

Handicap Class Flag    Preparatory

1 Hoot

1 min before start

Handicap Class Flag

1 Hoot


All down

1 Hoot


Role of the OOD

These notes are no substitute for attending a Race Management Course and putting nto practice what you learn. Later this year we will be organising such courses for all KWSC OODs who wish to attend (all of you I hope).

The OOD is in charge of the day’s racing’.  Other activities, weather training, pottering or cruising are not his concern.  

On the safety front, on occasion you will need to take a decision on postponing or abandoning racing because of extreme weather.  Again don’t hesitate to confer with both racers and experienced sailors if in doubt. 

Always keep in close touch with your patrol crews. You are in charge of them. You may occasionally need to direct their attention to an incident they haven’t spotted.

If there is a training course going on at the same time, the OOD should liaise with the Senior Instructor, so that each understands the other’s plans. Similarly with any cruise events.

KWSC subscribes to the RYA Racing Charter. There is extensive documentation on the charter in the blue folder in the club house, including all the details of mechanisms for resolving disputes.

The document on the application of the charter states, among other things, that ‘Competitors should expect to be provided with racing that, as far as is possible, is fair, enjoyable and safe’.

The Charter also encourages race officials to actively solicit feedback from competitors, and there is no question that knowing that you are giving competitors what they want makes your job easier and more enjoyable.

Fairness and enjoyableness are quite closely linked. Some general points that will help:

Make sure you are familiar with the club Sailing Instructions, and with the guidelines for appropriate courses for each race series.

Set a square start line. Port end bias is preferable to starboard end. However competitors don’t enjoy waiting around and on some days the wind or circumstances make life very difficult and you may be better just getting the race going.

Set as true a first beat as possible. This is quite easy when setting courses on the circle of marks.

In very light winds you may have to decide to set short courses or not start at all. Do confer if in doubt.

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