Wilson Harbor Yacht Racing Association

Tuesday Evening Races

Competitor’s Handbook

Revised May 19, 2015


Welcome to the WHYRA Tuesday Evening series! This series is designed for fun, casual racing. The following information will help you understand the racing procedures we use for this series. More information can be found in the Sailing Instructions, which are posted on the WHYRA web site (www.whyra.net).


The RRS is the document that governs sailboat racing. You can obtain an official copy inexpensively direct from US Sailing at www.ussailing.org. There are also many annotated versions available through most bookstores.

A brief introduction to the rules is posted on the WHYRA web site (www.whyra.net). This covers most of the situations that arise in our Tuesday series. Please take a minute to look through it.


In an attempt to account for differences between various types of boats, WHYRA uses a handicapping system. The handicapping system that we use is the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet-Lake Ontario (PHRF-LO). This is a system used to handicap racer/cruiser types of sailboats based on observed performance. Under this system, each boat is assigned a rating: slower boats have higher numbers. In the WHRYA Tuesday Series, boats start in the reverse order of their handicaps, giving slower boats a “head start”.

If you do not have an handicap, the WHYRA handicapper will assign one to you.


The start area for WHYRA races is slightly north-east of the Wilson Harbor piers. It is marked by a fixed buoy, labeled P on the course diagrams.

WHYRA starts for Tuesday races are always at approximately 7:00pm (1900). It is best to get to the start area as early as possible. This allows you time to get used to the weather conditions and to get your boat ready for racing. The race committee (R/C) boat will usually arrive about 30 minutes before the start. When the R/C arrives, they will usually drop a buoy near the P mark and announce the course to be sailed. Use the course diagrams posted on the web site to determine the order for rounding the racing marks, the bearing to the first mark, and the side of your boat the marks should be on when you round them. Tuesday courses will always be a three-leg triangle (the courses listed with a –S on the diagrams).


The start line is the imaginary line between the P mark and the buoy dropped by the R/C (or, if no buoy is dropped, as near the P mark as reasonably possible). You always start in the direction toward the first mark. The R/C will make the following sequence of signals to begin a race (note that no flags will be displayed)

Starting Sequence         Example times are for a 7:00pm start time (ST)

Nominal Time Example Time Signal Sound Minutes before start
ST-3 min. 6:57pm WARNING 3 sounds 3
ST-2 min. 6:58pm PREPARATORY 2 sounds 2
ST-1 min. 6:59pm One minute 1 sound 1
ST 7:00pm START 1 long sound 0

each boat may start after the time interval indicated on the scratch sheet has elapsed from this point in time)

Once the start signal is made, you may cross the starting line after the time interval corresponding to your handicap has elapsed. The time intervals are posted on the web site.


If there is some reason that a race cannot start on time (light or variable wind, for example), the R/C will signal a postponement by raising the AP flag (red and white vertical stripes) and making two sound signals. You should wait in the start area for further information. Postponements can only be made before a race is started.

If racing cannot occur (thunderstorms or fog, for example), the R/C will signal abandonment by raising the N flag (blue and white checkerboard) and making three sound signals. Once a race is abandoned, it will not be restarted. [Note the RRS do allow for a restart in some circumstances.] Abandonment can occur at any time, even after a race has started.

Postponement or abandonment signals may be made from on shore near the TYC gas dock.

Races are automatically abandoned if a mark is missing and the R/C does not know about it before the start, or if the time limits expire (the time limits can be found in the SI).


The finish line is the same as the start line. You finish when any part of your boat crosses the finish line in the direction of the course from the last mark. Once you finish, you should promptly get clear of the finish area and other boats.

You finishing position is your result for that race. As your handicap was taken at the start, there is no further correction to the finish order.

Good luck and have fun!