FAQ: Speed/Tuning/Racing: Over The Starting Line Early

Steve Sherman, McLaughlin Boatworks

Before beginning, the most important thing to know about being over the starting line at the gun is that when you go back behind the line and restart make sure the Race Committee acknowledges that you have properly restarted. This may require you standing up, waving or even yelling at the officials. Many times in the confusion of a start, your restrt may not be seen. Regattas have been lost because of just this situation.

Individual Recall (rule 29.1): A boat is over the starting line early if any part of the boat or skipper is on the course side of the line when the starting gun sounds. When this happens, flag X is flown with one sound. X remains flying until all offenders have restarted properly by getting back behind the starting line. If you do not restart then you are scored OCS (On the course side). This is the number of boats entered plus one.

General Recall (rule 29.2): If so many boats are over early that the race committee cannot determine all the sail numbers, then a general recall is signaled (the First Substitute flag is flown with 2 sounds). The Race Committee then runs another start.

Round-an-End Rule (rule 30.1): When the Race Committee flies flag I at the preparatory signal, and your boat is over the starting line or its extensions in the final minute before the starting gun, you must get behind the line by sailing outside one of the ends before you can start.

20% Rule (rule 30.2): When flag Z is flown at the prep signal and you are over the starting line in the final minute before the starting gun, your finish place will be increased by a number equal to 20% of the boats entered. This will happen even if the start is general recalled. Note: you still have to be behind the line at the gun to start.

The Black Flag Rule (rule 30.3): When the black flag is flown at the prep signal and you are over the starting line in the final minute before the starting gun, you will be disqualified from the race (DSQ), even if it is a general recall, and you will receive the score of the total number of entered sailors plus one. If there is a general recall, the Race Committee has to display your sail number before the next warning signal for that race.

Sailing Instructions can be modified to change any of these. It pays to read them!

 flag_x.gif (972 bytes)X           flag_1sub.gif (1027 bytes)1st Substitute        flag_i.gif (950 bytes)I             flag_z.gif (1055 bytes)Z            black flagBlack