Tips for setting a race course

To allow the boat handicap ratings to work properly a dinghy racing course lap needs to encompass two beats with one or two reaches and one or two running legs giving a least five legs.

With the arrangement of marks that we have on the reservoir it should be possible to achieve this with the wind blowing from any compass point.

Course legs (ideally):

  • 2 x upwind legs
  • 1 or 2 x reaching legs (1 x broad and 1x Beam)
  • 1 or 2 x Running legs
  • Ideally 5/6 legs

Weather forecast:

Check the wind forecast on the day – Local forecasts usually detailed every 1—3 hours
Several free forecasting apps available – e.g. ‘Windfinder Pro’ gives Edgbaston Reservoir local forecast. Be aware of any forecasted swing in the wind direction throughout the day. Check the wind direction before each race (ideally from the committee boat in the middle of the reservoir) and set the upwind legs, bearing in mind any forecasted swing of the wind during the race if possible.

Setting the course:

  • The first mark should be a windward mark
  • Set the 2 x upwind legs first
  • Once you have your upwind legs, work out the downwind legs ensuring you have:
    • 1 or 2 x running legs
    • 1 or 2 x reaching legs

If it makes sense to improve the angle of individual legs of the course – move the marks

Setting the starting line:

The length of the line is determined by the number of boats times their average length.

The port end of the line should be favoured (Up wind by 3 to 5 degrees) to spread the fleet

If using a committee boat the committee boat should be on the starboard end of the line.

Useful information – RYA race management guide