Sailing Instructions

NOTE: These are revised to bring TSC & SSSC into alignment, issued Jan 2020 & updated March 2021 – now amended June 2022. Amended Sept 2023 to include “P” Courses.

Competitors must at all times keep clear of Commercial Shipping

Throughout these Sailing Instructions, and in Club Rule 25, the word “boat” covers dinghies, sailboards, keelboats and catamarans.


Any boat with a valid class certificate and covered by third party insurance (TSC Club Rule 14) may be sailed by a member of the club in races for its class. (Points will be awarded to the helmsman and not the boat). Visitors are not eligible for club trophies other than at open meetings.


Races will take place under the current Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), the prescriptions of the RYA, these Sailing Instructions and the appropriate Class Rules. All boat owners must hold insurance to cover third party claims to a minimum of £5,000,000.  Valid buoyancy and measurement certificates, together with proof of insurance must be available to any Officer of the Club on demand. All boats shall carry their registered sail numbers, unless prior permission has been obtained from the Race Officer. The Sailing Committee accepts no responsibility for incorrect scoring caused by incorrect sail numbers following a change of sails.


The entire management of a boat and the safety of the boat and crew shall be the sole and inescapable responsibility of the helmsman. Members are expected to be capable of self-rescue at all times. It is the responsibility of those sailing to ensure that their craft is seaworthy and has adequate safety equipment. The onus of decision on whether to go to sea, to start or to continue to race remains with the helmsman. The Sailing Committee reserves the right to require a buoyancy test if they consider buoyancy may be inadequate. Adequate personal buoyancy shall be worn at all times while afloat. Inflatable life jackets shall be inflated unless fitted with an automatic inflation device. Wet or dry suits are not considered adequate personal buoyancy. The Sailing Committee advises that each dinghy should carry a paddle. 


Commercial shipping in the Fairway must not be obstructed under any circumstances.  Instructions from either a TSC or SSSC safety boat, or a ‘Red Seal’ safety boat must be obeyed at all times. An (IC) Flag F (red diamond on white flag) displayed by a safety boat means that boats must keep clear of the fairway and not pass in front of an approaching ship. Failure to do so shall result in disqualification by the Race Committee.

When (IC) Flag F has been displayed the shipping Fairway (as shown on the course chart) becomes an ‘obstrucion’’ as defined in the RRS Definitions If one competitor alters course to pass astern of a commercial vessel, all following competitors shall do likewise. Any competitor not observing this instruction may be  protested by the Race Committee or another competitor.


Unless specified in the Club’s Race Programme, the first race each Sunday will start at 2.00pm prompt with the second race to follow.

The first start on a Wednesday will be at 7.00pm; except during the Wednesday evening ‘Sunup-Sundown’ series at the beginning and end of the summer season; or the ‘Tynemouth midsummer week’ series for which start times are specified in the program. It is the responsibility of the Race Officer to determine if racing will take place. It is particularly important on Wednesdays to confirm in good time to both TSC and SSSC that racing will either start on time.or be postponed to another day (IC Flag ‘AP’ over ‘A’)

During the Winter Series at Ladyburn Lake the first race will start at 11.00am


A competitor retiring from a race should, if possible, attempt to inform either the Committee Boat or any safety boat. Members should be aware that the safety boats will remain afloat until boats are accounted for.


Courses shall be designated and displayed no later than the warning signal .

Harbour Courses will be displayed on a board at the stern of the committee boat. The first letter (or number) of each mark will be displayed in the order they must be rounded. Each letter (or number) will be displayed in either red (port) or green (starboard) on a white background indicating the side on which they should be rounded. The number of laps will be 8 unless shortened at a turning mark. A  chart showing the approximate position of each mark is published in the TSC Club Yearbook and shown on the notice board in the clubhouse. Mark ‘X’ is a mark which may be dropped anywhere at the discretion of the OOD. If any mark is not in its usual position, boats should round the mark laid in its place under RRS 34 (Mark Missing).

Sea Courses The course number to be sailed will be displayed on a course board at the stern of the Committee Boat prior to the warning signal. The course number or letter on display will refer to the course diagrams in Appendix ‘A ‘ to these instructions. It may become necessary to ‘reverse’ the course. Therefore the course number / letter will be displayed in either red (port) or green (starboard) on a white background indicating a port or starboard hand course.  For Sea Courses 1 & 2, all turning marks to be left to port on a ‘port-hand’ course; and all turning marks to be left to starboard on a ‘starboard-hand’ course. 

For Sea Course ‘P’ all marks , except mark ‘P’, shall be left to port on a ‘port-hand’ course; and all marks, except mark ‘P’, shall be left to starboard on a ‘starboard-hand’ course.

 The number of laps for each sea course is referred to in the diagrams in Appendix ‘A’

Winter Series Courses will be displayed on a board mounted on the mast of the Committee Boat.  The first letter (or number) of each mark will be displayed in the order they must be rounded. Each letter (or number) will be displayed in either red (port) or green (starboard) on a white background indicating the side on which they should be rounded. The number of laps will be 8 unless shortened at a turning mark. A  chart showing the approximate position of each mark will be made available to competitors at the start of the series.

Change of Course  A change of course will be indicated by a new course being displayed with IC Flag Q (Yellow Flag) before the warning signal.

Restricted Area. From May 2021 a restricted area will be created off Littlehaven beach which will be marked by a line of small yellow buoys, No leisure craft are permitted in the area between the beach and the line of buoys.. For the purposes of the Racing Rules of Sailing the transit line between the buoys will be treated as an obstruction as defined in RRS ‘definitions’.


All summer races will be started in accordance with RRS 26 (Starting Races) [ie: 5min, 4min, 1min, Start] unless amended for a particular event (eg: Supercup regattas).

Except for designated ‘pursuit races’ (including the annual ‘Long Race’) all Sunday races will have one start to include all competitors, displaying ‘IC Numeral 8’ (white pennant with red cross) as the warning signal.

On Wednesday Evenings there will be two consecutive starts. The first start will be for all classes with a PY of 1050 or less (Fast Handicap), using either IC Numeral 8 (white pennant with red cross) or the RS400 class flag at the Warning Signal. The second start shall be for boats with a PY greater than 1050 (Slow Handicap), using the ILCA (Laser) Class flag at the Warning Signal . Competitors must keep clear of the starting line when other classes are starting, but note that the Race Officer may elect to start all boats concurrently in one combined start if fleets are small, using ‘IC Numeral 8’ as the warning signal.

Races during the Winter Series will have one start under RRS 26 save that the Warning Signal, using ‘IC Numeral 8’ shall be at 3 minutes, and the Preparatory Signal at  2 minutes, before the Start Signal. This changes RRS 26 (Starting Races).


RRS  29.1 (Individual Recalls) shall apply save only that IC Flag ‘X’  shall be displayed for a maximum of 2 minutes after the start signal (not 4 minutes). This changes RRS 29.1.


In the event of a General Recall under RRS 29.2 (General Recall), any class scheduled to start from the same line after the general recall will start as signalled, and the offending class shall “go to the end of the queue”. If no other class is starting, the new Warning Signal will be 1 minute after the IC ‘First Substitute’ is removed, unless a postponement is signalled.


Signals made ashore will be displayed on the flag pole situated outside the Clubhouse. 

If a midweek race is postponed ashore this must be confirmed to SSSC by telephone.

The Answering Pennant flown alone indicates an indefinite postponement. The postponement signal will be accompanied by two sound signals. A single sound signal will be made when the flag is lowered, and if the postponement signal was made ashore, the warning signal will not be made less than 30 minutes later. If made afloat the warning signal shall be I minute after the end of the postponement.


Summer: With the exceptions of the Long Race, the time limit for the first boat in each ‘start’ will be 90 minutes. Boats finishing more than thirty minutes after the first boat in its ‘start’ will be scored ‘DNF’ (Did not finish). This changes RRS 35 (Time Limit & Scores). 

Winter: Races on Ladyburn Lake shall have a time limit of 50 minutes for the leading boat. Boats finishing more than 15 minutes after the first boat in its start shall be scored ‘DNF’


The Starting line will be between the main mast of the committee boat and a nearby starting mark which may also become a mark of the course. The Starting line may become a ‘gate’ within the course.


The finishing line will be between the mast on the Committee Boat and the adjacent mark of the course, and shall be crossed in the direction of the course from the previous mark. If for some reason the Committee Boat cannot be at the finish line, the Race Officer may deputise a safety boat to record finishing positions. 

 If a race has to be abandoned or if the Race Officer loses track of the race due to carrying out rescue or some other unforeseen duty (at the discretion of the sailing committee), the last recorded lap times may be adopted as ‘finish’ times to enable the race result to ‘stand’.

This changes RRS A3 (Finishing Places)  


RRS 44.1(Taking a Penalty) & RRS 44.2 (One & Two turn Penalties) shall apply save that during the TSC winter series on Ladyburn Lake the ‘TwoTurn’ penalty for a breach of one or more rules of RRS Part 2 (When Boats Meet) shall be reduced from 2 turns to only 1 turn.


A race or series shall be scored as provided in RRS 90.3 [Scoring] and RRS Appendix A  [Low points system] subject to the following amendments:

In a Short Series (‘single day’ eg: Trophy Days) & the annual Long Race

               DNS [Did not Start] shall score…. Number of boats in series

               DNF [Did not Finish] shall score….Number of Starters +1

               RAF [Retired after Finishing] …….Number of Starters +1

               DSQ [Disqualified]…………………Number of Boats in Series +1

               OCS [On course side]……………. Number of Boats in Series +1

In a Long Series (more than 1 day) (eg Wed Evening Series)

               DNC [Did not Compete ie: did not launch)…. ..Number of Helms in Series +1

               DNS [Did not Start ie: sailed but did not start]..Number of Starters +2

               DNF [Did not Finish] …………………………….Number of Starters +1

               RAF [Retired after Finishing] ……………………Number of Starters +1

               DSQ [Disqualified]………………….……………Number of Helms in Series +1

               OCS [On course side]……………. …………….Number of Helms in Series +1

               OOD [Race or Safety Duty]….Average of Sum of points for non-discarded races

These change RRS Appendix A 4.2 (Low point system)


RRS 60 (Right to Protest) and RRS 61 (Protest Requirements) shall apply to all races. Protest forms are available in the Clubhouse. All Protests and requests for redress shall be lodged with the Sailing Secretary within 24 hours of the race start time; either in writing or by email.

A protest committee will be convened by a Committee member as soon as possible after a protest is lodged; however it may not always be possible to arrange a hearing on the same day. 


The Advisory Hearing,  Post-race Penalty and  RYA Arbitration procedures of the RYA Rules Disputes Procedures may be available for protests relating to club races.


When there is an incident that will not result in the lodging of a protest or a request for redress, a boat, protest committee or race committee may request an advisory hearing, and notify any boat involved in the incident. An adviser will then call a hearing to learn what may have happened and will state whether any rule appears to have been broken, and by which boat. A boat may as a result notify the race office that she accepts a Post-race Penalty when it applies to the incident, or choose to retire.


1. When a protest or request for redress is lodged, a boat may at the same time request that the dispute be settled by Arbitration; or the Sailing Secretary, Protest Committee or Race Committee may offer it. 

2. If the dispute relates only to competitors from TSC, and all parties agree that Arbitration is acceptable then an Arbitrator (who may be a member of the protest committee) shall call a hearing. If the protest relates to competitors from both TSC & SSSC, and a hearing is not possible, then the Arbitrator may elect to hear the evidence via email (with copies to all parties).

In both cases the first sentence of RRS 64.1 (Disqualification) will not apply. Instead, when the arbitrator decides that a boat that is a party to the arbitration hearing has broken a rule for which a Post-race Penalty is available, that party will be invited to accept a Post-race Penalty, and, if it is accepted by a protested boat, the protesting boat will be allowed to withdraw the protest. This changes RRS 63.1 (Requirement for a Hearing) 

3. When there is not an agreement to use  Arbitration, or when, after  Arbitration, a protest is not withdrawn or the Post-race Penalty is not applicable to the facts, there will be a normal protest hearing, at which the Arbitrator may be a member of the protest committee. There may then be considerable delay if the parties originate from different Clubs.

4.RRS 66 (Reopening) and RRS 70 (Appeal) do not apply to the arbitration decision since this is not a protest committee decision or procedure. A boat may still accept a Post-race Penalty at any time before the start of a protest hearing and receive its protection from further penalization. She may also retire. 

5. When redress is offered and not accepted, or not offered at all, all parties, the protest committee, or race committee, may seek to have this reviewed by asking for a full hearing.


Post-race Penalty 

(a)   A boat that may have broken a rule of RRS Part 2 (When Boats Meet), or RRS 31 (Touching a Mark), may, after finishing the race concerned and before the start of a related protest hearing, notify the race committee that she accepts a 20% scoring penalty as stated in RRS 44.3(c) (Scoring Penalties), except that the minimum penalty is two places if that does not result in a score worse than DNF. This penalty does not reverse an OCS score or a disqualification under RRS 30.3 (U Flag Rule). It is not available for a breach of RRS 2 (Fair Sailing); RRS 69 (Misconduct)  or Class rules. Nor is it available to a boat that caused injury or serious damage, or gained a significant advantage by her breach. In these circumstances, her penalty is to retire. 

(b)  When a Post-Race Penalty is accepted: 

(i) Neither the boat nor a protest committee may then revoke or remove the penalty.

(ii)The boat shall not be penalized further in a protest hearing when the protest committee decides that it was appropriate to the facts found and the applicable rules.


To facilitate the results of Wednesday racing being effectively known by both TSC and SSSC, the Race Officer shall complete the approved race results sheet recording all lap times  and ensure it is passed to the officials of both clubs at the end of racing. The safety boat(s) can be used to hand over results on the water. Race result sheets are available by request to the Sailing Secretary.