Understanding the Sailing Programme is the first step in your club racing career. More broadly, and of immediate value, it tells you when you can expect there to be rescue cover and people in general at the club. Armed with this information, you’ll know when to turn up for a chat or a casual sail i.e. from about one hour before the start time.
The Sailing Programme is presented as a table of information, with the following columns (from left to right):
|1||Day||Day of the week. Usually Sunday, ‘cos that’s when we do most of our racing. Many Junior events & training take place on Saturday. Some events spill over to a Monday or start on a Friday. The Evening Series can take place on any weekday.|
|2||Date||Like on the calendar.|
|3||H.W.||High Water – i.e. the time of high tide. It’s important to us because we sail a couple of hours either side of it.|
|4||(m)||Height of the high tide, in metres. Anything below 8.0 is low, and a 10.0 is quite high.|
|5||Code||Indication to which the event belongs – e.g. Warm Up Series|
|6||Blank||The event: typically the name of the ‘Series’ and the Race Numbers. We usually have five Sunday Series in a year – Warmup, Spring, Summer, Champagne & Autumn. Winter may make an appearance at the start of the year if we are mad enough. Warmup lasts a couple of weeks, just to get in the groove before the Dart Open at Easter. The other series are usually run over 5 – 7 weeks each. There’s also an Evening Series run throughout the sailing season, on the evenings that we have enough water and light. The Evening Series has two races per day, with all boats starting together and sailing the same course. Results are separated into cats and dinghies. For the other series there are three races per day and each fleet may have its own start and course, and will have its own results. Prizes are awarded for each series and for the best overall result (combining the results across the year, excluding the Evening Series).Other one off events will also be listed. See below for an explanation.|
|7||Start||The race start time – for the first race of the day.|
|8||PRO||Race Officer for the day. If your name appears here, you don’t need to be reading this!|
|9||ARO||Assistant Race Officer.|
|10 & 11||Rescue Boats||Duties for rescue cover.|
DSC runs several one-off races or events which are sprinkled throughout the race calendar. These are usually a move away from the fleet based approach to the regular Series and allow all the sailors to compete against each other. These events include:
The Dart Open – typically a three day event run over Easter. It is the first TT event on the Dart calendar, with 40-50 boats competing from across the country. This is the event to enter to measure yourself against the best. Despite the name, it is open to Dart 16s as well as 18s.
Open events for local clubs are also listed in our sailing programme. The 2005 event hosted the second round of the Dart TT. It is also popular with the Fast Cats. It is scheduled over the May Day weekend. Bala is a great inland venue – no tides to think about but the wind shifts and gusts will require your full attention.
A club race taking us into the open waters beyond Hilbre Island This year (2006) this is being run as a series of races. Here you will encounter seals, clear water, an open sea swell and probably a bit more breeze. The rules are simple: start and finish at the usual place, passing Hilbre to port (keep it on your left). It is often run as the middle race of three on the day, with results also counting towards the current series. The Seldom Seen Trophy is awarded to the winning catamaran and the Trantom Trophy goes to the winning monohull. Times are adjusted according to the boat’s handicap. Some of the challenges along the way will include taking the shortest course while navigating shallow waters, and getting round the island without straying into the inevitable wind shadow, whilst sailing as quickly as you can. This race will be run when the tides are high and the wind is not too strong.
Club members will compete for the Coronation Salver and RNLI Pennant in this pursuit race. The slowest boats (in terms of handicap) will start first, with faster boats starting behind them at a time that theoretically has everyone finishing together. The first to cross the line is the winner. Clearly the faster boats have a lot of overtaking to do, while the slower boats can practice their tactical blocking.
Not a race, but a chance to share the fun of sailing with visitors to the club.
Pwllheli SC’s open event for catamarans, racing 60km along the Welsh coast. The most challenging, and rewarding, long distance event in the North West. The scenery is spectacular, the water is clear, and the ride can be wild. Not for the faint-hearted!
Collectively known as the Wirral & Mersey Regatta Series, usually run over four weekends in June-July. Racing is provided for something like 20 classes of boats, with the cats now racing on the Dee as a rule, with some still on the Mersey. Prizes are awarded for each regatta and for overall winners in the series. Darts race as a class and other cats race on handicap.
A booze cruise without the luxury. Everyone decamps by whatever means possible to Hoyle Bank for the day. For most people this is another excuse to sail out past Hilbre and play in the open waters. Since Hoyle Bank is submerged during high tides, we sail out on the outgoing tide, land on the sandbank as it emerges from the sea and sail back on the incoming tide as the sandbank once again dips below sea level. The intervening hours are spent in the sunshine playing beach games, sailing for fun, speed and thrills, joyriding and indulging in a BBQ and Bar, provided by Dawpool once it has chugged down the estuary to join us. Friends and family can join in without getting their feet wet (ha!) by walking out to Hilbre at low tide and cadging a lift from various Ribs, fishermen and bemused locals. The event is usually coordinated with the other local clubs so that people outnumber seals for a while.
Crews and helms swap roles for a race to Hoyle Bank, as their warm-up in the Commodores Cruise.
Everyone is reduced to a Pico sailor for an evening. Teams of three compete in a league / playoff fashion to find the most competitive team racers on the day. Dads are pitched against their kids, and the Rib riders are expected to beat Fast Cat sailors, and often do. The International Racing Rules of Sailing appear to be forgotten… Best played for laughs.