Simple Racing Rules

Local Racing Rules

There are three series, Spring, Summer and Fall.  Each race day consists of eight races, with no throwaway race.  Any number of race days will qualify for a series, but competing in 50% plus one of the racing days gives you throw-away race days that you missed or did poorly.  Lowest point count win of total race days wins.

Note:  these are a subset of the complete RC Yacht Racing rules that may be encountered in official regattas.  These QMYC rules have evolved from experience and work well with our sailors.


Simple RC Racing Rules

As we start each season, I’m sure we can all use a reminder of our basic racing rules.  The objective is to have enough rules so that our racing doesn’t degenerate into chaos (maybe it does sometimes even with rules!!) and not so many that we all get confused and lose some of the fun of the racing.

And don’t panic if you make a mistake.  Any infraction of a rule can be exonerated by simply doing one complete 360 degree circle as soon as possible so as not to interfere with other boats, and before rounding the next mark.

On the Course:

– Boats meeting on opposite tacks:  The boat on starboard (That is with the wind coming from the right hand side of the boat and, therefore, with the  boom being blown over to the left side) has right of way over a boat on port tack.  Skippers are encouraged to call “Starboard number xx” if they see a potential collision developing.  The boat on port tack must take evasive action to avoid a collision.  If the boats touch, or the starboard boat changes course to avoid a collision, the port boat must do a 360 circle before rounding the coming mark.

– Boats meeting on the same tack:  The boat that is down-wind has right of way over the boat that is up-wind.  Skippers are encouraged to call “Up number xx” if they see a potential collision developing.

– Overtaking boat must keep clear of the boat being passed.  Note that, per the above, the boat being over taken can “luff up”, i.e. go more into the wind, to prevent the other boat from passing on the up-wind side.  Skippers are encouraged to call “Up number xx” before luffing up on the overtaking boat.

– A boat being overtaken can not veer away down-wind to get in the way of a passing boat.

Rounding Course Marks:

– Because of the congestion and the difficulties in seeing exactly what is happening at the marks, there will be no penalty for touching a mark.  (However, touching a mark is a bad practice as it slows you down and you could easily get hung up on the string anchoring the mark!)

– If a mark is missed, or rounded in the wrong direction, it must be re-rounded in such a manner that if a very long imaginary string was attached to the stern of the boat, the string would be “unwound” from around the mark.

– When within four boat lengths of the mark, you must leave enough room for all boats between you and the mark, on the same tack, to round the mark without colliding.  Skippers of these inside boats are encouraged to call “Room at the mark number xx.”.

– If you approach a mark on port tack, you must give way to boats approaching on starboard, even if you are within four boat lengths of the mark.  For the windward mark (usually the first mark of the race) it is highly recommended that you approach it on starboard, not port, tack.

– If you miss a mark, or round the wrong way, you must “unwind” an imaginary fastened to the mark



-Racing rules apply as soon as the one minute gun sounds.  Best to start on a starboard tack.  If you start on port tack, you must, of course, keep clear of any starboard tack boats.

-If you cross the start line at any time between one-minute and the actual start, you must keep going and go around either of the two start mark pins to re-cross the starting line for the start.  You can not just dip back across the starting line.

– Be aware that prior to the start, as you approach the start line, the same rules apply as “On the Course”.  Starboard tack and down-wind boats have the right of way.  If you are forced over the start line early (for example by a down-wind boat luffing you up and over the line) you must keep going and go around either of the start mark pins to re-cross the starting line. (See next item,)

– Avoid “Barging The Line”.  That is, arriving at the start line a bit too early and trying to sail down the line to avoid crossing it.  The likely result is that you will either be forced up over the line by close hauled boats starting downwind of you, or you’ll have a collision with that boat/boats.  And forcing a boat, in this situation, to take evasive action to avoid a collision, means you’ll need to do a “360” before you can even start.  It is better to be just a bit late to the start line rather then get into this situation!  Or cross the start line early and re-round the start mark, may have less adverse impact for you.

-Boats called for an “Early Start” have no rights. You must not interfere in any way with other boats as you turn for a restart.  You must round one of the start marks to restart.  No “dipping”.


– When some boats are running downwind they may meet slower boats still tacking upwind to the mark. Although starboard rule applies, it is common practice for the running boat to avoid the tacking boats.  The running boat may call out “hold your course”.

-Call your boat number, loudly and clearly for the recorder, as you cross the finish line.

– After crossing the finish line sail well away so as not to interfere with the boats still racing and to make it easier for the recorder to note the boats as they cross the line.

Because our boats have a heavy, leaded keel, they WILL sink if holed. So be VERY careful that you don’t “T-Bone” a boat.Even if you are in the right, steer to avoid a collision, and call for the boat in the wrong to do his 360. You do not want to be responsible for putting a competitor’s boat on the bottom of a 30 foot deep lake!

It is also good practice to glue a hard sponge “bumper” on the bow of your boat in order to reduce the effect of a collision.

M12 StartA.jpeg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s