Portsmouth Dinghy Racing

View the Race Poster!

Since 1991 SSSS has been racing all types of dinghies under the Portsmouth Yardstick, a handicapping system with variable handicaps based on wind strength.

The races are open to anyone with a boat, 20 feet or less without a fixed keel, who wants to race. There’s no race fee. You don’t even have to be a member of a club to take part in these races.

We race over the mud flats north of KGY Radio and Swantown Marina. We try to get the first race off by 1830 and will run as many as is reasonable under the wind and weather conditions. Show up with your boat and give the RC boat your boat: name, sail number, and type. We also need your name and contact info: address, phone, e-mail. Better yet, register online: “Entry Form” tab (below).

Thursday Night Racing
for Portsmouth Racing

May 2016

The races will be governed by the curent Racing Rules of Sailing, the prescriptions of USSA; the appropriate class rules, except as any of these are altered by the Sailing Instructions; and by these Sailing Instructions.

2.1 Notices to competitors will be posted on the SSSS web site. Race results will be posted here too.
2.2 Additions or amendments to these instructions will be posted on the SSSS web. Any change in the sailing instructions will be posted two days prior to race day.

Register with the RC boat on the water, or pre register by calling the RC Chair.
The RC needs to know your sail number, boat type, boat name if any, your name and contact information.

4.1 All boats shall have aboard a means of propelling the boat in a calm. The test is the ability to do so.
4.2 All boats shall meet minimum US. Coast Guard safety requirements. This includes having a PFD for each person; it should be worn when appropriate.
4.3 This MINIMUM list is NOT everything all boats may want or need in all conditions. Every skipper shall determine that the boat is adequately prepared before racing. The safety of a boat is the responsibility of the skipper.
4.4 Any yacht not reporting their withdrawal from a race to the Race Committee may be score DNS.

All boats will be scored together. If attendance warrants, the fleet may be divided into classes.

6.1 Races will be held on the dates shown on the Portsmouth Schedule (tab, above.)
6.2 The first race will start: 1830 hrs. on Thursdays and noon on Saturdays, or shortly there after. Other races will follow as soon as possible after each previous race.

The following Sound-Signal Starting System, shall be used. This amends RRS 26, Starting Races:

Time to Start Name/purpose of Signal Signal
pre start means come get the course raise yellow flag
Attention Signal means be ready to race many short sounds
3 minutes Preparatory 3 long sounds
    raise blue flag
2 minutes   2 long sounds
1.5 minutes   1 long and 1 short sound
1 minute   1 long sound
    lower blue flag
30 seconds   3 short sounds
20 seconds   2 short sounds
10 seconds   1 short sound
0 minute Start 1 continuous sound
after the start means the race is in progress raise blue flag, fly until the last boat finishes

8.1 The start/finish line will be between the Committee Boat and a nearby mark. Start and finish lines are the same, unless the course is shortened at an other mark.
8.2 The start / finish line may be closed by race committee. If they choose to do so, they will write “closed” on the course board. 
8.3 Courses are as written on the course board or as hailed by the RC boat. Marks are shown on the chart of the racing area.
8.4 Temporary marks may be set for course marks. They will be shown as W for windward, L for leeward, P for the starting pin, and 9 being the committee boat. 
8.5 Round all marks to port unless “starboard” is written on the course board, in which case round the marks to starboard.

9.1 Individual Recall - The Committee Boat will TRY to hail premature starters. The Committee Boat will NOT display Code Flag X. This amends RRS Rule 29.2, Individual Recall. The onus of starting correctly shall be the responsibility of the competitors.
9.2 General Recall - In the event of a general recall, the RC boat will make additional two sound signals. The Committee Boat will NOT display the first substitute. This amends Rule 29.3, General Recall. The preparatory signal will be made one minute after the attention signal is sounded. That class shall re-commence a 3 minute start sequence until started.

10.1 Boats less than 16 feet long : The Two-Turn penalty will be in effect for infringement of a rule of Part 2 of the RRS. This is in accordance with RRS 44.2, One-Turn and Two-Turn Penalties.
10.2 Boats more than 16 feet long and multi hulls : The One-Turn penalty will be in effect for infringement of a rule of Part 2 of the RRs. This is in accordance with RRS 44.2, One-Turn and Two-Turn Penalties.

11.1 Protest flags need not be displayed when protesting. This amends rule 61.1, Informing the Protestee.
11.2 All protests shall be in writing and include the information asked for in RRS Rule 61.2, Protest Contents.
11.3 Written protests shall be submitted or postmarked to the Protest Chair within 48 hours after the time that the Race Committee Boat docks after the last race of that day. Skippers intending to lodge a protest must inform the Race Committee Boat upon finishing that race.

The race may be shortened at any rounding mark of the course. Finish between the RC boat and that mark.

13.1. The first yacht in each class must finish in 45 minutes.
13.2. The time limit will expire 60 minutes after the start. The race is then over. Boats starting and not finished by then will be scored DNF. This amends RRS 35, Time Limit.
13.3. The Race Committee may ask the last boat in a class to sail directly to the start/finish line prior to finishing in which case they will be scored as a finisher. Amends the definition of "finishing".

14.1 Places will be awarded using the Portsmouth Yardstick Wind Dependent Handicap Factors , scored as rounded by our race scoring software, this amends RRS Appendix A3 Finishing Places.
14.2 All the races on a given day constitute a regatta and will be scored as such. 
14.3 The Low Point Scoring System, Appendix A of the RRS, will apply, except that Appendix A4, Point Systems, is amended to award 3/4 of a point for first place and additional points as follows: DNF = number of starters . DNC = number of starters +1. DSQ = number of starters +2. A set number of races is not scheduled. One race constitutes a series, and each boat’s total score will be the sum of ALL races. This amends RRS Appendix A2.
14.4 In the event of a tie, the yacht which finished ahead of the other the in the most races shall win the tie. If still tied, the tie stands. This amends Appendix A8, Series Ties.

15.1 The races will be divided into series as per the schedule, which is in this Handbook. 
15.2 The Series will be scored as the regattas are scored, except that: 
15.2.a each regatta, each day, will be scored as if it were one race
15.2.b only your best three days will be counted, except to break ties and the throw out is the first tie breaker. This amends RRS Appendix A8, Series Ties.
15.3 A boat serving as Committee Boat, if racing at least one day in that series, shall be scored the average of her other scores for that series. If she was Committee Boat for more than one day, she will be scored DNC for all additional RC duty days that series.

New 2017-2020 Rules

Racing Rules

If you are not aware, the Racing Rules of Sailing are updated every four years. They get updated the year following the Summer Olympics. Since 2016 was an Olympic year, the new rules take effect 1 January 2017. SSSS will not change to the new rules until the sailing season is over for our sailing year, at which time the sailing instructions will be updated to reference the 2017-2020 rules.

If you are a member of US Sailing, you should have already received your copy of the new rule book. This year mine came in November and was printed on waterproof paper!!! If you want an app for your iPhone or iPad, you can go to the iTunes Store and search World Sailing 2017-2020 and you can download a free app with all the Rules, Cases, Call Books for free from World Sailing (of course the Cases and Call Books are not yet available to download). If you are wondering what happened to ISAF, International Sailing Federation, it has been renamed to World Sailing. Many of the edits to the rule book were to change the name of the world governing body.

To get an understanding what has changed and why it changed, you can go to the World Sailing website at the following address: http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/StudyVersionoftheRacingRulesfor20172020Final-[13380].pdf. This is a pdf copy of the edited rules. It has links to a document that will tell you what was changed, and why the change was made. It is a useful way to find out what the rules committee was thinking, and why a rules was changed. After reviewing the changes, none appear to significantly change the game, and are intended to correct problems that probably never occurred to you, unless you are a real rules wonk.

The one rule that did significantly change was 18.3, Tacking in the Zone. It now only applies if you are tacking in the zone to round a mark to port, and it only applies between a boat that tacks in the zone, and one that is on starboard tack fetching the mark that does not tack in the zone. It no longer applies between boats if they both tack in the zone. This is a good change. It was not easy to apply in the case where more than one boat tacked in the zone. If you do not believe me, look at Case 133 for the 2013-2016 Rules, and the gymnastics they had to go through to rule on the case. The Cases, and Calls will need to be rewritten for the new rules, but this will not happen until February or March of 2017.

If after reading through the new rules you have questions, please e-mail me at protests@ssssclub.com, and I will be happy to respond.

Norman Smit, SSSS Protest Chair


2017 Portsmouth Race Calendar

Thursday Night Dinghy Racing: first start 1830

There will be several races each day.

Thursday Night Dinghy Racing, Spring Series
Race Night #1			May   4
Race Night #2			May  18
Race Night #3			June  1

Thursday Night Dinghy Racing, Summer Series
Race Night #1			June 15
Race Night #2			June 29
Race Night #3			July 13

Thursday Night Dinghy Racing, August Series
Race Night #1			July 27
Race Night #2			Aug. 10
Race Night #3			Aug. 24

Fall Regatta, September 10 2017

Chart of the Racing Area:

Marks used for Thursday Night Racing

Navigation markers used as turning marks: numbered marks are as numbered on your chart, A and B are the southernmost range marks, D and E are the northern range markers, C is the channel junction mark.

Temporary marks may also be used, as turning marks and/or one end of the start/finish line.

Courses will be signaled from the RC boat.




Force Wind
Speed (knots)
Seaman's Term Sea Condition Wave Height
0 0-1 Calm Glassy-smooth, mirror like. Smooth
1 2-3 Light air Scale-like ripples. Ripples
2 4-6 Light breeze Small, short wavelets with glassy crests. 1/3 ft
3 7-10 Gentle breeze Large wavelets, crests begin to break.
Occasional foam.
1-2 ft
4 11-16 Moderate breeze Small waves. some whitecaps more
frequent foam.
2-3 ft
5 17-21 Fresh breeze Moderate longer waves. better formed,
many whitecaps, much foam, some spray.
3-4 ft

The Race Committee should observe sea conditions at the start during and at the finish of the race, and determine an average Beaufort Number for that race. Round off knots to nearest whole number or MPH to nearest tenth to determine Beaufort Number if anemometer is used. Care should be taken in observing that wind strength approximates that of the race course.

Wave height is dependent on water depth and length of time that the wind has been blowing. These are typical heights for lakes, bays, and estuaries. The above conditions and wave heights should prevail after the times indicated. Don't neglect the effect of large numbers of powerboats on enclosed bodies of water in estimating wave heights.

If you have photos you'd like to share with the club, please email the Webmaster with either a link to where the photos are stored (such as OneDrive, Flickr, etc.), or, if you have only a few photos, you can attach them to your email, either one by one, or as a .zip archive. Please be sure to tell us what event or race was photographed, the date, and who should be given credit for the photos.




(Older photos to be added as time allows.)

Jim Slosson’s blog: (http://jimslittleboat.blogspot.com/)