HMYC Sailing Instructions

Housatonic Model Yacht Club

AMY Club 117

Region 1        Middlebury, CT 

HMYC Sailing Instructions 2021


    1. HMYC honors the rules set forth by ISAF, USYRU, AMYA, the HMYC Sailing Instructions, Constitution, and By-Laws
    2. Scoring will be on the Low Point System per individual race, series, or regatta.
      1. Development Classes (US1M) the scoring is for the boat.(SEE NOTE)
      2. One Design Classes (DragonFlite95, Soling,  Star45, and EC12) the scoring is for the skipper.
      3. Series Races.
        1. Race days are schedule per HMYC schedule.  Note-If your boat is destroyed or sold you can continue with a replacement boat and combine points.
        2. A race day will have 8 races with one throw-out if this number is sailed.
        3. A minimum of 5 races will be required to qualify the day as a race day.
    3. The Race Director will designate the courses to be sailed for each race and will use the One Minute timer for the starting sequence.
    4. The Race Director may amend the Sailing Instructions orally or in writing.
    5. Protests will be settled while boats are in the water or at the end of the races for the day.  Protests may be in writing for future evaluation in a meeting.
    6. Holds. One 15 minute hold allowed per skipper per day to repair a breakdown. One 5 minute hold allowed per skipper per day for sail change adjustments or battery change.
    7. Rules.
      1. Rule 30.1 (“I” flag) is not in effect unless called for by the RD
      2. 360 degree turn (i.e. one tack & one gybe) will be required as a penalty for infringing on racing rules.
      3. Touching a mark of the course, will require a 360 degree turn (one tack & one gybe) after rounding the mark.
    8. Recommendations: Remember that this is a game, not a war. The object is to have fun, not to try to win at any cost.


The full Racing Rules of Sailing can be found on the World Sailing website at the following link:

Racing Rules of Sailing

Below are Simplified Racing Rules.

                            Simplified Racing Rules

These rules apply when you are racing. When one boat has the right-of-way that means that the other boat is required to keep clear, in other words, to stay out of the way of the right-of-way boat.

  1. Avoid collisions: These racing rules are defensive (1.e., to prevent collisions), not offensive (i.e., used primarily to gain an advantage over your opponent). There are two compelling reasons for avoiding a collision: (a) damage may occur, and (b) a collision and the time it takes to extricate your boat, even if you have the right-of-way (and do your penalty turn if you are at fault) generally ruins the whole race, for both boats involved! (Rule 14).
  2. When boats are on opposite tacks (booms on different sides), the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the boat on the port tack (Rules 10).
  3. When the boats are on the same tack (booms on the same sides), the leeward boat has the right-of-way over the windward boat. After the starting signal, if a boat that is clear astern establishes an overlap to leeward within two lengths of another boat however, the leeward boat may not sail above her proper course while they remain overlapped. (Rules 11 and 17)
  4. A boat clear astern must keep clear of a boat ahead. (Rule 12)
  5. A boat that is tacking or gibing must keep clear of a boat that is not. (Rule 13)
  6. A right-of-way boat changing course toward another boat must give the other boat time and room to keep clear. (Rule 16)
  7. A boat that is backing up or not racing must keep clear of all boats that are racing. (Rule 20)
  8. Room to tack at an obstruction: If a close-hauled boat must tack in order to avoid running aground or colliding with an obstruction, but cannot tack without fouling another boat, she may hail for room to tack, and give the hailed boat time and room to keep clear. The hailed boat shall either tack as soon as possible or immediately reply “you tack,” in which case the hailing boat must tack immediately and the hailed boat must keep clear. (Rule 19)
  9. Room at the mark: If an overlap is present at four boat-lengths from a mark or obstruction, the outside boat(s) must give inside boat(s) room to round the mark. (Rule 18)



*RRS definition of “proper course”: a course a boat would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of other boats. There is no proper course prior to the staring signal.

  1. The Start: HMYC races use a one minute starting sequence. Racing begins, and these rules become effective, when that sequence begins at the Preparatory signal, one minute before the Starting Signal. The start-finish line is an imaginary line between the course sides of the two marks. You must be completely behind this line at starting signal. If you are not, you must round either end and restart. While you are returning, you must stay clear of all boats that started correctly. (Rule 20)
  1. The Anti-barging rule: The exception to rule 9 occurs at the starting marks, when a leeward boat does not have to give windward boats that are about to cross the starting line room to pass between her and the starting mark. If a windward/inside boat tries to squeeze in between a leeward boat and a starting mark she is “barging.” (Rule 18.1a)
  2. Penalty turns: If you make a right-of-way boat change course to avoid hitting you, you must take a penalty. After getting well clear of other boats as soon after the incident as possible, one complete circle, including one tack and one gybe (called a 360).  If the boat gained a significant advantage in the heat or race by her breach despite taking a penalty, her penalty shall be an additional One-Turn Penalty. When you’re done, resume racing. (Rules 44.1 and 44.2).
  3. Protest procedures: If you have the right-of-way and another boat makes you change course to avoid hitting her, she has broken a rule. You must tell her this by protesting. Immediately stat, loudly enough to e heard by the skipper of the other boat, “Number ______ (your sail number) protest Number_____.” If the other boat does not do her 360 and you choose to carry out the protest procedure, immediately after the finish of that heat tell the Principle Race Official which boat you are protesting and fill out a protest form. The PRO will hold a hearing at which both skippers will have an opportunity to tell their story briefly and then make a decision.
  4. Disagreement about fault: If there is contact between boats where is was unavoidable, and skippers cannot agree on who was at fault, both boats must do a penalty turn.
  5. Touching a mark: has penalty whereby the boat must do a 360 after rounding the mark.
  6. Outside help: A boat that goes aground or becomes entangled with another boat while racing may receive assistance from her skipper or other persons in order to resume racing, so long as that assistance does not give the boat a competitive advantage.
  7. Loss of control: a Skipper who loses radio control of a boat shall immediately announce “Number ____ out of control!!” That boat must retire and shall be considered an obstruction.

Here are three other recommendations which, although they are not rules, will make racing more enjoyable for everyone involved:

  1. If you are in doubt about who has the right-of-way, follow the Golden Rule: give way. In other words, do for the other boat what you would want her to do for you.
  2. Even it you are confident that you are right, if the other boat refuses to do its penalty turn and there was no contact between boats (see Rule 14) it is usually better to forego your right to carry out the rest of the protest procedure rather that force everyone to wait, losing valuable racing time, while your protest is being decided. You and your protestee should discuss the issue after racing is done for the day and are welcome to request a review and advisory decision from the Principle Race Officer.
  3. Remember this is a game you are playing not a war. The object is to have fun, not to try to win at any cost.