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Hope Town Sailing Club, Abaco, Bahamas

Racing (Cruising Class)

Your Race Committee is enthusiastically looking forward to the 2024-2025 season.  We have put together an evolving schedule, so please check back often. We will endeavor to have good times on the water next winter with an emphasis on participation, learning, and fun. 

Please see all race results and photos here Race Results

Join us for an exciting time! The races are open to HTSC members and non-members alike. There is no entry fee. Your boat will be given a handicap using your PHRF and a Portsmouth time-on-adjustment (see details below to request one). You will be racing with a most eclectic fleet of mono-hulls, multi-hulls, sloops, schooners, ketches, catboats and classic Bahamian workboats: All race together for an exciting time with the emphasis on having fun. 

Cruising Boat Race Schedule and Links to Register:

Date  Time  High Tide Event Name  

  Racing Social & Season Kick Off
 Saturday, 1/20/2024

 S. Yeardley Smith Trophy

Racing (Cruising Class) - S. Yeardley Smith Trophy

Saturday, 2/3/2024 12:00 Noon1:17 p.m.

William Gillies Trophy, Hopetown Cup

Racing (Cruising Class) - William Gillies Trophy, Hope Town Cup

Wednesday, 2/28/2024 11:00 a.m.10:23 a.m.

 Founders Cup

Founder's Cup Cruising Class Race 3

Thursday, 3/7/2024 2:00 p.m.5:40 p.m.

 Cruising Class Race 4

Cruising Class Race 4

 Wednesday, 3/20/2024 2:00 p.m.5:45 p.m.  Cruising Class Race 5

Post-Race Standup

 All racing skippers and their crew are invited to join club members at a Stand-up Awards Party (BYOB) in the Clubhouse following the races. This is a great opportunity to meet your fellow sailors to discuss the race, and cheer for the winners as the awards are presented. 


To hold the races we need volunteers to assist the Race Committee as Mark Boats. Their duties shall be to transport Race Committee members out to the course, place the marks as instructed by the Race Committee, notify racers of course changes during the race, act as impartial observers and otherwise assist the Race Committee as needed. To volunteer for this essential service, and enjoy a day on the water, please contact the Race Committee Chairman. 

Get Ready to Race

Listen for Cruisers' Net Ch.68 at 8:15 Daily for Announcements 

In the days prior to each Race Day, listen for race announcements during the Cruisers' Net (Ch. 68 at 8:15 daily) and register for the event on HTSC website Calendar. If you have a boat but need extra crew, or if you want to race but have no boat, have never raced before, feel rusty, have questions, or for any other reason hesitate to join us, we will be pleased to go over your questions and our racing rules and procedures. Just hail "Hope Town Race Committee" on Ch. 68 after the Cruiser's Net or on race day call the Race Committee after 10:00am using Ch. 66.  As weather impacts the racing, schedule, we will do our best to keep the website calendar, Facebook page and notifications up to date. 

Request a Handicap 

Please indicate your desire to request a Handicap on the Cruiser Net at 8:15 morning to learn how best to submit your request with following details to HTSC: 


Name of Skipper(s)
Boat Name
Boat Builder, Model, Type, Year
Boat Modifications

Suggested PHRF

Supporting Comments

The Race Committee will assign you a handicap using your PHRF and the Portsmouth (time-on-time) conversion. A 10% increase in your PHFR will be applied if you are a live-aboard cruiser.

You should not hesitate to race while awaiting the Race Committee's determination of your handicap.  Just get on the water and we will figure it out!


You are required to check-in with the Race Committee out on the race course  by hailing or calling the "Race Committee" on VHF Ch. 66.  Course instructions will be provided and any questions may be asked of the Committee prior to an Alert Signal (6 horn blasts).  After that time, the Race Committee will make Fleet Wide announcements, only, over VHF Ch. 66.  It would be helpful to the Race Committee if you Register for the race on the events page of this website; however this is not required.   Sailing Instructions  may be available from the Committee Boat and will also be on the HTSC website.  

Race Course 

Our race course usually lies between the Parrot Cays (just outside Hope Town Harbor), Matt Lowe's Cay, and Sugarloaf Cay.  The starting line is determined by the wind conditions. The Starting Signal is usually scheduled in the early afternoon and dependent on tides; check the website or HTSC Facebook page for up-to-date notices.  The course is usually set to provide the average boat a 90-minuterace. Races will be canceled when wind conditions average 18 mph or higher over a one-minute interval.   The course is displayed on the port rail of the Committee Boat.

Race Instructions  

Races are conducted according to The Racing Rules of Sailing as modified below.


1.0 Rules - Races will be governed by the Rules as defined in The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) and the Prescriptions of US Sailing, except where changed by these Sailing Instructions.t

2.0 Notices - Notices to competitors will be posted on the official Notice Board located in the Club House, on this web site, in our published members Roster and over the Cruiser's Net. Sailing Instructions may be amended or changed no later than 11:54 am on the day of the race, and shall become effective after their announcement on the Cruiser's Net, posting in the Club House, or distribution on the water.3.0 Cruising Class - Races are open to all competitors sailing "cruising class boats" (a sailboat of not less than 18 feet in length) and they need not be members of the Hope Town Sailing Club (HTSC), the Organizing Authority.  The definition of "cruising class boats" and the acceptance of any entrant are at the sole discretion of HTSC Race Committee (changes Rule 76).

3.1 Registration - Participants should register for a race either using the Club's website or on Race Day after 11:00 am by VHF radio (Ch. 66).  Appropriate handicap or design information shall be provided at the time of registration along with a recommended PHRF.

4.0  Handicaps -  Handicaps are determined at the sole discretion of the Hope Town Sailing Club Race Committee using the U.S. Sailing Association PHRF Handicaps Book's ratings and/or Portsmouth Yardstick Manual numbers as guidelines, and are subject to adjustment for live-aboard conditions and subject to further change at the sole discretion of the Race Committee.

5.0 Headsails - Downwind sails such as spinnakers and gennakers are not permitted during racing. All headsails must be attached along the entire luff to a headstay or forestay at all times.  Headsail changes are permitted and all sails may be reefed and un-reefed during a race.

5.1 Single & Doublehanded - A vessel being sailed single or doublehanded may use an automatic steering device (i.e. autopilot) from time to time during racing to affect such activities as sail changing, reefing, sail trim, navigation and other standard shipboard activities that would require absence from the helm.  Use of such automatic steering devices in no way relieves a vessel from full compliance with the Racing Rules of Sailing (changes Rule 52).

5.2 Whisker Poles - Poles and other devices to hold out the clew of a headsail need not be attached to the mast and may be hand-held (changes Rule 55.2).

6.0 Schedule - The schedule of races is listed in the current Club Directory, and is posted on the Club Official Notice Board in the Club House.

7.0 Class Flag - When only one class is participating the Class Flag shall be a red rectangle Flag.

8.0 Location - The racing area is usually the Sea of Abaco, west of Hope Town Harbor.

9.0 Course - The course to be sailed will be announced by the Race Committee on VHF Ch. 66 prior to the sounding of the Alert Signal (6 minutes).  A leg may be lengthened, shortened or changed during the race.  The Committee will attempt to maintain contact with boats at all times during the race on VHF Ch. 66.  Such VHF radio communication may replace visual and sound signals if such signals are not made.  All competitors shall monitor their radios for this purpose at all times (changes Rules 32, 33, Appendix J2).

10.0 Marks - All turning marks of the course, including the starting and finishing marks, will normally be inflatable tetrahedrons, except in point-to-point races where the marks may be navigational aids, landmarks including islands, or other identifiable objects.

11.0 Start - Following an Alert Signal at approximately 6 minutes to the start, races will be started in accordance with Rule 26 by hoisting a Warning Signal at 5 minutes to the start using a Class Flag or Red Flag accompanied by a sound signal.   The sequence of Flag and sound signals then follows as shown below.  Unless the race is postponed or abandoned, the Start is at 11:00am.  Normally a race not started by 12:00 may be abandoned.  A race so abandoned may or may not be rescheduled.  






 No Flag

 6 Blasts

 6 Mins.


 Red Flag Hoisted

 1 Blast

 5 Mins.


 "P" Flag Hoisted

 1 Blast

 4 Mins.


 "P" Flag Removed

 1 Blast           

 1 Mins.


 Red Flag Removed

 1 Blast

 0 Mins.

In case of postponement, the Warning (5 Min.) Flag will be raised one minute after the removal of the red and white AP postponement flag.

11.1 Starting Line - The Starting Line will be between the RC Flag staff on the Race Committee Boat at the starboard end, and the Starting Mark, normally a tetrahedron, at the port end.  An inner mark (often referred to as the "barging buoy") will be placed off the stern of the Committee Boat.  Racers shall not pass between this mark and the Committee Boat after it has been set.  If a boat fails to observe this instruction or is forced between this mark and the Committee Boat by a boat that did not break a rule, then said boat must retire.

12.0 Individual Recalls -Individual Recalls will be signaled by displaying code flag "X" (blue cross on white) with one sound signal and the Race Committee will attempt to notify premature starters by VHF radio; such VHF communication will replace visual and sound signals if such signals are not made (changes Rule 29).  If over early, a boat must return behind the starting line and restart.  A boat restarting has no rights.

12.1 General Recall - A General Recall will be signaled by displaying the "First Substitute" Flag (blue triangle, yellow center) with two blasts and notification by VHF radio; such VHF communication will replace visual and sound signals if such signals are not made (changes Rule 29.2). The Warning Signal for a new start will be made one minute after the "First Substitute" flag is removed, with one sound signal.

13.0 Course Change - The Race Committee may change, shorten or lengthen a leg or legs, or eliminate a leg or legs, of the course after the start and will notify boats by VHF radio and may also use the applicable RRS signals. (changes Rules 32 & 33).

14.0 Finish - Boats will finish, in a direction from the last mark, between the flagstaff of the Race Committee Boat and the finish mark, normally an inflated tetrahedron, as designated prior to or during the race.   The Race Committee Boat will normally display a solid Blue flag when on station at the finish.

15.0 Time Limit - The time limit for all races is 3 hours from the starting signal until the first boat crosses the finish line.  The Race Committee may retire from the course, at its sole discretion, one hour after the first boat finishes.  A boat that retires from the race shall notify the Race Committee as soon as possible.

16.0 VHF Radio - All visual and sound signals below will be replaced by VHF radio communication on Ch. 66 if the signals below are not made.

16.1 Postponement - The Answering Pennant (vertical red and white stripes) plus two sound signals means that all races not started are postponed.  The Answering Pennant will be lowered with one sound signal one minute before a new Warning Signal or Abandonment.

16.2 Abandonment - The "N" Flag (checkered blue and white) plus three sound signals, means all races are abandoned for the day.

16.3 Shortened Course - The "S" Flag (blue square on white) plus two sound signals means finish between a near mark and the Race Committee Boat.

16.4 Leg(s) Shortened - The "C" Flag plus repetitive sound signals indicates a shortening of the course (changes Rule 33(b)).

16.5 Leg(s) Lengthened - The "X" Flag plus repetitive sound signals indicates a lengthening of the course (changes Rule 33(b)).

17.0 Protests - All boats intending to PROTEST must follow these requirements:  shall hail "Protest", shall display a red flag, shall notify the Race Committee of a protest at the finish line and shall file a written protest with the Race Committee Chairman within two hours of time the last boat finishes.  Protest forms are available from the Race Committee (changes Rule 61.1 (2)).  Remember an alternative Penalty may be taken: two turns (720 degrees) for fouling another boat, and one turn (360 degrees) for touching a mark.  In either case, the racer must notify the Race Committee of their decision to take the alternative penalty at the finish.  Furthermore, while taking the turns the boat has no rights on the course. However, if there is contact between boats that causes damage, the Penalty shall be to retire

18.0 DISCLAIMER - Competitors participate in these races entirely at their own risk.  The Race Organizers will not accept any liability for damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with or prior to, during, or after the race(s).  By participating in this event, each competitor agrees to release the Race Organizers (Race Committee, Protest Committee, Host Club, Sponsors, or any other organization or official) from any and all liability associated with the competitor's participation in this event. 

18.1 Hold-Harmless Agreement - By participation, each boat assents to, and acknowledges acceptance of the Hope Town Sailing Club's Hold Harmless Agreement, posted on the Official Notice Board.



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Hope Town Sailing Club

Hope Town Abaco, Bahamas

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