Hope Town Sailing Club, Abaco, Bahamas

2020 -2021 Cruising Boat Racing Schedule and Rules

Join the Hope Town Sailing Club for fun days of racing during its winter racing schedule.  The races are open to HTSC members and non-members alike. There is no entry fee. Your boat will be given a handicap using PHRF and Portsmouth as a guideline (see details below to request one).  You will be racing with a most eclectic fleet of mono-hulls, multi-hulls, sloops, schooners, ketches, catboats -  all race together with the emphasis on fun competition.

Cruising Boat Race Schedule and Links to Register:

Saturday 26th December 2020  Cruising Boat Racing - Bowen White Trophy

Wednesday 6th January 2021  Cruising Boat Racing - Yeardley Smith Trophy

Wednesday 20th January 2021, Charles P. Manchee Trophy

Wednesday 3rd February 2021, Hope Town Cup (1)

Friday 5th February 2021, Hope Town Cup (2)

Wednesday 17th February 2021, Founders Cup

Wednesday 3rd March 2021, Spring Regatta

Wednesday 17th March 2021, Burton Russell Cup

Wednesday 31st March 2021, Charles Pollack Trophy

We appreciate the tireless efforts of the volunteers who support sailing races in Hope Town!

To hold the races, we need a volunteer Committee Boat and a Mark Boat, usually, but not always, from  Club members. To volunteer for either of these essential services, and enjoy a day on the water, please email the race committee chairman at htsc.rc@gmail.com. All  Volunteers please join us at Standup awards party following races.

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 "Solitaire 1" on Ch. 68.  As weather impacts the racing, schedule we will do our best to keep the website calendar and notifications up to date. 

  • Request a Handicap 

Please address an e-mail to: htsc.rc@gmail.com and include details as follows:
Name of Skipper(s)
Boat Name
Boat Builder, Model, Type, Year
Boat Modifications
Statement Outlining Reasons for Request

The Race Committee will attempt to address requests hopefully before the next race whenever possible.   Your request will be emailed by the RC Secretary to Race Committee members, and - in the interest of transparency - will be forwarded at the same time to each racing skipper for whom we have an email address.  After consideration by the Race Committee, a response to your request will be sent to you by e-mail, and copies will be sent to each racing skipper for whom we have an email address.

  • Attend Skipper's Meeting 

Register for the race on the events page of this website; and you are urged to attend the Skipper's Meeting, held at 9:00 a.m. the morning of Race Day in the HTSC Clubhouse near the dinghy dock. Here you will meet the Race Committee and fellow racers, sign in and receive race instructions. You may also register with the race Committee on VHF Ch. 66 after 10:00 a.m. out on the race course on Race Day.

  • Review Rules, Scout Race Course 

Our race course usually lies between the Parrot Cays (just outside Hope Town Harbour), Matt Lowe's Cay, and Sugarloaf Cay. The course is convenient to Hope Town, Marsh Harbour, and Man-O-War Cay. The starting line is determined by the wind conditions. The Starting Signal is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. The course is usually set to provide the leading boats a two hour race. Races are conducted according to U.S. Sailing rules. See rules 

  • Enjoy Awards Party Standup 

All skippers and crews are welcome to the Awards Party, held in the afternoon after each race at the Clubhouse. It is a BYOB "Stand-Up", with hors d'oeuvres provided by Hope Town Sailing Club members. This is a great opportunity to meet your fellow sailors to discuss the race, and cheer for the winners as the awards are presented.


1.1 Races will be governed by the current ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing and the Prescriptions of the United States Sailing Association, except where changed by these Sailing Instructions. Competitors shall have a working knowledge of the above-referenced Racing Rules (2013-16).

2. NOTICES TO THE COMPETITORS will be posted on the official Notice Board located in the Club House. (Note: "Notice of Race" consists solely of the HTSC Annual Race Calendar posted on the Official Notice Board.)

3.1 Sailing Instructions may be amended or changed no later than 9:00 am on the day of a race, and shall become effective when posted on the Official Notice Board.

4.1 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.
4.2 The definition of “cruising class boats” and the acceptance of any entrant are at the sole discretion of the HTSC Race Committee (changes Rule 76).
4.3  Participants should register for a race, either at the Skippers Meeting, usually held at the Clubhouse at 9:00 AM on Race Day, or after 10:00 AM by VHF radio. Appropriate handicap or design information shall be submitted prior to, or at the time of, registration (VHF66).
4.4 Handicaps are determined at the sole discretion of the Hope Town Sailing Club Race Committee, using the U.S. Sailing Association PHRF Handicaps Book ratings and/or Portsmouth Yardstick Manual numbers as guidelines, and are subject to review, change, or adjustment at any time as deemed appropriate by the Race Committee. The Hope Town Sailing Club handicap system is currently expressed in Portsmouth Yardstick values.

5.1 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 unreefed during a race (changes Rule 50).
5.2 A vessel being sailed singlehanded may use an automatic steering device (i.e. autopilot) from time to time during racing to effect 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 device in no way relieves a vessel from full compliance with the Racing Rules of Sailing (changes Rule 52).
5.3 Whisker poles and other devices to hold out the clew of a headsail need not be attached to the mast, may be set on the same side of the boom, and may be hand-held (changes Rule 50.2).

6.1 The schedule of races is listed in the current Club Directory, and is posted on the Club Official Notice Board.
6.2 A skippers meeting will be held in the Clubhouse at 0900 the day of each scheduled race to announce the approximate course and other race information.

7. CLASS FLAGS - When one class is participating the Class Flag shall be a red rectangle flag.

8.1 The racing area usually is on the Sea of Abaco, West of Hope Town.

9.1 The course to be sailed will be announced by the Race Committee on VHF radio Channel 66 prior to the warning signal. A leg may be lengthened, or shortened, or changed during the race. The Committee will attempt to maintain contact with boats at all times during the race on VHF Channel 66. Such VHF radio communication shall replace visual and sound signals if such signals are not made. All competitors shall monitor their radios for this purpose at all times (changes Rule 32, 33, Appendix J2).

10.1 All turning marks of the course, including the starting and finishing line 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.

11.1 Races will be started in accordance with Rule 26 by using the following signals: a Warning signal will be given 5 minutes before the Start, by the hoisting of the Class Flag, in this case a red flag, accompanied by a sound signal. Unless the race is postponed or abandoned, the Start is at 1100. Normally a race not started by 1200 may be abandoned. A race so abandoned may or may not be rescheduled.

Signal               Flag                            Sound           Minutes before Start
Warning           Red flag hoisted        1 sound                       5
Preparatory     “P” flag hoisted        1 sound                       4
One-minute     “P” flag removed      1 sound                       1
Start                  Red flag removed    1 sound                       0

In case of postponement, the Warning (5 Minute) flag will be raised one minute after the removal of the postponement flag.

11.2 The starting line will be between the telescoping RC flag staff on the Race Committee boat at the starboard end, and the starting mark, normally a tetrahedron, at the port end, (except in point-to-point races where the starting mark may be a navigational aid, landmark including an island, or another identifiable object, as designated at the Skipper’s Meeting and/or on VHF radio prior to the Warning Signal). An inner mark (often referred to as a "barging buoy") will be placed near the Committee Boat. When approaching the line to start, boats shall pass between this mark and the outer distance mark (pin end tetrahedron). Race participants 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.

12.1 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.
12.2 A general recall will be signaled by displaying the “First Substitute” flag (blue triangle, yellow center) with two sound signals 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.

13.1 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 so notify boats by VHF radio before the leading yacht has begun the leg or legs being changed (changes Rules 32 & 33).

14.1 Boats will finish between the telescoping flag staff on the Race Committee Boat and the finish mark, normally an inflatable tetrahedron, as designated at the Skippers’ Meeting and/or on VHF radio prior to the start, or during the race. The Committee Boat, due to conditions, may be stationed at the port end of the finish line, as signaled prior to the finish on VHF radio.
14.2 The Race Committee Boat will normally display a solid blue flag when on station at the finish.

15.1 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 crosses the finish line. A boat that retires from the race shall notify the Race Committee as soon as possible.

16.1 All visual and sound signals below will be replaced by VHF radio communications on Ch. 66 if the signals below are not made.
16.2 Postponement- Answering Pennant (vertical red and white stripes) plus two sound signals means “all races not started are postponed.” Answering pennant will be lowered (accompanied by one sound signal) one minute before a new warning signal or abandonment.
16.3 Abandonment- Code Flag “N” (checkered blue and white) plus three sound signals, means “all races are abandoned for the day”.
16.4 Shortened course - Code Flag “S” (blue square on white) plus two sound signals means “finish between the near mark and a Race Committee boat”.
16.5 Leg(s) shortened – Code Flag “C”, plus repetitive sound signals (changes Rule 33(b)).
16.6 Leg(s) lengthened – Code Flag “X”, plus repetitive sound signals (changes Rule 33(b)).

17.1 All boats intending to protest must follow these requirements: shall hail “PROTEST”, shall display a red flag, and shall notify the Race Committee of a protest at the finish line and shall file a written protest with the Principal Race Officer within 1 hour after the Committee boat docks at the Sailing Club dock. 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 breaking rules of Part 2, and one turn (360 degrees) for touching a mark.

18.1 Competitors participate in this (these) race(s) entirely at their own risk. See Rule 4, Decision to Race. 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. Rule 82 shall not apply to this event.

18.2 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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