VISA Sailing Instructions

Sailing Instructions
Virginia Inland Sailing Association

The following local club rules have been adoped for all regattas sponsored and held at VISA.

Table of Contents

  1. Rules
  2. Entries
  3. Notices to Competitors
  4. Changes to Sailing Instructions
  5. Signals Made Ashore
  6. Courses and Marks
  7. Starting and Finishing Legs, Starting System
  8. Time Limit
  9. Protests
  10. Scoring
  11. Safety
  12. Limitation of Liability


The regatta or series will be governed by the rules as defined in The Racing Rules of Sailing.


Competitors may enter by registering on the sign up sheet at the competitors meeting or by notifying the Race Committee prior to the Warning signal. Entry in one race is entry in the series. Registration for an invitational regatta shall be as required in the Notice of Race. Boats with ballast affixed to the hull are eligible for the cruising fleet. This includes sailboats with a weighted swing keel or water ballast.

Notices to Competitors

Notices to competitors will be posted on VISA's website ( and may also be posted on other media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Changes to Sailing Instructions

Sailing instructions will be available on the VISA website. Any changes to the sailing instructions within 1.5 hours of a race will be posted on the bulletin board marked with the date and time of update. Any updates made on the bulletin board within 1.5 hours of a race take precedence over the VISA website.

Signal Made Ashore

Signals made ashore will be displayed from the flagpole located at the T-Dock. If a postponement is signaled ashore, the warning signal will be made not less than 30 minutes after flag AP is lowered. (This changes Race Signals AP.)

Schedule and Class Flags(s)

A Skippers' meeting will be held on the VISA club house deck at the time and date posted on VISA's website. The warning signal for the first race will be approximately one hour after the stated time of the Skipper's Meeting. Subsequent races each day will be held as soon as possible after the end of the previous race. The class flag for the cruising fleet will be code flag F (Foxtrot).

Courses and Marks

The course may be sailed to permanent SML marks, a windward-leeward, a triangle or a triangle-windward-leeward. Courses using SML permanent marks will be announced at the competitors meeting and will not be displayed on the signal boat. A windward-leeward course will be designated by black letters A and C and a numeral (1,2,3,...) to designate the number of times the course shall be sailed. A triangle course will be designated by black letter A,B and C and a numeral to designate the number of times the course will be sailed. A triangle-windward-leeward course will be designated by black letter O. The black letters will be posted on the rail of the signal boat or written on a white board if the Whaler is used as the signal boat. Windward, leeward and turning marks will be orange tetrahedrons or orange balls. If temporary marks are set at the SML permanent marks they will be either orange tetrahedrons or orange balls.

All temporary marks shall be taken on the same side as the starting mark. The starting mark will be an orange buoyed orange flag. The finish mark will be an orange buoyed orange flag unless a shortened course is declared. With the exceptions noted in section 7.1, any SML permanent mark within the confines of the designated course shall be taken by cruisers on the channel side of the mark.

Two Boat Length Rule

Certain permanent (SML) marks may be non-navigable based on the lake level and the draft of the boats. At times due to unavailability of mark boats these marks must be used to set a competitive course. The RC will determine if a permanent mark must be rounded, or competitors have the option of coming within two of their boat's length of the mark. When the two boat length rule is used, the rounding will take place around any point 2 boat lengths from the mark. The point must be taken on the same side as the starting mark.

The RC will use the criteria below to determine if the 2 boat rule is in effect for each mark. The permanent marks are navigable in the conditions shown below. If the RC does not specify, then the rule defaults to 2 boat lengths.

  • Below Full Pond or if any competitor has a draft exceeding 6ft - Only R6 & BU5 are navigable
  • Full Pond or Above - R4, R6, BU5 are navigable
  • Never Navigable - Shoal Markers, R8, R11, R11A, R12, B1, B2, B4, B6, B8, B9

Starting and Finishing Legs, Starting System

In situations where there are insufficient Race Committee resources, the start line may be designated by the RC using permanent SML markers, an improvised line, or a "Rabbit Start" in lieu of the directions below.

The starting and finishing lines will be between an orange buoyed orange flag and the staff or mast of the RC flag on the signal boat unless a shortened course is declared. Races shall be started using the signal system noted in RRS rule 26. All other signals will be in accord with RRS Part 3.

Competitors are reminded in section 26 STARTING RACES: "Times shall be taken form the visual signals; the absence or presence of a sound signal shall be disregarded." VISA race committee shall not use a gun signal. Sound signals shall be horn or whistle. To alert boats that a race or sequence of races will begin soon, an orange flag may be displayed with four sounds at least five minutes before the first warning flag.

No race shall be started unless there is consistent wind of at least 3.5 mph or, in the judgment of the Primary Race Officer; boats are unable to maintain enough headway that a race could be successfully completed within the time limit. No race shall be started if the consistent wind exceeds 20 mph or if gusts exceed 30 mph.

The Race Committee will attempt to hail any boat OCS if an individual recall is made. (This changes RRS)

Code flag A (Alpha) displayed with no sound while boats are finishing means 'No more racing today'.

Time Limit

If multiple races are scheduled for the day the time limit for each race will be 1 hours for the first boat to sail the course in accordance with rule 28.1. Any boat that does not complete the course within 1.5 hours will be scored DNF (Did Not Finish). If a single race is scheduled for the day, the time limit for the race will be 2 hours for the first boat to sail the course in accordance with rule 28.1.Any boat that does not complete the course within 3 hours will be scored DNF.


Time Limit and Notices

Protests shall be delivered to the Race Committee within 30 minutes after the race committee's finish boat docks. The protest time limit and a list of protests received will be posted on the notice board. Hearings will be held as soon as possible after racing each day in the VISA club house.

Alternative Procedures for Dispute Resolution

Appendix T to RRS shall apply. Sections T1(a), T1(b), and T1(c) shall apply. Section D will not be used. This changes Rule 44.1.


A regatta may consist of just one race. A boat must have participated in at least 50% of the races run in the series in order to be scored for the series. If a boat competes in less than 50% of the races, her scores are eliminated from the scoring for all races in the series. Scoring will be in accord with RRS Appendix A using the low point system. Finishes will be computed using the latest edition of the PHRF, Performance Handicap Rating Formula, Time on Time method, as adjusted and published by the VISA Fleet Captain. The racer's highest score from each season will be dropped. Spring and Fall seasons will have a combined trophy based on the total score from each season as calculated above.

TLE (Time Limit Expired) will be scored based on distance to the finish of TLE boats (# of finishers plus 1,2,3, etc.)

RCD (Race Committee Duties) when a boat cannot race due to RC responsibilities, she shall be scored as the average of the races she participated in in that season, excluding her highest score.

DNC penalty will be the greater of: (# of racers in that race +1) or (DNS/DNF +1 if applicable).


Competitors are reminded of RRS Part 1.4 DECISION TO RACE - "The responsibility for a boat's decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone."

Races will be canceled if the forecast is for temperatures below 30 degrees or there is a Winter Weather, Blizzard, Ice Storm, or Freezing Rain Advisory for Franklin County for 12:00pm - 7:00pm on the day of the race. Advisory by the NWS must be issued by 11:00am on the race day. Races will be cancelled if the temperature is below 35 degrees F on the starting line at the start of the race.

December through February

PFDs that meet or exceed state and federal requirements are mandatory for all crew for any race, code flag Y (Yankee) will be flown on the signal boat but its absence does not nullify this rule.

A radio must be on all boats (including support boats) tuned to Frequency 78A. This is for Race Committee communications and emergency purposes only.

It is mandatory that a safety power boat be on the course and manned by at least two members of the race committee. This safety boat may have other responsibilities secondary to safety.

Emergency Contacts

In the event of an emergency at any point during the event, competitors may radio call the Race Committee on VHF radio channel 78A, channel 16, or telephone any of the local Emergency contacts.

Limitation of Liability

Acknowledgement of Risks

Sailboat racing inherently involves risks and dangers that may be caused by other competitors, mechanical, engine, or structural failures, or by acts of God such as lightening. Many of these risks are unavoidable. By voluntarily entering this event for recreationaly enjoyment, all skippers, crew, and competitors acknowledge that they are aware of and accept such risks as an inherent part of the sport.

Decision to Race

The decision to participate in any event is the competitors alone (See RRS 4, Decision to Race) and competitors acknowledge that they voluntarily and knowingly accept such risks.

Limitation of Liability