Welcome to the UKWA Home Page Forums Racing rules for single handed racing/number of crew

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  • #4067

    Are there any please?

    We club race, my crew was ill this am. For the first time ever I raced a W single handed. Only the skiffs made it round the course in 1-4 kts but afterwards another W sailor told me (nicely) that if I’d finished my result wouldn’t have counted as the boat should be sailed 2 up. Class rules mostly talk about construction. ISAF rules are no help. Club sailing instructions ditto. What am I missing? I know some clubs allow single handing and give a greater PY, but it would be nice to know for a fact about both club and open racing.



    If you read through the rules to the end you will find this rule:-

    37. CREW
    The boat shall be raced by not less than two persons except in single-handed events.

    Having posted this, I occasionally club race my Wayfarer singlehanded in light conditions, but do not expect my result to be counted. It can be good fun, spinnaker includued and the boat goes particularly well in light winds with a low crew weight.


    Thanks John. Bit of a basic issue really. I’m sure I knew it once, long ago. Next time I’ll read properly. By the way, regarding spinnaker, unless you have an asymetric I’m guessing you have an “autopilot” for those moments at the mast!


    Yes, autopilot consists of a piece of 6mm bungee elastic tied across the back of the cockpit, in fact this is the same piece that I use to support my aft toestraps normally. To use this during a hoist, gybe or drop I simply make a turn around the tiller to hold its position. It has a certain amount of slippage so that one can adjust.

    Once the helm is “locked” one can steer the boat intentionally or unintentionally by moving around the boat both fore and aft and from side to side. A bit of practice is useful. One just needs to leave a little more time than normal and keep clear of other boats. Unintentional gybes during a drop are not uncommon.

    Give it a try, it can be quite addictive!


    Read the definition of “rules” (d) the class rules (for a boat racing under a handicap or rating system, the rules of that system are ‘class rules’).

    In a PY handicap race the handicaps defined by the RYA are for boats racing in the configuration defined by their class rules. However, the PY handicap can be adjusted by the orgainsers of a particualr event. There is no reason whatsoever why our club should not allow you to sail single-handed, and they have every right to adjust the PY handicap when you do so.

    In the same way you could run a Whitesail category for neophytes, with a handicap correction for not using the spinnaker.

    It would be a matter of club policy whether you would be allowed to declare on the day of the race that you were sailing single-handed, or if you had to sign up for the whole season. If allowing some flexibility gets more boats on the water then I feel the club should allow this… for handicap racing.



    Thanks Gordon, I just wanted clarification on the rule which I had missed, but I agree about getting more boats out on the water. I don’t think this one has been raised at our club before, and it would be a rare occurrence for me. My crew and I are doing OK in this series and I think, bearing in mind the lack of precedent, to count this one single handed sail as a counter for the series, would probably be unfair in the circs. There are certainly occasions in the series when other boats have had to use a discard due to unavailable crew or helm. They shouldn’t be compelled to sail single handed to defend a position against someone who wants to. Competition is still quite serious beneath our happy go lucky expressions, and as we have more than 6 W’s in the series there will be a class prize. We can get quite heated over a bottle of cheap plonk!

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