Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club      

   "On or by the Sea, the Friendly Place to be"
Since 1981

Sailing Instructions

These Sailing Instructions are for use in all weekly club racing hosted by SNSYC. Any additional instructions for a particular race will be emailed to registered skippers or communicated to the fleet on VHF 09.


Races are governed by the World Sailing’s Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024, the prescriptions of Sail Canada and PHRF BC, and these Sailing Instructions. Registered skippers will be advised by email if these Sailing Instructions are amended, with the effective date of the amendment.


The safety of a boat and its crew is the responsibility of the owner/skipper. It is strongly recommended that boats comply with the Safety Equipment Requirements (SERs) of US Sailing, Category “Nearshore”.


The racing year runs from January to December. A boat may be entered into the full program or may join for the summer program only (June to September) by submitting a completed Race Program Registration form, a current Insurance Certificate, a PHRF-BC rating certificate and a cheque.  Race Dues for the full program are due January 1. Dues outstanding as of Janurary 31 may lead to disqualification until paid in full at sole discretion of the Racing Captain.   

Race Committee Duty

A skipper will be required to serve on Race Committee (RC) duty as scheduled by the Racing Captain or designate with a minimum of two, preferably three persons. If a skipper scheduled to provide the RC fails to appear or arrange for a suitable substitute, that skipper will be scored as Did Not Compete (DNC) for the race instead of being assigned an average score (AVG). The skipper will also be assigned another race.

Race Notice Board

The official Race Notice Board will be Information relevant to racers will be posted here. Notice of change will be by email from the Racing Captain or designate and will be posted to the website as soon as possible thereafter.

Divisions and Handicaps

There will be three Divisions.  The Racing Captain, in consultation with the PHRF Handicapper, will assign boats to a Division. The objective is fair and competitive racing for all.

Boats will use three PHRF Handicaps:

-for the Patos Island Race and the CRASH Regatta, as-sailed PHRF BC ratings will be used.

-for regular Club races PHRF BC as-sailed ratings will be modified with Club PHRF Credits as claimed on the Race Program  Registration form.

-for pursuit races, Performance Handicaps will be used. These ratings are based on a boat’s historical performance.

SNSYC boats are required to have a PHRF-BC rating certificate. Visiting boats with a PHRF-NW rating will have their rating normalised to PHRF-BC. New racers may be assigned a temporary PHRF handicap for up to a year by contacting the PHRF Handicapper at At the discretion of the Racing Captain and the PHRF Handicapper new boats joining the fleet may be granted a handicap bonus appropriate to their situation.

Race Schedule

The Race Schedule and start times are available here. Skippers will be advised by email of any amendments.


The Race Committee will communicate over VHF Channel 09. Visual signals should always be observed and the absence of VHF communications shall be disregarded (RRS 26). The RC may also fly code flag L (Come within Hail) to communicate directly.

To enhance fleet safety and facilitate communications with RC and the fleet, all boats shall carry a VHF radio and monitor Ch 09 whilst racing.

Course numbers will be displayed by the RC on a course board.

Race Courses

Race courses are available at or here.  Laminated course sheets are also available for onboard use.

Shortening or Abandoning

Courses may be shortened at any mark of the course. Several courses have pre-defined “Shortened Course” options which may be declared in effect by the RC before the start of the race.

Code flag S will be displayed with two sounds for a shortened course and the RC will also communicate the course shortening on VHF 09. The finishing line will be:

            a)  At a rounding mark, between the mark and a staff displaying flag S, or;

            b) if this is not practicable, on a line at the mark which is orthogonal to the approach to the mark, or;

            c)  at a line boats are required to cross at the end of each lap.

The RC may require boats to self-report, or the lead boat report, times at the finish in a shortened course situation where this is not practicable for the RC. This will be communicated on VHF 09.

Races may also be abandoned by displaying code flag N, with three sounds. The RC will communicate the abandonment on VHF 09.

If a course shortening or race abandonment does not apply to all Divisions, the RC will communicate which Divisions they do apply to on VHF 09.

The Start

1 Each boat shall sail within hailing distance of the RC to be identified before the start. Boats will advise RC if they will be flying other than their normal sail numbers.

2 There will be one combined start for all divisions.

3 Start line for Long Distance and Bay Courses will be between the RC flag (wharf) and either U5 (green spar) or U6 (red spar).

4 The start line for Round the Buoys races will be between the RC flag on the race committee boat and a floating mark.

5 Racers will, at all times, avoid contact with any committee boat, its tenders and their mooring or anchor lines.

6 Engines are to be shut down on/before the Prep Flag going up: i.e. 4 minutes prior to the start.

7 Race committees are encouraged to use GPS time and to communicate the start sequence on VHF 09.

Start Procedure: Races will be started in accordance with RRS Rule 2.6. 

 Minutes to Start

 Visual Signal



 Six (6)


 3 + sounds

 Courtesy only

 Five (5)

 Orange Flag Up

 1 sound 


 Four (4)

 Prep Flag Up

 1 sound 


 One (1)

 Prep Flag Down

 1 sound 

 One minute

 Zero (0)

Orange Flag Down 

 1 sound 

 Starting signal

The Finish

Boats finishing are advised to confirm they have been correctly identified by the RC, especially if they have crossed close to U5 or U6 or have finished close to other competitors.  

Boats finished must remain clear of the finish line and of boats still racing and must not obstruct the RC’s view of the finish line. Failure to comply may result in disqualification.

Time Limits

The time limit is 4 hours with a 1/2 hour extension if two or more boats have finished within the 4 hours.  In addition, the Race Committee has the option to extend the time limit to 5 hours with a further 1/2 hour if two or more boats have finished within the 5 hours.  For this option the Race Committee must let the fleet know, prior to the start, that it is a 5 hour course.

Any boat finishing outside these time limits will be scored DNF.

Boats Retiring

If a boat retires or otherwise does not finish the race, that boat must report her retirement to the RC on VHF 09 no later than 60 minutes after the time limit for the race. Failure to comply may result in disqualification for the race or series.


Time-on-Time correction will be used to score.

Corrected time = elapsed time x factor, where factor = 650/(PHRF Rating + 520).

The PHRF Rating used will be PHRF-BC plus applicable Club Credits.

(For the annual calculation of Club Divisional Champions, the Rating used will be the PHRF-BC rating.)

Pursuit races will use Time-on-Distance scoring. Start times will be assigned using the chosen course length and Performance Handicaps reflecting a boat’s historical racing performance.

Individual races will be scored using the Low Point Scoring system described in RRS A4.

Each race series may consist of up to 10 races. A boat’s total score will be the sum of its race scores, except that if there are 4, 5 or 6 races in a series, the worst result will be discarded. For a 7 race series the worst 2 results, and for an 8, 9, or 10 race series the worst 3 results will be discarded.  DNC, DNF, DSQ, RET, RAF, OCS, DNS, or NSC may be used as a discard race. Abandoned races will not be scored. A boat that does not compete in a race will be scored DNC and scored points equal to the number of boats that come to the start area for that race plus two. A boat is eligible for one average (AVG) score per series instead of a DNC where the absence was as a result of RC duties or competition in a Vancouver Island Racing Series event or equivalent regional regatta. The AVG is calculated after any discard.


RRS 44.1 is in effect and a boat infraction is two penalty turns except contact with a mark of the course is one penalty turn.


Protest procedure will be in accordance with RRS Rule 61. A completed protest form shall be lodged with the Chief Jurist, a member of the Race Committee or the Racing Captain within 90 minutes after the last boat has finished racing for the day. Parties and witnesses will be notified of the time set for the hearing.

Protest forms can be found in the forms rack in the lobby of the Clubhouse.

Self Steering Systems

Boats racing single or double-handed are permitted to use automatic helming devices when it is safe to do so.  

Pursuit Races

Pursuit races are where the slowest rated boats start first and then faster boats set off in pursuit. In theory boats should finish close together. There will be no Divisions in pursuit races and the prize trophy will be presented in the SNSYC Clubrooms after the race. For a pursuit series, races will be scored by Division.

Boats will be given their individual start times by the Race Committee on VHF 09.

Single-Handed Race and Jack and Jill Race

Boats can choose on the day whether to race NFS or Flying Sails. Boats are required to advise the RC of their intentions before the 5-minute Warning flag is raised. Life jackets must be worn. Additional Sailing Instructions may be issued for these races.

Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club is non-profit organization.
PO Box 2521, Sidney, BC V8L 4B9

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