Overview of dinghy racing at SYC
Starcross is one of the most active dinghy racing clubs in the southwest. We race year-round on Sundays, and on Wednesday evenings during the summer. As the Exe river is a tidal estuary we adjust the start times to get the best of the tide - usually racing near high water, with one or two races per day.
Although our racing is run largely on a handicap basis a number of fleets have class races within a race. Currently, the Solo, Laser/ILCA, Merlin Rocket, RS400, and Hurricane SX have good class participation every weekend. Other classes raced regularly at the club include B14, D-Zero, Hornet, Finn, Phantom, RS Aero, B14, and RS200 - click the links for more information on each class.
The club runs five long race series through the year (Spring, Evening, Summer, Autumn, Frostbite) with approximately half of the races in each series to count. The long series are divided into fleets for Fast Asymmetric, Fast Handicap, Slow Handicap (PN 1028+) and Multihulls; the evening series being the exception with a Fast Handicap, Slow Handicap, and Multihull fleets. We run shorter race series over the Easter and Christmas holidays and a number of individual trophy races, including two pursuit races, which are scheduled throughout the year. For these races the fleet starts are Dinghies and Multihulls.
SYC also organises a number of Open Meetings during the year for our popular classes. These are usually one-day events so that club racing on Sundays is available for members. During the winter season, we run the popular Starcross Steamer which regularly gets 80+ entries, and the dinghy racing activity within the Exe Regatta.
The full race programme is available here.
We use a combination of the estuary navigation buoys and our own inflatable marks to set race courses. Courses are signaled to the competitors from the course board on the east side of the "race box". For Sunday racing we aim to set windward/leeward courses for the Fast Asymmetric and Multihull fleets; while the Fast and Slow Handicap fleets use more traditional courses with a combination of reaches and runs. Wednesday evening involves traditional estuary courses for all fleets. The start line is close to the launching area for most club races, but we often use a committee boat to start races for open meetings.
The Club has invested heavily in a recently refurbished Race Box to provide efficient race and results management, with a light-based signaling system, automated timekeeping and results updating, electronic sign on for competitors and a finish-line video monitoring system with replay facilities to ensure that competitors' hard-fought times and placings are accurate.. Most of the club races are typically around an hour in length and are scored on an "average-lap" basis - with the aim of finishing all boats within a short period. The race results (and updates to the relevant series results) are usually posted to the website a few minutes after the last boat finishes. Race results are available here.
Although we pride ourselves on the breadth and quality of our racing, it is not all about rock stars. Beginners and juniors are very welcome. Starcross is a very friendly club; if you want help in setting up your boat, understanding the tidal flows, navigating around the sandbanks, or just sailing faster there is always someone around to offer advice. With a fleet of three safety boats, we can provide support and protection to competitors in all conditions.
Further enquiries about our dinghy racing activities should be sent to the Sailing Secretary