Getting started with slalom

General

Do I need to be a member of the UKWA?
Yes, see the membership page.

Exceptions: There are two exceptions. You may be a UKWA weekend temporary member, once only, by paying £20 temporary membership, you may then upgrade to full membership and offset the £20 towards full membership. Masterblasters do not need to be UKWA members but can pay £10 temporary membership repeatedly if they prefer.

Slalomers going into a gybe

Terms you need to know

Race Office:
This is normally a blue marquee. You enter here between 8am & 9.30am. This is your main point of contact during the event.
Briefing:
Normally at 10.15 Saturday & 9.15 Sunday. This is when we tell you what is going on that day.
Race officer:
The person running the racing on the water.
Beach: Bob Ingram
The person managing the event from the shore, your point of contact. Usually Bob Ingram (pictured).
Committee Boat:
The race officers boat which forms one end of the start line the other end normally being a red buoy.
Finish boat:
The boat containing the race recorders, who log the finishing order. The finish boat and normally a back buoy form the finish line.
Rescue Boat:
Will rescue you or assist you during your time on the water and also lays the course.
Fleets:
There are three fleets, Masterblaster, Amateur and Pro.
Masterblaster:
Racing off the beach out to a buoy and back, perfect for beginners and those past a certain age.
Amateur:
Racing for the majority of sailors, previous racing experience not required.
Pro:
Racing for the more experienced sailors.
The course:
The course is drawn in the sailing instructions and you will be told at the briefing which course we are using.
Notice of Race:
Gives you information about the series of races, venues etc. You will need to study these (link above).
Sailing instructions:
Gives you information about the rules and regulations. You will need to study these. Should be read in conjunction with the ISAF Racing Rules Of Sailing.
General Recall:
When a sailor is over the start line. A boat will speed around the front of the competitors flying the general recall flag (see flags).You return to the start area.  If this occurs the start will be re run. If the race officer can identify which sailor was over the line, that sailor will be disqualified from the heats and will progress straight to the losers final.
The Start sequence:
This is how racing is started and is controlled by flags and sound signals. You will need a watch. (See the Sailing Instructions)
Tally:
This is a rubber band which you must put on your wrist prior to going out on the water. You will be issued a number which you can find on the Tally Board. When you return from the water, you hang up your tally band back on the board. This is how we know you are safe, so don’t forget.
Do I need Sail Numbers:
The official answer is yes. When you joined the UKWA they issue you with a sail number. This should be displayed on both sides of your sail. However if you don’t have them we will lend you a numbered rash vest for the weekend. (There is a deposit charged for safe return)

How it works

Masterblaster

Has a separate race officer, racing is from the beach front.

Pro & amateur

Racing will be run with straight finals or there will be heats depending on the numbers of participants.

Straight finals:

Normally if numbers are below 10 in a fleet there will be no heats. Every race is a final and your position in every race counts to your results.

Heats:

This is the normal procedure. There are normally 2 heats for each fleet, i.e. the fleet is divided into 2. For example there may be 20 amateur sailors split into two heats of 10. Normally 50% of the sailors progress to the winners final and 50% progress to the losers final. In this case the top 5 in each heat go through to the winners final and the positions 6 to 10 go through to the losers final.

How do I know which heat I am in? At the race office you will see a whiteboard telling you which heat you are in. This may change during the day and during the event, therefore keep checking.

Why am I in a particular heat? The heats are seeded using a recognised ranking system based on previous results. If you have no previous history seedings are issued randomly.

How do I know when its my turn to race? The race officer in the committee boat will display a board with a heat number. This is the current heat being raced. The race offer will also normally fly a flag which designates if racing is for amateurs or pro’s. See the flags.

What is the normal heat order? Below constitutes 1 full round. Normally the race officer would run two complete full rounds and then break for lunch, followed by two or more full rounds. All depending on wind, time and conditions.

  • Heat 1. Pro A
  • Heat 2. Pro B
  • Heat 3. Amateur A
  • Heat 4. Amateur B
  • Heat 5. Pro Winners Final
  • Heat 6. Pro Losers Final
  • Heat 7. Amateur Winners Final
  • Heat 8. Amateur Losers Final

Which Flag applies to me? Flags are the way the race officer communicates with the sailors on the water. Therefore it is necessary to study the flags to understand what they mean and to understand what is going on at any time during the racing. See flags.

Which Final am I in? See heats above, in this example the top 5 go to the winners final and 6 to 10 go to the losers final. You should normally know your finishing position, but if you are not clear ask the finish boat.

What happens if I miss my heat? If you miss or fail to finish your heat you proceed straight to the losers final.

What happens if I sail in the wrong heat? Sorry but you are disqualified from that round.

What happens if I miss my final? Sorry but you won’t get a result.

It sounds a bit confusing: We are here to help. Speak with the organisers on the Beach (normally Bob) and he will explain everything you need to know to have a great fun filled weekend.