Reading the Pursuit Schedules

The Race Officer Handbook includes a set of Pursuit Schedule tables, which you can see here. You have a choice of durations, from which you can select according to the conditions of the day. With the Shorter version, boats in the middle of the fleet will sail for around 40 minutes; slower boats will start earlier and sail for longer; faster boats will start later. The other two versions are centred on 50 and 60 minutes.

Each schedule follows the same pattern. As you read down the left-hand columns, you see a succession of possible start groups, starting with the slowest boats and running down to the fastest. The first column shows a range of PNs applicable to each start time; the second indicates the classes falling within that range, and the third gives the duration of the race (sailing time) for the group. Each of the remaining columns spells out an actual starting sequence to be followed, depending on the slowest class taking part.

To take an example, suppose you are running a Medium-length Race, and the boat classes racing range from a Bosun (slowest) to an RS300 (fastest).

You select the Medium table, and look down column 2 until you come to the Bosun. It is shown on a coloured background, and you trace to the right, along the horizontal stripe of that colour until you reach a vertical column of the same colour. This is the column of timings you will be using. All the timings are given as a number of minutes (possibly with an odd half) after the first start.

So you make a note of all the start times you need, depending on which other classes you have to cater for (read across from the Classes column to this timing column). After noting the last class start time (the RS300 in this case), look down to the bottom of the timing column, and pick up the Finish Time. This is VERY important.

You will be using the note you made, both for the briefing, and for the start itself.

Complications

If you are very unlucky, the slowest class may not be on a coloured stripe. (There isn't enough room on an A4 page to include a column for every possible class). In this case, the simplest approach is to select the nearest coloured stripe above, and have a dummy start for that class. As an alternative, you could still use the column for that (dummy) class, but take an appropriate amount off every timing. (Error-prone).

You may find that a boat comes along that is not explicitly mentioned in the Class column. But, as long as you have a PN for it, you can use the left-most column to find the right start for it. (Except if it falls into one of the gaps in the range column: in that case you will have to improvise.)