Arizona Yacht Club stages races and race committee training sessions at Tempe Town Lake many Sunday afternoons every year. Most Sundays we’re able to get in three to four races in the space of about two hours. See the Notice of Race (NOR) documents posted on the racing page for series information.
The City of Tempe has extensive rules about lake use and it’s assumed you’ve read them and that you’ll follow them.
- Sign up to compete using the online sign-up you’ll find on the racing page. TTL race series begin in September and January, so to catch the series at the start you should sign up about a month in advance.
- Download and read the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, and the TTL chart. Try to get familiar with the Racing Rules of Sailing —the national and international rules that govern nearly all racing, including ours. I highly recommend Dave Perry’s book, Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing (let me know if that link stops working), which begins with a very brief, mostly understandable explanation of the rules intended for people new to racing. Don’t worry if all this seems too complicated and confusing because we all think it is too.
- Get to the race course at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of racing. Sail past the race committee when they’re ready and check in, giving them your sail number and fleet. That ensures that they know you’re there and that they’ll score you. (If you leave before the end of the day of racing, sail by and check out, too.)
- When our C14 fleet flag goes up (or your fleet flag) you’ll have exactly three minutes to the start. When the blue flag with the white square in the middle goes up it’s 2:00. When that flag comes down it’s 1:00. When the fleet flag comes down, the race is underway. A horn should accompany each flag change.
- The course will be described by black letters on a white board. We now use just two marks: orange (“O”) and green (“Y”), though they could use a fresh coat of paint. The course will be designated as “YO” or “OY,” designating the order in which you’ll round the marks. Often, the leeward end will use gates, two marks that you sail between and then jibe around one. You can round either mark. Here’s the map of the course.
- At the start you’ll sail through the start/finish line adjacent to the committee, heading in the direction of the first race mark. Do not sail back through this line until it’s time to finish the race. Leave all the race marks (unless it’s the gate) on your port side.
- At first, it’s best to watch the other racers and do as they do. Measure your speed and direction against theirs. Are you “pointing” as close to the wind as they are? Are you trimmed as they are? Are you going as fast as they are? This is one of the greatest values in racing: learning by measuring your performance against others’.
Visit US Sailings webpage for Racing Rules of Sailing Products includes information on their RRS App.