Tuesday, 28 September 2010

LTW Reader Q&A (47); Practice Race

Hi, Jos

I’ve been reading your blog since the beginning and almost daily and I think it’s very interesting. Great job. I’ve got a question about Appendix P but I can’t remember if there is a post about it. This is the question:

As stated in the Sailing Instructions, Appendix P will apply.
There is a Practice Race scheduled in the Sailing Instruction. The scheduled program is as follows:
Day 1:    Measurement and Practice Race
Day 2:    Races. 1st warning signal at 1200
Day 3:    Races. 1st warning signal at 1200
Day 4:    Races. 1st warning signal at 1200

Boat Yellow is penalized under Appendix P (P1) in Practice Race. Does it count to determine the number of times she has been penalized in the regatta? And what about if the same boat Yellow has a Second Penalty in the Practice Race? Must she then retire from the Practice Race? According to Appendix P it seems to be clear that the boat must retire.

More: Does the practice race count on the boat total points?

In most of the Sailing Instructions there is no reference to the Practice Race about Appendix P or Score for a boat. It’s supposed that the Practice Race is this, a practice race. But this is a common sense, not a rule in the Sailing Instructions.
What do you think?

Thanks for all the lights you put on the RRS.


Like you already guessed, a practice race is nothing more than that. A chance to try out the water, try out the conditions, see what the race committee boat looks like, how they they organize their flags etc, etc.

Everybody behaves as if it is an actual race – to create conditions as similar as possible to the the real thing - but it has no impact on the regatta or series.

No points are scored – although the committee may publish a result. Again, that way they can test that too.

If someone is penalized in the practice race for breaking rule 42, she can do her turns or not. The judges will try to look and penalize exactly as they would in the ‘real’ series, but if the sailor does not turn, the boat will perhaps be recorded in the results as DSQ, but the points don’t count. And it also does not count as a first penalty in Appendix P. Nor does a second or a third. Many sailors should find out what the limit is in the practice race and not be afraid of a penalty. That way they can avoid going over the limit in the real series. For a second penalty she may retire, but if she does not, all that will happen is that the boat might get a DNE recorded in the results. Again, that does not count in the regatta, so nothing is lost.

I urge all sailors who are penalized in the practice race once, twice or whatever, to talk to the judges after the race. So they can exactly find out what the judges saw and what they deemed the sailor did, that broke rule 42.

I’ve never had a protest from an incident in a practice race. Any DSQ that might be given has no impact on the series.

There’s one rule that might have influence on the series score – rule 23.1. If a boat that is NOT racing interferes with a boat that is racing in the practice race, theoretically that might result in a DSQ in the first race (See rule 64.1(d)).

Thanks for you encouragement and kind words. Keep on reading LTW and spread the word….


  1. I would consider violation of Rules 2 and 69 would count. Aside from that, a practice is a practice, not a race series.

  2. What happend in case of serious demage,
    and the boat can't sail on the 1st day.

  3. Appendix P1 doesn´t distinguish between practice race or race serie. In fact, reading Appendix P1 as written, it permits to count the penalty.
    From the moment that the Practice Race is included in the Scheduled Program it could count as a race, beyond the common sense.
    Why the practice race is included the Scheduled Program?
    I think the Practice Race should be in a different paragraph in the Sailing Instructions or Notice Race, including that it will not count for Appendix P or other disqualification different than rule 2 or 69.

  4. Anonymour asked in #2 "What happend in case of serious demage,and the boat can't sail on the 1st day?"

    Rule 62.1(b) creates a chance for redress if a boat's score is made worse by 'physical damage because of the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of Part 2 or of a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear'. Damage need not be serious, and there is nothing there about 'when' or 'where' the damage incident must occur.

    For example, a boat might be damaged by another competitor, or even a non-competitor, that was required to keep clear of her, while sailing to the regatta.

    Although calculating what redress to give would be very difficult for the protest committee (and they might even decide that the fairest arrangement for all boats affected was to give no redress), there is nothing in rule 62.1 to disqualify a damaged boat from being given redress for an incident in a practice race.

    On the other hand, rules P2.2 and P2.3 refer to 'during the regatta' I agree with Jos and others that this should be interpreted to exclude a practice race. The whole point of a practice race is to enable competitors to practice complying with the particular circumstances (and judging practices) of that particular regatta.


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