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Starting signals used in IYC & CCCS Cruiser Racing

5 minute
Preparatory
  1 sound * or    Class flag (numeral pennant No 1) Raised
  4 minute
Warning
  1 sound * or    Code flag P Raised
  1 minute
Warning
  1 sound * or    Code flag P Lowered
  Start    1 sound * or    Class flag Lowered
 * Note the sound signal is usually a Horn which is difficult to hear.
Sometimes a cannon is used which can be heard from a distance, but these can misfire. So check the flags.
I personally time myself over the start, unless there is a postponement flag flying, I assume the race starts on time (GPS time). However if you do this you should be aware you could be disqualified if the Race Officer deems you to have crossed the line early.
If you do cross the line early you can SAIL back, round an outer marker, to the other side of the start line and cross it again to redeem yourself. If you are returning to re-cross the start line you MUST NOT hinder the progress of other yachts who have started correctly. You should consider yourself under race conditions from the 5 min Preparatory and all engines must be off.
Read the individual Race Sailing Instructions and COURSE carefully. Changes are some times made from year to year.
Good luck.
Mike Edwards. IYC Sailing Secretary

Common Flags used in IYC & CCCS Cruiser Racing

A

A Cruiser Class flag

B B Cruiser Class flag

C White Sails Class flag

M Multihull Class flag

N Abandon race - Prepare for new start, unless over  "A" - no more racing today
P Preparatory Flag - Four minutes to start. Lowered One minute before start.
S Shorten Course - Raised if set course is shortened, when leading boat begins final leg.
1 Numeral Pennant 1
2 Numeral Pennant 2
3 Numeral Pennant 3
AP Postponement of race:
a) on it's own means indefinite period, until lowered
b) over numeral indicationg how many hours posponed
c) over A for postponed, no more racing today.

Scroll down for more flags

International Code Flags