How do I know if I’m over the line?

There goes the horn, we’re off. Hang on, what’s that second horn mean?

Well firstly the horn means one thing whenever it goes off and that is – have a look at the club flagpole because there is a signal flag flying from the yardarm giving you a sailing instruction. Apart from the Commodore (who is a bit of a flag nut) and John Clarke (who has been starting races since Horatio Nelson was in nappies), it seems that very few members know what the flags actually mean. Hello, you cry, is this just another list of flags coming up? The answer is yes and no. No because, as the title suggests, there is a change in the procedure to let individual boats know that they might be over the line. For those that do have vague idea about the yellow flag (that’s the class flag) being flown at half mast to signify one or more boats over the line, then it’s time to forget that and remember that in the future code flag X will be hoisted – Blue St. George’s cross. Once all boats that had jumped the line return and correctly cross it flag X will be lowered (without any horn going off). That’s it really.

View or download the chart for a refresher on what the flags mean.