Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise

What direction do boats go around the course? For some reason I thought it was counter-clockwise but I was looking at an AC site and it showed clockwise. Is match racing a different direction than fleet racing? You would think that after doing this for three years that I would have noticed. I guess I had my head under a rock.

Vancouver Island

Either way is acceptable. Counterclockwise is preferred and used more often. Consider the tactical moves at each mark rounding.


Most of the time its based on the wind direction. You want to set a course where you start and finish upwind.

I was under the impression that for fleet racing the couse should generally be counter-clockwise as it causes less carnage at the windward mark, as you dont have boats tacking onto port to round the mark. For team and mach racing you want this as it creates more tactical opertunities, as you can use a starbord rounding at the windward mark to take out a competitor.

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

[:I] Don, Match Racing is done Clockwise or as we EXPERTS[xx(] say <font color=“limegreen”><font size=“2”>“All marks to Starboard”</font id=“size2”></font id=“limegreen”>
Fleet Racing courses should only be set Anti Clockwise <font color=“red”><font size=“2”>“All marks to Port” </font id=“size2”></font id=“red”> To have a large fleet trying to round a mark to starboard is asking for trouble and the resulting protests and upset skippers make the exercise most unwise.[:-dunce]
Edit; Sorry dry joint between the brain and the finger. [:-blindfold]
Do it NOW before it`s too late.

Ian. How can one be Clockwise “All marks to Starboard” and the other be Clockwise “All marks to Port”? Am I missing something?

Vancouver Island

Don -

if you are rounding a turning mark and keeping the mark on the starboard side of the boat (let’s use windward mark), you would be on port tack as you round. If you are on port tack, the bow of your boat would be pointing to starboard.

Thus marks to starboard at windward mark would look like this…

<center><font size=“5”>/* </font id=“size5”> </center>
Where the slash is the boat and asterisk is mark. If the slash (boat) moves up and around (to the right) the boat would be sailing clockwise.

on the otherhand, race instructions saying “Marks to Port” you would see the boat and mark looking like this - with boat sailing counter-clockwise.

<center><font size=“5”>*&lt;/font id=“size5”></center>

Hope this helps?

<blockquote id=“quote”><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica” id=“quote”>quote:<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”> To have a large fleet trying to round a mark to starboard is asking for trouble and the resulting protests and upset skippers make the exercise most unwise.<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”></blockquote id=“quote”></font id=“quote”>

Why is this? I realize it must be something to do with the starboard ROW but I can’t put my mind around it. Sorry to be so dense but I find visualizing how all these rules affect things very difficult.

Vancouver Island

Don - easiest way is to picture in your mind the windward mark.

If marks are to be left to port (to the left side of your hull) and you are sialing in a big fleet 10-30 boats, those coming up to the mark on starboard tack can simply sail up and around the mark. Also being on starboard, they have Right Of Way (ROW).

Now if you are coming in to the mark on port tack, somewhere you need to tack to starboard in order to round the mark and leave it to the correct side of your boat.

“Your” issue is how to find a hole in the long line of starboard tack boats into which you can fit and tack, or in which you can safely cross the starboard boats and then tack. “YOU” are the guy who must keep clear, not interfere or cause starboard boat to change course, assure of having and keeping an inside overlap, etc. etc.

By having boats round the mark so it on the left side of their boat just removes a lot of tactical and rules issues - and makes for an easier game for the newer sailor.

On the other hand, if there are only 2 boats trying to round the mark, RC will allow a “marks to starboard” and let the tactical and rules issues play themselves out.

Bottom line - marks to port just is a bit easier for rounding a mark in a large and conjested fleet - especially at the windward mark. Hopefully by the leeward mark the fleet is more spread out and less of an issue.

Thanks Dick

Vancouver Island

i dont know about rc yachting but in big boat racing when there is a bit fleet marks are normialy left to port so that there is less room for port tack boats trying to barge in on a lay line hence the two boat rule(a boat that tacks with in 2 boat lengths of a mark bascialy loses all its rights. a way to help starbord roundings is to put in a hitch mark so that boats are not bearing away at the same mart as starbord tackers are tacking in to.

…gybe at mark…
…(gybe set in…
…big boats)…

…normal bear away

this stops boat coming down from the top mark (0) and gybing then interfearing with boats coming up to the top mark, which is wanted in teams/match racing because it causes tactical changles which in a good decision meas that the opponent has to do a penailty.

note didnt like spaces sorry about all the…

When the Apprentice knows more than the Mentor its time to quit!