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Home / Racing / Pursuit Racing - all you need to know
Home / Racing / Pursuit Racing - all you need to know

Pursuit Racing - all you need to know

How does a Pursuit Race work?

In a pursuit race, boats of different speeds start at different times based on their RYA Portsmouth Yardstick rating (PY number). All boats are finished at the same time and the boat that is in front at that time is the winner. In theory, every boat would be at the same place at the finish time but vagaries of wind, tactics, personal performance etc. means the boats are usually well spread out.

At Spinnaker, our Pursuit has an added element each helm is also started according to their own personal 'Grade' within their class. A top sailor will have a Grade rating of A. Helms with progressively less experience/ success will be assigned the "B", "C" or "D grades which gives them earlier start times.

We each need to know our start times. In the Downloads section following you will find some tables that for each race (Wednesday or Sunday) based upon your boat type and sailor Grade you can find what time you start. Everyone finishes together so that is the easy bit. Check your start time before setting off from these tables, or speak with your class captain or fellow sailors or with the Race Officer.

With all boats sailing the course right up to the finish gun, it is a tough task for the Race Officers to log every position - even aided by a photo. For this reason it is important for each helm to note the sail number of the boat in front and the boat behind and to sign off with this information in the Club House at the end (during COVID times there is no physical sign off - it is verbal).

For Youtube summary of Pursuit Racing, click Pursuit Racing Intro

Start times

Below you will find the exact start times for the races. Don't worry - the race officers are very good at calling out the minutes before the hoots, and usually shout out 'oppy D' or 'solo A' which helps too.


From Sunday 18 April on there is a pursuit race for faster (Laser 4.7/ Wanderer and quicker) and slower boats (e.g. Oppy, Topper). Followed by two back to back PY races.

For the pursuit, From the tables, you will see that Laser 4.7 / Wanderer Grade D racers start at 1238 and Oppy Grade D sailors start at 1300. The Race finishes at 1345.

Refer to the start times for faster / slower fleets in the tables below.


The typical format starting Wednesday 7th April is a 1745 Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) race followed by a Pursuit race finishing at 2000. The Pursuit race has a faster and a slower fleet in parallel.

The faster fleet starts at 1853 (Laser 4.7 and Wanderer Grade D sailors) and the slower fleet starts from 1915 (Oppy D) onwards.


Last updated 14:04 on 21 June 2021

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