Race Program Overview

The Nepean Sailing Club has one of the largest club racing fleets in Canada. We offer a regular weeknight series race program for multiple classes suitable for all levels of sailing ability and boat types. In addition, long distance races, specialty events, and club regattas are organised almost every weekend throughout the sailing season. Organised in partnership with Britannia Yacht Club, the weeknight series and long distance races are open to local area club members for an enriched Interclub racing experience.

We provide winter and spring racing seminars and access to crew who are keen to race. So, why not get your boat on the starting line and join us? Or join a Skipper’s boat as crew?

Why Race?

  • Racing will improve your sailing skills. It’s amazing what a little tweaking of the sails and learning to read wind shifts will do to make your boat go faster!
  • Competing against similar boats provides a continual comparison as to how you are doing—something that you can’t get just with cruising.
  • Racing will satisfy your “need for speed”, competition, and just plain FUN!
  • Racing is a great way to meet and socialize with other Club members.

When are the Club Races and What Fleets?

NSC’s Race Program starts in early May and ends in late October. Weeknight Racing occurs 4 evenings per week on a short course and is organised in four series (Ice Breaker, Spring, Summer, Fall) with an additional Frostbite Series Sunday afternoons in October.  Registered members can participate in as many or as few races as they like. A single Registration covers the sailing season.

Some races involve boats of the same design (One-Design) while others use a handicap system (PHRF for Keelboats, Portsmouth for Dinghies) to normalize boat performance.

A further description of the many club One-Design and Handicap race fleet opportunities available can be found on our Race Fleets page.

Further details on the Interclub Racing Series schedule, Long Distance Series, Weekend Sailing Events, fleet classes, and race courses can be found in the Sailing Instructions.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re keen to get going, here’s what you need to do:

  • Talk to other members who race—they are very willing to assist.
  • Attend a club Winter/Spring racing seminar or talk.   Scheduled events can be found on the NSC club calendar, in the Sailing Instructions, or posted on the NSC website.
  • Register your boat by completing the NSC Race Registration form.
  • If you own a Keelboat, apply for a PHRF-LO Certificate.
  • If you’re a skipper in need of crew, check out the NSC Crew Bank.
  • If you don’t own a boat, find a skipper/boat to crew on.  You can also sign-up with the NSC Crew Bank.
  • If you need training, Sail Training offers Learn-To-Race and Sail courses for all sailors (Youth, Able, Adult) for both dinghies and keelboats.
  • Review the Racing Rules of Sailing and Sailing Instructions.

Basic Racing Information

Here’s some basic racing terminology:

Short Course Racing—This takes place in the evening starting around 6 PM usually around drop marks. The race typically takes about 1 to 1.5 hours and then it’s back to the Club house to relive your experience over drinks and dinner.

Long Distance Racing—These type of races take place on weekends and usually involve sailing up river to a mark and back again. Distances can vary from about 10 miles to the infamous BYC 100 miler. Typically starts are around 10 AM and you’re back by 4 PM.

Start Sequence—Usually there are several starts in a race, depending on boat size or class. Typically, keelboat starts are separated by 6 minutes, so everyone is well spaced.

The Committee Boat—This is the home of the Race Committee which starts and runs the races. The boat can be found on the Start Line and displays flags and sounds the race signals. They also determine your placing as you cross the Finish Line.

Sailing Instructions—These are local rules put together by the Club’s Fleet Committee which outline local regulations for racing. In conjunction with the Racing Rules of Sailing, these govern how the race is run and specific “rules of the road” for all boats.

Protests—If you think a competitor has not properly followed the Racing Rules, then you can file a protest against that boat. A Protest Committee then hears both sides and determines who is at fault. Depending on fault, the boat may be disqualified.

PHRF-LO—Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (Lake Ontario) is a racing handicap system. The handicap is calculated from a number of measurements of your boat and sails and is derived from analyzing the past performance of many boats throughout Ontario. Using this database of information, the Club Handicapper determines your PHRF handicap. The resulting handicap for your boat is then multiplied by your actual elapsed time to get a corrected time. Slower boats can thus still win races, even though they might not be the first across the finish line.

Race Registration—All boats taking part in NSC’s Racing Program must register by completing Registration; keelboats also require a PHRF Certificate, unless they’re racing only on the Thursday night One-Design course.

Need More Information?

Updated on 2016-02-13.

Update log
2004-02-25: Last update before creating this log. (Was then titled from ‘Basic Racing Primer’.)
02 Feb: DS/HM: Converted to WordPress. Added this update log. Minor editorial changes and update of links.
21 Feb: HM/RE: Page retitled from ‘Basic Racing Primer’ to ‘Racing Program Overview’ and link updated on
Racing parent page. Content revised and updated throughout.
26 Feb: RE: Added notes to this displaynone update log.
13 Feb: HM: Reviewed for currency. A few very minor editorial updates (e.g., changed “your” to “you’re”; small change to PHRF description).

Page maintained by Fleet Captain.