Racing at LSC

There is dinghy racing at the club on weekends throughout the year, and on Thursday evenings during the summer months. Racing is a great way to improve your boat handling skills and learn from other sailors, with all abilities welcome to join in.

Most races at Littleton are open to all members but for the latest on all of the club races please see the club calendar as changes to the programme do occur during the year.

These are the different types of race held at Littleton:

A race for a single class of dinghy only. At Littleton the only regular class race we hold is on the weekend for the Solo, a single handed boat. To enter a Class Race you need a Solo.

A race in which different classes of boat can enter. All the boats start at the same time, but as some classes of boat are by design faster than others the time taken to complete the required number of laps of the course is recorded by the race officer and then adjusted based on the boat’s handicap value (also known as the Portsmouth Number, PN). General handicap racing occurs every weekend, is normally the basis of the club’s regattas, and is sailed every other Thursday evening in the Summer during the Twilight race series.

In a Pursuit race, open to all classes of boat, the slowest boat starts first, the fastest last. However, all boats finish at exactly the same time. The race lasts approximately an hour at Littleton, the actual duration you race for depends on the class of boat you sail. The objective is to be at the front of the fleet at the end of the race, in which case you win the race. Your race position is given by your ranking within the fleet on the water. Pursuit races are sailed every other Thursday evening during the Twilight race series, and at certain club events, primarily the Pepper Pursuit.

The Personal Handicap race is a race in which ANY sailor can come 1st. In PH races, open to all classes, as well as the boat having a Class Handicap (PN), the helm has a personal handicap value too. Like the General Handicap race, the time to complete the course is factored by the sum of the Portsmouth Number of you boat + your Personal Handicap value. Normally, a Personal Handicap value of 200 is given to beginners. Your Personal Handicap will be revised once you have entered a sufficient number of races to determine a more accurate value – and the better you get the lower your personal handicap number will be.

There are a number of Race Series held over the year, namely the Thursday evening Twilight and the various weekend race series. A series comprises a number of races over consecutive weekends with the same start time, for example the Saturday 10:35 Spring Series (Handicap). Your overall result for the series is based on a number of results over the series (not on every race whether you enter it or not), meaning you do not have to enter all the races to get a good overall result. These series are referred to as Handicap and All-comers in the club calendar, but both types are open to all sailors.

The following events are the clubs’ one-day or occasional two-day events that occur through the year. Most are scored on the basis of your best 2 results of 3 races, and all are open to club members.

Club Regatta (June): The format of this race has changed over the years. Currently three General Handicap races over the day.

Short Race day (June): A series of short races over the day, typically 20-30 minutes duration. Great for practicing race starts.

Pioneer Cup (July): A Personal Handicap event, which means everyone has a good chance of winning! If you are new to racing, this is the perfect event to give it a go. Best 2 of 3 races count.

Littleton Burgee (September): The Burgee Trophy is competed for over two sailing days on consecutive weekends – a mini-series of 10 General Handicap races in our popular ‘Short Race’ format.

Moonlight Race (September):  A General Handicap race held in the evening and an opportunity to light up your boat (moonlight subject to cloud cover).

CSSA Dinghy Championships (September):  Not strictly a Littleton club event but one which members of the club enter. General Handicap racing over a weekend against other Civil Service Sailing Association (CSSA) clubs to compete for the Littleton Bell. This year it is to be held at Hooe Point Sailing Club, Plymouth so if you want to venture further afield, sail on the sea, and compete against other Civil Service Clubs this is the one for you, but again not the place to start racing.

Allen Vase (October): Pursuit race followed by two General Handicap races.

Youth Regatta (October): A regatta held for the Youth sailors of Littleton. Other clubs’ Youth sailors have been invited in past years.

Icicle Trophy 2020 (usually held in January): The first Littleton Trophy event of the year. Three General Handicap races.

Brass Monkey (usually held in February): Three General Handicap races.

There are some great trophies to be one in these events, see our trophy cabinet with current holders (members log in required).

Littleton holds one-day Open Meetings for the Solo, Laser and Comet classes – once each per year. They are open to club members, but as they are class races, you must sail that class of boat. Being ‘open events’, visiting sailors from other clubs can enter. It’s competitive, so perhaps not the best place to start racing.