For information and guidelines about Team Racing formats please refer to the Team Racing page.

Race Management Standards

view of opti course

The Optimist Class has been growing steadily for many years now. With such growth the need for all competitors to sail not only fair competitions but also on equal terms in every place of the world has become imperative. As in the majority of sailing events worldwide, this equality of terms has been achieved by ďstandardisationĒ.

It is with this objective in mind that IODA has begun setting forth policies to make sure that the Classí events follow certain standards:

  • Standard Notices of Race and Sailing Instructions with similar procedures for every IODA event
  • Similar format of races
  • Coherent criteria in Race Management procedures and decisions taken (see the Race Management Policy)
  • Coherent criteria when judging protests (download the relevant documentation below)
  • Standard measurement procedures and coherent criteria when applying the Class Rules

To achieve the first two goals, the IODA Regatta Committee prepares the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, both of which are then completed by the organisers with local information. This method allows for consistency across all IODA events and ensures that the races follow the same standard.

To make sure that decisions taken on protests, race management procedures or Class Rules enforcement follow the same criteria in all events, the IODA Executive Committee appoints:

  • The IODA Course Representative
  • The International Jury
  • The IODA Measurer

The IODA Course Representative and IODA Measurer shall be accepted by the organisers. They shall have full access to the relevant areas and shall be able to work in close proximity with the local people under their charge.

IODA Race Management Policy

The following rules summarise the main aspects of Race Management. For a more comprehensive guide please refer to the Race Management Manual (to be published). Click here to download the Policy in PDF format.

  • All amendments to NOR and SIs shall be signed by the Race Officer and the IODA Course Representative or, if none is appointed, the IODA representative.
  • State at the Team Leaders meeting the philosophy about race management procedures including: Safety, individual vs. general recall, starting penalties, min. wind speed, posting of OCS/BFD.
  • Afloat only use signals on Race Committee boats (RC). Identification flags on starting and finishing boats should be well separate from the signals or be removed when the lines are set.
  • Keep notes of everything happening on all RC boats including wind speed and direction changes
  • Start pin end should be an anchored boat, not a mark. There should be at least 2 line sighters at each end
  • Use a GPS to measure the length of the starting line.
  • Minimum wind is when it is evenly spread on the course and boats can sail and manoeuvre at the time of the start. This should never be less than 4 knots. Donít delay start if conditions fulfil this guideline. Donít start in conditions outside this guideline.
  • Always start on time
  • Make every effort to identify as many OCS boats as possible. If the majority of OCS boats have been identified, signal an individual recall even if you have identified a large number of boats as OCS.
  • If there a lot of boats over the line due to a wrongly set line, or in case of a RC error, use AP well ahead of the starting signal. Donít use it in the last second unless essential. Keep it displayed for 1 minute and start over. If you need more time, take it but be fast.
  • 5 Ė 7 minutes between the start and the warning signal of the next group are enough
  • The orange flag for the next series of races should be displayed ASAP after the last boat of the divisions involved arrives at the starting area
  • Legs should be square with the wind, even if this means that the geometry of the course is altered
  • Think twice before abandoning after the start. A big wind shift is not always a reason to abandon. If it happens after the first group has reached the 2/3 of the first leg, let the race continue and adjust the course by moving the gate or the finishing line.
  • A wind decrease is not a reason to abandon. If boats can sail but you think they wonít reach the finish line on time, be prepared to shorten at the gate. Never shorten earlier than the gate. If the wind dies completely and the boats canít sail, abandon the race.
  • Post finishing order ashore immediately after the finishing of each race. Donít wait until the last race of the day finishes.
  • Post OCS/BFD boats ashore right after the start
  • Donít keep sailors on the water too long.
  • Post protest time limit ashore immediately after the finish of the last boat


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IODA Principal Race Officer

For the IODA Worlds and Continentals, the IODA nominee performing as IODA Principal Race Officer will work closely with the race officers appointed by the Organising Committee.

The Race Officers will be responsible for managing the race management team and organising the races.

The Race Officer will not take action in relation to any of the following matters (whether or not altered by the sailing instructions) without the approval of the IODA Principal Race Officer:

  • Postponement (rule 27.3)
  • Course configuration and race duration
  • Whether a starting line be moved or adjusted (rule 27.2)
  • Starting line decisions [OCS and recalls (rule 29), starting penalties (I, Z, Black Flag, rule 30)
  • Changing course/moving marks Ė adjusting the course to a new wind strength or direction (rule 33)
  • Shortening course (rule 32)
  • Abandoning (rules 27.3, 32 and 35)

The IODA Principal Race Officer may initiate action in relation to these matters, in which case the Race Officer will be governed by the IODA Course Representativeís decision. The IODA Principal Race Officer may also initiate action if he believes that the racing is not conducted according to the rules, or for any reason directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition.


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Standard Documentation

For documentation related to Team Racing (grids, sailing instructions), please go to Team Racing


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IODA events have their own special format, not found in regattas of other classes, of which thhe main characteristics are:

  • Sailors are grouped in divisions
  • Sailors remain in the same division for the duration of the event
  • Each 'race' is made up of 'small races' or flights in which two divisions sail together. A race is ready for scoring only when all the flights of that race have been sailed ( = all the divisions have sailed that race)
  • Each division sail against each of the other divisions a certain number of times (format is similar to a round robin)
  • Points for DNF, DSQ, etc are equal to the largest possible number of sailors in the flights (see NOTES below)
  • The ranking for each race will have multiple 1sts, 2nds, etc. and no average is to be applied

To score series with the characteristics described above the software must include certain features that allow the configuration of the correct scenario.

There are a number of scoring programs in the market that comply with the requisites for IODA regattas, however, if organisers of an IODA event do not have a software of their choice (of which they shall have a sound knowledge) we recommend the use of Sailwave or St Pete. The reason for this recommendation is that the IODA Secretariat can provide help in case organisers find themselves in trouble during an event.

We also provide our own set of instructions to set up an IODA regatta from scratch in both programs

  • St Pete (soon)
  • Sailwave - updated in 2012 to follow the new format (daily allocation to fleets)


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The current members of the Regatta Committee are (click on name to go to the ISAF official biography):


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Useful links to ISAF pages


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  • Topic:
  • Jan 31, 2012
  • Date of Publication:


Untitled Document

No longer required for fleet races.

We would like to inform our members that the Regatta Committee of the IODA have changed the Class policy regarding the requirement to display the red flag when protesting in fleet races. The sailing instruction which deleted rule 61.1(a)(2) will no longer be used so that a red flag is no longer required to make a valid protest. However, the need to inform the race committee at the finish of an intention to protest and the sail number of the protested boat, remains.

The standard Notices of Race and Sailing Instructions from 2012 onwards will amend rule 61.1 as follows:

Add to rule 61.1(a) "The protesting boat shall inform the Race Committee of the boat/s being protested at the finishing line immediately after finishing."

In team races the display of the red flag remains unchanged and complies with the ISAF RRS Appendix D.

IODA members and organisers may apply this new approach in their local events but there is no obligation to adopt this policy.

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  • Topic:
  • Oct 26, 2011
  • Date of Publication:


Untitled Document

Requirement for the on water judges to blow a whistle deleted from sailing instructions.

The IODA Executive Committee at their Mid Year Meeting last August decided to delete from the IODA standard sailing instructions, the requirement for the on water judges to blow a whistle when they saw an infringement of a Part 2 rule. This procedure had been included in our standard Sailing Instructions in paragraph 16.4 for a couple of years:

SI 16.4 In addition to taking action in accordance with Appendix P, if a member of the jury sees a boat breaking a rule they may make a sound signal but her sail number will not be hailed.  If the appropriate penalty is not taken the jury may protest one or more boats.

This policy change will be implemented at the 2011 IODA World Championships in New Zealand.

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