An Introduction to Dinghy Sailing at Langstone S.C.

Sailors at Langstone Sailing Club have the advantage of being able to sail in both picturesque Chichester Harbour and the wide open space of Langstone Harbour offering a range of sailing conditions and challenges.

The sailing calendar is put together by the Sailing Committee and offers a wide range of events for both competitive and non-competitive sailors to join in. It is available on the website ( The events range from RYA courses to informal fun on the water social sails, from low key club racing in local waters to large inter-club regattas and from all day cruises to the Isle of Wight or East Head to BBQs on the club balcony – hopefully something to suit all tastes.  A patrol boat is on the water for all events.

All events are free unless mentioned otherwise below. Additional information may be available nearer the time; on posters in the clubhouse, on the website or on the Forum (see ‘Contacts’ for details).

If you have any suggestions please let the Sailing Secretary know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – the Club wants to run events you want to join in.

The bar is open after most events so why not come up to the bar and mingle with fellow sailors and exchange tales of on the water and top tips.

    1. Start of Season Social and briefing

This is an event we would encourage all dinghy sailors to attend, whatever your interest and whether you are new or a seasoned hand. It is a good way to meet other sailors and to learn about the events the club is organising and how to do your duties. It is usually held in March/April. This ias primarily a social event with a short briefing and plenty of opportunities to ask questions and find out whatever you want to know about sailing at Langstone SC.

    1. RYA courses

The Club gained RYA training status in 2012 and now offers RYA 1 and 2 course to help you improve your sailing. Run over a couple of week-ends details of these courses can be found in the club calendar or lookout for posters in the club house. There is a charge and they must be booked in advance.

    1. Adult Social Sails

These sessions are aimed at people who want to improve their sailing, sail with a patrol boat or with others, explore the harbour or just enjoy a sail with others. All abilities welcome.

These sessions enable people to sail with a patrol boat and are led by experienced sailors who can give you tips on how to sail and rig your boat, or if you prefer will just let you get on with sailing but be there to assist if you have problems. Please let the leader know what you would like to get out of the session and they will try to meet your needs. Some of the sessions will be sails to places around the harbours for example to a neighbouring club for a drink, to Emsworth for an ice-cream, to investigate where the buoys of the Harbours are or anything that is possible to do in the time available.

    1. Club Open Days / Family and Friends Fun Days

The Club run its first, very successful, open day in 2014, where members of the public were given the opportunity to enjoy being on the water. In 2015 the first Family and Friends Fun day is planned. A wide range of on and off the water activities are being planned and it promises to be good fun. Look out for further information nearer the time.

    1. Dinghy Cruises

A number of cruises are organised each year. These are non-competitive fun events. In general every one is welcome but you will be expected to be able to have basic control of your boat and for it to be sea-worthy. All or some of the following will run each year:

East Head - A social sail to East Head (beautiful sandy beach at the eastern side of the entrance to Chichester Harbour), where we usually have a barbeque / picnic (provide your own food), go swimming, play games etc. A good taster event for those who think sailing to the Isle of Wight is too much of a challenge. All welcome. Spare clothing and food / drink etc can be carried in Sinbad. There may also be room for non-sailors aboard Sinbad – ask in advance. The nearest amenities are at Hayling Island Sailing Club on the other side of the harbour entrance (sail across) or a reasonably long walk to West Wittering. Cruisers sometimes accompany us or leave the previous day and meet us there.

Cobnor camping week-end - Sail to Cobnor Activities Centre (beyond Thorney Island) in Chichester Harbour on Saturday, following a barbeque we camp the night and sail back the next day. Camping and other equipment can be carried in Sinbad or in vehicles. See posters etc for details nearer the time. Booking is essential and there is a modest cost for camping. All welcome. Space may be available to drive round instead of sailing – please ask in advance.

Priory Potter - A family day out cruising to Priory Bay, near Seaview, on the Isle of Wight. Priory Bay is a sand and shingle beach which has access to toilets, pubs, ice-creams etc if you are prepared to walk a little bit. This is a joint event with the Sailability and cruisers sectors of the club. There is plenty of time for a barbeque, swimming, playing games etc on the beach. There will be plenty of advance publicity for this event, giving departure times etc. Spare clothes and food / drink can be carried in Sinbad (ensure you arrive early to get you gear loaded). There may also be room for non-sailors aboard Sinbad, or possibly on some of the cruisers – ask in advance. This is a full day event (due to the limitations of the tide in returning to the club). If weather conditions cannot be guaranteed for the return journey it may be changed to East Head, Chichester Harbour or cancelled.

    1. Dinghy Racing

A wide range of racing is available to club members in both Chichester and Langstone Harbours. These are run by Langstone SC and there are also interclub events run jointly by the three clubs in Langstone Harbour (Langstone, Tudor and Locks). All local clubs (Chichester and Langstone Harbours) also run Regattas that are open to all – check their websites for details. Newcomers of all abilities (no requirement to have raced before) are always welcome and the emphasis is on enjoying yourself and having fun. All races are run on a handicap basis using the Portsmouth Yardstick system (conceived at LSC – the original stick is in the club house) which allows results for different types of boats to be easily compared they can race against each other. Multihulls may not compete in racing in Chichester Harbour (except for Sailability Trimarans; Harbour Bye-laws), but can race in Langstone Harbour events. It is usually possible to race for about 2 hours either side of high tide.

The location of races is published in the Calendar and on Dutyman but may be changed at the discretion of the Race Officer (RO) depending on weather, wind strength and other factors such as availability of club bots, other club activities etc. If, after considering the conditions, the Race Officer cancels the race their decision is final. The RYA Racing Rules of Sailing apply to club racing:

  1. Langstone SC organised racing

These events are all organised and run by volunteers from the Club. Not all the races are run each year as each year the calendar is produced to try and best suit the current sailors at the club.

For Club run racing the duration of each race is variable but on average the Race Officer will try and plan it so on days with just one race it will last about 90 minutes for average boats (though handicaps will mean this is just an approximation and fast boats are likely to take less time and slow boats longer). On days with more than one race each race will be shorter so the required number of races can be run with the tide availability.

Races usually follow one of the pre-determined courses, details of which are on the notice board and on the website. They can be a little confusing to newcomers but the Sailing Committee or any experienced racer will be happy to explain them.

Most of these events have trophies which are usually awarded at the Club Dinner Dance or \Autumn Supper. Occasionally prize-giving is immediately after the series has been completed (e.g. prizes after the Regatta and Easter series).

Handicap Series (Easter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Evening, Mini) - These events are competed for over a number of days during the season, apart from the mini-series which is generally three races on one day. Races can be in either Chichester of Langstone Harbour, and the locatioin is shown in the calendar. They may be split into different classes (fast, medium/ slow) with different courses set for different speed boats, or run as a one-start series depending on the number of boats racing. Once a series has started the class split must remain the same for all races in that series. Usually there will be one race when held in Chichester Harbour and two or three in Langstone Harbour.

Moonlight Race - This race is run on a full(ish) moon late in the evening to experience being on the water in the dark. All competitors must bring lights and be fairly competent sailors.

Hudson Cup - This is a fun seamanship race and the RO has the discretion to make up the basic rules. This could include doing multiple tacks / gybes / turns on specified legs of the race, identifying set buoys and leaving it to the competitors to go round them in any order, racing start from the shore etc.

Poppy Race - This is a normal race held on a suitable date (depending on tides) nearest to Remembrance Sunday. All competitors should wear a poppy.

Budgett Cup combined with the Single Handed Race - The Budgett Cup is a race where a two man boat is raced by a single competitor. It is usually run concurrently with a race for single handed boats. In recent times with the decline of double-handed boats being raced this has not been run ever year.

Crew Cup - This fun event is where the usual crew helms and the usual helm crews. One general handicap race. Again with reduced number of double-handed boats or high-performance less-stable boats being raced this event is not run ever year.

Age Limit Race (Previously Under / Over 40 / 50) - A normal race where the fleet is split by age of the helm (crew age is disregarded). The exact split depends on those taking part.

Ladies Plate - This event is for boats helmed by a woman (the crew can be a man).

  1. Open Events / Interclub Events

Open events are events, run either by Langstone SC or other clubs, that are open to all comers. There may be a small charge which may cover light refreshments etc after the racing. Races are generally a little longer than for normal club racing. There is usually additional publicity for these events – see notice board / club website/ Forum for further details (starts, times, start location and cost).

LSC Regatta - The Club Regatta, along with Prentice Plate and Hollingshead Trophy event, are the flagship events for the Club. Boats from neighbouring clubs (and anyone else who wishes to join in) are invited to join us for the event, which is one race and usually split into fast, medium and slow handicap classes. It is always good to get a good turn out for these events so please try and support it. It is followed by tea and cake in the Club House and prize-giving. There is usually a social event after the regatta –look on the web or notice boards closer to the time.

Prentice Plate / Hollingshead Trophy - Similar to the Club Regatta, usually with a fast, medium and slow start (trophy each). May be held in either Langstone or Chichester Harbour.

Interclub Series - A series of races (usually about 3 or 4) held between the clubs in Langstone Harbour (Tudor / Locks and Langstone). Clubs take it in turns to run the races and all supply a patrol boat to support the racing. There is one race on each day of racing spread over the season, and there are slow, medium and fast starts. Most races start in the vicinity of Sinah ski platform (depending on wind direction) so plenty of time (up to an hour) must be allowed to get to the start area. The patrol boat may need to tow boats to and from the race area if wind conditions are light or if boats are slow (such as toppers). Generally for more experienced racers. There is no charge for these events (and no teas!).

Sinbad Milledge; This is an open handicap event for all Langstone Harbour Clubs and is often combined with one of the Interclub races.

Langstone Race Weekend - A sociable 3 day competition over the first May Bank Holiday run by the three clubs in Langstone Harbour. The exact number of races per day may vary (one or two). Racing is split into fast, medium and slow events. Briefing usually takes place on the Friday evening at Tudor Sailing Club, and each club hosts a social evening, including food, during the event (including in entry fees) and may include a music night, a quiz and a BBQ. Boats can be stored at Tudor Sailing Club for the duration of the event (easier to get to the sailing area from here than from Langstone). Details are advertised well in advance at and on the Club notice board nearer the time.

Wild Goose Chase - An open event for Langstone Harbour Clubs - includes cruiser and multihull starts. This event is organised in turn by different Langstone Harbour clubs. As for the Interclub series the start is usually down towards the harbour entrance so time must be left to get to the start area. Sometimes this is run as a pursuit race where boats start at intervals according to their Portsmouth Yardstick handicap number. A list of planned start times will be available a day or so before the race. The number displayed on the committee boat will be the PN for the next start. Slower boats start first, followed by the faster ones, the theory being that all cross the finish line together if siled to handicap. First across the line at the finish time wins. The race aims to be approximately 120 minutes long for the slowest boats (shorter for faster ones).

Other Clubs’ Regattas - Most clubs around both harbours hold a regatta – this can be a single one race event or may be over a week-end with several races. Langstone boats are welcome to attend these races though generally a patrol boat from the club does not attend so you will be on your own sailing to the start. Those closest to Langstone are advertised in the Club calendar and further details can be found on the host clubs website and usually on the notice board a week or so before the event. Some regattas are difficult to sail to, allowing for tidal launch times from the club, so please ensure you have enough water to return, or trail your boat round to the host club. There is usually a small charge which covers teas after the race.

Federation (Fed) Week - This is a large well organised week long regatta, with in the region of 400 boats taking part. It is organised by Chichester Harbour Federation (bringing together all the clubs in Chichester Harbour) and hosted by Hayling Island Sailing Club. There are many different starts; some fleet and some general handicap (depending on boats entered). It is held in mid-August. Details are available at or on the club notice board closer to the event. There are evening social events organised during the week. You can sail in all races or just choose the days you want to sail.

Class Open Meetings - Occasionally the Club hosts an open meeting for a particular class/es (such as Laser 2000, Buzzes etc). The format will be dependent on the type of classes catered for and the number of boats expected.

    1. Cruiser racing

Beta Trophy - For Langstone SC cruisers only. See advance publicity. The winner traditionally organises the following year's event. Run depending on demand (not always every year).

    1. Junior Events

There is a wide range of events arranged for the younger members of the club ranging from Fun of the Water (FOTW) sessions, the Junior Regatta and Junior Training Week. There are some club boats available for juniors to use – booking advisable. There are also shore based activities such as the Easter Egg hunt arranged. More details of these can be found on the junior notice board or by contacting the Junior Rep.

    1. Sailablility

The Club has a strong Sailability section that offers opportunities to disabled people to get out and have fun on the water. A wide range of boats are available to cater for most needs. Further details can be obtained by contacting the Sailability Section of the Club.

There is a wide range of events arranged for the younger members of the club ranging from Fun of the Water sessions, the Junior Regatta and Junior Training Week. There are some club boats available for juniors to use – booking advisable. There are also shore based activities such as the Easter Egg hunt arranged. More details of these can be found on the junior notice board or by contacting the Junior Rep.

    1. Personal safety

Club Sailing Instructions require adequate personal buoyancy to be worn during all club events and failure to do so WILL result in disqualification or being asked to return to shore immediately.

You MUST sign on and off for all events / races. This also enables the Race Officer/Patrol Boat Driver to ensure that all competitors return safely to shore after the session.

The signing on book is kept on the table in the Clubhouse foyer. It is the Race Officer's responsibility to check that all boats

    1. On the Water duties

We are often short of people volunteering to do on the water duties: Race Officer, Assistance Race Officer, Patrol Boat Driver and Assistant Patrol Boat Driver. It can get cold out on the water even when the weather is good so always take spare clothing. Buoyancy Aids must be worn by all doing duties. All people doing duties will get their feet wet so wear suitable footwear. Remember to take other personal items you may need such as a thermos with a hot drink, cold drink, snacks, sun screen etc. For an event to run there has to be two people in the patrol boat.

Patrol Boat Driver – the driver should ideally be qualified to RYA Level 2 Powerboat and must have done a familiarisation session with the Bosun or nominated club officer. If interested in doing your Level 2, or safety boat, qualification please contact the Bosun (costs apply).

Patrol Boat Assistant – the Patrol Boat Assistant is there to help launch and recover the patrol boat, assisting laying racing buoys and help out on the water as required. They will need to attired so they can go into the water if the need arises - in the winter and early / late season this will mean a dry-suit and at other times an appropriate wet-suit.

Race Officer – The RO runs the event and organises it to suit the conditions and those taking part. Their decision is final if they decide to the cancel. We are very short of trained Race Officers and will be running Race Officer training. We encourage all dinghy racers, and those who would like to help run races (no experience required) to attend. A simple guide to running a race can be found on the web and the club notice board.

Race Officer Assistant – RO Assistants are rostered for events in Langstone Harbour (when Sinbad has to be moved is there to be the Committee (start / finish) Boat. Their duties may include: helping with anchoring Sinbad, starting / finishing the race (blowing the horn, timing . raising / lowering flags), taking note of times competitors complete laps and the race.

Please sign up for duties in Dutyman ( or contact the Sailing Secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to volunteer. We need you help as if we do not have enough volunteers some events may have to be cancelled. Thank you.

Happy Sailing. . .

Additional information