About our racing


We race on most Saturday mornings throughout the entire year. The first race starts at 10.00, and we finish at around 13.00. If you want to join the racing we suggest you arrive around 09.00 to allow time to get rigged and sign on before the briefing at 09.50. (For those who just want to watch the racing or chat, there is a coffee break at 11.00 which is a good time to catch everyone).

Prizes are awarded over a series of about 12 races - for each of the two handicap fleets (fast & slow), a combined handicap fleet ("Burgee" races), a Personal Handicap competition and a Pursuit series. We organise four regattas each year for members - Easter Egg Cup (Easter Saturday), Summer Regatta (early June), Commodore's Cup (end of October) and Christmas Pudding Race. We also hold an Open pursuit meeting - the Punch Bowl Trophy - in September. Non-members are not eligible for prizes except at the Open pursuit meeting.

All handicapping is based on the RYA's Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme which assigns a number known as the Portsmouth Number to each type of boat. These numbers provide the relative performance for various boats in average conditions with average helms which is used in results calculations.

Handicap races
In Handicap races we have a line start and split the results into two fleets – the “fast” fleet which includes Enterprises, Leaders, Lasers, Supernovas, Phantoms, and the “slow” fleet which includes Comets, British Moths, Solos, Topaz’s, and Toppers. We say quote “fast” and “slow” here because the division is somewhat arbitrary and is based entirely on RYA Portsmouth Numbers. In the right light wind conditions, the so-called “slow” fleet can finish right up there or ahead of the fast boats (on the water, never mind on handicap).

Burgee races
The reason for the name “Burgee” race is lost in the mists of time, but simply put these races are handicap races where we all race as one big fleet (ie. no fast and slow differentiation). Where slower boats complete fewer laps than faster boats a bit of math from the Officer of the Day factors up to the correct number of laps.

Personal Handicap races
The Personal Handicap series is run alongside the Burgee series using the same on the water results, BUT in addition to the standard boat handicap (the RYA's Portsmouth Number) a Personal Handicap (PH) is added for the helmsman (PC: helmsperson). In this way the personal handicap competition aims to give everyone a chance of winning by factoring in their ability. As well as the end of season trophy for this competition a small prize is given out at each event. Like the Tour de France we have a yellow tee-shirt for the series leader and a green tee-shirt for the last event winner.


Pursuit races
These are run as a single fleet but unlike handicap races the fleet does not all start at the same time. Instead boats are released in reverse handicap order ie. “slow”est boats (see Handicap racing above for comments on fast and slow) first and so on. This gives the faster boats a real challenge to chase down the slow ones. In true WGCSC style we have our own wrinkle in that we start Pursuit races from the bank “Le Mans” style.


The Punch Bowl Trophy
Our most famous pursuit race is the three-hour Punch Bowl Trophy. This takes place once every year in September. As usual WGCSC has its own inimitable format where each boat has to have two full crews and must come in every two or three laps (depending on weather conditions) for a complete crew change. This usually leads to enormous hilarity amongst the spectators. A special prize is given for the most spectacular changeover.