Questioning what flags finish an event

Published on September 13th, 2022

The racing rules allows for fair competition, but it is a challenge to understand every scenario. To help facilitate the process, the Racing Rules of Sailing Forum offers an opportunity for experts to voice opinion. A post by National Race Officer Thomas Koenig (GER) asks a procedural question:


We all know that the AP flag postpones races that are not started, and the N flag abandons races sailed, but is there a flag signal telling the sailors that the event is finished? If I have sailed six races from a series of eight races, and due to whatever reasons, the race committee decides to call off the last two races, what flag has to be raised?

If the event is finished, there are no more races that can be postponed. Raising flag A does not solve the problem, that that there will be no more races in this regatta. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Among the responses was this one from National Race Officer Carl Schellbach (USA):

In the WS Race Management Policies for Fleet Racing, the section on Abandonment has seven items, none of which consider abandoning a race not started. The section on Postponements only considers postponing during the starting procedure, which I infer applies to any time prior to the actual or scheduled start of a race.

If the regatta is scheduled to end on such and such a date, it’s ended then unless there is a provision to reschedule.

Since I prefer to keep things simple (the KISS concept) and distinct, and since the different terms are defined, abandonment applies to races actually started, and can apply to a race even after one or all have finished for all kinds of reasons.

Races not started are postponed (although may be sailed later, if there’s time in the schedule). If the postponement is on the stated last day of the event, the calendar supersedes the possibility of sailing them another day.

This mitigates any confusion inherent in the definition of N over A, which contains two statements – that 1) ALL races are abandoned. and 2) No more racing today. The question of which races are abandoned (statement 1) is not signaled or defined anywhere – did the RC pitch a race that was completed? Does it pertain to all races in a series, or all races in progress (e.g. in a multi-class event)? There is no way to tell.

On the other hand, AP/A tells the sailors only Races not started are postponed (i.e. those completed are not affected). and No more racing today. That “today” happens to be the stated last day of the event tells them that the races won’t be sailed at all.

My vote is to use N for races started, and AP for those not.

To view this forum thread, click here.

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