A big Holyhead Sailing Club welcome for the competitors on the ISORA Race No 3

Saturday 13th May 2017

isora logo

The 3rd race in the 2017 series sees the fleet race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire with a fleet of some 36 yacht entries. We're lookiing forward to seeing you all in the club on Friday to collect your trackers and to meet up with colleagues and competitors.

The club restaurant run by Sochyn Crimp will be open on Friday evening as usual and specially for the benefit of all the competitors breakfast on Saturday from 06:00. Full English including bread and butter for £5!

For any spectators who wish to see the start it will be from the end of the breakwater:


07.55 Warning signal - Class flags (Numerals 1 & 2) hoisted

07.56 Preparatory Signal - Blue Peter hoisted

07.59 Blue Peter down

08.00 Start – Class flags down


This course is has 5 aims:

  • To give those new to sailing (or a bit rusty) the chance to go over the basics in an informal way.

  • To provide an opportunity for participants to sail in a number of different kind of boats

  • To help get club members to know each other

  • To help match up boat owners with potential crew

  • To get a buzz going......

The course is provided by club members on an entirely voluntary basis – all are competent sailors and  you will find that they have a wide range of interests and approaches to the sport.

Each day is split into two – a short club-based ‘teaching’ session, followed by practical sailing on one of the participating boats.

Club-based sessions

Start time: 10am. Session to last till approx 11am

Then down to the boats for a sail which will pick up on the things covered in the classroom.

Session 1

Sat April 22

Introductions & intro to Holyhead Sailing Club

How sailing works/ why boats float

Intro to basic boat terms

Session 2

Sat April 29

Basic sail trim

Essential Ropes& Knots

Session 3

May 6

Rules of the road

Using the vhf

Session 4

May 13

Intro to charts

Sailing the local area

Port of Holyhead Rules

Practical Sessions – from mid morning to mid afternoon – will be a bit weather dependant.

Follow on from the club-based sessions, hopefully giving people an opportunity to put into practice what we’ve done in the session.

Tea and coffee and biscuits provided.

Bring a packed lunch – most times you will eat on the boat.

What to wear – trainers, comfortable warm clothing, waterproof jacket, gloves and hat.

Contact info:

Course organiser;  Sue James – via HSC office or 07540 737016 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

HSC Office: Janet 01407 762526  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In looking for replacement burgee I thought I would look at what was actually required. The Club's online shop which I was asked to put up is just an embeded page from Sional where we get our branded clothes. I have asked the question on how members can get burgees or other items for their yachts and dinghies. 

See below for an abstract from the RYA web site on Flag Etiquette. There are some points which should be understood in relation to ordering a club burgee, The size of your flag depends on the size of your yacht. "The burgee for a yacht up to 34ft 15" in the fly (the horizontal measurement) should look appropriate on vessels up to 34ft. This increases to 18" for up to 42ft, 24" for up to 50ft and 30" up to 60 ft." A tatty flag is not acceptable so we should be looking at renewing regularly. Your RYA, Lifeboat membership flags go on the port flag halyard and the club burgee should be on the starboard flag halyard.

If you want to renew your Club Burgee I have put this form together so that we can inform the club how many new burgees are required and of what size.  

A brief overview designed to demystify the basics of flag etiquette follows:

What to put where

The most senior position for a flag on a vessel is reserved for the Ensign - this is as close to the stern of the vessel as possible.  The Ensign shows the country of registry of the vessel and indicates its nationality. A UK flagged vessel must wear her ensign as required by the Merchant Shipping Act, which includes when entering or leaving a foreign port and on demand. It is recommended that the ensign is worn at all times in daylight, especially when near to or in sight of land or another vessel.  A UK registered vessel should wear the national maritime flag, the Red Ensign, unless entitled to wear a special Ensign. Wearing anything other than an authorised Ensign is a violation of British and International Law.

As the Ensign takes the senior position on a vessel, the order of precedence for positions for flying other flags is: 2) masthead, 3) starboard spreader, 4) port spreader. This assumes a simple plan of one halyard per spreader; other combinations including motor boats are discussed in the Members’ section.

Traditionally, the burgee is flown at the main masthead. A burgee must match a special Ensign if one is worn and it should always be higher than the Ensign. Flag etiquette states that only one burgee is flown at a time, but it is not uncommon nowadays to see yachts flying more than one burgee. Although this might cause offence to some, there is nothing legally wrong with this practice provided the rules governing the wearing of a special ensign are adhered to.

The starboard spreaders are used for signalling. This is where both a courtesy flag and the Q flag, as signals, should be flown. These days it is becoming increasingly common for yachts to fly a burgee from the starboard spreaders because of instrumentation sited at the main masthead. Again, legally there is nothing wrong with doing so but this practice presents a number of problems for those who wish to adhere to the traditions of flag etiquette.

More than one flag may be flown on a halyard except that flag etiquette states that no flag can be above the burgee on the same halyard and no flag can be worn above the courtesy flag. If you fly a burgee at the starboard spreaders and are sailing in the territorial waters of another country this presents something of a dilemma, particularly if you must fly a burgee to match a special Ensign. Unless the burgee is in its traditional position at the masthead, you risk flouting one or another element of flag etiquette. How you choose to resolve this is a matter of choice.

A word on courtesy flags, most countries use their national flag at sea and it is therefore not uncommon to see a foreign visitor flying a Union Jack as a courtesy flag when visiting UK waters. This is wrong; the correct flag is always a Red Ensign. There is no legal requirement to fly a courtesy flag; it is a courtesy that acknowledges that the vessel will respect the laws and sovereignty of that country. However, if one is not flown or it is tatty or faded, it may cause grave offence and in some countries can lead to a fine.

The port spreaders are used for house flags. A house flag is normally but not always a small rectangular version of a burgee. It may indicate membership of an association (i.e. the RYA) or society or may be to indicate membership of another club should that club have a house flag.  More than one house flag may be flown on the port halyard, but with caution as too many might appear vulgar to some.

Land flags

The Union Jack, Welsh Dragon, the Crosses of St Andrew, St George and St Patrick and the EU flag are primarily land flags and must not be flown at sea as an Ensign by cruising yachtsmen. At sea the cross of St George is the flag of an Admiral and it should therefore not be flown by anyone else, without special dispensation. A vessel flying the St Andrew’s Cross could be mistaken as saying "my vessel is stopped and making no way through the water" as this is the meaning of code flag M which has the same design and the St Patrick s Cross could be misinterpreted as code flag V "I require assistance".  

Union Jack or Union flag?

There is often a lively debate about which term is correct. In fact both terms are acceptable having been given parliamentary approval in 1908 when it was stated that "the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag".

Sizing your flags

The sizes and condition of flags are important. They should not be tatty and should not hang in the water, but should still be large enough to be seen.

The best advice is "what looks right" but a rough guide is:


The general guideline for the size of Ensign used to be an inch per foot of yacht, but on many modern yachts this is found to be a little on the small side for the vessel to look "well dressed". Roughly speaking a 3/4 yard Ensign should look right on a boat of 21-26 ft, 1 yard for 27- 34 ft, 1 1/4 yard for 35 - 42 ft, 1 1/2 yard for 43 - 50 ft and 1 3/4 yard for 51 - 60 ft, but some discretion may need to be applied.


A burgee of 15" in the fly (the horizontal measurement) should look appropriate on vessels up to 34ft. This increases to 18" for up to 42ft, 24" for up to 50ft and 30" up to 60 ft.

Courtesy Flag

Having an undersized, faded or tatty courtesy flag in many places is worse than having no courtesy flag. Again as a guide only, 12" in the fly should look appropriate for 21-26 ft, 15" for 27- 34 ft, 18" for 35 - 42 ft, 22" for 43 - 50 ft and 30" for 51 - 60 ft. Availability may however end up dictating the size of the flag.

House flags

A house flag of a similar size to those listed for the courtesy flag will generally be appropriate.

Special Ensigns

In addition to the national maritime flag, the Red Ensign, there is a White Ensign, a Blue Ensign and there are a number of Red Ensigns with a badge, Blue Ensigns with a badge and a light blue Ensign with a badge. These additional Ensigns are special or privileged Ensigns may only be worn with permission, which is granted ultimately by the Queen.

A warrant grants this permission and the Ensign must be worn in accordance with the warrant, which will in most cases require the corresponding burgee to be displayed. In most cases the warrant is granted to a Yacht Club, which in turns gives its members permission to wear the Ensign under the conditions of the warrant, by issuing the members with a permit.

get afloat for £150

Abstract from HM Coastguard Blog [Thanks to Cogger for finding this]

Boat owners, shipping companies and anyone who puts out to sea are being informed about a change in some of the VHF channel numbers used to contact UK Coastguard.

As a result of changes to Appendix 18 (Marine VHF) of the Radio Regulations it will mean that VHF channels 23, 84 and 86 will no longer be used for either Maritime Safety Information (MSI) or Radio Medical Advice.
The channels to use from September 2017 will be VHF 62, 63 and 64. The use of VHF Channel 10 for MSI and pollution control (back up) is unchanged.
Mark Lawson from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: 'Although it’s not happening until September, when it happens the changeover will be absolute and we want to make people aware of this changeover in good time given our commitment to deliver maritime safety and wider support to the maritime community.
'The exact date of change will be announced as soon as possible. In the meantime, we suggest anyone who uses any type of vessel makes a careful note of these replacement channels so they are ready when it does happen.'