Friday Night and Chowder Race Finish Line Management


(or, How to Do Finishes Without Embarrassing Yourself and Missing Dinner!)

Step One:  Before coming to the Club, assemble the following:

  • Calculator
  • Two pencils with eraser (pencils instead of pen, so you can erase your mistakes; two in case one breaks or doesn’t work)
  • Also set your watch (you can do this at the club if you want).  Call “popcorn” (767-2676) to get the time tick, unless you have a GPS handy.  A few seconds one way or the other won’t matter.

Step Two:  At the Club, assemble the following (I like to put it all on the round table in the corner of the bar, for convenience and best visibility):

  • From the rack by the bulletin board:  blank finish form, blank record of starters
  • From the bottom left cabinet under the bookshelf:  big green binder with entry forms; one or two clipboards; whistle; previous lists of starters
  • From the side of the entryway into the bar:  previous finish forms
  • From the right end of the bar:  binoculars
  • If you think it will be getting dark by 2030, also get the searchlight from the bottom left cabinet and plug it in


Step Three:  Beginning about 1745 hours, list the boats going out on the blank list of starters.  (This is not strictly necessary, but it saves a lot of time later on.)  As you record them, complete the information for each boat.  The easiest way to do this is to find the boat on one of the previous lists of starters, or on one of the previous finish forms.  If you can’t find it, look in the binder of entry forms (they’re arranged by sail number), and in the front of the binder (newly-received entry forms are sometimes there).  If you still can’t find it, look in the Race Committee box near the badge rack, at the Club entrance.  If you still can’t find it, the boat may not be a racer!  If in doubt, check with Paul Kamen, Race Committee chair.

  • Also make a separate column to record the starting class of the boat (1, 2 or 3), again from previous lists.  If in doubt, check with Paul. 
  • Having all this information in advance will enable you to transfer it rapidly to the finish form later, without having to look it up then.

Step Four:  Observe the starts, insofar as possible.  If they’re normal, you should see the small boats starting at 1835, class 2 at 1845, and the big boats at 1855.

Step Five:  Sometime along in here, recruit the rest of your finish-line crew.  At a minimum, you will need a whistleblower (it’s possible but very difficult to watch the boats cross, blow the whistle and record the time accurately all at once).  More people are helpful, to call out the sail numbers and watch for whether the boat crew waves a life preserver to claim the no-spinnaker credit.  There’s usually someone hanging around the bar who will agree to be the whistle-blower.  Experienced ones are Patti Brennan, Barrie Fontaine and Betty Towell.  Racers are best, because they understand what’s going on.

Step Six:  You are now free to move about the cabin … er, club.  Normally the first finisher will not arrive at the finish line until 2000 or shortly before (watch to make sure they don’t sneak up on you).  The kitchen crew will feed you if you ask them nicely.

After the starting boat comes in, someone from the starting line committee should bring you a list of starters (although this often doesn’t happen).  Check their list against your list of boats going out for any you might have missed.

Step Seven:  As the racers approach the finish line, get yourself and your crew set for the finishes.  Officially, the finish line is between the westernmost chair on the deck and the 5 mph sign across the way.  In practice, the whistleblower usually stands at the post under the small wind sock, so make sure there are no chairs westward of that.  Put yourself in a chair behind the whistleblower, with the finish form on a clipboard and the record of probable starters handy.  Other finish-line crew can stand anywhere, as long as they don’t block your view (or the view of the whistleblower, of course)

Explain to the whistleblower (if necessary) that any part of the boat crossing his or her line of sight to the 5 mph sign is a finish.  This includes the spinnaker.  Also point out that it’s necessary to blow the whistle vigorously!

Step Eight:  Record the finishes.  As the whistleblower whistles each finish, record the time (including the seconds), then the sail number.

As time permits, between finishes, record the rest of the information for each boat, from your list of probable starters, or from previous lists, but don’t get so involved in this that you miss a finish!

If a boat claims the no-spinnaker credit, subtract .04 from the TCF to get the corrected TCF.

Step Nine:  After all the racers have finished, and all starters are accounted for, compile the results.

First, finish recording any boat information not already on your form, such as TCF and corrected TCF.  Check the proper column for which class the boat is in.

Next, calculate the elapsed time.  A common mistake is to use the wrong starting time, so make sure you use the starting time for each boat’s class.  (I think it’s easier, and less prone to error, to calculate by class—all the class 1 boats, then all the class 2, etc.)

Now convert the elapsed times to decimal minutes.  Do the minutes first; e.g, 1:09 becomes 69, 1:15 becomes 75, etc.  Then do the seconds (divide the seconds by 60).

Now “correct” these times; i.e, multiply the decimal minutes by the TCF to get the “corrected” time.

Now record the order of finish for each class.  Check this carefully; it’s another place where it’s easy to make mistakes.  Check, for example, that the last-place number agrees with the number of boats in the class.  Any unusual or unlikely results should prompt you to check your work.

Finally, record the order of finish for the fleet (first three places only).

The hard part is done!

Step Ten:  Assemble the trophies, one for the first-place finisher in each class.  They are on a shelf above the public address system,