Your first class event

From chatting to various people, mainly newcomers to the ISO or just new race meeting attendees, the reason they haven't attended before is that they think the racing is ultimately serious. They think they won't be welcomed into the class because they don't know every rule or they might get shouted at by the top guys because they were in the way etc. This is most definately NOT TRUE. The main thing the top guys want is more ISOs on the race course to race with. They will even be keen to try to help you go faster so that you provide more competition!

Skill Level / Requirements:

1. There must be two of you with an ISO.

2. The ISO you are using (might not be yours) must be insured.

3. One of you must be a FULL ISO Class Association member. (Join via this website)

4. Remember you are there because you want to:

a. enjoy yourself,
b. race against other ISOs,
c. meet other ISO sailors and share sailing experiences,
d. get tips for rigging and tuning the boat,
e. improve your sailing/racing skills,
f.  sail somewhere new,
g. make new freinds

In preparation, try to:

1. Tune + rig your ISO as per this website (it will make sailing it a lot easier).

2. Buy a book on the racing rules, and read the main right of way rules.

So now you've read the above requirements, what do you do when you get there?

Before the Event:

  1. Find the club or event website (there should be a link to it on the Events Calendar)
  2. Enter for the event - this varies depending on event but usually there is a pre-entry form. it helps the club to know you are coming and sometimes it is cheaper to enter a week or so before the event.
  3. Download and read the Notice of Race (NoR) - this gives basic details about the number of races and when they start each day.
  4. Download and read the Sailing Instructions (SI) - these are more detailed rules about the event such as the courses and start procedures, what will happen if the wind changes and so on. Try to absorb as much as possible but don't worry if it is all too much.. for your first few events just do your best to work it all out as you go. You can always shout across to another boat if you're not sure whats going on or where you should be going.
  5. Note that it is not unusual for there to be changes to the SIs on the day (at the race briefing)

Saturday Morning:

  1. Aim to get to the club 2 hours before the first start
  2. Arrive, pay your entry fee in the club house (if not already done on-line), book your evening meal
  3. Get the weather forcast for the day,
  4. Get snacks + drink for the days racing. (Always make sure you have water on board, you may be out there for 4-5 hours)
  5. Put waterproof sun block on (even if its not very sunny the water reflects a lot of UV)
  6. Rig and tune the boat for the days weather conditions, whilst checking everything is working ok.
  7. Get changed.
  8. Attend the race briefing.
  9. Get on the water asap and get settled down and get use to the conditions.
  10. Do all the races.
  11. Get ashore, repair anything that needs repairing (don't put it off till tomorrow, it won't get done!)
  12. Relax, and ask the top guys for hints and tips on how to do things. Ask them if they could have a look at your boat now as they won't have time in the morning - I'll guarantee it!
  13. Pack up, get changed, check the start time for the next race on the next day.
  14. Have a laugh

Sunday Morning:

  1. Get yourself down to the club 2 hours before the start.
  2. Tea and breakfast.
  3. Get changed.
  4. Check notice board for new notices.
  5. Ask for advice from your Pro-Am partner or other so-called experts.
  6. Cover off and tune and rig boat for the conditions.
  7. Replenish food and drink supplies, sun-block etc.
  8. Launch and have fun.  (don't quit during racing)
  9. After racing de-rig and pack boat away.
  10. Get changed.
  11. Have food and drink.
  12. Go to Prize giving
  13. Check when next event is so you can book time of work!
  14. Go home.
  15. Set alarm to go to work in morning.
  16. Collapse!

Monday Morning:

  1. Try and get up and go to work!
  2. When at work, get on the website and feedback your thoughts on the event.

Nice one!


Here is an email from some newcomers to the ISO fleet, have a read and see if any of it sounds familiar to you personally;

Just wanted to say thank you to you, Alistair, Rob, Mike and the Eastbourne mob for all your advice, help, support and encouragement this season. It has made a massive difference to both our performance and enjoyment of sailing the ISO.

1999, our first year in the ISO (or any boat for that matter) was pretty desperate, we capsized all the time. We went to Weirwood and were so last we decided to stick to Datchet and practice there. The summer was spent doing the odd bit of club racing and being really pleased if we didn't finish more than 5 minutes behind the rest of the fleet. We had another go at an open meeting at Queen Mary with equally disastrous results.

The new millenium dawned and with renewed (if perhaps unjustified) enthusiasm we headed once again to Weirwood. Suffering a trailer blow out on the way we arrived with only about 1/2 hour to spare. Team Eastbourne leapt into action and rigged the boat while we changed. With the shifty wind our result (9/11) wasn't really any better but we'd met some friendly people who encouraged us to continue.

Next up Draycote, the freezer. Terrible first day, capsized just off the beach and got the mast stuck in the mud. Then on a reach in the 2nd race the kicker shackle came undone and bent out of shape, plus we ripped the kite. Bummer, still at least we got the warm water in the showers for once. Anyway it was a good night with lots of beers (especially for Brighlingsea Geoff) and we got chatting to more of the ISO fleet. The next day we had a well patched kite and you guys lent us a shackle. Sunday was much better weather and we really enjoyed the sailing. Whilst we we're last we seemed to keep in touch and had a breakthrough moment when we realised that the reason we were pointing 5 degrees lower than the rest of the fleet was because our boom was nowhere near the centreline. Mick Whitmore supplied the magic number for strop length, problem solved.

We kept going to open meetings because we were learning so much more. Back at Datchet we were placed 7th out of 30 in a Wednesday night club race at Datchet, beating both the other ISOs that were out. Doesn't sound much to you guys, but to us it was party time. One of the other ISO crews had a go at his helm because (based on our performances to date) he assumed that they were doing something very wrong.

This year has been great fun and we hope to move up the ISO fleet next season. Once again our thanks to Team RWO, Team RBRC, Team Eastbourne and all the other people on the open meetings circuit who've given us advice, such as "take up chess instead". I can't imagine there's another fleet that would have made such a pair of incompetent beginners so welcome. We're both gutted to see you all disappear from the fleet but if any of you are ever coming to or passing through London and want to go for a beer, or a sail, or need somewhere to kip just let us know.

Thanks again and we hope to see you on the water sometime next year, but don't think we'll ever let you through on port again!

Paul & Wyndham
ISO 1155
Purple (not quite as) Pants (as we were in February)