Courses are set each day and are announced at the morning briefings. On any given day, we may choose to set one or more courses depending upon the prevailing and anticipated wind conditions.
At the start end of the courses there will be a lead-in buoy 100m before the start line denoting the “one competitor at a time” area. The objective being to space competitors apart as they run down the course The start line is defined by anchored buoys that will display the course open/close flags. To enter the course it is necessary to sail between the buoys.
When using a beach course, the inner buoy may be sat on the beach, depending upon tides, and the outer buoy will be several 100m out. As the competitor crosses this long start line a start point is defined from which they can sail their own course angle until they have sailed a straight line distance of 500m. In this way a catamaran could sail a square course whilst a kite may wish to sail a much broader course. For both competitors they have to sail exactly the same distance, irrespective of their course angle or where they crossed the start line. At the end of the course a line of buoys is positioned to indicate a distance just in excess of 500m as a visual guide to competitors on the course.
On the harbour course a narrow start gate is used; as in the diagram below. The end of the course is defined as an arc from the point where the competitor crosses the start line (this is done accurately by software when calculating the results). An arc of buoys is positioned just in excess of 500m as a visual guide to competitors to see when they have completed the course.
It’s in your interest to keep sailing fast well beyond the course end marker buoys to ensure the best possible run speed is obtained. Competitors must continue beyond these course markers, so they can safely turn and return to the start line without impeding other competitors. It is NOT acceptable to go up the active course the wrong way; competitors will be warned and if necessary removed from the competition if they do this.
On a beach course kite boarders have the option of walking back along the shore.
These courses have a number of advantages:
wind shifts of 20 degrees or so can be accommodated
different types of craft can sail on their individual fastest wind angle
competitors sailing different angles to the wind will safely diverge
Plotting of course and GPS run data
The image below is an example of the run data for a "Harbour Course" being processed in the GPS Results software ; it shows the course as a blue area, and a multitude of runs through the course and around the harbour.
The image below shows, in greater detail, the 'hot' area of the course in which competitor's runs are deemed to be qualifying. The course begins at the narrow end with a ~20m wide gate and extends in a pie/segment shape for a distance of 500m. The red marker determines the centre line of the 20m rectangular track. Each competitor's tracks are shown as the individual lines, heading both up and down the course. Software processing ensures that only those runs heading up the course the right way are selected.