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A Race Committee is responsible for organizing and running a sailboat regatta. The responsibilities of this committee include informing participants, ensuring the venue is set up and ready, holding a Skippers' Meeting, running the actual race, and generating results.
Generally, the Race Committee first sends out a Notice Of Race (NOR), usually months in advance. A set of Sailing Instructions (SI's) are also produced. SI's are sometimes distributed a day or two before the event, sometimes at the Skippers' Meeting.
The Skippers' Meeting is usually held on the morning of the regatta. Last-minute updates to the documentation are provided at this point, including race schedule updates, course corrections, local weather conditions, hazardous aspects of the course, and so forth.
The Committee Boat often occupies one end of the starting line. Through the use of flags, signals, guns and VHF radio, people aboard the committee boat will count down through the "starting sequence" and begin the race. If there are multiple fleets participating in a regatta, each fleet will have their own starting sequence, noted through the use of a "class flag". The committee boat will also make sure no boats have crossed the starting line early, and will signal over-early boats. A boat which was over early and did not make amends (usually by coming back to the starting line, or by going around one end of the starting line) will be penalized in the scoring process. At the end of a race, the committee boat will write down finish-times. If the regatta has multiple races, the committee boat will begin the starting sequence for the next race, after all the boats have finished the previous race.
After the racing, hearings are held to handle any protests which have arisen. Finally, the scores are tallied and posted. If a fleet contained more than one class of boat, it is common to use handicapping systems such as PHRF to adjust scores.
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