Start line signals

The Start – Sounds and Signals

The start line is marked by an anchored buoy at the port end, and by the mast carrying the orange flag on Retriever at the starboard end.

The starting sequence for the GP fleet has begun here – the GP class flag on the left was hoisted with a sound, signalling 5 minutes to go, then the preparatory signal (P flag) on the right was hoisted with a sound to signal 4 minutes to go.

The course is shown below the flags – the top row of numbers has the GP class flag at the left, so this line is for the GPs. Below that, the next line of numbers has the RS400 class flag at the left, so this is the RS400 course.

The next signal here will be a long sound, and the P flag is dropped, signalling 1 minute to go. Then at the end of the final minute, the class flag is dropped together with a sound, the start signal.

As the GP class flag is dropped and the start signal sounds, this sound signal may also be the 5 minute signal for the following fleet – if so their class flag goes up at the same time (e.g. the RS400 class flag).

TimeSound signalVisual signal 

Before starting


Committee boat “on station” – ready for start of racing. Orange Flag on mast.


5 minutes to go




Class flag goes up on sound signal (GP14 class here).


4 minutes to go




P Flag (Blue Peter) goes up on sound signal.


1 minute to go


Long Toot


P flag goes down, long sound signal.






Class flag goes down.