KISS Racing

Keep It Simple Saturday (KISS)

 KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple Saturday. When KISS racing was started in 2000, it was meant to be 1) an easy, low-key opportunity for any member of South Flathead Yacht Club to get into racing, and 2) an opportunity for more experienced racers to play on a regular basis. We’ve been pretty successful keeping things simple and giving the “racers” a chance to race on a regular basis, but the Race Committee suspects that racing remains vaguely threatening – or at least confusing – for dock sailors who have never tried it. So, if you’ve never raced and think it might be fun but literally have no idea how to start, here’s your opportunity.

We race nine Saturdays (ten in some years). Skippers’ meeting is at 9:30 am at the Harbor House flagpole and races start at 10:30 am, or as soon as there is wind. We have two primary formats depending on boat participation and race official availability. It is heavily suggested you acquire a marine VHF radio for KISS racing. SFYC Race channel is 69 and race information is broadcast on that channel. 

Distance Format

Distance is currently the most common format used. With good sailing all over the western side of the lake we use it all to ensure a good day out on the water.  In this format the start is set to a known time, usually at the top or bottom of the hour.  To ensure the same wind conditions a single start is used. Starting format will be determined at the morning flagpole meeting.  Once across the line participants will write down the time of their finish ((HH:MM:SS) Not elapsed time) and the RC will calculate and post the results. 

Buoy Racing

 In the buoy format used during the All Islands and Labor Day Regatta, boats will be divided into appropriate fleets depending on handicap. We try for three one-lap races: windward-leeward-windward back to the start-finish line, about 2 miles total. As soon as everyone finishes, we start the timing sequence for the next race. A typical race takes 40 to 50 minutes and no starts after 1:00 pm. Multiple short races maximize the number of starts, which many of us consider the most fun part of a race. Unless otherwise noted races will be started with a standard start (5-4-1) on a 10 minute warning. If we are unable to provide a committee boat the schedule will indicate No Host Buoy Racing (NHBR). Marks will be set and a time start will be used. Boats will self report. These races will not count towards the KISS Series. 

We race according to the current Racing Rules of Sailing, except there are no protests. Racers are expected to follow the rules to the best of their knowledge and ability and if they foul another boat, take their penalty turns. If there’s a rule problem we try to discuss it among ourselves after the race or before the next weekend. KISS races are meant to be fun, learning experiences, not the America’s Cup.

It helps to make as many weekends as possible to be competitive. However, more importantly, you don’t have to be competitive to have a lot of fun and become a better sailor.

KISS Rules 2023

Based on Duck Dodge (Seattle) Rules and the WMSBA Rules for Racing Small Boats.

By James Maxwell

1. Don't hit anything. This is self-explanatory.

2. Right of Way are the Big Four: Opposing tacks starboard stays on, same tack leeward stays on, closest to the mark has RoW and keep clear while tacking and gybing. See also Rule #1.

3. Corinthian Rule: We're a well-bred sport. To that end we don't call penalties on one another, we let them call their own penalty and take their turns. No one cares if you lose. Everyone cares if you cheat. Questions and discussion are always welcome after the race.

4. Take your marks to the outside of the course unless otherwise directed. If your mark is a land mass take it to your starboard side.

5. Reefing and/or retiring can be the mark of good seamanship. While every effort is made to ensure safe conditions while racing there is no dishonor in making the right choice for you, your vessel and your crew. Safety is #5 on this list.

6. If able monitor VHF 69 while racing and 16 at all other times.

7. If race officials are unavailable, start and finish by mob rule and consensus.

8. Have fun. Any day on the water beats a day on the beach. But it is wise to remember it's better to be on the beach wishing you were on the water then on the water wishing you were on the beach.

Procedural Notes

KISS Race Results 2023