Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for membership?

Do I need to belong to a yacht club?

What is “THE RED BOOK”?

How are the classes divided?

What is a VPRS rating and where do I get one?

How do I enter a race?

What do I have to do if it says its a self timing start?

How does self timing work?

What do I do with my finish time?

Where can I see the results of the races?

This all sounds very interesting and I would like to talk to somebody about it. Who should I contact?

Can I apply for membership?

There are two primary grades of membership, full membership, and crew membership.

Full membership is open to owners of bona fide yachts, there are certain safety requirements which these need to satisfy, in particular, that the yacht is seaworthy, and has adequate stability for cross-channel and night races, and carries certain safety equipment. (The slide show on the our “Weclome” page give a guide to the sorts of boat racing in PYRA).(See section 3.0 “Safety” of THE RED BOOK).

Crew membership is open to non-boat owners. Crew members receive all the association mailings including a copy of THE RED BOOK.

Secondary grades of membership are, temporary membership, which is open to visiting yachtsman to enable them to complete in a maximum of two weekends racing, and honorary membership.

To apply for membership contact the secretary by email secretary@pyra.org.uk or download an application form  Membership Form. (About Us –> Membership Forms )

Race Categories

World Sailing Special Regulations for Inshore Racing will apply where the sailing area is confined to Poole Harbour, Poole, and Swanage Bays.

World Sailing OSR Category 4 will apply to all races outside of the above limits between Portland Bill and Selsey Bill and within six miles of the shoreline.

World Sailing OSR Category 4 Plus PYRA special requirements will apply to all races outside of the above limits or between the hours of Sunset and Sunrise.

PYRA Special Requirements

  1. A) Adequate Liferafts shall be carried.
  2. B) Adequate means of anchoring shall be carried.
  3. C) A fixed VHF radio with capacity to transmit at 25 watts shall be fitted.
  4. D) An engine plus fuel sufficient to motor in moderate sea conditions at four knots for the length of the course shall be carried.

(see “Offshore Special Requirements”  Click Here   for more information) Contact any officer if you need guidance.


Monohull boats

When sailing under World Sailing OSR Category 4 a minimum SSS of 12 shall apply.

When sailing under World Sailing OSR Category 4 Plus PYRA special requirements a minimum SSS of 15 shall apply.

Note – The SSS value can be found on the VPRS certificate.

Multihull Stability can only be ensured by using the appropriate sail plan suitable for the prevailing weather and sea state. Owner skippers must request and comply with manufacturer’s recommendations with respect of suitable sail plans for different wind strengths. This should include a reduction factor to be applied when sailing in rough conditions, when sailing down wind, when sailing in gusty winds and when sailing with novice crew.

Basic Safety Requirement

Identification of Persons on Board

At the time of entering skippers are required to notify PYRA of the names and contact details of all persons on board (POB) and if necessary to update the information prior to the start of the race.

Lifejackets / harnesses

All persons on board are strongly recommended to wear lifejackets as a regular practise and in addition to use harnesses when reefed, at night or when alone on deck. At night it is recommended that life jackets are fitted with a position indicating light.


It is recommended that vessels are equipped with AIS.

RYA SafeTrx

Owners are strongly recommended to use the RYA SafeTrx system to aid  Co-ordination Centres throughout the UK to mount a search and rescue operation should you get into difficulty.

The owner, by signing the membership application form, warrants that the yacht fulfils these requirements.

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Do I need to belong to a yacht club?

There’s no requirement to belong to a yacht club although most
members of PYRA are also members of one of Poole’s many yacht

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This is the handbook and programme and is issued each
year. It includes officers and constitution, sailing instructions
and notice of race, social, trophies and prize giving. It is
essential to carry a copy of THE RED BOOK on board. Additional
copies can be purchased from the Secretary. A copy of the
Red Book   can be viewed/downloaded.

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How are the classes divided?

All monohull yachts race under VPRS (Velocity Prediction Rating System)

Class 1 — Fast group with spinnakers — Class Flag — Numeral 1

Class 2 — Medium speed group with spinnakers —Class Flag — Numeral 2

Class 3 — Slow group with spinnakers —Class Flag — Numeral 3

Classes 1, 2 and 3 may be sailed 2 handed and without spinnaker (although the rating will assume a spinnaker).

Class 4 (Mono-hull) — Family Friendly Class (all speeds) open principally to families and friends alike wishing to sail short-handed with or without spinnaker.  Ideal for couples, shorthanded or newcomers to racing – Straightforward Bay, Coastal and Channel racing in company – very good company!
If a declaration has been received that a spinnaker will not be used for a series before 1200 hr on the Wednesday prior to the day of the first race of the series concerned, or, in the case of a race which starts on a Friday, the Tuesday before, this will be noted on the Class 4 class list and the no spinnaker TCC rating will be used for the whole of the series, otherwise TCC will be used.
If more than three persons are on board over the age of 7 years during a race each additional crew will incur a 5% time penalty per person. The number on board to be reported with the finishing time.
Crew will be counted as 8 years old, or older, if they attained the age of 8 before the 1st September of the preceding PYRA sailing season (as per school years).

Multi Hulls race under the MOCRA rating system

Class 5 — Multi Hull Class — Class Flag — Numeral 5

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What is VPRS – and how do I get a rating certificate and TCC (time correction coefficient)?

VPRS is a rating system for ballasted monohull yachts which has replaced both IRC and PHHS across all classes in PYRA.

VPRS stands for ‘Velocity Prediction Rating System’ – which works by predicting the speed of a yacht on various points of sail, in a variety of weather conditions. The average speed is then calculated and used to derive a TCC.

The system has been developed in close co-operation with the racing community in Poole and aims to meet the requirements of club racers by using a bespoke VPP (velocity prediction program) for accuracy – which has been designed to work with a manageable number of measurements.

To accommodate visiting racers, a TCC can be issued where some measurements are missing – although the estimating bias here aims to ensure that no advantage is conveyed.

VPRS is entirely measurement based – and has been producing ratings that on average lie within 1% of those issued by IRC. All
the information needed to apply is provided on the web site – in particular see the measurement and apply pages.

For members of PYRA the cost for a rating certificate is included within the membership fee and it is valid for the current year. A new certificate must be obtained each year.

As in all rating systems a number of leading hull and sail dimensions are required. Please refer to the VPRS web site for more information and measurement forms. Completed measurement forms should be sent to the secretary with your membership application forms and membership fee. For existing members of PYRA a revalidation form will be issued with annual membership forms.

You will need to do this while your boat is out of the water. (If your boat is in the water our rating officer may have hull measurements for a sister boat which might suffice temporarily). Should you require any help you should contact our rating officer
(NB  use your “back” button to return to this page).

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How do I enter a race?

There are 4 ways to enter,

1) From the website.  This is the preferred method.  https://www.pyra.org.uk/sailing/enter-pyra-event/

2) By email. There is a prescribed preferred layout of the email in THE RED BOOK, section 2.0 “Conditions of Entry, Race Entries. Entries must be received by noon on Wednesday for a Saturday or Sunday race, and by noon on Tuesday for a Friday race.

3) By signing up on one of the entry forms posted on the noticeboards at Royal Motor Yacht Club, Poole Yacht Club, and Parkstone Yacht Club.

4) By making line entry, this however should only be used as a last resort for unforeseen situations rather than making up for laziness of not entering by the other methods.

A line entry is made by calling up the PYRA committee boat and advising them that you wish to make a line entry, your sail number, boat name, your class, and if you are racing in class 4, the number of crew including only children over 7 years old.

Please be mindful of the start boat who are probably short of manpower and may be, anchoring, already in a starting sequence for another class, and have enough to do without additional radio transmissions. There are some races which traditionally have a lot of starters and for these line entries are not allowed, this will usually be noted in the race programme.

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What do I have to do if it says its a self timing start?

Occasionally we have races where you will have to select your own start time within the time limits stated and to declare this at the same time that you enter. You then cross the start line on or after the declared start time.

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How does self timing work?

Most, if not all races finish on unmanned finish lines defined by two points/buoys forming a transit with one of the points/buoys and an outer distance mark forming the line to be crossed.

The skipper is required to take his own time when the bow reaches the line. The time should be to the nearest second and should be based on an accurate watch or clock. The time required is BST in hh:mm:ss.  Watches should be set to GPS time (but be aware that sometimes when first switched on the time can be inaccurate), radio transmitted time from Anthorn Radio Station in Cumbria used in clock and watch synchronisation, or the pips on FM radio, (not digital radio or digital TV). A note should be made of the name and approximate finish time of that boat in front and behind. The time of passing through mid-course gates (when specified), with that of the boats ahead and behind should also be recorded so that in the event that there are no finishers results can be calculated based on the time of passing through the gates.

You can use our website time.

You should keep a copy of these times and remember to bring them ashore after the race!

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What do I do with my finish time?

Your time should be:-

a) submitted  on our website http://www.pyra.org.uk/sailing/submit-race-results   (why not use your phone and enter them to our website immediately after the race) or

b) e-mailed to: results@pyra.org.uk

Subject should contain:- Race number(s) – Boat

Your e-mail should include:- The race(s) in which you have  competed, the name of your boat,  the sail number of your boat ,the Class in which you have competed, (if class 4  include number of crew over 7 years old) and your finish time(s) in BST Hrs/Min/Sec

Where possible the name or sail number of the boat(s) ahead and astern

The time limit for notification to the records secretary is 18.00 on the day following the race or group of races, so for a weekend away, eg Friday to Sunday the latest time to get your result in is 18.00 on the Monday.

Note that where results have been collected by class captains and provisional results have been announced at a rendezvous you are still required to notify your result to the records secretary.

Late or incomplete information will mean that your result(s) will be recorded as “Did not finish”.

Why do we want to do it this way?

We want to get the results onto the website in a reasonable time. By using the website or emailing results@pyra.org.uk address the information is recorded in a way that should be difficult to misinterpreted and our webmaster can direct the e-mails to whoever is compiling and calculating the results for that race without the need for you to track who it is hence the Hon. Records Secretary can have the (very) occasional Monday off !

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Where can I see the results of the races?

Results on the Results Section of this web site.  http://www.pyra.org.uk/sailing/2023-results/

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This all sounds very interesting and I would like to talk to somebody about it.  Who should I contact?

Any of the PYRA officers will be more than happy to talk to you, however, in the first instance you should contact the secretary by e-mail at secretary@pyra.org.uk to obtain contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses or by using the contact form http://www.pyra.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/   . Phone numbers are omitted from this web site to avoid nuisance calls and phishing.

Take a look at http://www.pyra.org.uk/about-us/2022-officers/   at each of the main clubs there is a PYRA representative.

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75 Years of PYRA

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