Despite what is considered the ‘norm’, there are no ‘hard and fast’ rules for setting a course. These notes are based on what makes a ‘good’ course, for an enjoyable sail for the competitors.
1. Try and set a course with all the points of sailing (beats, reaches and runs – one or more of each).
2. Try and make the beat as true as possible.
3. This may seem obvious, but always ensure that the finishing line is on the natural route of the course. (It will normally be between the last buoy and the first, but does not need to be.
4. It is normal to have the start/finish on one of the ‘beat’ legs of the course.
5. Set the number of laps to ensure a race of about 1 hour (20 – 30 mins for the 10:30 race) always go on the long side – you can shorten a race, but you cannot lengthen it! Please display the number of laps on the board visible from the water OR ensure that you use the shorten course flag.
That is basically it. People do not expect the course to be perfect – none of us are professionals.
If someone recommends a change, ask them ‘Why?’ and if they respond with one of the above then, perhaps you missed something when you set the course – consider changing, at least in the subsequent races.