4000.org.uk - uk class association

UK Event Guide

So you’re thinking of taking part in a 4000 UK series event but not sure how it all works? Don’t worry – the guide below is designed to help you through some of the ins and outs of the events. But the first principle is if in doubt then just ask! The 4000 fleet is one of the friendliest fleets in the UK, probably down to the 50/50 male/female ratio, and if the boat next door can’t help then they might well be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.

Event Details

The calendar of events is posted on the website, and contains details of all the events, locations and timings. Due to the way clubs book in events, these dates are usually fixed come the start of the year.


Being creatures of habit, the 4000 fleet tend to visit a similar selection of venues from year to year – selecting 8 venues out of a pool of around 15. So chances are if you haven’t been there then someone else will have. If you click on the link on the Events Calendar then the details page will usually include a link to the club’s website, which will often have maps and directions. Otherwise try Google as most of the sailing clubs which host 4000 events have excellent websites.

Last Minute Changes?

It’s well worth checking the front page of this website in the couple of days before an event, as this is the place where we can communicate any last minute changes that might apply.

Start Time?

In the standard NOR for the UK Series, no event is allowed to start before 12:00 noon on a Saturday, thus giving people time to find the venue, get the boat rigged and go racing. Depending on the venue it might be a 5 minute (e.g. Datchet) or 30 minute (e.g. Hayling/Felixstowe) sail out to the start. If you’re new to rigging/de-rigging your 4000 then you should aim to get to the venue around 9:30 in this morning to give yourself enough time for a relaxed rig and a cup of coffee before sailing.

What to bring with you?

As well as the boat, crew, and sailing kit etc, you should definitely ensure you bring the following:-
• Spare Trailer Wheel – sounds obvious but lots of people forget them
• Spanner to suit the nuts on YOUR trailer (they’re different sizes!!)
• Basic tool kit, including rope, blocks and other spares
• Any 4000 specific spares you might have e.g. gnav, foils etc (although other people in the fleet might be able to lend you one if you break something)

The Racing

Note: The following section is based on previous seasons and what generally applies. However you should always check the notice of race and sailing instructions for any local changes and attend the race briefing on the first morning of the event.

Typical Format?

The typical format for the UK series is 3 races “back-to-back” on each day, so there’s no returning to the beach for the sarnies, especially at venues like Felixstowe. In the event of a particularly bad forecast sometimes the racing becomes 4 races on the ‘better’ day (hard work!) and 2 on the ‘worse’ day. It is rare for us to cancel many races due to inclement weather.

When to leave the beach?

This depends a lot on the nature of the venue and whether or not there’s a long sail out. Many of the coastal clubs have rules to prevent any boats leaving the shore until a specific signal is given to confirm that rescue cover is in place. Some of the regular venues which have a potential 30 minutes+ sail out to the start line are Hayling Island, Felixstowe and Lymington.  Make sure you have enough time to get out there and practice geting the kite up and down once, as you don’t want to find its tangled on the first time around the windward mark!

What’s the Course?

The course is listed in the standard sailing instructions. Fundamentally it’s windward leeward, but usually with a leeward gate and an offset mark set off the windward mark to reduce log-jams. If we’re sailing a mixed fleet the course might vary.


The startline can be a little nerve wracking at times, but if you are a little unsure of your boathandling then think about starting out of the pack, potentially at the wrong end. Whilst this means you won’t be first around the windward mark, by getting clearer breeze off the line you have more chance at getting up to speed quickly. The other approach is to start in the “second row”. Contact on the start line can be quite a common occurrence, but as the boats are pretty solid the odd bit of “racking up” rarely causes any damage if everyone’s on the same tack.

One top tip is that if you are stalling and going slowly whilst lining up, make sure the crew has the starboard (assuming you’re on starboard tack) jib sheet in their hand as well as the port one. Otherwise, with the fully battened main, it’s too easy to stall completely, go head to wind and fall off on to port, thus creating, usually, a bit of a crash!

Another thing to watch for is the dreaded ‘black flag’. As a fleet we are all pushy starters, so it’s not unknown for the black flag to come out to play! Basically when the black flag is up then any boat that is in the triangle bounded by the ends of the line and the windward mark within the minute before the start will be disqualified from that race (and any subsequent re-starts). At one start in the nationals 2003 over 16 boats (from 52) were black flagged, which goes to show how bad at starting we all are! In practice what happens is that if a black flagged start is recalled then you all wait around for a bit whilst the race committee puts the numbers of the miscreants up on a blackboard at the back of the committee boat. If your number is on the board then you have to sit out this race (it helps if this is the last race of the day – thus getting an early shower!)

Number of Laps

It’s usually 5 rounds, although this can vary depending on course, weather conditions etc. If the race committee decide to shorten the course during the race they should have a boat at the windward mark and this should display the code flag ‘s’. If the course is shortened like this then you generally round mark 2 and go straight to the finish.


The finish should be set at right angles to the wind. However from time to time the line is set wrongly – perhaps because of a change in wind direction –  making it very difficult to finish on one gybe rather than the other. If you spot this early, you can gain a couple of places right at the end which is always a great feeling!

Between Races

Whilst this is the time to relax and eat the sarnies, when it’s breezy it’s also the time when you are most likely to capsize as you aren’t concentrating as much!  To heave-to the crew needs to feed the jib around the front of the mast and, if it’s a force 3 wind or above, the crew might need to sit up on the windward side to keep the boat the right way up! Try and avoid getting too cold, if you have a spare spray top on the boat it might be worth putting this on during the “sitting around phase”.


The social activity usually involves a few quiet beers at the club on the Saturday night, although sometimes there are dinners and more organised events like quizzes or discos.