Written by Erica Virtue
In a collegiate regatta, there are two divisions: A and B (sometimes there is a third one: C, but that's rare and in that case, C is sailed in a single-handed boat). Each division has to sail the same number of races. So, for example, A division sailed 10 races, but B division only sailed 9, then the 10th race of the A division would not count. The number of races sailed is determined by the number of teams present. The idea is that each team has to sail each boat at least once, so that everyone has to to sail a "slow" boat once thus making it fair. Therefore, if there are 10 teams in a regatta, the race committee will go for 10 races.
Depending on the venue, A and B might sail at the same time (but different starts) and rotate boats on the water every two races (so if A was sailing 420 and B was sailing FJ, the A will rotate with other As, B will rotate with other Bs and then at some point they'll switch so that A teams will to sail FJ and B teams 420s. (It gets confusing at times!) Or teams might rotate at the club (in this case, A will sail in and give the boat to another team and so on). There are no drops in collegiate sailing and the final score is determined by combining the A score and B score. So consistency is key.
When you get to the venue, there are a number of forms that need to be filled out and signed. It's important to sign the "RP" form (the one that has your names), otherwise the team gets a big scoring penalty.
There are no starting flags in a collegiate regatta (exception maybe individual/general recall but don't quote me on this). As a result, the race committee announces which course to sail (if there are options) prior to each start. The start is 3 min. With the sequence being 3 whistles-2 - 11/2 - 1 - 3 short (30 sec)- 20-10- GO. If there is a general recall then I flag (around the ends rule) is automatically in effect.