Cruiser Racing

2024 Racing Dates for Your Diary

Here is the 2024 Medway Yacht Club, MYC, Cruiser Racing Programme plus races of other clubs that MYC boats usually compete in

Racers Pre Season Planning Meeting – Saturday 20 January at 14:00 in the MYC Library.  All are welcome to put in their ideas to have a great season with lots more participants.  It is your chance to say what you want to get you to participate.

Spring Series – Sundays 14, 21, 28 April, 12, 19 of May, details here –Spring-Series-2024

Wednesday Evenings Series  – First Series 29 May 5, 12, 19, 26 June – Second Series 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 July at 18:50 for sailing dinghies and 19:00 for keel boats. Just turn up on the MYC pontoon at about 18:30 and there is almost certainly a boat which wants crew.


East Angian Offshore Racing Association, EAORA, Jane’s Cup – Saturday 15 June from Burnham to Medway and back to Burnham on Sunday.

Other EOARA races are

10th May North Sea R Harwich to Scheveningen Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Royal Harwich Yacht Club, RHYC, EAORA
25th May Pattinson Cup Burnham to Mersea West Mersea Yacht Club, WMYC
26th May Ralph Herring Trophy Mersea to Burnham Royal Burnham Yacht Club, RBYC
15th June Jane’s Cup Burnham to Medway MYC
16th June Thames Estuary shield Medway to Burnham Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, RCYC,
6th July East Coast Race Harwich to Ostende RORC, Haven Ports Yacht Club, HPYC
7th July Cannonball Trophy Ostende to Breskens EAORA/MYC
8th July EAORA Week Southern Holland EAORA
11th Aug Sunk Race Harwich to Mersea WMYC/HPYC
31st Aug Houghton Cup Burnham to Burnham RBYC
Fri 13th Sept Buckley Goblets West Mersea to Ostende WMYC


Benfleet Yacht Club Nore Race – Saturday 29 June.  This is a good race for MYC members to join as it starts around 11 o’clock from Southend pier around a low tide.  MYC boats can easily go down with the tide to join it and return back to MYC after it helped by the incoming tide.  Last year, and the year before, the cruiser class race was won by MYC boats out of a fleet of 50 boats.  The prize giving will be on Friday 5 July at 19:30.   

Marathon Race  – Sunday 30 June for sailing dinghies with cruisers acting as guard boats.

Medway Keelboat Regatta – Practice day is Friday 12 July followed by regatta on Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 July. For more details see the Regatta page

Commodore’s Day some might like to help celebrate this on Saturday 3 August although it is not a race

Ramsgate Regatta 2024 will be run by Royal Temple Yacht Club 11 to 16 August

Wednesday Evenings Late Series at 18:00 on 21, 28 August 4, 11 September

Medway Cruising Club, MCC, Burton Series This will be run from the MCC line at Gillingham in September on  Sunday 15, Saturday 28, Sunday 29 and in October on Saturday 12, Sunday 13, Saturday 19.

Autumn Series Sundays 20, 27 October, 3, 10, 17 November.

Please let the Cruiser Class Race Captain know if you have any questions or suggestions.

About Cruiser Racing

Cruiser Racing, that great oxymoron. Surely you either go cruising or you go racing. Not so. Have you ever been sailing down the river or estuary, when you see another boat in front and start tweaking the sails to see if you can catch up? If so then you could well have the racing bug. It just needs developing.

How do I start racing?

If you want to dip your toe into racing try one of the Wednesday Evening Series which are relaxed informal races around a few buoys. You can participate with white sails without using a spinnaker or fancy brown or black sails if you like. This would be a great introduction. 

Handicaps Provisional Text

In one design classes the first boat over the finishing line is the winner as all the boats are similar. However Cruisers are of many different designs.  Some boats are built to be seaworthy if caught out by severe weather crossing the Atlantic.  Other boats have bilge keels to allow them to dry out and stay upright. Other boats are built as racing boats which optimise speed against a rating system and have varying sizes of sails etc.  This means a handicap system is required that can be multiplied by or divided into the elapse time to decide who wins.

The Medway Yacht Club uses a free handicap system called the Yacht Time Correction, YTC, handicap system in all its races.  To obtain a free YTC handicap you need to submit the overall and waterline length, the beam, draft and weight of your boat plus sail areas and a few other bits of information as described below and in a few days, you will receive a free YTC handicap rating for both spinnaker racing and white sail racing.    A boat must declare on race entry if it wants to use the white sail handicap for the whole series or not.    

The YTC handicap provides a fair system for the majority of the boats participating in Medway Yacht Club events, but it does not necessarily provide a fair handicap for all boats. To address this the Club is thinking of developing a structural, objective system to address those particular handicaps where there is demonstrative evidence that the handicap is unfair early in the 2024 season.

The blue-chip handicap system is the International Rating Certificate, IRC, system where boats submit a lot of measurements, and profiles to the Royal Ocean Racing Club RORC and a fee.  They are issued with an IRC rating calculated by a closely guarded secret formula.   Prizes will be awarded on IRC handicaps where sufficient boats with IRC certificates enter our events.     

What is the next step?

You might find the downwind legs a bit slow under just white sails, so you want the extra excitement of using a cruising chute or even a spinnaker to speed things up. This in turn leads to needing extra crew to handle the extra sails and you might even want to practice a bit. 

Where does it end?

When the bug really bites and you get yourself a racing boat with fancy sails and a large crew to match you won’t like the personal handicap system so you fill in the forms and send a chunk of cash to the RORC and you have an IRC rating. You are now a bone fide racer.

Do I need a large crew?

It very much depends on how seriously you want to race. For white sails racing many people compete effectively with only 2 people on board. As you get more serious you need more and more people. The club has a Crew Finder Service on this web site that can help put you in contact with potential crew.

For more information email the Cruiser Racing Class Captain

New RYA YTC Rating System

The NHC personal handicapping system with ratings adjusted after every race has not proved to be popular as the adjustment system after each race produces strange anomolies. As a result, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), in conjunction with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), has launched a new handicapping system for cruisers to replace NHC.

Called “Yacht Time Correction” (YTC), the new system is based on the one developed by a number of clubs in the South West. Like NHC the system is free, but unlike NHC there is no adjustment to handicaps after each race. It also issues two handicaps for each boat with and without a spinnaker so boats without spinnakers can race fairly against those that use them.

It is simplicity itself to obtain a handicap number you visit the web site here and fill out the online form. You will need to know basic dimensions of your boat and sail area. Most of this information for production boats is available online here. For those of you with something a bit rarer you may need to do some measuring. We can help with measurement if necessary.

For we intend to run all our races using this handicapping system. We often split the fleet so that bigger faster boats can sail longer courses while smaller slower boats can still get back in time for the bar!


Typical MYC Organised Racing Season

Our racing season is from April to November and includes:

  • Spring Series – 4 or 5 race series with committee boat or Club line starts
  • Medway Keel boat Regatta. 3 days of intense racing in conjunction with the one designs with committee boat starts and finishes for Racers and Cruisers as well as the Medway Challenge Race on Friday for the less serious racer who just wants to do one race. It includes the famous social events ashore. 
  • Wednesday Evening Series.
    During the long summer evenings we hold an informal “Allcomers” race series staring at 19:00 every Wednesday. A great excuse for a light hearted race to wind down after work followed by a meal and a drink in the clubhouse.
  • During the summer months we occasionally have ‘Trophy Races’
  • For the less serious we have the annual Montgomery Race usually held in mid summer involving a simple course from the club to the infamous wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery and back to the club. Hitting the mark is not recommended. Results are worked out using the Cruiser Class Captain’s secret formula.
  • Name of the River Challenge. This is less of a race, more of a pilotage exercise. You leave the Club Line to start whenever you like and have to pass named buoys on the river in any order, returning to the club to finish. Time your start to make the best use of the tide for your boat but you have to make sure there is enough water round all the buoys for your boat.
  • Autumn Series – We end the year with this ever popular series – the biggest and best series on the East Coast in our opinion!