The Finger Lakes Yacht Club Race Program consists of multiple events that span the available boating season. Race activities are managed by the FLYC Race Committee and many volunteers, most of whom are the racers themselves. One particularly attractive aspect of the FLYC program is the camaraderie between competitors and the degree to which they help one another improve their skills. This provides for an environment where the racing is enjoyable, yet still highly competitive.

Races are organized into three general categories, which are detailed elsewhere in this section of the web site:

  • The FLYC Summer Series
  • Special Event or "Fun" Races
  • The Commodore's Cup

Racers are handicapped using a modified US Sailing's Portsmouth Yardstick. Scoring is done using a low-points system, also with some local modifications.

FLYC Race Events

As stated elsewhere on the web site, the Finger Lakes Yacht Club organizes multiple sailboat racing events.

The FLYC Summer Series consists of eight (8) races held between June and September. In keeping with the policies above, the two worst scores will be thrown out when computing series totals. The boat with the lowest score will be recognized as the "club champion" for the season at the Club's Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet. Courses are defined based on weather conditions and prevailing winds. 

The Commodore's Cup Race is usually held in conjunction with the annual Commodore's Banquet. This is a longer-distance race (typically 10-20 nautical miles) along a course defined by the FLYC Commodore. Special rules apply for this race that usually allow for some limited motorsailing in order to allow all competitors to make it to the final destination without being forced to withdraw from the race or to be late for the Banquet.

Finally, the Club also organizes a number of "fun" races throughout the year. While these races might be scored, the scores are not counted toward the Club Championship. These races include:

  • Rust Removal Race. Usually the first race of the season in late May, designed to help skippers and crews to "get the rust out" and dust off their racing skills.
  • Grape Harvest Race. Held in the fall (late September or early October), it is typically run on a reverse-handicap basis, meaning that competing boats are assigned a starting time based on their handicap, with the finish order determined by the order in which the boats cross the finish line.
  • Gear Buster Race. The last race held in the fall, usually in mid-October. Because of conditions are typically blustery this late in the season, and also because everyone is trying to get one last win under their belts, it usually results in gear failures prior to winter layup (...and boat repairs).

Single Race Scoring

Race scoring is done utilizing a modified low-points system similar to one described by US Sailing. 

Competing boats are awarded points based on where they finish when sorted by corrected elapsed time (CET):

  • First place boat is awarded 1 point.
  • Second place boat is awarded 2 points.
  • Third place boat is awarded 3 points.
  • Etc.

Boats that start the race but do not finish (DNF) are awarded the number of points equal to the number of boats competing in that race.

Boats that do not start (DNS) or do not compete are awarded 1 plus the number of boats that competed, or 8 points, whichever is greater. (This is done to encourage race attendance among competitors.)

Boats that are disqualified due to a rules infraction or penalty (DSQ) are awarded 2 plus the number of boats that competed.

Series Race Scoring

For a race series consisting of three or more races, each competitor is allowed to throw out the worst results of between 25%-33% of the number of races in that series. For the FLYC Summer Series, this means that the highest two scores for the summer will be discarded when computing series totals.

In the event of a tie, standard tie-breaking processes as defined by US Sailing are employed. The steps below are utilized until the tie is broken:

  • The boat with the most first place finishes will be ranked ahead of the other.
  • If there is a tie, then the boat with the most second place finishes will be declared the winner.
  • If there remains a tie, then the boat with the most third place finishes will be declared the winner.
  • If there is still a tie, then the boat with the best finish in the most recent race will be declared the winner.

Any score resulting from a disqualification (DSQ) cannot be used as a throw-out.

FLYC Scoring Conventions

Unless stated otherwise at the pre-race Skippers' Meeting, each club race has a time limit of three hours. Any boats not finishing within this time are scored as DNF and will receive points as described above. In addition, if none of the boats in a race are able to round the first mark within one hour, the race will be either postponed, abandoned or cancelled, as determined by the Race Committee.


The FLYC utilizes US Sailing's Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) as a basis for handicapping racing competitors. The PY system is essentially a time-on-time rating system that assigns a multiplier to each boat that will convert her elapsed time to a corrected elapsed time. This allows boats of differing design and capability to compete against one another with the multiplier helping to level the playing field.

In addition to Portsmouth, the FLYC utilizes an additional "golf handicap" to further negate any remaining discrepancies between boats and competitors. This adjustment (sometimes referred to as a "Moss Factor") is calculated based on the relative difference of corrected finish times between an individual boat and the fleet average. After over a decade of use of this adjustment, the FLYC has seen very favorable results in terms of the enthusiasm