Displaying Flags

Flags are displayed when they are “conspicuous” so they must be displayed quickly.  Also important to lift them clear of any boom cover or other obstruction on the committee/signal boat.

Halyards - work but usually too slow if any more than 3 metres off the deck - could try using bungy cord as the halyard so the flag can be zapped to the top in double quick time.  Flags can also be “Broken Out” i.e hoisted to the yard arm folded up with a slip knot holding the flag together - one good tug then displays the flag quickly.  Disadvantage is you need a good tail on the rope of the flag and take great care not to break it out too early.

Poles - Flags attached to poles can usually be displayed and removed quickly. We use a 5m extendable pole (Actually a Harris Paint brush extension pole around £16.00 from B&Q) for Class Flags and Papa, Uniform and Black and have all other flags mounted on 8 foot Bamboo canes from the garden centre. These canes are usually high enough as they are normally displayed from the foredeck where there are less obstructions.  

Flags attached to 8 foot bamboo poles and taped to 32mm plumbing pipe in 16knots - too bendy - replaced by aluminium extendable poles

Class Flag just a tad too small and definitely too low compared to the height of the Orange and Golf flags in this case. Need to be at least a metre higher

Tip 2: Make the poles holding Alpha and Hotel flags shorter so that you can display AP or N over A or H by popping them both in the pipe mentioned in Tip 1.

Tip 1: Tape a bit of 40mm Plumbing pipe to the front stantion on the Committee boat and you can pop in the 1st Sub or X-Ray flag after a recall where the OCS boats don’t come back - saves holding the thing for four minutes.

One thing to watch for when using poles is how to hold them up.  If just held then unless the person holding them works pretty hard at it.  They will move around in the breeze.  If you shove them into tubes (say taped to a stantion) then the act of removing them (in readiness for lowering) moves them around. Either of these actions could be seen by the competitors as the signal being made. To get over this problem and to hold the poles vertical when the flags are displayed we use a wooden frame tied to the stantions. See below

All of these will then fit in a car for transportation.  We tried 32mm plumbing pipe but it proved to be too bendy in any breeze.  Also have to get the poles high enough so that they are well above any boom sailcover.

This is our Mark 1 Garden Gate - just to prove the concept - it was designed to hold the poles vertical and parallel to each other.  Small wooden chocks held them in place.  Later replaced by Mark 2 version

Flag poles set up and in the gate - absolutely vertical.  Poles should possibly have been extended a little further than shown in this picture to raise them well above sailcover height.