Duluth Keel Club - Rabbit Start Instructions
Duluth, Minnesota • Saint Louis County

The Rabbit Start is used to start a race to Windward in the absence of a committee boat.  At a prescribed time a boat passes an agreed upon mark and heads off on Port  tack. Other boats must pass behind the "rabbit" on starboard tack in order to start, as described in more detail below.

Position Signal Minutes before start Sound Rabbit's Approximate Actions
1 Warning 5 1 long sound (horn or hail) followed by hailing "five minute warning!" Head to wind in the immediate vicinity of the starting mark for approximately 1 minute.
2 Prep 4 None Falloff onto startboard tack beam reach for 2 minutes.
3   2 None Tack or jibe; retrun on port tack beam reach.
4 Start 0 1 long sound and hail "here's your start!" A horn is also acceptable. Pass starting mark to port, sail close hauled.
5 End of Starting Sequence   Hail - "clean start!" After the last boat has crossed, tack to starboard.



1. The starting line is the line between the port-end starting mark and the rabbit. A boat starts when it crosses the starting line while the rabbit is on port tack.  After starting, all boats shall remain on starboard tack until the rabbit has tacked to starboard.  A boat failing to start properly may do so by sailing to the approximate location where the rabbit tacked to starboard, and make a 360-degree turn.

2. All times are approximate. The absence of a sound signal shall be disregarded.

3. A boat making contact or interfering with the rabbit is automatically disqualified and shall retire.

4. These instructions are approximate and may be modified by mutual agreement by a majority of race participants.