Curious

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  1. Curious

    Sydney To Hobart 2018

    You're not a tightarse, you're making a sensible decision. The Hobart is an awesome in lots of ways, but for the smaller to medium size boats the fleet is now so small and scattered that it's hard to justify the expense since you're racing such utterly different and widespread boats even in your class, partly because unlike the CCA the CYCA insists on only having a few classes even if that means having a wide spread of boats in some of them. Racing Maluka or Azzurro against a JPK 1080 or Benny 40.7 isn't a fair race. It can't just be because of time issues because the Newport-Bermuda guys have the same sort of issues. It can't just be because people don't want to sail a few nights offshore, because the Bermuda, Fastnet and Middle Sea Races are going gangbusters. And there's no long races or deliveries involved in the CYCA weekend sailing, but those fleets are now tiny. One thing is that those races seem to have committees that value small boats more, and big boats less. Even the Hobart website is the only one that gives the results in line honours order as a default - it's only a little thing but it seems to indicate the CYCA's way of thinking. The other races are also in places where you can get into offshore boats by having proper competitive racing in small offshore style boats to develop owners, sailors and the fleet. Australia has no equivalent to PHRF or the various US one designs (J/30s, 105s, Expresses etc) or the European half/quarter or one design scenes. Unlike those other countries, in Australia there's no PHRF or owner-measured IRC rule, so most owners can't get local competition under anything but PHS which is frustrating, doesn't give you any incentive to improve, and makes going to regattas a matter of luck because you don't know what handicap they'll give you. And as one keen small boat owner said recently, you can't work out whether you are getting better at sailing because each regatta you get a different guess from a different handicapper. One simple way of looking at the problem for small boat owners is that to finish as far behind the line honours boat as a Half Tonner used to do, you now need something like a Sydney 47 or Farr 40. If you sail a small boat by the time you get in, the preso may have been run and the race is almost over. Sure, the same thing can happen in the Bermuda or Fastnet, but they ensure they have classes just for small and amateur boats and don't obsess about the big boats in the same way - as one example, they don't even give the line honours results list that the CYCA has as its default. The success of the Launceston-Hobart and revamped Gladstone could show that if you change the elitist attitude (by doing things like changing the safety category, which sends a message to owners that you understand that not all of us are multibazillionaires) and the difficulty of doing the race, you get entries. And if Australian Sailing actually did what just about every other major country did for its cruiser/racer fleet, like keeping an eye on costs and running a cheap and simple rating system like owner-measured unweighed IRC for local events or PHRF/LYS/HN/HKYS/DSY, then we might start rebuilding the fleet with new owners before all the existing ones die. Just my two cents worth, as someone who leaves the offshore boat on the mooring so I can race ODs.
  2. Curious

    New Olympic Dinghy Selection

    Okay, I understand the point about the Sunfish etc and completely agree with it. On windsurfers - can I ask again how much windsurfer racing you've done? I've done a metric shitload, along with sailing other stuff like Lasers, J/24s and offshore boats to a reasonable level, and it's more than a "close cousin" of sailing - it IS sailing. You work the startline just as in boats, you work the shifts as in boats, you work the pressure as in boats, you work the rules as in boats - the whole thing. Depending on the wind, course and class it can be like skiffs, cats or Lasers in terms of tactics. Over my last two windsurfer regattas alone, I've raced alongside people who have won nationals or won or placed in worlds in 18 Foot Skiffs, Tornado cats, Moths, J/24s, Laser Masters, offshore boats and others. Not one of us refers to windsurfing as being different from sailing. Two of the major forces in modern dinghy development, AMAC of Mach 2 Moth/Waszp fame and some of the top RS guys, are former windsurfers. I know people who have got into sailing through windsurfing and ended owning good 38-41 foot offshore boats; one represented his country. Other former windsurfers are winning nationally in kites, 49erFXs, Melgi, and Etchells. Nevin Sayre, all-American sailor and former pro windsurfer, is promoting the O'Pen Bic dinghy. Last time I was in Newport RI I ended up sharing a winch with another old windsurfing rival on our way to second behind Ken Read. I ran windsurfer courses for kids - they are now out there in 49ers, yachts and dinghies. That's just a few examples of the way windsurfer racing and boat sailing interact. They are both sailing, and I think everyone I know who does both would agree with that. Sure, some forms of windsurfing are different from sailboat racing, but then cruising around on a yacht under a rolled jib with no main and a beer is also different from sailboat racing.
  3. Curious

    FTFP - blue water bullies

    Check the numbers - the multis, Superyachts, Class 40s, 60s etc make up only 7% of the Fastnet fleet and about 4% of the Bermuda fleet. Only half a dozen of the Opens and multis in the Fastnet were British, despite the fact that the big shorthanded races start next door. How would Australia attract many Opens when their races are so far from our shores? The Bermuda and Fastnet are full of boats like mid-size J/boats, Bennies, Archies, JPKs and old classics. About 150 of the boats in the Fastnet would fit into the Hobart's smallest division. If the Hobart still had the same sort of small boat fleet as it used to get, it would be going gangbusters.
  4. Curious

    FTFP - blue water bullies

    Compared to the Fastnet and Bermuda races, the Hobart is now much smaller than it was in earlier eras despite the fact that Australia's upper middle class has done very well economically. The other races have maintained their fleets of smaller boats; but the Hobart hasn't. A boat that would be mid pack in the Fastnet (ie Class 3A) is one of the smallest in the Hobart. It may not just be the 100 footers that are driving some small-boat owners away, but they may be an example of the attitude that's doing it.
  5. Curious

    New Olympic Dinghy Selection

    I'm sure that what we're doing wrong is assuming that there's something wrong about lots of people having fun on hiking seahugging singlehanders. It makes it obvious that we are closing our minds and being negative to the boats and their sailors, rather than trying to learn from their success. Personally, having sailed lots of things from foilers to condomarans, I find that speed is all relative and that zipping along at 30 knots can get pretty dull pretty quick. World Sailing has the same elitist viewpoint and when it comes to Olympic classes, it's essentially trying to ignore what works in other sports and in sailing.
  6. Curious

    New Olympic Dinghy Selection

    While you're right that many dinghy sailors are on slow singlehanders, as someone who has been sailing for over 40 years I've never seen a Sunfish in real life. How many clubs in Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, or South Africa have Sunfish? Oh, and while there are lots of Lasers, you can go to lots of clubs and not see one. I'm not sure how much windsurfing racing you've done, but I can promise you that many of us who race windsurfers are convinced that it IS sailing.
  7. Curious

    New Olympic Dinghy Selection

    Sorry, but there's no evidence for that - just hype. Windsurfing has dropped in popularity by 90-95% since its boom, and although the T293 junior windsurfer is doing well in Europe the numbers are small in other areas. Just three kids are doing the US national windsurfing slalom tour - all of them from Hawaii and they only sailed one event. Just 19 youths and juniors did the Kitefoiling worlds or world tour. Just 19 in the entire world! Not a single junior or youth sailor did the kitefoiling US nationals. Again, not one. Zilch. Zero. Meanwhile, kids were scrambling to qualify for Opti and Radial team places. The 420 is still more popular around the world than the 29er, and still selling faster even after skiffs have been promoted by ISAF for 20 years. The junior cats aren't very strong anywhere, nor are foilers attracting strong fleets outside the UK and Australian Moth fleets, which aren't booming. The trajectory of racing in small sailing craft across the world is clearly towards singlehanded medium-performance hiking seahugging dinghies like the Opti, Lasers, and Aero.
  8. Curious

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    Yes, there are many disciplines and skill sets, but that still doesn't mean that there are many people who could "sail the pants off an Olympic medallist" unless you're talking about the Olympian sailing a different class or discipline. Sure, plenty of people can beat an Olympic champion who is sailing out of their own class, but as mentioned earlier, that's unfair and not a true measure of merit - it's a bit like saying that sprinters are crap because Usain Bolt would get beaten in an ultra-marathon, or that road cyclists are rubbish because Froome would get beaten in a downhill mountain bike event. The last time I raced an OIympic gold medallist many of us beat him, but only because he was in a different type and not because most of us amateurs are better sailors! No matter who you claim to be the world's best sailor, it would be easy to find a major event in which they would be creamed by weekend warriors just because they are less familiar with the type. As far as not expecting an Olympic medallist to beat an E22 world champion in E22s, I'd note the example I gave earlier. Andew Palfrey, James Mayo and Cam Miles campaigned for an Olympics, were beaten in the trials by the guys who got 6th in the Games, and then Palfrey, Mayo Miles hopped back into Etchells and won the worlds easily. After that, Palfrey said that it was because the Etchells guys just didn't train as hard as the Olympic aspirants. You can also note the number of guys in that class who won Etchells worlds but not Olympic gold despite having serious attempts at it.
  9. Curious

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    Chainlocker, you're making a lot of claims without giving any evidence for them. To give an opposing viewpoint, I'd never heard that the Star, FD and Finn were the 'big events'. Where I'm from, arguably the Finn was little thought of and the Star was seen as a largely American archaic oddity. Sure, in the USA and on the Continent the Star may have been a major class but in some other major sailing countries it's been small or basically non-existent and therefore not something that was likely to be thought "the big event". When I was a kid, the Soling was the most prominent Olympic keelboat where I lived. In France and Japan I seem to recall that the 470 was seen as the "the big event". The 49er is probably more of a "big event" in Australia than the FD ever was. So, which sailors can "sail the shorts off an Olympic gold medallist" in the Olympian's class? Which gold medallist is such an easy beat? Ainslie? Elvstrom? Tuke? Lange? Slingsby? Dual gold medallists Bank and Schumann? Apart from everything else, the Olympic classes are much more truly international than any other class bar the Youth classes. The 470s, for example, get entries from about twice as many nations as the 505s. There are brilliant sailors from small countries like Croatia, Cyprus and Israel who strengthen the competition in Olympic classes but who are not seen in other classes. It's pretty damning to ignore their contribution to lifting the standard and making the Olympic classes so demanding.
  10. Curious

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    I also know quite a few Olympians, and they are paid to sail. Top tier athletes in 2015 got $35,000 pa from the ASC for training and living expenses. They don't make a fortune, you'll normally end up out of pocket and I wouldn't want my kids to do it, but there is money that goes from the government and sponsors to the sailor, for their sailing. That's being a pro under any definition I can find. Yes, there are lots of talented sailors out there outside the Olympic classes. Personally, I respect the top sailors who also have a life outside sailing more than I respect a lot of Olympians. I actually respect Stalky more than Gashby in some ways for that reason. But practice makes perfect, and amateurs who sail a minimum of three times a week during the season are not normally sailing as much as Olympic aspirants who sail a minimum of five times a week for about 11 months of the year. I can recall, for example, asking Dog how he and Cameron Miles went from losing Olympic selection in Solings to winning the Etchells worlds. His reply was simple and blunt - the Etchells had lots of top sailors but they were only doing it part time, so it was easy to win if you'd basically been full-time Olympic wannabees. One of my arch rivals is a four time world champ an ex Olympic team member, the other won a worlds against an Olympic medallist. We all train a lot. But we aren't as good as if we were full time Olympic aspirants. My rivals have loads of talent, but they spend hours on the site or in the office. If they were spending those hours on the water instead like the Olympians do, they'd sail better. By the way, I only sail one OIympic class and a bunch of popular classes, so I have no reason to be biased.
  11. Curious

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    Who, and when? Even if the Olympians may have no more natural talent, they get a huge advantage from training and being coached intensively and on basically a full-time basis for many years. Yes, if the Olympic champion is sailing for a little while in a class very different from the type they normally sail, they can be beaten by the champ of that class. But that doesn't mean the non-Olympian is a better sailor- it means they are reaping the advantage of being in their normal class and the Olympian is struggling with the disadvantage of sailing an unfamiliar boat.
  12. Curious

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    In what way are the top full-time pros who sail Olympic classes "amateurs"??? They still get paid. Okay, they don't get paid as well as the All Blacks do, but that's irrelevant. Another way to look at it is that the AC attracts mainly top sailors from the small circle of countries that enter the AC, and the Olympics attracts the top sailors from far more countries. Where are the top sailors from the Netherlands (ahead of NZ in the medal tally at the last two Olympics) or Spain (2nd on the medal table in 2012), and the medallists from the smaller countries like Croatia? Where are sailors like Schiedt? They aren't in the AC.
  13. Curious

    No more "Members Only" at my Club.

    What? We know some people from your part of the world are US-centric, but that's just a bizarre claim.
  14. Curious

    Future Olympic lightweight-female dinghy

    Not only that, none of them have big fleets. The concept was pushed hard, and most of the world wasn't interested. Why the fuck does World Sailing (and most of the sailing media) keep on thinking that the sailors of the world are too stupid to know what to sail? Why do they keep on shoving boats that can't attract enough widespread support without Olympic status? The thinking from WS and most of the sailing media seems to be "find a massively popular type of boat, try to kill it and replace it with something exotic that we'll tell other people to sail, even if we don't touch them ourselves". Yep, killing your top-selling product is a really good idea.
  15. Curious

    New Olympic Dinghy Selection

    So? Slingsby was recognised as being a very good (although too heavy) sailor in Moths and As and won a tiny little race in a development class in San Francisco, so if you're trying to insinuate that he's an inferior sailor to a top Finnster you appear to be trying too hard. Goodison and other Laser sailors have moved into other classes with great success. And Coutts never looked back at the Finn after winning gold, so if "never looking back" means anything against Lasers it also counts against Finns.