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MR.CLEAN

Predict For Growth?

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Sent in as part of Anarchist 'Sol Rosenberg's' ongoing attempt to try something new...

 

 

We have all seen the same phenomenon and heard the same stories of dwindling fleets at most, if not all levels of handicap racing. Here in South Florida, the effects of this are glaring, with fleet numbers down almost everywhere. Our club in Ft. Lauderdale has repeatedly had to cancel races due to lack of interest. I have asked a number of people with boats that are ready to go racing, why they are not participating. One issue that comes up again and again is ratings. Our club uses a PHRF-type system, with more credits given than are allowed in PHRF, with adjustments that are more forgiving. This came to pass after the true PHRF class within the club died off.

 

 

I found myself working on an NOR for another race, and wondering whether anyone would show up, and what we could change about ratings to help spur local participation. My first thought was whether or not I was the problem, as the club handicapper. I looked at the numbers for another local area where I had worked on ratings, and the fleet numbers are falling precipitously there too, so I ruled myself out as the problem. Eventually, I figured that it boils down to either people never being happy with their rating, (except the guy whose boat is winning everything, and he doesn’t want a new rating assigned in an Assigned Rating System), or another factor, like the economy.

 

 

Back at square one, I picked up a copy of Hemmings Motor News, conveniently located within arms-length of the “captain’s chair” in our “special thinking room,” to look at some classic old cars that I could never afford. I flipped to a page with a picture of a local Friday night bracket race at a drag strip, and had an epiphany. Generally, I am thinking of a type of handicap racing similar in concept to bracket racing with drag race cars. With brackets, the competitor picks the dial-in number (the time estimated to complete the quarter-mile track) and the winner is (usually) the car that gets closest to their dial in, without going below the number. Those completing the quarter mile quicker than their dial-in "break-out" and are on the trailer for the night.

 

 

In my scenario, each competitor picks the rating for their boat. The winner is the boat that sails closest to its handicap for a given race, with those sailing below their handicap being tossed, or otherwise penalized. In other words, while corrected times would still be needed, they alone would not decide the race. They would be used in race analysis, to determine each boat's sailed-to rating for that race, and the winner would be the boat that sailed closest to its rating, without going under it. Competitors who give themselves fat ratings would get pinched when they sailed below their number. Good consistent teams that know themselves and their equipment and have good teamwork would excel.

 

 

Keep in mind, I cannot see this working above the local level, if there. I am struggling with solving the race analysis issue, which would have to happen for every race, to determine a rating-sailed-to number. With race analysis, a base boat has to be chosen, so the winner would necessarily be the boat chosen as the base boat. There would have to be a better, or more equitable way to perform race analysis to develop the sailed-to ratings.

 

 

The other problem would be sand-bagging, because a tuned-in team could give itself a ridiculously high rating, and then sail slowly around the course and not sail below it. At some point, there has to be some shame involved...at any level. Even in regular PHRF racing there are people who sail with old rags until they get their handicap adjusted. This way, the shame would be much more immediate and public. Sand-bagging could be avoided by not publicizing the ratings before the race.

 

 

I ask the Intelligentsia of Sailing Anarchy for your thoughts. Might this be worth pursuing, perhaps as an alternate scoring of a regular race? How does one solve the race analysis issue in a logical and equitable fashion? How does one prevent sand bagging? Please check in here with your thoughts.

 

 

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Sailwave and a number of other race scoring packages will do this Sol, let me know if you want to know more, I have used a number of them. I like the idea to generate interest at local level. Will give it some more thought about the other issues you mention.

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I hope this gets trialed. If it works then spread the details and get this out there for all and if not well I hope they had fun trying to get it to work. I also like that you could pick different ratings every day depending on your crew, predicted conditions, or course.

 

As for preventing sand-bagging by keeping ratings from everybody till after the race, could work but for the one person on each boat who chose the rating. Maybe each boat is only allowed within a certain +/- of what they are currently rated with bigger rewards for boats that figure they can beat their current rating.

 

just my youthful opinion

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Never gonna happen. Too many pricks with pride left around, willing to drive the sport into the shitter for one last ill-gotten win...

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IMHO, I can't see this working as planned... for the very reason you detail as "sandbagging".

 

I think that the main difference between car drag racing and sailing is the length of the race. When you are going down the race strip full blast and the race is over in a few seconds, I bet it is impossible (or at least VERY difficult) to assess your actual race time against your predicted time and for instance say "hmm, I am going about 2 tenths of a second too fast, let me release the gas pedal just a tad"...

On the other hand, while sailing, since our races are a few dozen minutes or even hours long, you know when you are supposed to pass the finish line and we even TRAIN to pass a line as soon as possible after a specific time!!! This is called a start... So, you will have people calculating "my start time is 10:15, according to the rating I gave myself (which was intentionally for a very slow boat), I am supposed to cross the finish line at 12:27, BUT not before; because my boat is faster than that, I will get to the finish line by 12:05, make circles in front of the finish line for 22 minutes, (just like I would do for a start line) and pass the finish line at 12:27 plus 1 second...."

 

The slow pace of our races (compared to drag racing...) allows us to do that, you can't do that in drag racing...

 

My 2 cents.

 

Laurent

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I disagree with Laurent. What I see is not picking a finishing time, but a finishing handicap.

 

You could use the average finishing time of the fleet, then get your handicap from the percentage you were above or below that time. You can't hang around the finish waiting to cross at a certain time because you won't know what time you need until after the race.

 

Example: if the average finishing time was 1hr 32m 24s = 92.40 minutes

You decided before the race that you are 12.34% faster than the fleet time, so you gave yourself a handicap of 0.8766

That means to win you would need a finishing time of 81.00 minutes (1hr 21m 00s)

This required time would change depending on every other boats finishing time.

 

The problem I can envisage is this system favouring the boat in the middle over those at the front or back - if one boat fucks up and drags down the average time, then your percentage change would be less the closer you are to the average.

The other problem I see is that it discourages big wins. If you take advantage of a wind shift no-one else sees and end up well ahead, it results in you losing.

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This sounds very similar to predicted log racing in cruising powerboats which has been around quite a while now.

 

http://www.predictedlog.org/Education/enjoy.html

 

WHAT IS A PREDICTED LOG CONTEST

 

It is a contest where each skipper attempts to most accurately predict the time it will take to navigate a specified course in their boat. The course is published in the race instructions issued by the host club several weeks prior to the contest. It usually consists of four or more legs totaling about 25 miles. Before the contest, skippers turn in predicted logs which specify the time they expect to use on each leg of the course. Each skipper then starts onto the course at their predicted starting time. After starting, an Observer aboard the boat collects all watches so that the skipper and crew have no knowledge of the actual time during the contest. As each mark is passed, the Observer records the time on the actual log. After completing the course, the Race Committee computes the percentage error between the predicted and actual logs for each boat. The skipper with the lowest error is then declared the winner.

 

Another link: http://www.ipbalogracing.org/

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Interesting idea, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree. I would try looking at events that have strong handicap participation (rare birds, but they do exist) and seeing what the format is and what types of boats compete. I think what you would find is that many or most of the regattas that have the best participation in PHRF are those that are a sort of middle-distance government marks format, with big raftups and parties at the end. (New England: Eggemoggin Reach, Off Soundings Series, etc. Chesapeake: Race to Oxford, Race to St. Michael's, Race to Solomon's, etc). I think what you will also find is that many of the boats that do these races are ones that NEVER do any W/L racing.

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Letting skippers pick their own rating then predicting their time around a given course will never work. You go from a single handicapper or cmte. to everyone is a handicapper. Let the fighting begin. The idea of trying to hit a predetermined time sounds more like a PC school program where we don't want anyone to feel like they've lost - you're all winners kids! Get out there and participate and feel good about yourself 'cuz you matter.

 

We race to compete and compete to win. If people are not racing because of their rating they can go one design, get involved in the rating committee for understanding and maybe affect a change, or put on a three bladed, fixed prop and go cruising. Many (most) times the racers who quit because of a percieved rating problem NEVER consider that they aren't as good as they think they are.

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Letting skippers pick their own rating then predicting their time around a given course will never work. You go from a single handicapper or cmte. to everyone is a handicapper. Let the fighting begin. The idea of trying to hit a predetermined time sounds more like a PC school program where we don't want anyone to feel like they've lost - you're all winners kids! Get out there and participate and feel good about yourself 'cuz you matter.

 

We race to compete and compete to win. If people are not racing because of their rating they can go one design, get involved in the rating committee for understanding and maybe affect a change, or put on a three bladed, fixed prop and go cruising. Many (most) times the racers who quit because of a percieved rating problem NEVER consider that they aren't as good as they think they are.

 

+1

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Letting skippers pick their own rating then predicting their time around a given course will never work. You go from a single handicapper or cmte. to everyone is a handicapper. Let the fighting begin. The idea of trying to hit a predetermined time sounds more like a PC school program where we don't want anyone to feel like they've lost - you're all winners kids! Get out there and participate and feel good about yourself 'cuz you matter.

 

We race to compete and compete to win. If people are not racing because of their rating they can go one design, get involved in the rating committee for understanding and maybe affect a change, or put on a three bladed, fixed prop and go cruising. Many (most) times the racers who quit because of a percieved rating problem NEVER consider that they aren't as good as they think they are.

Yes you over paid for the carpet in your case, congratulations.

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Interesting idea, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree. I would try looking at events that have strong handicap participation (rare birds, but they do exist) and seeing what the format is and what types of boats compete. I think what you would find is that many or most of the regattas that have the best participation in PHRF are those that are a sort of middle-distance government marks format, with big raftups and parties at the end. (New England: Eggemoggin Reach, Off Soundings Series, etc. Chesapeake: Race to Oxford, Race to St. Michael's, Race to Solomon's, etc). I think what you will also find is that many of the boats that do these races are ones that NEVER do any W/L racing.

 

You forgot the all time sellout(meaning number of participating boats needs to be capped because there is only so much room in Nantucket)....Figawi.

 

RTI races are always well attended here in the Northeast as well(Jamestown,

Marthas Vinyard)

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Many (most) times the racers who quit because of a percieved rating problem NEVER consider that they aren't as good as they think they are.

 

This is probably the most gigantic issue of all.

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In a small yacht club somewhere on the Gulf there exists the "Po'-boy's Handicap Rating System."

 

The format is always round gov't marks with an attempt at having an equilateral triangle with a beat, reach, run. Three trophies per race, all three some sort of booze which the small-yacht-club bartender negotiates with the liquor supplier thus keeping costs at a minimum. The complete series is comprised of: series races (each-race trophy) series per season (also a trophy for the season series), other YC races which are included in the overall series, and an overall for the year (a perpetual).

 

The way the ratings are delivered is adjustment after EACH race (except for other YC's races, they are held by whatever standard the other YC holds). The winning boat is knocked, the last place boat is brought up. There is a scratch boat which rating does not shift (usually the fastest/best maintained/more 'serious' boat). Ratings shifts done each race unless conditions are such that they are extremely biased (ex: a reach on every leg).

 

Starts are staggered and assigned at skippers' meet. You start yourself at an assigned point and take your own finish. So no committee involved except for scoring/rating.

 

It's worked for this group. Most of the racers would never otherwise participate, being mostly cruisers. Everyone has a good time and everyone generally finishes together, especially as the series progresses with its adjustments.

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Yeah, I'm sorry but I don't think this'll work. For instance, 3 weekends ago, we went from being 4 boatlengths behind a boat to 5 ahead on ONE windshift correctly played. As blackensign pointed out, that might risk us losing because we jumped so far up the ladder. I don't think you can compare what happens on a drag racing strip with what happens on a sailing race course. The variables are just too different, and comparatively fewer in drag racing where the course is short, the mechanics of the motor are pretty well understood, a lot of research goes into track conditions and tire types, etc. Last week we went from a front of the pack finish to a back of the pack finish because the thunderstorm to the north ended up winning out over the one to the south and brought the entire back of the fleet practically to a restart of the class with only about 500 yards left in the race! That's racing, that's the unpredictability of the wind and the currents and the boats. You want more participation, do NOT make it harder for a skipper to figure out what his rating is - the very good boats will figure out how to game the system, and the guys who are middle of the pack or worse will just do worse.

 

I'm not going to re-hash all of the ways in which PHRF is imperfect, but in my opinion as I've started campaigning my own boat is that with PHRF there isn't enough transparency to the process, the adjustments, the measurements, or for that matter why ratings changed. I assume that's because there's essentially really no F in PHRF, but a hell of a lot of ego. I could tell a long story about this past winter, but suffice to say that "we want to adjust your rating because you're beating a lot of the habitual winners" should NOT be a basis for changing ratings. Pretty much that one statement took one boat out of local racing. I suspect my rating will change, eventually, which will make everyone around me happy but me, but unless they do something drastic and stupid like drop the boat below 100, I will just have to suck it up, try harder, and make a case for the old rating (or the new, who knows?). The point is, I think most skippers want to know what their boat rates and why, and the most complex it should probably ever be is separate w/l, distance, and offshore ratings, or whatever it is you leftcoasters like so much.

 

I think Le Renard is right on the money. Rather than all of this focus on rating systems, which will never be perfect no matter what you try, I'd rather see the focus be on getting competent race committees out there. We've dropped one club from our yearly rotation because they insist on setting 16 mile windward/leeward courses, then trying to do a second race. We're never going to compete up and down wind with Frers 33s and J30s at those distances, unless it's blowing 25 downwind and about 8 upwind ;) but again.. that's racing. Several of the races we do have no party afterward - the party will be at the "awards ceremony at the end of the year." So I payed my $50 and then you want me to pay another $100 at the end of the year to socialize? Off Soundings is $50 for two days of racing plus $10/crew member for the tent party. That's a bargain, it's good competition, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. Even they aren't at the numbers they used to be when I started, but still, putting 150+ boats on the line for any event seems pretty damn good. The race I did a few weeks ago had two classes with one competitor each, and the "A" fleet only had two. You want boats to come out, especially with this economy, you need to give them something for their money, and the very least you can do is properly organize, do what you say you're going to do, and give everyone a reason to come out. Oh, and if you're not doing government mark racing, stop running ONLY w/l races like they're the holy grail of race courses. boring boring boring boring boring. Mass Bay has 11(!) standard courses, of which I have only seen 2 - Windward/Leeward/Upwind Finish and Windward/Downwind Finish. You want more participation, at least let there be the suggestion that you're going to do something different than all the other clubs.

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There in lies the root of the problem, "Habitual Winners". Long standing racers that have always won, sometimes with connections to the "Committee", sometimes just a lack of effort on the original rating review.

 

I'm not suggesting that a well prepped and sailed vessel should not win. But there are a few examples locally of racers going the wrong way, sometimes multiple times in a race, and still getting to the top of the podium. Boat prep that is just embarrassing, yet still place up there in the corrections. Then there the "win at all costs" types that don't view submitting the wrong sail dimensions as cheating unless they get caught. I'm pretty sure these are not just a local occurrences.

 

I spent a great deal of time and energy outing one such competitor only to be labelled as a poor sport and having the whole mess swept under the rug. Not to mention being threatened with a "Rule 69" hearing by the Board Chair/Fleet Captain(no conflict of interest there...) if I continued. Apparently different rules apply to different racers.

 

If the "P" in PHRF is "Performance" how do these people continue to win without a review? The handicapping process should be transparent and equally applied for all competitors. You can't just create an X-boat to adjust for a little "home field" advantage or to slow down a competitor that may have beaten the local handicapper one too many times.

 

No matter what system is applied, be it PHRF, IRC, ORC, even one-design. There will always be those willing to "bend" the system to suit their needs. Such are the pitfalls of a self regulated sport.

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With respect to ratings..

 

The vast majority of sailors who fixate on ratings decide on their rating based on the guy just a head or just behind them. If they THINK they should be winning...(and they are not).... it's because the rating is off. When you ask them... Well... what rating do you think you actually sailed you boat to.... They have no idea what you mean.

 

Use the scoring program "Sailwave" and print out the BCR ... or back calculated rating..... with all of the results. When your rating is 100... and the results sheet shows that you actually sailed that race to a 120 rating.... It really puts things in perspective... It also gives a boat a metric to measure their performance other then a win or loss.... As you improve... you sail closer to your rating.

 

I think your problem is more human then technical. In any fleet, one design or handicap, there will be a pecking order ... Hopefully the fleet is close enough so that in any race you move up or down a notch or two in the pecking order. Hopefully over time you work your way up the pecking order. However, When the numbers get small.... this does not happen and the racing CAN just becomes discouraging. As you describe the local scene... you feel that you are the knothole that is determining the competition on the water... Not good!... What you want is for the fleet of competitors to determine the nature of the competition.

 

What ever you do... You can't undermine the nature of competition with gimmicks.... It becomes a game not worth playing.

 

IMO, The key to any fleet's success is to manage this competition through other means. The social mix after racing is important so that each boat's team feels like they are a valuable part of the fleet. Metrics like BCR... give a boat a way to measure their improvement... Rank ordering a 5 boat fleet is not a great metric for monitoring progress. A fleet culture where you can get some informal coaching from a fleet member delivers two messages. 1) Obvious technical tips.... and more importantly... 2) You are a valuable member of the fleet and if you are not there... you will be missed.

 

Large one design fleets can slack off on these factors and other factors... However... that just puts them on the slippery slope to death.... See the thread on Dinghy Anarchy.... On why one design fleets die... the handicap fleet has these problems PLUS the challenge of handicap racing.

 

Good luck...

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There's a great race in our area where the skippers and crew stand around at the end of the race and argue as why they were the winner. Then, everyone votes, you can't vote for yourself, and the winner is the one with the most votes. Other prizes are for 'most entertaining speech', 'most entertaining costumes', etc. It's about the most fun anyone can have in multi-type local keelboat racing.

 

 

Single number rating systems will never create interesting racing because for any given number, the weather-time-profile will favor one boat over another.

 

The only answer is to build consensus around a very inexpensive one design... dinghy, Cal-20, etc. race nearly identical boats and dispense with the ratings. It's the best thrill you can obtain from racing... a set of club dinghies will do more good for your racing culture than anything else.

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There's a great race in our area where the skippers and crew stand around at the end of the race and argue as why they were the winner. Then, everyone votes, you can't vote for yourself, and the winner is the one with the most votes. Other prizes are for 'most entertaining speech', 'most entertaining costumes', etc. It's about the most fun anyone can have in multi-type local keelboat racing.

 

 

Single number rating systems will never create interesting racing because for any given number, the weather-time-profile will favor one boat over another.

 

The only answer is to build consensus around a very inexpensive one design... dinghy, Cal-20, etc. race nearly identical boats and dispense with the ratings. It's the best thrill you can obtain from racing... a set of club dinghies will do more good for your racing culture than anything else.

 

This is right as far as I'm concerned. I've done all sorts of sailing on all sorts of boats that range in price from a couple of hundred dollar leaky shitboxes to state of the art million dollar racers, and some of the most fun I've had is in small, relatively inexpensive boats- Flying Scot, star, etchells, Melges 24, j/22,24,27,29...... It's not as if sailing on the state of the art gold plater wasn't fun- it was, very much so- but it certainly was at best an equal amount of bang for a hell of a lot more buck.

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Agree that smaller boats are way more fun for the bucks. And I think that's where the focus needs to be: the fun factor. The tough part is going to be all those people who want multi-purpose boats; obviously no one is going to go cruising on their M24. Another problem is that if you have an equal number of smaller boats racing that's less crew needed. That doesn't exactly up the participation numbers either.

 

It seems like everyone is disenchanted with PHRF(and rightfully so). Even if another system isn't perfect it has to be better. I'd also like to see more variety in the races other than a WL every weekend. Or at least something to make it more interesting if even a little campy. Start with all the sails down, or one of those goofy kind of things sounds fun to me.

 

Is it as simple as more free beer afterwards? I'm going to ask some of the people I don't see out sailing as often. Maybe there's a common denomonator. This is certainly something that is important to me and I'd love to find a solution.

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Agree that smaller boats are way more fun for the bucks. And I think that's where the focus needs to be: the fun factor. The tough part is going to be all those people who want multi-purpose boats; obviously no one is going to go cruising on their M24. Another problem is that if you have an equal number of smaller boats racing that's less crew needed. That doesn't exactly up the participation numbers either.

 

It seems like everyone is disenchanted with PHRF(and rightfully so). Even if another system isn't perfect it has to be better. I'd also like to see more variety in the races other than a WL every weekend. Or at least something to make it more interesting if even a little campy. Start with all the sails down, or one of those goofy kind of things sounds fun to me.

 

Is it as simple as more free beer afterwards? I'm going to ask some of the people I don't see out sailing as often. Maybe there's a common denomonator. This is certainly something that is important to me and I'd love to find a solution.

 

One of the clubs I belong to has what's called the "Run, Row, Sail, Row, Drink, Race".

 

It starts out all boats anchored off the clubhouse(crews onboard), with dinghy's on shore. Skippers run down to their

dinghy's, row out to there boats, set sail towing the dink(it pays to have a good rowing and towing dink) and sail a 16-20 mile government mark race. Competitors finish by anchoring their boats off the clubhouse, skippers rowing in to shore, running up the beach to the club and downing a beer.

 

It's not serious racing, but loads of fun which attracts lots of competitors.

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Waikiki Yacht Club's Beach fleet: name your own rating - it's an honor-system thing, but was initiated because someone would say, "Well, I'll never save my time against X on the short course with OUR rating...." - So, the R/C sail at the time called them on it: "What rating WOULD you race competitively at ? - Use it ! "

 

Works for us, but still we don't see the in-active boats stepping up - they always have some reason ( it's too windy/sunny/early/late/etc...)

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That actually sounds freakin sweet.

 

except for the running and rowing parts ;-)

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did anybody check if bracket racing ( cars ) is up or down .... the last and only time I tried that the "winning car" was started way behind me .... I was racing my heart out to beat the faster car to the line..just to see that sucker hit the brakes just feet before he reached the line.... I went under my time and lost .... never went back.

 

Phrf racing has many enemies ... but for most its the only way to race. Its usually the idiots who make all kinds of stupid mistakes on the course or dont clean the bottom or dont do this and that .... who bitch the loudest.

Hardly ever you hear the frontrunners.... and almost never the folks who are at the end and truly race for fun and corinthian spirit... The loudmouths in the middle however making the newbies aware of the Phrf number problem and make them leave the scene ....

who has fun if people bitchin .....

 

the same folks who are constantly blaming their phrf number for not winning would be the ones who would sandbag and they would be the ones who would kill that bracket idea as well.....

 

Solution ? I have none... I race my races with 4 fleets ( no matter how many people show up ) and at least keep the biggest problems away ...

 

Sportboat/Multis

Spinnaker boats

JAM dry sailed

JAM wet sailed

 

Jam numbers have a small variation for SAD ..heavy boats get a little bonus in their numbers..( cause we are on a flat lake , with usually no big waves)

 

Thor

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Many (most) times the racers who quit because of a percieved rating problem NEVER consider that they aren't as good as they think they are.

 

This is probably the most gigantic issue of all.

 

Bingo!

 

What I don't understand is how someone can bitch to a rating committee to get a more favorable rating. So if I'm slow, I just complain, and my rating gets changed? Don't like your rating, go OD.

 

And from someone who's done bracket racing on a drag strip, they have software integrated into the top cars that can drop a cylinder before the finish if they're going to fast, retard the timing, slow the car down or speed it up accordingly. You get people who are less than 0.03 off their dial in times consistantly. Kinda ruins the fun for the rest of the club.

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I think it would lead to instant sand bagging strategies and some sitting on top of faster boats.

 

Pursuit races on the other hand, can be a real blast actually. Much underestimated due to the lack of a mass start: I planned our youth group (OD dinghies) to do a personal ranking persuit race at the end of last season, round our island: but there was no wind on the night.

 

I also sailed at a club dominated by the HC fleet and they ran a personal HC which IMHO just rewarded bad sailing as the season went on. It sucked so much I waited for a place on the OD boats there rather than bother crewing in HC.

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We have a race here in Downeast Maine that has NO handicaps, no entry fee, no trophies, just a hell of a of fun! The winner gets the thrill of hearing a 10ga cannon go off really close to them, and they get bragging rights for a year thetat they are the "fastest sloop in the East" Last year's winner was built in 1899, and is a working girl who takes day parties all summer. Our race is very competitive! We sail hard, and there is a great party afterward where everybody can disuss any excuses they want...........................except ratings!

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Why not handicap like a parimutual horse race? The entire fleet bets virtual dollars on the rest of the competition for order of finish to line, uncorrected, thereby creating odds. The "winner" is the boat that beats its odds. Example: boat A was ranked 17th and finished 13th (+3) while boat B was ranked 1st and finished 2nd (-1). Boat A wins.

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It sounds like your club just needs some more ideas, and there a few quite interetsing ones in the thread:

 

  1. more cruising oriented - a raft up, party, and a race back next day
  2. adopt a cheap OD or dinghy fleet
  3. have a floating rating adjusted each day
  4. social events straight after racing not some time in the future

I don't however think the drag racing idea is going to help you.

 

I'd agree as well that 80% of post race conversation in mixed fleets is about ratings and how they aren't fair.

 

A couple more ways to get around this:

 

 

  1. first on the water. we did this at our club and it worked great. We had a few groups of 3-4 similar boats (rating/design) race each other, and first to finish wins. The key is to have a very short W/L course, put a C mark to leeward of finish, and keep OOD boat on station. Start, beat, Run, Drop kite at C, small beat to finish. We get 4 quick races in an afternoon and everyone had a blast. If you fuck up one race, you always have the next etc. Focus is very much on starts, speed away, boat handling, covering and getting in phase with shifts and pressure. Great practice in other words.
  2. some of our local clubs have also invested in two identical boats for match racing (Platu, J80), and the clubs now organise match racing for the community, and for a small fee you hire them to participate in the series. if you lose against the same boat you can't blame a rating.

I guess familiarity breeds contempt, so think of some new ideas to mix it up a bit.

 

 

 

 

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Why not handicap like a parimutual horse race? The entire fleet bets virtual dollars on the rest of the competition for order of finish to line, uncorrected, thereby creating odds. The "winner" is the boat that beats its odds. Example: boat A was ranked 17th and finished 13th (+3) while boat B was ranked 1st and finished 2nd (-1). Boat A wins.

 

+1 - but use real money.

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Some "Jolly" good ideas from yer man below.

 

May I add seasons "best improver", best novice, best OD newcomer and wooden spoon all get a barrell of beer and loan of tapping gear................ with prizes being for both halves of the season.

 

I have seen clubs reaching for various new handicaps or imported ones to give the dogs their day: if they spent time coaching the dogs up to a competent level of sailing instead of poking their HC about to make them smile then maybe the whole fleet would be more fun and more mature!

 

However, most all systems have their no hoper boats , usually nice fast, planing machines fallen out of grace with HC committees, rules changes or any actual OD sailing.

 

 

It sounds like your club just needs some more ideas, and there a few quite interetsing ones in the thread:

 

  1. more cruising oriented - a raft up, party, and a race back next day
  2. adopt a cheap OD or dinghy fleet
  3. have a floating rating adjusted each day
  4. social events straight after racing not some time in the future

I don't however think the drag racing idea is going to help you.

 

I'd agree as well that 80% of post race conversation in mixed fleets is about ratings and how they aren't fair.

 

A couple more ways to get around this:

 

 

  1. first on the water. we did this at our club and it worked great. We had a few groups of 3-4 similar boats (rating/design) race each other, and first to finish wins. The key is to have a very short W/L course, put a C mark to leeward of finish, and keep OOD boat on station. Start, beat, Run, Drop kite at C, small beat to finish. We get 4 quick races in an afternoon and everyone had a blast. If you fuck up one race, you always have the next etc. Focus is very much on starts, speed away, boat handling, covering and getting in phase with shifts and pressure. Great practice in other words.
  2. some of our local clubs have also invested in two identical boats for match racing (Platu, J80), and the clubs now organise match racing for the community, and for a small fee you hire them to participate in the series. if you lose against the same boat you can't blame a rating.

I guess familiarity breeds contempt, so think of some new ideas to mix it up a bit.

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Obviously having a math moment, 17-13 = 4.

 

Real money OK, like $5 or so, goes to end of season party, prizes etc.

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Lots of good ideas floated here to try and increase participation. We have tried many of them or variations of them and they're always fun but haven't produced the long term participation we're striving for. But the issue is how do you choose a rating system to race under? PHRF seems to work well enough for club racing and even the Mac races - it's no worse than IRC anyway. Just different. The problem is that many of us use our boats for more than just racing so compromises are made based on each owners personal/family needs. One design is great but even that's a compromise.

 

It's like trying to invent an epoxy that cures when you say "cure" and not until. :)

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Sailwave and a number of other race scoring packages will do this Sol, let me know if you want to know more, I have used a number of them. I like the idea to generate interest at local level. Will give it some more thought about the other issues you mention.

Very good, thank you.

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"No F in PHRF" someone wrote. There is something in that. You have to get the group operating on a social level even if that just means a good party after the race.

 

Every event has its own demographic. I was just in a race with a J-100, a Sabre 28, a couple X-boats, and a Hunter 28, etc. in various divisions. Chances are you have some skippers who buy a new sail or two every year, and some who are going to stick with what they've got until it's all 5 years old (that would be me). Every time you monkey with rules, you are going to lose some people. Think about whether the gains will exceed the loses.

 

I favor trying to run a technically clean event while reducing the formality level as far as you can. Years ago, an RC would never exchange words with a competitor. Now we have a welcome and a briefing via VHS, and a willingness to answer a question or two. And a party.

 

One thing the marginal competitor does not want is a long race.

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