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wharf_rat

Classes that only allow actual owners to race?

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I was going to enter a regional one-day Ensign regatta near where my elderly dad lives, so that my son and I could take him out for a super mellow day of lake racing, thinking that'd have been fun for him. I found a fellow who would be happy to loan me his boat. When I sent in the entry form, I got a rather snooty response:

 

I understand you wish to sail a borrowed Ensign to sail in the Fleet [ ] Regatta on [ ]. Please note that the regatta follows the Ensign Class Association rules for regional competition, which require that the participating boat be sailed by bona fide Ensign owner.

 

I would suggest putting a list of dates together that your family would be available for Sundays and I will forward to our members who would be willing to take your family out to participate in one of our club races.

 

Is this common? If so, why? I have never heard of a class that cares whether or not you actually own one of their boats -- most groups are happy for whatever additional competition they can get. In my experience, anyone who can get their hands on a J24, Laser, Viper, Thistle etc. is more than welcome to sail it, no questions asked. Most people would say, the more boats on the line, the merrier.

 

Why this silliness? Who cares?

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36.7's are owner-driver class as well. Just what Presuming Ed said. Keeps owners from hiring ringers to drive the boat. It might be a little on the exclusive side but it really is better than trying to race against someone who is buying flags. Which is what would happen.

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Farr 40 is also an owner-driver rule.

 

After the first post I took a cursory look at the Ensign class rules and it does appear that someone who charters one would be considered an owner.

The following is from the rules concerning their national championship. The section on regional championships refers to the national championship section with respect to contestant eligibility.

 

  1. Under the terms of these National Championship Rules, the helmsman of each competing yacht is considered to be the contestant. The helmsman is defined as the person who must steer the boat at the start and on each windward leg, but who at any time may be relieved for emergency situations.
  2. All contestants must be certified by an officer of their fleet to represent the fleet. The requirements for such certification are as follows:
  1. Each contestant must be a bona fide owner, co-owner, charterer or co-charterer of an Ensign class yacht, and be a member of the Association and an Association fleet in good standing or a son, daughter, brother, sister, spouse or parent of such member. A bona fide charter is defined as one in which the charterer has complete control of the vessel for a period of at least three months. This charter is to be evidenced by an agreement in writing and must have been entered into in good faith. The charter must be real, actual, genuine and not feigned. In order for the charterer to be eligible to compete in the National Championship Regatta, the charter must be entered into by July 1st.
  2. All contestants must have qualified to be representatives of their fleet in the National Championship Regatta under the qualifications and method utilized by the fleet. Each local fleet shall determine its own qualification method. In order to be eligible, however, each contestant's standing, under the qualification method utilized by the fleet, must be within the top half of the fleet's membership.
  3. No contestants may represent a fleet other than the one in which it would be normal for them to sail by virtue of residence or yachting activity. The intent of this provision is to prevent persons who failed to qualify in their own fleet eliminations from qualifying in another.
  4. Each contestant must be a paid-up member of the Ensign Class Association.
  1. Contestants may charter or borrow a yacht during the Regatta, but must use their own sails.

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some classes beg sailors to join in -

 

other classes exclude sailors who do not contribute to the class - many permutations of this rule.

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One approach would be to apply to the class association for a waiver. As long as you are not a pro, they might grant it if it is within their authority to do so.

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They just didn't know who you are...

Maybe they do!

 

Cue Groucho Marx.

 

:lol:

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Just charter it from your friend for $1.... Have him write up a charter agreement... Then tell them to go pound sand :)

"Complete control of the vessel for at least 3 months"

 

A courtesy charter for a dollar would not likely be acceptable. Petition the class for an exception.

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Just charter it from your friend for $1.... Have him write up a charter agreement... Then tell them to go pound sand :)

"Complete control of the vessel for at least 3 months"

 

A courtesy charter for a dollar would not likely be acceptable. Petition the class for an exception.

 

 

These are all good tips. But I don't want to bend anyone's nose out of shape. Clearly the regional fleet captain, having told me it's a no-go, mightn't take kindly to going over his head and petitioning the class. Not worth it for a little one-day regatta. Was simply hoping to bring some awesome snacks and get the old man out for some fresh air.

 

Have never sailed an Ensign so I don't imagine we'd be doing much in the way of of ass-kicking. I could understand if it was going to be a big regatta or a qualifier for their Nationals or something. But I was told they might get a whopping ten or so boats on the line. Fussy.

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Dumb. Many of those local regattas are run to benefit charities, so the more entrants the more they raise. As long as you aren't a pro sailor hired to steer the boat for an incompetent (or, in the Ensigns' case, incontinent ...) owner, no fuck should be given.

 

Heck, in the J24 fleet, if you just escaped from prison and showed with up a boat you'd just stolen off someone's mooring, you'd be welcome with open arms. Whether you're a pro, amateur, man, woman, convicted Ponzi schemer, homeless person, sex offender, or whatever, as far as I know if you can hold a tiller you can enter.

 

It may simply be that the guy worries you are good and doesn't want to negate his chances of a trophy. And people wonder why saillboat racing is on decline ....

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Just charter it from your friend for $1.... Have him write up a charter agreement... Then tell them to go pound sand :)

"Complete control of the vessel for at least 3 months"

 

A courtesy charter for a dollar would not likely be acceptable. Petition the class for an exception.

 

 

These are all good tips. But I don't want to bend anyone's nose out of shape. Clearly the regional fleet captain, having told me it's a no-go, mightn't take kindly to going over his head and petitioning the class. Not worth it for a little one-day regatta. Was simply hoping to bring some awesome snacks and get the old man out for some fresh air.

 

Have never sailed an Ensign so I don't imagine we'd be doing much in the way of of ass-kicking. I could understand if it was going to be a big regatta or a qualifier for their Nationals or something. But I was told they might get a whopping ten or so boats on the line. Fussy.

 

It might avoid the wadding of this guy's panties if you dropped him a note explaining that, given the spirit of the rule and the fact that you aren't a pro/hired gun, you would like to petition the class for an exception and ask if he'd lend his support in the process. Toss in some additional lines with buzzwords like sailing, decline, inclusiveness, participation, etc. ;) if he isn't a total dickweasel, he should be willing to agree to that.

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Maybe reach out to the owner of the boat you will be using and get some of the other owners to petition for you? Sometimes the folks "running" the class are not as well oriented as the owners themselves.

Otherwise, come on up to Narragansett Bay and we'll give you a Herreshoff S boat to race...

Good luck.

S

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A lot of larger keelboat classes are Owner driver, the J44 is an example of this. However, if the owner cannot make the event they can get permission from the class to have another crew member drive. The J44 class also has a no-pro rule, to keep it Corinthian and fun rather than an arms race.

 

In your case, I would say that the local Ensign fleet should embrace people like you in the hopes of getting more people interested in the class. That response from the fleet captain is an embarrassment, and the rule sounds completely outdated. It might be a blessing in disguise, these people sound likely prickly folk who would probably be painful to deal with on the race course. You're much better off just borrowing the boat and going for a cruise around the lake.

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owner-driver rules are not uncommon, and it's a bit surprising that the OP has never heard of them...

 

in this case, it seems like the "snooty" response is just a statement of the class rules. because the response doesn't mention the possibility of a waiver, i wonder whether there is a provision for waiving this requirement...

 

in any case, rather than telling a bunch of sailors how to run their class, i think we should be happy that sailors are free to organize their class in whatever way suits them.

 

this freedom has led to the development of a great variety of class organization schemes, and the result is that there is surely something out there for everyone!

 

this is a good thing, and undoubtedly results in more boats racing than if every class was forced to follow the same set of rules.

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My 2 cents, for what its worth.

 

Try and do everything that everyone else has said in the previous posts to get on the line above board.

 

Plan B:

 

Show up, cross the starting line at the start, go around the buoys, and laugh later how you raced without paying entry fees.

 

Cheers and good luck, I hope you do get to race.

 

4deck

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My 2 cents, for what its worth.

 

Try and do everything that everyone else has said in the previous posts to get on the line above board.

 

Plan B:

 

Show up, cross the starting line at the start, go around the buoys, and laugh later how you raced without paying entry fees.

 

Cheers and good luck, I hope you do get to race.

 

4deck

 

 

Plan B is interesting -- always wondered about that. Lakes and oceans, at least outside recognized shipping lanes, are generally public thoroughfares, as far as I know. What's to stop anyone from racing in a sailboat race without officially entering? I realize you wouldn't eligible for a trophy, but so what? Many sailors could care less about the trophy; they just love the competition. It might be a total dick move, or in light of things like this it might not.

 

Now that I thought about it, my hunch is that the OP is an experienced sailor, aw-shucks thing notwithstanding. As I recall, in another thread he discussed circumnavigating Nantucket alone in a rented Sunfish -- not a beginner move. The Ensign fleet captain here may think this guy is sandbagging, and/or just be worried that such an interloper might actually win, to the embarrassment of the regulars. It's lame, but it's also human nature. As the others said, people have the right to form closed societies, in sailing as much as anywhere else.

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Another point to sailing is exclusive. Another national only class that is just hanging on.

 

You really Know nothing about this Class. Each year when someone on SA lists all the previous years National Regatta attendance numbers the Ensign is usually there. Last year in Marquette MI there were 39 boats, 2011 (the 50th anniversary of the boat) there were 44 boats. Yeah they are old, they are heavy (class min is 2900 I think, drag that around to a regatta) are keel stepped, have a full, shallow keel so not sexy, but owners and their sailors love the boat.

 

If the OP wants to go sailing he might want to pick an event that is not a Regional, I would guess then he might have gotten a different answer.

 

Cheers, Win ever.

 

And BTW, the San Juan 21 Class is owner driver too.

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Just remember to NEVER let racing screw up a god day of sailing.

 

Frankly, I think the guy is doing you a favor - racing those bricks can't be All That - I've sailed Ensigns - they aren't even very comfortable, which I'd expect from something that heavy and slow.

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Never been on an Ensign and they look like they must sail like **absolute crap** particularly upwind, but people do love the things. They even have nice Victorian benches inside that you can sit on.

 

As we have said many many times before, if it's a OD class, it doesn't matter how much the boat sucks. It just matters how similar they can make them so that you have great racing. That is why Optis are so damned awesome, for heaven's sake. It's not the boat; it's the epicness of having thousands of identical ones. Maybe Ensigns have a tight rule system like J24s -- know nothing about them -- but that may part of why so many folks love racing them. My personal Least Favorite Boat is probably a Flying Scot -- they just make my skin crawl and I'm not really sure why -- but damn it if folks don't have a blast racing those tubs.

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Just charter it from your friend for $1.... Have him write up a charter agreement... Then tell them to go pound sand :)

"Complete control of the vessel for at least 3 months"

 

A courtesy charter for a dollar would not likely be acceptable. Petition the class for an exception.

 

 

These are all good tips. But I don't want to bend anyone's nose out of shape. Clearly the regional fleet captain, having told me it's a no-go, mightn't take kindly to going over his head and petitioning the class. Not worth it for a little one-day regatta. Was simply hoping to bring some awesome snacks and get the old man out for some fresh air.

 

Have never sailed an Ensign so I don't imagine we'd be doing much in the way of of ass-kicking. I could understand if it was going to be a big regatta or a qualifier for their Nationals or something. But I was told they might get a whopping ten or so boats on the line. Fussy.

I would try again with the guy, explain your situation and that it's not a hired gun scene and see if a waiver could be granted. Offer to be scored with some sort of annotation so that if there was a protest then or later you could be excluded from the results.

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If it is just for fun, ask if you can have a waiver to race, but not be scored. That should satisfy him you are looking for a father/son bonding moment, but aren't a hired gun.

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I was curious about all this, so I looked up a few classes and this is actually pretty common.

 

I find it hard to believe, but the Thistle class even has this sort of provision. I don't believe it is ever enforced though, because since I was a kid people have borrowed Thistles and done hard regattas in them -- it's a rite of passage. (I don't think their owner-driver rule is ever enforced because your chances of winning a Thistle regatta if you have never sailed one before are just about zero.)

 

Some of the classes go even further. I looked that the website for the Flying Scot class. Not only do they have a rule about owner/drivers, but they actually have a rule about illegal racing. Their Rule B-VII-2:

Outlawed Races. The enforcement of the Class Rules is essential to the protection of all owners in a one-design class. Members are required to r eport to the FSSA any event wherein the Class Rules are not respected and enforced by the organization conducting it, or where entries of ineligible boats are knowingly accepted. A member who is a party to such practice by knowingly entering an outlawed event may be subject to suspension.
Enter a race where "illegal aliens" are allowed to steer, and get kicked out of the class!!!!! F'Chrissakes.

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How big a regatta is the OP trying to enter? If it is Small Little Lake Sunday Series Race #5, I don't see a problem. If it is a regional championship it is a bigger deal.

 

Still I think that there should be a category for guest boats. Let guest skippers in but not eligible to be an official podium prize finisher. If the skipper makes it to an unofficial podium spot, make them join the class before they are allowed back in a regatta.

 

There has got to be a way to encourage racing while keeping the professional and semi-professional sailors from coming in and poaching your top titles. Especially out of a class like the Ensign.

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How big a regatta is the OP trying to enter? If it is Small Little Lake Sunday Series Race #5, I don't see a problem. If it is a regional championship it is a bigger deal.

 

Still I think that there should be a category for guest boats. Let guest skippers in but not eligible to be an official podium prize finisher. If the skipper makes it to an unofficial podium spot, make them join the class before they are allowed back in a regatta.

 

There has got to be a way to encourage racing while keeping the professional and semi-professional sailors from coming in and poaching your top titles. Especially out of a class like the Ensign.

 

That is a really really great idea. Classes could essentially advertise themselves by having guest skippers come sail with them. As long as the interlopers don't take the trophies, it's all good. Seems like a total win-win.

 

That being said, some douchebag will come out and complain that the guest skipper messed things up for the "real" boats on the course. (I say this because I have occasionally borrowed boats at friend's clubs to do, e.g., mellow Sunday afternoon races and been told in no uncertain terms not to avail myself of R-O-W rules but rather to please give way to the real racers. Which is fine with me, although of course it makes it harder to do well in the race.)

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How big a regatta is the OP trying to enter? If it is Small Little Lake Sunday Series Race #5, I don't see a problem. If it is a regional championship it is a bigger deal.

 

Still I think that there should be a category for guest boats. Let guest skippers in but not eligible to be an official podium prize finisher. If the skipper makes it to an unofficial podium spot, make them join the class before they are allowed back in a regatta.

 

There has got to be a way to encourage racing while keeping the professional and semi-professional sailors from coming in and poaching your top titles. Especially out of a class like the Ensign.

 

That is a really really great idea. Classes could essentially advertise themselves by having guest skippers come sail with them. As long as the interlopers don't take the trophies, it's all good. Seems like a total win-win.

 

That being said, some douchebag will come out and complain that the guest skipper messed things up for the "real" boats on the course. (I say this because I have occasionally borrowed boats at friend's clubs to do, e.g., mellow Sunday afternoon races and been told in no uncertain terms not to avail myself of R-O-W rules but rather to please give way to the real racers. Which is fine with me, although of course it makes it harder to do well in the race.)

It is a tough situation where common sense should rule the day. If you are joining in for part of someone's series it would be a very dick thing to do to sail another boat off the course and let 5 other boats past him. However you can't really be expected to duck every port tacker you come across. It is as much a safety issue as one of being fair. on the race course you expect everyone to follow the basic ROW rules. i would be much more likely to hit a ROW boat that unexpectedly ceded the ROW than one that acted as expected.

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Plan B is interesting -- always wondered about that. Lakes and oceans, at least outside recognized shipping lanes, are generally public thoroughfares, as far as I know. What's to stop anyone from racing in a sailboat race without officially entering? I realize you wouldn't eligible for a trophy, but so what? Many sailors could care less about the trophy; they just love the competition. It might be a total dick move, or in light of things like this it might not.

 

Unofficially entering a race could be grounds for a 69 hearing. Granted you aren't going to get thrown in jail even if you had slept with the hearing chair's spouse, but you could get yourself banned from any type of racing for a while. It is difficult to imagine a sailor that both wanted to race so much they just jumped into races unofficially and didn't care if they got completely tossed from the system.

 

Going out and following the fleet might be a good solution for the OP. Cross the starting line and after all the boats have started and stay plenty clear of everyone for a leg or two drop out eat, swim and then repeat. Not sure anyone is stupid enough to take on the PR nightmare that would ensue if someone tried to bring about 69 hearings for 3 generations of family for using the same water as they were racing on so long as you don't interfere with the races.

 

Ensigns are a pain to race in general and hard to handle with a grandfather, father, son trio unless the grandfather happens to named Elvstrom. I think you would have more fun advanced day sailing it. Time the lead race boat and your boat from your "start" to the first mark and compare.

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