ajbram

PHRF Class splits - how close should they be?

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We just sailed in a regatta where our class was ratings spanning from -50 (yes, that's a minus sign) to 108. The bulk of the boats rated in the 20s and 30s with another cluster in the 60s. I'm not here to argue about ratings or rating systems - we'd all obviously love to sail OD all the time. My thoughts here are more with respect to boats whose rating has them 40 seconds / mile outside of the rest of the fleet, particularly on the slow end. Assuming (though unjustified) that the ratings are fair, if you are all alone at the back of the pack while the faster boats mix it up with one another, don't you stand to have a huge advantage? The same goes for the really fast boats, but they at least have the onus upon them to break free of the pack. The lone slowpoke in the fleet can have a leisurely start, crack some beers, let everyone else walk away, and phone it in for the win. Where's the fun in that?

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I guess it all depends on which end you are on.  We used to say on our finish card "Yacht ahead: None!  Yacht behind: All of them!"  Great times and smiling faces!  FWIW...I do see your point though.

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58 minutes ago, ajbram said:

The lone slowpoke in the fleet can have a leisurely start, crack some beers, let everyone else walk away, and phone it in for the win. Where's the fun in that?

Find a faster boat to sail on and drink beer after the race 

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4 minutes ago, VWAP said:

Find a faster boat to sail on and drink beer after the race 

I'm in that category... Fast is fun. It's also fun to mix it up with other boats that rate about the same, then have plenty of time for post-race beverages.

 

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3 minutes ago, ajbram said:

I'm in that category... Fast is fun. It's also fun to mix it up with other boats that rate about the same, then have plenty of time for post-race beverages.

 

Then get boats out that you want to race against instead of waiting and complaining for others to do it for you. 

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14 minutes ago, VWAP said:

Then get boats out that you want to race against instead of waiting and complaining for others to do it for you. 

I'm not complaining about that... We were in the meaty part of the fleet. We got to race against the boats we wanted to race. My question is about how much of a gap should there be between boats before it warrants re-assigning someone to a different class. In my mind. if a boat is the slowest in A (for instance) by 40+sec/mile, and is only 20 sec/mile faster than the fastest boat in B, would it not be wiser to make each class as tight as possible?

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3 minutes ago, ajbram said:

I'm not complaining about that... We were in the meaty part of the fleet. We got to race against the boats we wanted to race. My question is about how much of a gap should there be between boats before it warrants re-assigning someone to a different class. In my mind. if a boat is the slowest in A (for instance) by 40+sec/mile, and is only 20 sec/mile faster than the fastest boat in B, would it not be wiser to make each class as tight as possible?

PHRF doesn't really work after about 21 sec spread

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1 minute ago, jesposito said:

PHRF doesn't really work after about 21 sec spread

I agree completely... I'm just thinking if there are a few clusters of boats within any class that are about as fast as one another, it can sort of work. Where things really break down is when there is a single boat that is significantly faster or slower than anyone else such that they do not have to interact with other boats. For distance racing, this is probably fine as  boats spread out and don't have as much opportunity to fuck each other. Things tend to even out as more miles are sailed and the ratings (PHRF or otherwise) become more "fair." Around the cans though, this just doesn't work.

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22 minutes ago, ajbram said:

I agree completely... I'm just thinking if there are a few clusters of boats within any class that are about as fast as one another, it can sort of work. Where things really break down is when there is a single boat that is significantly faster or slower than anyone else such that they do not have to interact with other boats. For distance racing, this is probably fine as  boats spread out and don't have as much opportunity to fuck each other. Things tend to even out as more miles are sailed and the ratings (PHRF or otherwise) become more "fair." Around the cans though, this just doesn't work.

Unfortunately with the decline of participation, this is going to be the norm in the sport, as well as trying to sail modern asym boats against 20-30 year old sym boats.  

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I guess the big question is, how many boats were in the class?  Obviously if you only had 9 or 10 boats, it'd be hard to split the class in 2 or 3....not much in it if everyone gets to the podium.  On the other hand, if there are 20 boats in the class, then yea, they might could been split up...

 

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15 minutes ago, Crash said:

I guess the big question is, how many boats were in the class?  Obviously if you only had 9 or 10 boats, it'd be hard to split the class in 2 or 3....not much in it if everyone gets to the podium.  On the other hand, if there are 20 boats in the class, then yea, they might could been split up...

 

12. Next class down had the same.

 

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1 hour ago, jesposito said:

PHRF doesn't really work after about 21 sec spread

How about a spread of 334?  I think that's what Ocean Planet owed me in the ~2004 Monhegan Race.   No, I didn't cover it....

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2 hours ago, sshow bob said:

How about a spread of 334?  I think that's what Ocean Planet owed me in the ~2004 Monhegan Race.   No, I didn't cover it....

I resemble that race. We watched them take off down Hussey Sound throwing a rooster tail, waited out a delay for no wind, left on a now foul tide and ground our way out to Monhegan in the failing breeze... 

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3 classes of 8 should have been fine, a lot easier to group ratings with a slow medium fast grouping.  With only 2 it's tough finding a fair place to split (although it seems as if RC just said, uh what's half of 24). 

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6 hours ago, jesposito said:

PHRF doesn't really work after about 21 sec spread

Yes, agreed.  There are occasions when 'dragon slayers' can beat a PHRF boat rated some 50 or more or faster, but the process of judging boat for boat in a close rating band never takes into consideration the big spread scenario.  End result, big boats win big spreads.

Wow John, we actually agree on something :) 

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This happens to us every Monday, we're in a category of all boats 80 and under (with 7-10 boats sailing most weeks). The Corsair 31 that rates -3 starts with us at 72. Often we beat them, often they beat us. 

The Farr 30s that also start with us are much more challenging for us this beat, and are much closer to us in handicap. 

It is PHRF and all in fun, otherwise we’d buy a 105 and race one design.  The class would be pretty small if they split it up.  You can always pay attention to the boats most like yours instead of to the whole class if you want to see how you are improving. 

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I hear your pain, but it also depends upon how many pickle dishes the RC has to hand out and also considerations to perpetual trophies.  If you have one class - it is what it is.  If you have multiple classes and they award a single perpetual trophy to the largest or most "competitive" class or by some abstract determination by the RC - then you are in another un happy situation.  Agree that wide PHRF splits always suck - especially as the breeze craps out when you are in the back or a loser puff comes in when you are out in front and cannot see your competition.

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22 hours ago, Crash said:

I guess the big question is, how many boats were in the class?  Obviously if you only had 9 or 10 boats, it'd be hard to split the class in 2 or 3....not much in it if everyone gets to the podium.  On the other hand, if there are 20 boats in the class, then yea, they might could been split up...

 

Small fleets is tough to group.

So if you have 8 to 10 boats, splitting them in 2 or 3 can work but start them all at once.
People get to race their little fleet as well as the whole fleet. As long as you send them on the same course.

I think one thing that is  important is to have all the OA/YC in your area to understand the make up and have consistent fleet splits in all your races.
Consistency is important. Especially when you are having a year long "Who is the Area Champ" event. In our area we have 2 High point series and the fleet splits differ every race. How can you have a high point if you are sometimes in A and sometimes in B? makes no sense.

 

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4 minutes ago, Meat Wad said:

Small fleets is tough to group.

So if you have 8 to 10 boats, splitting them in 2 or 3 can work but start them all at once.
People get to race their little fleet as well as the whole fleet. As long as you send them on the same course.

I think one thing that is  important is to have all the OA/YC in your area to understand the make up and have consistent fleet splits in all your races.
Consistency is important. Especially when you are having a year long "Who is the Area Champ" event. In our area we have 2 High point series and the fleet splits differ every race. How can you have a high point if you are sometimes in A and sometimes in B? makes no sense.

 

This was just for one regatta, so the split was at least consistent for the week. They did have some other mixed fleet starts, so clearly that was not a problem. The J/24 fleet started with the "small boat fleet" (S2 7.9s, Lindenburg 26s etc.) and were scored both as small boats and within their one design.

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