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Why do we have discards? In a standard club Spring and Summer point score championship of, say, 25 races, up to 5 are discarded as “drops”. Why is it considered fair and reasonable to have a cumulative scoring system in which around 20% of the season’s results don’t count? What is so special about sailing as a sport that allows us to discard our worst performances but retain out best?

The most common reason offered for the drop system is that it is a fair way of responding to misadventure. A boat should not be unduly penalized (the argument goes), if it suffers major equipment failure or is impeded in some other way that is presumed to be beyond the control of the skipper or crew.

This sounds plausible – even gentlemanly – but is inconsistent with how we score other sports. No driver in Formula One is promoted up the starting grid after a tyre blow-out ruins his qualifying lap. No golfer has a bogey reduced to par because a sudden gust of wind carried his ball into the rough.

Part of the sport of sailing is looking after your boat and equipment. If a sail tears or a halyard breaks, then that shortcoming of maintenance should be reflected in the result. Likewise for reckless or incompetent crew work. They don’t re-sail races in the America’s Cup if there’s an over-ride on the mainsheet winch. In any case, the element of luck – good and bad – is a factor in just about every sport other than chess. Cases of genuine ‘no fault’ disadvantage during a race (when a boat is fouled, or stands by to render assistance) are adequately covered by the redress rule.

Another argument proposed in support of drops is that they provide a closer, more sporting contest by evening out the results. That is the rationale behind the common practice of discarding the highest and lowest individual judge scores in figure skating, diving and gymnastics.

But the results of those sports are based on subjective assessments, not measurable elements such as time or distance. It is reasonable to discount the outlying top and bottom scores in judged sports as a way of minimizing personal bias. Yet in sailing we choose to discard the lowest scores but retain the highest.

Another justification put forward for discards in club racing is that it accommodates a reasonable number of days on which the skipper may not be available to sail, or cannot muster sufficient crew. Well, tough. If you entered your boat for the whole season then it should turn up to race – with you or without you. In cases where unforeseeable last-minute circumstances intervene, then a skipper can always apply to the Race Committee for average points – a much fairer option.

But the most worrying aspect of the discard system (at least to my mind) is its potential to encourage cheating.

Championship racing relies on the week-by-week adjustment of handicaps. The underlying principle of all performance handicap systems is simple enough: sail well and you are penalized for the next race; sail poorly and you will be awarded a more favorable start time or TCF. As a rough rule of thumb, the pivot point for those adjustments in an average-sized fleet is usually around third or fourth place.

Now consider this scenario. A skipper – let’s call him ‘Larry’ – has been doing well over the past month with a string of podium finishes. But this week, after a few tactical blunders and some sloppy crew work, Larry finds himself in fourth place with only a couple of legs in the race to go.

So what does Larry do? He does a bit of quiet sandbagging. He mysteriously slows his boat down just enough to let a few competitors past, ensuring that when he does eventually cross the line he will be low enough in the finishing order and elapsed times to guarantee a better handicap for next week.

And it gets worse. To compound that encouragement to game the system, Larry’s deliberately bad result won’t hurt his overall points standing because it will soon be discarded as one of his “drops” for the season.

For all of the above reasons, my view is that club racing would be fairer if we dropped the drops. What think you?

- Anarchist David

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We do it at our Junior club to not penalise the sailor / family that wants does something else occasionally (say a family event or  trials for a new season of sport) or is away over one sailing day of a term break. We have 4 series over a 12 month period with 3 races per day and 4-5 race days . So therefore we allow 3 drops. That way if a sailor misses 1 day, or has to come late, leave early and misses 1 race of a day they don't get hurt too badly.

Believe me, I've seen with my own kids they are happy to sail and run - leaving me to unrig,  and save the points where they can.

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I totally agree, drop the drops.  A sailor or crew should never be rewarded for poor seamanship, poor maintenance or bad tactics.  No drop regattas would have less Individual Recalls, less protests and a true winner at the end of the event.  No where to hide.

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I have a problem with adjustable ratings and throw outs.  It just doesn't sit right.  One or the other.   Some series try to 'encourage' participation by having too many drops so that boats won't get left behind and not race.  To see some series count only half the race days for a champion is a why bother for me.  To allow for 'life getting in the way'  should only be 2 drops per series of 10 race days.

 

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A series of weeknight races is supposed to be fun. If every race is scored it’s just an attendance contest.

But for serious racing, yes, drop the drop.

TP 52’s score every race of every regatta. No drops for a regatta or the season. That’s the way it should be done.

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By allowing drops it's a penalty for those who do turn up each race. Rewarding lack of commitment for whatever noble reason. And if you get a DSQ you should have to carry that  even if the majority view is to continue with drops. The analogy  with motor racing and golf is valid.

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1 hour ago, Editor said:

So what does Larry do? He does a bit of quiet sandbagging. He mysteriously slows his boat down just enough to let a few competitors past, ensuring that when he does eventually cross the line he will be low enough in the finishing order and elapsed times to guarantee a better handicap for next week.

this is the problem, not drops. Handicap racing will always be second best.

Easy solution - don't adjust handicap on the drops. ie: recalc the handicaps for each race at the end of the series, post-discard

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i’m keen to hear more about this adjustable rating concept... PHRF takes ages to get a rating change in this neck of the woods anyway, certainly not a time frame within the context of a single series, and all the would-be rival systems pride themselves in being measurement based... maybe it’s some high level pro thing in which case ya, scrap the discards AND the dynamic rating system.

if you’re at the club level I agree with sunseeker that it’s an attendance contest. I came in second one season in SV Cup... i was a mid pack rider at best... some would say grid filler... but I was one of the few guys that were prepaerd to race a motorcycle in the rain so I just got more points than many of the faster riders.

So I guess it just depends what your objective is... figure out the best program? who are the the guys with the least life ouside sailing? encourage participation? 

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11 minutes ago, overdraft said:

i’m keen to hear more about this adjustable rating concept... PHRF takes ages to get a rating change in this neck of the woods anyway, certainly not a time frame within the context of a single series, and all the would-be rival systems pride themselves in being measurement based... maybe it’s some high level pro thing in which case ya, scrap the discards AND the dynamic rating system.

if you’re at the club level I agree with sunseeker that it’s an attendance contest. I came in second one season in SV Cup... i was a mid pack rider at best... some would say grid filler... but I was one of the few guys that were prepaerd to race a motorcycle in the rain so I just got more points than many of the faster riders.

So I guess it just depends what your objective is... figure out the best program? who are the the guys with the least life ouside sailing? encourage participation? 

If you're interested in how the handicap system works at the club involved, look up TopYacht, or sailsys.com.au. These are definitely not in any way measurement handicap systems. Sailsys is the latest iteration of a long-running Sydney only handicap system invented and perfected by a guy called John Maclurcan. TopYacht uses similar ideas, but has different algorithms that one can use. TopYacht is very popular around Australia, but most of the top Sydney yachting clubs use Sailsys.

Basically the idea is to have a system where over a series, a yacht's handicaps are adjusted by a factor based on their starting handicap and their back calculated handicap, which in turn is based on where they finish on corrected time (ToT). So it shows in every race which yachts have performed better or worse than their average, and adjusts their handicap accordingly - the trick is how much to change their handicap, if at all, for the next race.

The larger the fleet and the higher the number of races the handicap is averaged over, the more accurate the on-going handicap becomes. Sailsys uses a longer running average of results for any particular yacht, so, in my opinion, it responds better to an either brilliantly good, or drastically bad, result than TopYacht does. The problem is that if the handicap changes too radically, up or down, it destroys the integrity of the handicaps.

What Anarchist David is suggesting above, is that a yacht may sandbag and get a bad result, therefore getting a lower handicap for following races. If a system is set up properly, and also monitored, this won't happen, as the result would be filtered out and therefore the yacht's handicap would not change, defeating the purpose of the sandbagging, or as it should be called, cheating.

This type of system has worked well for years of club series, and the handicaps derived are used in events such as the Sydney Hobart Race PHS division. 

Some may argue that these systems are handicapping the skipper rather than the yacht, but we are talking about club racing, and the system will (or should) filter out the deliberate sandbagging that David above alleges is happening. 

To be clear I am not personally involved in either handicap system, but I have worked closely, and used, both.

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2 hours ago, Editor said:

Why do we have discards? In a standard club Spring and Summer point score championship of, say, 25 races, up to 5 are discarded as “drops”. Why is it considered fair and reasonable to have a cumulative scoring system in which around 20% of the season’s results don’t count? What is so special about sailing as a sport that allows us to discard our worst performances but retain out best?

The most common reason offered for the drop system is that it is a fair way of responding to misadventure. A boat should not be unduly penalized (the argument goes), if it suffers major equipment failure or is impeded in some other way that is presumed to be beyond the control of the skipper or crew.

This sounds plausible – even gentlemanly – but is inconsistent with how we score other sports. No driver in Formula One is promoted up the starting grid after a tyre blow-out ruins his qualifying lap. No golfer has a bogey reduced to par because a sudden gust of wind carried his ball into the rough.

Part of the sport of sailing is looking after your boat and equipment. If a sail tears or a halyard breaks, then that shortcoming of maintenance should be reflected in the result. Likewise for reckless or incompetent crew work. They don’t re-sail races in the America’s Cup if there’s an over-ride on the mainsheet winch. In any case, the element of luck – good and bad – is a factor in just about every sport other than chess. Cases of genuine ‘no fault’ disadvantage during a race (when a boat is fouled, or stands by to render assistance) are adequately covered by the redress rule.

Another argument proposed in support of drops is that they provide a closer, more sporting contest by evening out the results. That is the rationale behind the common practice of discarding the highest and lowest individual judge scores in figure skating, diving and gymnastics.

But the results of those sports are based on subjective assessments, not measurable elements such as time or distance. It is reasonable to discount the outlying top and bottom scores in judged sports as a way of minimizing personal bias. Yet in sailing we choose to discard the lowest scores but retain the highest.

Another justification put forward for discards in club racing is that it accommodates a reasonable number of days on which the skipper may not be available to sail, or cannot muster sufficient crew. Well, tough. If you entered your boat for the whole season then it should turn up to race – with you or without you. In cases where unforeseeable last-minute circumstances intervene, then a skipper can always apply to the Race Committee for average points – a much fairer option.

But the most worrying aspect of the discard system (at least to my mind) is its potential to encourage cheating.

Championship racing relies on the week-by-week adjustment of handicaps. The underlying principle of all performance handicap systems is simple enough: sail well and you are penalized for the next race; sail poorly and you will be awarded a more favorable start time or TCF. As a rough rule of thumb, the pivot point for those adjustments in an average-sized fleet is usually around third or fourth place.

Now consider this scenario. A skipper – let’s call him ‘Larry’ – has been doing well over the past month with a string of podium finishes. But this week, after a few tactical blunders and some sloppy crew work, Larry finds himself in fourth place with only a couple of legs in the race to go.

So what does Larry do? He does a bit of quiet sandbagging. He mysteriously slows his boat down just enough to let a few competitors past, ensuring that when he does eventually cross the line he will be low enough in the finishing order and elapsed times to guarantee a better handicap for next week.

And it gets worse. To compound that encouragement to game the system, Larry’s deliberately bad result won’t hurt his overall points standing because it will soon be discarded as one of his “drops” for the season.

For all of the above reasons, my view is that club racing would be fairer if we dropped the drops. What think you?

- Anarchist David

Club racing is for fun. Most big regattas are for fun. There's only a few regattas and events that are Serious Money events.

You're playing for pickle dishes and bragging rights.

Drops are the equivalent of gimme putts and Mulligans for weekend hackers out with their buddies.

It keeps it more fun being an amateur playing a sport with your friends that Pros play at a level you can never touch.

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thanks for the info mr. crocodile! I see you’re in Australia... haven’t seen anything like what you’re describing in North America... local clubs running golf handicaps, yes, but nothing formal. what sort of fleet size would you think it woild take for either of those systems to be viable?

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3 minutes ago, overdraft said:

thanks for the info mr. crocodile! I see you’re in Australia... haven’t seen anything like what you’re describing in North America... local clubs running golf handicaps, yes, but nothing formal. what sort of fleet size would you think it woild take for either of those systems to be viable?

We have fleets running these handicap systems with between say 6 and 30 entrants per division. In practice if run properly they can look after any size fleet. The trick is the starting number!

I am not surprised to hear you have not heard of anything like it in North America - neither have I! Or in Europe for that matter.It certainly works for us in Australia and has done for a long time. 

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3 hours ago, Editor said:

The most common reason offered for the drop system is that it is a fair way of responding to misadventure.

Yep, that's what they are for, and that does not include a deliberate allowance for equipment failure that was probably your fault. 

It is intended to cover

  • the bad start you had because that fuckwit who always barges the line at the boat end did it again and you started last after bearing away to avoid a collision
  • what happened at the top mark when that conga line of port tackers made you tack-off to avoid a collision and most of them finished ahead of you

It is an allowance for people who were doing the right thing but were disadvantaged through no fault of their own.  Everyone has been fucked over like that, and the drops iron out the luck element just a bit.

I like the rules as they are.

The RRS and related scoring systems are a products honed over time, agreed hard won and well considered compromises.

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5 hours ago, Editor said:

Why do we have discards? In a standard club Spring and Summer point score championship of, say, 25 races, up to 5 are discarded as “drops”.

- Anarchist David

Ok - I've worked out what is wrong with "Anarchist David"'s gripe.  He's talking about local club races.

 

If "David" has a good argument against drops in the club series he races, then he needs to get off his fat arse, get involved in the organisation of the club and lobby for the change at that level.

Its just a fucking SI..  there's no rule that says you have to have drops.

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1 hour ago, duncan (the other one) said:

Ok - I've worked out what is wrong with "Anarchist David"'s gripe.  He's talking about local club races.

 

If "David" has a good argument against drops in the club series he races, then he needs to get off his fat arse, get involved in the organisation of the club and lobby for the change at that level.

Its just a fucking SI..  there's no rule that says you have to have drops.

And he'll probably lose...

When I used to club race, we had a ten week series, and we could drop our first three.

Do you know what that bought me?

Family vacation.

I could take my boat and go away with my family in the middle of racing season and not get penalized for it.

What a concept...just get ready to chuck that DNS and *poof* we were off to the Cape & Islands for a week with the wife and tater tots.

The thing we didn't allow - which I thought was a mistake - was chucking out a DSQ. Which is why I had to deal with a protest the week we went to FL to pull the plug on a family member dying of cancer because some twat at my club (who also was away that week at his kids college graduation) insisted on pushing a protest with his crew against my crew*. You stick an 11 I can't get rid of in my results in week 2, we might as well not show up the other eight because the odds of us finishing in the money are near zero.

It's CLUB RACING. It's supposed to be FUN. It's supposed to eliminate stress and bring joy into your life.

If it's not doing that, you might as well be playing golf. Because while that sucks too, it's cheaper than sailboat racing.

 

* We won

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7 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

 

It's CLUB RACING. It's supposed to be FUN. It's supposed to eliminate stress and bring joy into your life.

If it's not doing that, you might as well be playing golf. Because while that sucks too, it's cheaper than sailboat racing

Not sure what you are saying here.  Are you saying that protests spoil the fun and shouldn't happen?

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Seems like the biggest beef here is about variable handicaps. So don't have them, simples.

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7 minutes ago, random said:
16 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

 

It's CLUB RACING. It's supposed to be FUN. It's supposed to eliminate stress and bring joy into your life.

If it's not doing that, you might as well be playing golf. Because while that sucks too, it's cheaper than sailboat racing

Not sure what you are saying here.  Are you saying that protests spoil the fun and shouldn't happen?

No, unwarranted stress and aggravation spoils the fun.

 

In my case, neither skipper was on the boat, though he was at a graduation I attending a death in the family. It was...stressful. And it was a dick move to push the protest on his part. But I couldn't ignore it, because if I lost the protest my season was over at week 2 and I had a lot invested in prepping for the season.  That particular rule caused undue stress and aggravation in that series every time a protest came up - I think it was a mistake. A protest should cost you, but it shouldn't cost you the season. With three throwouts out of ten, NOT being allowed to chuck a DSQ pretty much killed you because the other top boats chucked out their 6's and you owned an 11.

It's one specific incident that highlights how club racing shouldn't be.

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7 hours ago, Editor said:

This sounds plausible – even gentlemanly – but is inconsistent with how we score other sports. No driver in Formula One is promoted up the starting grid after a tyre blow-out ruins his qualifying lap. No golfer has a bogey reduced to par because a sudden gust of wind carried his ball into the rough.

Comparing to F1 is a apples and oranges. F1 the points only go down to 10th, so if you DNF, you effectively score 'mid fleet'. The point are also high point scoring with an exponential increase, meaning you can get a few DNFs and still compete for the championship. 

Part of the sport of sailing is looking after your boat and equipment. If a sail tears or a halyard breaks, then that shortcoming of maintenance should be reflected in the result. Likewise for reckless or incompetent crew work. They don’t re-sail races in the America’s Cup if there’s an over-ride on the mainsheet winch. In any case, the element of luck – good and bad – is a factor in just about every sport other than chess. Cases of genuine ‘no fault’ disadvantage during a race (when a boat is fouled, or stands by to render assistance) are adequately covered by the redress rule.

It's been said before. It's not to balance out self made luck boat breakages which you are responsible for, but external factors for which you cannot get redress. 

Another argument proposed in support of drops is that they provide a closer, more sporting contest by evening out the results. That is the rationale behind the common practice of discarding the highest and lowest individual judge scores in figure skating, diving and gymnastics.

But the results of those sports are based on subjective assessments, not measurable elements such as time or distance. It is reasonable to discount the outlying top and bottom scores in judged sports as a way of minimizing personal bias. Yet in sailing we choose to discard the lowest scores but retain the highest.

- It's been said before. It's not to balance out self made luck boat breakages which you are responsible for, but external factors for which you cannot get redress.

Another justification put forward for discards in club racing is that it accommodates a reasonable number of days on which the skipper may not be available to sail, or cannot muster sufficient crew. Well, tough. If you entered your boat for the whole season then it should turn up to race – with you or without you. In cases where unforeseeable last-minute circumstances intervene, then a skipper can always apply to the Race Committee for average points – a much fairer option.

- My cycling club counts all races in our week night series and the result is crap. It actually discourages participation as once you've missed one race you know you're out of the overall running and so have no incentive to turn up on the less than ideal days. 

Secondly, what you end it is every club series being won by the most mundane sailor who has nothing going on in their life. He finished in mid fleet obscurity each and every week but he knows if he just sticks it out and turns up, eventually those with lives outside sailing will have an interruption and his monotonous existence will be rewarded with series victory. If this is what you want, then do away with scoring races and just give the prize to the boat that turns up most. It will become a competition in who has the most predictable life!

But the most worrying aspect of the discard system (at least to my mind) is its potential to encourage cheating.

Championship racing relies on the week-by-week adjustment of handicaps. The underlying principle of all performance handicap systems is simple enough: sail well and you are penalized for the next race; sail poorly and you will be awarded a more favorable start time or TCF. As a rough rule of thumb, the pivot point for those adjustments in an average-sized fleet is usually around third or fourth place.

- Really? What serious 'championship' is done on handicap? More still what serious championship is done on a moving yardstick?  If you're changing peoples handicaps week by week to give them a better chance of wining, that seems counter intuitive where you would rule out all chance of them competing overall if they had one bad race. 

Now consider this scenario. A skipper – let’s call him ‘Larry’ – has been doing well over the past month with a string of podium finishes. But this week, after a few tactical blunders and some sloppy crew work, Larry finds himself in fourth place with only a couple of legs in the race to go.

So what does Larry do? He does a bit of quiet sandbagging. He mysteriously slows his boat down just enough to let a few competitors past, ensuring that when he does eventually cross the line he will be low enough in the finishing order and elapsed times to guarantee a better handicap for next week.

And it gets worse. To compound that encouragement to game the system, Larry’s deliberately bad result won’t hurt his overall points standing because it will soon be discarded as one of his “drops” for the season.

- If Larry cares this much about a 'fun' club handicap series to put this much effort in to gaming the system, then he's welcome to the prize. It obviously means much more to him than anyone else. 

For all of the above reasons, my view is that club racing would be fairer if we dropped the drops. What think you?

- I do actually think that for true championship events, where people turn up and race back to back day after day, with modern boats and competitive fleets there is less need for as many discards. For a fun club series if you mandate everyone should turn up every week to even have a chance of placing overall, then you'll soon see they don't turn up at all. You want to keep people engaged in teh series as much as possible, even if that means affording them some slack to accommodate 'life'. 

- Anarchist David

 

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We advertise ourselves as a family club, having Discards allows those with a family to keep SWMBO happy.

We also have non competitors to contend with, we had two boats hit  by a motor boat (not badly ) this Sunday, I have known a competitor sunk by one at our club. I've certainly had to take evasive action due to non competirors, therefore I lost places...

Both of the above are good reasons for Discards, but we don't give as many as five for a seaons series..

Our handicaps are for a season for those boats without a class handicap, if you want to loose a seasons sailing to win the next one, fine, but you'll be back at the back for the third season as well.. If you have two boats of a class competing, then the handicap will not be just on your boats results.

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If you're this competitive that it means this much to you, here are my recommendations:

  1. Pick a boat that is truly competitive such as an Olympic boat, an AC boat or some sort of crazy offshore racing boat.
  2. Get yourself in shape (physically and financially) to sail one of the above boats
  3. Go race those boats in those regattas.

If the above 3 step process is not for you then take up running. 

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Yeah - why not drop the discards and watch another tranche of sailors leave our sport.

What a dumb idea. most sailing is Corinthian and in a long series there are multiple reasons why a sailor or boat owner cannot take part in a weekly series.

Shiftwork (or other work commitments), family crisis, illness (not just their own, perhaps a family member), boat breakdown, injury (not necessarily caused on the race course) and I am sure sensible Anarchists can think of multiple other reasons.

To expect a normal boat owner to attend each and every one of - say - 9 or 10 races in a series every whenever is not feasible. The competitive ones just wont bother and a lot of the non competitive ones wont either.

Whoever came up with that little idea clearly has never been in the situation where he cannot make every race.

Around 18 years ago I had to go in for pretty major surgery and would be in hospital recovering when the final race of the series was run. So the week before, after racing, I chucked the boat keys to one of my young crew with the words "Don't blow our series lead" (He didn't).

Would I have been well pissed off if I had missed out on a series win due to non-sailing related health issues? You bet I would!

Would it have chased me away from the sport? Probably not but then again not everyone is as passionate about sailing as I am, I know some who would leave.

SS

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At most dinghy clubs in the UK a no discards series would be won by the person who's most willing to risk a divorce and it would be very little to do with sailing ability. The glassware would go to the person with the fewest DNCs.  The days when a good number of sailors were there every week no matter what are long gone.

 

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8 hours ago, armchairadmiral said:

By allowing drops it's a penalty for those who do turn up each race. 

At any club I've ever belonged to, nobody turns up for each race in a club weekly series. Not ever. 

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Plus, it's not really a penalty for those who turn up every week. As those who do turn up all the time have the opportunity to take more risks and can discard more instances of bad luck, especially once they have a series in the bag and can then take a few flyers in the hope of improving on previous scores. Those unfortunate enough to have to use their discards on 'life' know they have to bank a result almost every race. 

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It's amazing how hardcore some club racers can get.

If you're sailing in an event that you did not have to qualify for, you're sailing "for the fun of it". Lighten up Francis or should I say Scot.

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7 hours ago, overdraft said:

thanks for the info mr. crocodile! I see you’re in Australia... haven’t seen anything like what you’re describing in North America... local clubs running golf handicaps, yes, but nothing formal. what sort of fleet size would you think it woild take for either of those systems to be viable?

Just look at the Boston Yacht Club Wednesday evening series. 

The emphasis is on having a good summer evenings race with friends every Wednesday so the winner each wednesday carries a diminishing penalty for the next couple of weeks. Its worked for years. I think it used to apply to the top three boats to ensure everyone had a shot at the podium. 

Week 1 win. Week2 36 second penalty Week 3 18 second penalty. Week 4 back to where you were.   I recall many years ago, a boat won two weeks in a row and so went into the next week with a 54 second penalty. They had the barbeque going on the transom at the start :).   Best PHRF  series anywhere in the world bar none!

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22 minutes ago, dogwatch said:

At any club I've ever belonged to, nobody turns up for each race in a club weekly series. Not ever. 

+1.....or at least nobody that I want to hang out with.

Quote

Another justification put forward for discards in club racing is that it accommodates a reasonable number of days on which the skipper may not be available to sail, or cannot muster sufficient crew. Well, tough. If you entered your boat for the whole season then it should turn up to race – with you or without you. In cases where unforeseeable last-minute circumstances intervene, then a skipper can always apply to the Race Committee for average points – a much fairer option.

I cannot imagine who would want to sail in a handicap series with that sort of attitude. 

 

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We have some races where ratings get adjusted after every week, it's a beginners type fleet so levels it pretty quickly and keeps everyone close.  There are other fleets to race in so it's the skippers choice, I don't race in them but it seems to be popular and encourages development.  The Wed series has always had some drops and in years past there would be a few who didn't need to and didn't race the last series or so.  Solution? Last series, no drops and all scores are doubled, so best turnout of the season.

 

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Discards at true championship events like a four day one design regatta are worth thinking about carefully.

IMO, a single discard is all part of the unique tactical aspects of sailing.  I was sailing at a World championship in Australia earlier this year and we had a shot at the podium but we had a worse discard than the boat immediately ahead of us in the points.  Since their helm was an accomplished skipper on the world match racing circuit, we knew exactly what was coming at us at the start of the last race. It was fun, exciting and added to the frisson for both  competitors and spectators. I would not have in any other way.

I also think that a single discard (or at most a double discard after 14 races) has some practical advantages:

It prevents a competitor being eliminated due to misdeeds of someone else. Especially at the startline, there can be some unfair disadvantages imposed that should not determine the outcome of a regatta.   There have been times when an OCS boat significantly impedes the outcome of the neighboring competitors. At high level competition an impeded start can kill a race result

It can even out wind condition advantages.   If there is a super light day when one group of sailors excel at the expenses of others....then the light team can drop the heavy air day and the heavy team can drop one race from the light air day.  The person who is good at both does better overall.

Remember that a bad discard is still a hellva disadvantage in a competitive championship fleet. No matter where you are in a race, in a championship you are fighting for every point all the time.  Nobody says to themselves ....I dont care how bad my discard is......because at the end of a competitive regatta even the discard matters.

That said.......I do not like regattas with too many discards. I usually prefer just the one. Otherwise it promotes a high risk reward strategy.

 

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For a weekly club series, I think drops are appropriate. In most other weekly recreational team sports, if any player doesn't show up they can be replaced. There's no single person that the team absolutely cannot play without. On a lot of boats, you can't just find someone to take the place of the owner, who is usually the driver and sometimes the only person insured to drive. So if the owner can't be replaced, I think they should be allowed to miss at least 1-2 nights a season without penalty. Those who have perfect attendance get to throwout their 1-2 worst nights instead. If the series is tight but you win because the next boat above you skipped a night, it feels a little hollow.

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7 minutes ago, Mambo Kings said:

Remember that a bad discard is still a hellva disadvantage in a competitive championship fleet. No matter where you are in a race, in a championship you are fighting for every point all the time.  Nobody says to themselves ....I dont care how bad my discard is......because at the end of a competitive regatta even the discard matters.

+1 on this.

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Another perspective: Having drops allows sailors in very inexpensive boats like mine to be competitive even though we have a much higher rate of gear failure than anyone else at the club. Blew the end cap from my traveller rail gybing at the bottom end of an island one race.... but no biggie, that's a drop. Finished the race (and actually the rest of the season) with a traveller fixed to the centre line :P

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10 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

Club racing is for fun. Most big regattas are for fun. There's only a few regattas and events that are Serious Money events.

You're playing for pickle dishes and bragging rights.

Drops are the equivalent of gimme putts and Mulligans for weekend hackers out with their buddies.

It keeps it more fun being an amateur playing a sport with your friends that Pros play at a level you can never touch.

Yes!

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13 hours ago, armchairadmiral said:

By allowing drops it's a penalty for those who do turn up each race. Rewarding lack of commitment for whatever noble reason.

Another way to look at drops- those who do show up for every event are still advantaged (as they should be).  They have more chances to have a great result.  Meanwhile the boat that cannot attend every regatta (in a series) still has a chance.

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13 hours ago, armchairadmiral said:

By allowing drops it's a penalty for those who do turn up each race. Rewarding lack of commitment for whatever noble reason. And if you get a DSQ you should have to carry that  even if the majority view is to continue with drops. The analogy  with motor racing and golf is valid.

If committing to a racing series would have made it impossible for me to take a week or two of vacation with my family on the boat in the middle of the summer without taking myself out of contention, I wouldn't do that series.

We were VERY committed to our racing. But I was still more committed to my family.

 

Motor racers are pros. Pro golfers don't get gimme putts.

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8 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

And he'll probably lose...

When I used to club race, we had a ten week series, and we could drop our first three.

Do you know what that bought me?

Family vacation.

I could take my boat and go away with my family in the middle of racing season and not get penalized for it.

What a concept...just get ready to chuck that DNS and *poof* we were off to the Cape & Islands for a week with the wife and tater tots.

The thing we didn't allow - which I thought was a mistake - was chucking out a DSQ. Which is why I had to deal with a protest the week we went to FL to pull the plug on a family member dying of cancer because some twat at my club (who also was away that week at his kids college graduation) insisted on pushing a protest with his crew against my crew*. You stick an 11 I can't get rid of in my results in week 2, we might as well not show up the other eight because the odds of us finishing in the money are near zero.

It's CLUB RACING. It's supposed to be FUN. It's supposed to eliminate stress and bring joy into your life.

If it's not doing that, you might as well be playing golf. Because while that sucks too, it's cheaper than sailboat racing.

 

* We won

These two sentences are completely contradictory. 

If you won't show up for 8 weeks of casual  club racing because you can no longer win then you are not sailing to  have fun and to "eliminate stress" in your life.  

BTW, We don't care that you won, perhaps the protest against your crew was legitimate, and equating golf with sailboat racing while claiming both suck is indicative of perhaps larger problems.  

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The main reason for drops in a club level series is to ensure people will come back. If you just can't make it for a given event (whatever the reason), and then have no drops - you are effectively out of the series and have no real incentive to make the rest of the series. And then the one guy who made it through the series, can be standing all alone on the last day with his pickle dish (at least it makes buying a round for everyone cheaper!!)

 

If we want to incent racing, lets not disincent those who can come out!

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Seems to me that there are two scenarios here, Regattas over a short period and long Club series. 

There should absolutely be no drops in a regatta as everybody is there for the whole event.  Things that happen on the race course that affect your results but our outside your control is just part of the game as in every other sport, you should accept that and get on with it.  I thinks its called luck and sometimes shit happens.

All the other comments are about longer club series where you can't turn up for what ever reason, be it family, work or shitty weather.  The answer to this is to get your club to delete all the long series and have instead a number of short regatta style events.  That way you and your crew can pick and chose the events that you can sail in and those where you are unable to make it.  On the beer can races, don't make them a pointscore but every race a stand alone event with a smaller pickle dish awarded each race day instead a big pickle dish at the end of the year.  That way you can drop as many races as you want with out affecting the whole fleet.

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14 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

NOT being allowed to chuck a DSQ pretty much killed you

I was sailing in a OD class championship, State level, the largest fleet of that type in Aus at the time.  After two days I had it in the bag with nearly half my finishes first.

Last race I was hunted in a Port and Starboard in the first tack after the start.  Went to the room and was DSQ'd.  Came sixth.  If I had DNF'd I would have dropped that race and won the Title.

Them's the rulz.  Everyone has a story about DSQ's.

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Those of you who have promoted drops (over a series,not a regatta) have won me over. On balance you are correct in the interests of coming back next week. Cheers

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3 hours ago, random said:

OD class championship, State level, the largest fleet of that type in Aus at the time.

<> Wednesday Night Beercans

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9 hours ago, Left Shift said:

These two sentences are completely contradictory. 

If you won't show up for 8 weeks of casual  club racing because you can no longer win then you are not sailing to  have fun and to "eliminate stress" in your life.  

BTW, We don't care that you won, perhaps the protest against your crew was legitimate, and equating golf with sailboat racing while claiming both suck is indicative of perhaps larger problems.  

No, they aren't.

If you were told that you could play a round of golf, but no matter how well you did you'd be scored no better than 100, would you enjoy the round? Especially if you're capable of shooting in the 70s or 80s?

If you were told that if you committed to a summer long series, but you couldn't possibly finish any better than 3rd place no matter how many bullets you got, would that be any fun?

A summer-long series commitment is not the same as a week long regatta, a OD championship, etc.

Even if it's low key, if you have no chance of winning it will be no fucking fun.

Why would you even show up if you can't possibly win, no matter how well you do? I wouldn't - I'd pick a series at a different club.

So when your season is ended by a protest in week 2 of a ten week series, how is this fun to even finish you? You can't win, you can't even do well.

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31 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

No, they aren't.

If you were told that you could play a round of golf, but no matter how well you did you'd be scored no better than 100, would you enjoy the round? Especially if you're capable of shooting in the 70s or 80s?

If you were told that if you committed to a summer long series, but you couldn't possibly finish any better than 3rd place no matter how many bullets you got, would that be any fun?

A summer-long series commitment is not the same as a week long regatta, a OD championship, etc.

Even if it's low key, if you have no chance of winning it will be no fucking fun.

Why would you even show up if you can't possibly win, no matter how well you do? I wouldn't - I'd pick a series at a different club.

So when your season is ended by a protest in week 2 of a ten week series, how is this fun to even finish you? You can't win, you can't even do well.

Well, there you go.  No chance of winning = no fucking fun.  Q.E.D.  

Except for those who are out there for fun, out there with friends for a summer evening, out there to learn a new boat, out there to try a new sport, out there because they have a serious boat and this one is just for decompressing, out there so their girlfriend can drive....  Except for those folks

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50 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

<> Wednesday Night Beercans

So you are saying that a Yachting Australia sanctioned event that decides who goes to the worlds is Wednesday Night Beercans

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16 minutes ago, random said:
1 hour ago, B.J. Porter said:

<> Wednesday Night Beercans

So you are saying that a Yachting Australia sanctioned event that decides who goes to the worlds is Wednesday Night Beercans

So I need to explain to you what the symbol "<>" means?

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32 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Well, there you go.  No chance of winning = no fucking fun.  Q.E.D.  

Except for those who are out there for fun, out there with friends for a summer evening, out there to learn a new boat, out there to try a new sport, out there because they have a serious boat and this one is just for decompressing, out there so their girlfriend can drive....  Except for those folks

You have your choice of racing Wednesday night or Thursday night. On Wednesday if you sail well and prepare for the races, you have a chance of winning something and doing well. On Thursday, it doesn't matter how well you sail, you have been told you will never score higher than third over all, if you're lucky. Just because.

Which race is going to be more fun?

We're out for fun, too. Always were. Racing's not free, and I have only so many places and times I can race.

But if I'm going to spend the money and the time to go out and race, I'm going to do it someplace where I'm not statistically eliminated by a stupid rule in the SIs.

 

I'm pretty sure that if I had lost that bullshit protest and my contention for a prize was ended after week #2, my enthusiasm for showing up for week three would have been near zero.

Why prep the boat? Why practice? Why buy decent sails? Why pay for a diver to clean the bottom? Why show up at if you can't possibly compete? Racing is expensive. So is breaking shit and buying the crew dinner afterwards.

There were other series on the bay.

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Just now, B.J. Porter said:

You have two nights. One, you have a chance of doing well is you sail well. One, you do not.

Which race is going to be more fun?

We're out for fun, too. Always were. Racing's not free, and I have only so many places and times I can race.

But if I'm going to spend the money and the time to go out and race, I'm going to do it someplace where I'm not statistically eliminated by a stupid rule in the SIs.

Got it. 

Every body sails for a different reason.

The best rule for summer series that I've seen is to assume that in a 8 week series, people will sail 5 weeks.  People who race a lot of weeks score their five best week nights.  So there's a bonus for sailing a lot, but not a statistical elimination for others.  

So - standard response here -  join in the drafting of the SIs so they won't be so stupid.

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9 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Got it. 

Every body sails for a different reason.

The best rule for summer series that I've seen is to assume that in a 8 week series, people will sail 5 weeks.  People who race a lot of weeks score their five best week nights.  So there's a bonus for sailing a lot, but not a statistical elimination for others.  

So - standard response here -  join in the drafting of the SIs so they won't be so stupid.

I don't race any more, I sold the 40.7 after the 2005 season and bought a cruising boat. The only yacht club I still belong to is Musket Cove, because that's a lifetime membership.

But yeah, that's the general setup of the Wednesday night series at the club I used to belong to and race at - 10 races, three throwouts. So you can also go on the club cruise or take the family out for a week or two and not get penalized.

I just happened to think the "unchuckable DSQ" was skewed wildly because of the number of throwouts. If you had one throwout instead of three, being forced to keep an 11 wouldn't hurt you so badly because everyone else couldn't ditch so many other their bad nights. The rule seemed Draconian for a 3-throwout Wednesday night series, where the top boats in a ten boat fleet could chuck 30 points of bad racing.

It happened to bite me in the ass when my crew was covering for me while was out of town because the plug was being pulled on an immediate family member, so I had a lot of time to think about the policy. Trust me, I did NOT want to be dealing with it when it happened.

Other races, other venues, other events? No throwouts, no problem. You know what you're getting in for when you read the SIs and NOR.

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46 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

So I need to explain to you what the symbol "<>" means?

Yes apparently.  I get it now.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Got it. 

Every body sails for a different reason.

I heard myself telling a couple of sailing friends that I sailed for the competition, not just to win.  I haven't used that line again because I got the impression that they did not relate to that, they just wanted to win.  But winning by miles is not competition, that is often back in the pack swapping tacks with 'he who must be beaten'.

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Many moons ago,  2003ish, I was at a weekend regatta whose SIs stated format was two races on Saturday and one on Sunday. Saturday's second race turns into a drifter. Iron Genoas start firing up. Nothing surprising there. Back at the dock, one of the skippers that dropped out stated that that race would be his throw out. At the time, the rules stated that the minimum number of discards for a three race series was one. The SIs did not specify a change to that rule. When the RC tried to adjust this with a notice, the same skipper said you can not make a change like that once an event starts.

The drama does not end there. The popular theory was that the RC did not abandon race two because a home boat had already crossed the line. The skippers wanting their discards were from out of town. The end game was that the RC of a kind of prestigious      Local club looked pretty bad.

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30 minutes ago, RATM said:

Many moons ago,  2003ish, I was at a weekend regatta whose SIs stated format was two races on Saturday and one on Sunday. Saturday's second race turns into a drifter. Iron Genoas start firing up. Nothing surprising there. Back at the dock, one of the skippers that dropped out stated that that race would be his throw out. At the time, the rules stated that the minimum number of discards for a three race series was one. The SIs did not specify a change to that rule. When the RC tried to adjust this with a notice, the same skipper said you can not make a change like that once an event starts.

The drama does not end there. The popular theory was that the RC did not abandon race two because a home boat had already crossed the line. The skippers wanting their discards were from out of town. The end game was that the RC of a kind of prestigious      Local club looked pretty bad.

Skip was right --  Protest under 62.1 a)

I forget where - but I'm sure there's a case study which is just this scenario.

 

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3 hours ago, random said:

I heard myself telling a couple of sailing friends that I sailed for the competition, not just to win.  I haven't used that line again because I got the impression that they did not relate to that, they just wanted to win.  But winning by miles is not competition, that is often back in the pack swapping tacks with 'he who must be beaten'.

Your anecdotes of hearing yourself have no value buddy. There's nothing better than a horizon job.

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47 minutes ago, VOA said:

There's nothing better than a horizon job.

Correctte!  Evreybodey loves the storrey that endes with "Madame, theire is no secant"

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2 hours ago, duncan (the other one) said:

Skip was right --  Protest under 62.1 a)

I forget where - but I'm sure there's a case study which is just this scenario.

 

There was a protest but I'm not sure under what rule(s).

The morning of the last day, the skipper went to the notice board and saw that the RC had amended their SIs saying that there would be no discards. He locates the PRO and says you can't do that, the event has started. The PRO was not too thrilled at being told how to do his job. Flash forward and racing has finished, the committee boat has docked and has fired their 1 hour gun. One hour after this, the final scores are posted and, you guessed it, the RC scored the event with no discards.

When the skipper pipes up about this, he's informed that he missed his chance to file a protest, the hour has expired. Things devolved very quickly at this point. 

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8 hours ago, RATM said:

There was a protest but I'm not sure under what rule(s).

The morning of the last day, the skipper went to the notice board and saw that the RC had amended their SIs saying that there would be no discards. He locates the PRO and says you can't do that, the event has started. The PRO was not too thrilled at being told how to do his job. Flash forward and racing has finished, the committee boat has docked and has fired their 1 hour gun. One hour after this, the final scores are posted and, you guessed it, the RC scored the event with no discards.

When the skipper pipes up about this, he's informed that he missed his chance to file a protest, the hour has expired. Things devolved very quickly at this point. 

well they fucked that up, too.

62 REDRESS

..

62.2 A request shall be in writing and identify the reason for making it. If
the request is based on an incident in the racing area, it shall be
delivered to the race office within the protest time limit or two hours
after the incident, whichever is later. Other requests shall be
delivered as soon as reasonably possible after learning of the reasons
for making the request
. The protest committee shall extend the time
if there is good reason to do so. No red flag is required.

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Mind you I'm not sure theres any actual rule preventing the RC from changing the SIs to alter discards, so long as they do it in accordance with the procedure.

 

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13 hours ago, VOA said:
17 hours ago, random said:

I heard myself telling a couple of sailing friends that I sailed for the competition, not just to win.  I haven't used that line again because I got the impression that they did not relate to that, they just wanted to win.  But winning by miles is not competition, that is often back in the pack swapping tacks with 'he who must be beaten'.

Your anecdotes of hearing yourself have no value buddy. There's nothing better than a horizon job.

I always preferred actual victories to Pyrrhic ones.

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51 minutes ago, duncan (the other one) said:

I think you're right, but they need to do it before the series starts, not post.

As long as they follow the procedure stated in the SI's they can change the SI's. I don't think that this can only be done before the start of the series unless that is stated.

I would agree that changing the scoring system after the start of a series is unusual and could be unfair in some cases, but it in others it might be beneficial.

 

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43 minutes ago, JohnMB said:

As long as they follow the procedure stated in the SI's they can change the SI's. I don't think that this can only be done before the start of the series unless that is stated.

I would agree that changing the scoring system after the start of a series is unusual and could be unfair in some cases, but it in others it might be beneficial.

 

I don't disagree, but the participants adversely affected by decisions made after events have taken place, certainly have a case to argue under 62.1a) 

62 REDRESS
62.1 A request for redress or a protest committee’s decision to consider
redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat’s score or
place in a race or series has been or may be, through no fault of her
own, made significantly worse by
(a) an improper action or omission of the race committee

It probably boils down to whether the act of changing the scoring post-race was an improper action.

I very much doubt the original SI's say anything along the lines of 'changes to the sailing instructions may be made at any time before or after racing'. 

Generally, they say 'Any change to the SI's will be posted before xxxx on the day it will take effect'.

Given that the scoring policy directly affects the behaviour of competitors in a race (do they sit on they guy in 2nd who has no more drops, for example), I very much doubt the RC would be able to fairly fight a redress request.

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On 11/6/2018 at 5:55 PM, trt131 said:

Seems to me that there are two scenarios here, Regattas over a short period and long Club series. 

There should absolutely be no drops in a regatta as everybody is there for the whole event.  Things that happen on the race course that affect your results but our outside your control is just part of the game as in every other sport, you should accept that and get on with it.  I thinks its called luck and sometimes shit happens.

All the other comments are about longer club series where you can't turn up for what ever reason, be it family, work or shitty weather.  The answer to this is to get your club to delete all the long series and have instead a number of short regatta style events.  That way you and your crew can pick and chose the events that you can sail in and those where you are unable to make it.  On the beer can races, don't make them a pointscore but every race a stand alone event with a smaller pickle dish awarded each race day instead a big pickle dish at the end of the year.  That way you can drop as many races as you want with out affecting the whole fleet.

Yep, throws in club racing is fine, major regattas,count em all!

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2 hours ago, duncan (the other one) said:

I don't disagree, but the participants adversely affected by decisions made after events have taken place, certainly have a case to argue under 62.1a) 

62 REDRESS
62.1 A request for redress or a protest committee’s decision to consider
redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat’s score or
place in a race or series has been or may be, through no fault of her
own, made significantly worse by
(a) an improper action or omission of the race committee

It probably boils down to whether the act of changing the scoring post-race was an improper action.

I very much doubt the original SI's say anything along the lines of 'changes to the sailing instructions may be made at any time before or after racing'. 

Generally, they say 'Any change to the SI's will be posted before xxxx on the day it will take effect'.

Given that the scoring policy directly affects the behaviour of competitors in a race (do they sit on they guy in 2nd who has no more drops, for example), I very much doubt the RC would be able to fairly fight a redress request.

I deliberately avoided the redress issue in my earlier post. Major can of worms potential. The competitor doesn't just have to show that the decision affected their score they have to show it was improper as well. I have no idea what the outcome would be, and would hope that the only reason an RC would change the scoring system after the start of the series would be because they were asked to by the fleet representative, and were comfortable that the whole fleet agreed with the change. (I have seen this  happen when a fleet realized that the 'standard' wording that had always been in there had been missed out by mistake and they only figured it out on the saturday night of a 2 day event.)

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