sshow bob

Can rating authority authorize powered winches?

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This is an issue that arose two seasons ago. I believe I began a thread then but I was unable to locate it this morning. I apologize for duplicate content if that is what this is. Here is the question:

May a boat race using powered mainsail trim, winches or ram, if the regional PHRF authority says its rating incorporates that powered trim device, but the NOR and SIs for a race invoke the RRS and do not contain language excepting the prohibition against the use of such a device?

There are other questions, including whether it is worth driving out a participating boat through a protest; and, why not just sail better and beat them?

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3 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

This is an issue that arose two seasons ago. I believe I began a thread then but I was unable to locate it this morning. I apologize for duplicate content if that is what this is. Here is the question:

May a boat race using powered mainsail trim, winches or ram, if the regional PHRF authority says its rating incorporates that powered trim device, but the NOR and SIs for a race invoke the RRS and do not contain language excepting the prohibition against the use of such a device?

There are other questions, including whether it is worth driving out a participating boat through a protest; and, why not just sail better and beat them?

Generally, what's the point? 

Does the powered gear make them faster? 

does the powered gear save windage or weight ? 

Does it allow a smaller/older/less able crew to compete at all ? 

 

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I found my old post, and my reply to it. I am posting it here in case someone finds this thread:

“This thread didn't attract many answers (though I appreciate yours, Brass), but I did get an answer from our PHRF regional authority, and thought I'd post it so that if anyone else stumbles onto this thread, the answer is here:   At least with respect to PHRF-NE, I'm told that there is no rating adjustment for powered winches, and that PHRF-NE does not have any superceding rules that are imposed over local rules.  So, in our instance, unless the NOR and/or SI's call for a modification or deletion of Rule 52, the no powered winches rule is in effect”

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1 minute ago, sshow bob said:

So, in our instance, unless the NOR and/or SI's call for a modification or deletion of Rule 52, the no powered winches rule is in effect”

Fair enough for some level of competition where powered winches would allow you to have less meat on board. 

But in any race that would be run regionally by GMORA et al is that really a factor? 

Do you potentially exclude the older, smaller (female?) crews that can no longer grind in the sheets? 

 

 

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1 minute ago, LionessRacing said:

Generally, what's the point? 

Does the powered gear make them faster? 

does the powered gear save windage or weight ? 

Does it allow a smaller/older/less able crew to compete at all ? 

 

Well, we race an older boat designed to be raced with crew, but we are double handed. We have to make some decisions about when to tack, or how many tacks to take, based on our stamina rather than pure tactics, at least on some days. We work on our fitness to address that, of course. Racing against a boat that does not put the same load on its crew means racing against a boat that can make different, more effective, tactical choices. So that makes them faster, at least effectively.

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5 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

Well, we race an older boat designed to be raced with crew, but we are double handed. We have to make some decisions about when to tack, or how many tacks to take, based on our stamina rather than pure tactics, at least on some days. We work on our fitness to address that, of course. Racing against a boat that does not put the same load on its crew means racing against a boat that can make different, more effective, tactical choices. So that makes them faster, at least effectively.

Their use of power does not make their boat intrinsically faster, it makes them more capable, and probably safer for the crew they have. You are limited by your choice to race doublehanded and thus wish to limit them so that you are not overmatched. 

Understandably you have a choice, you can protest them for adding power to compensate for small crew or you can join them and perhaps encourage race organizers to add a division for shorthanded with aids such as Autopilot and power ?  

Would you protest if the powered winch was used to only hoist sails? 

we have a powered anchor windlass and it's able to rig a halyard which we use for the bosun's chair, I guess we could run the main sail up if we wanted to... 

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Too many assumptions there.  The boat at issue is a fully found modern boat with professional crew, at least in part.  Thery are not short handed, small, weak, or otherwise limited.  The next argument will be, well then the powered gear is not actually making a difference because they could trim manually without the powered sheet.  That may be so,  but I understand that they are not, or were not.

Regarding using a powered winch to hoist, I presume that would be done before the relevant gun, and thus not a violation.  I think it would be a violation during a race.  Perhaps something to self report and request redress, like motoring out of the way of a tanker in light air, if used to reef.  I would think not ok if used to adjust halyard tension from run to beat.

That said, my goal is not to protest anyone.  My goal is to achieve a class modification similar to what you describe.

 

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Used correctly powered winches do enhance performance. Sailed on a boat a few years ago with powerred winches and saw the following benefits

- with control buttons on located strategically around the boat we were able to easily trim a leeward winch from the high side. Weight stays on the weather rail

- hoisting the kite at the top mark meant no need to bump at the mast leaving one or two people able to hike all the way around the turn as the kite went up. 

- trimming downwind there is none of the noise of “grind, stop” between trimmer and grinder. Quieter boat Abel to focus on trim while others get head out of the boat and communicate effectively. 

- trimming downwind in big breeze allowed more weight aft without the need for a grinder at the spin sheet winch

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59 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

eir use of power does not make their boat intrinsically faster, it makes them more capable, and probably safer for the crew they have. You are limited by your choice to race doublehanded and thus wish to limit them so that you are not overmatched. 

This does not accurately reflect my sentiment. I would like to level an aspect of field. I will state without shame that the other boat is better prepared than mine. I am addressing that. I will also state that the one crew member I know is better than I am, has beaten me consistently when we both sailed other boats, and is just an experienced and talented sailor. He has earned that. I have a host of second places to his wins. I would like to beat him sometimes, lose to him sometimes, and share in reminiscing with him either way. I simply want to do that on a level field. 

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An individual organizing authority (Club) can change the Regional Authority (PHRF Organization)  rules in their regatta NOR and SIs however they want.  However it would disqualify that particular regatta from trophies, seasonal standings, etc that the Regional Authority might offer. Happens often. 

 

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1 hour ago, sshow bob said:

This does not accurately reflect my sentiment. I would like to level an aspect of field. I will state without shame that the other boat is better prepared than mine. I am addressing that. I will also state that the one crew member I know is better than I am, has beaten me consistently when we both sailed other boats, and is just an experienced and talented sailor. He has earned that. I have a host of second places to his wins. I would like to beat him sometimes, lose to him sometimes, and share in reminiscing with him either way. I simply want to do that on a level field. 

How is my statement not compatible?

You want "a level field" 

You can either:  

  • Stop racing
  • add crew to allow you to tack when/where you want
  • add powered winches to your boat
  • deprive them of the use of theirs
  • Have them stop racing

What's the best solution? 

 

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Of all the difference makers out there - powered winch is a strange item to focus on. 

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25 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

How is my statement not compatible?

You want "a level field" 

You can either:  

  • Stop racing
  • add crew to allow you to tack when/where you want
  • add powered winches to your boat
  • deprive them of the use of theirs
  • Have them stop racing

What's the best solution? 

 

you missed one:

enforce the current rule

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The rating authority giving a boat a rating is a different animal from the OA allowing a boat to race. Is the same thing as a club putting in a maximum or minimum rating for an event, boats outside of the band are not eligible to race even though they have a rating. 

 

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NorCal PHRF just cleaned this up.  If you've got 'em you have to declare 'em.  OYRA, SSS and for some races, Berkeley YC, modify their NOR's to allow their use.

As we get older, I bump into skippers and crew with rotator cuff tears (among other issues).  If this keeps some of them on the water it's a good thing, so hopefully more OA's will modify their NOR's to allow power winches.  At this point it's all about keeping boats racing.

OTOH, a local King 40 installed them to enhance performance.  For example, with aggressive gearing, they can be used to keep the boat on the step.  That boat's rating got hit 19 sec/mile (it might have been more).  So like with other things, give your PHRF committee accurate data and let them do their job.

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I agree with the overarching goal of keeping people racing. I am not sure that is the driver in the circumstance here. At the same time I did not protest them in 2018, the last year I raced against them. I sat 2019 out. 

My initial question was a legal question. What to do with the information is another process for me. I am more inclined to push for a rule that permits some use of powered equipment for all than I am to protest them.

That said, rules are rules. I do not engage my autopilot on races in which rule 52 is not modified, even though it would make my boat more capable, as Lioness put it, because the rules prohibit it. To revisit his post again, it would certainly make us safer in some circumstances.  Having two free bodies to do certain evolutions would be better for our crew of two.  We would be much less likely to injure ourselves. 

We will sail by the rules. We would like everyone sailing by the same rules. 

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Is it OK to bring a giant RC boat and race it from ashore.

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For Galveston Bay there is one offshore race each fall that allows powered winched in the cruising classes.  That is the only instance I know of in these parts. You can use them before the race (hoist a mainsail etc) but just like the engine it's a big nope during the race.

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4 hours ago, Panoramix said:

Is it OK to bring a giant RC boat and race it from ashore.

Nope.  Electric winches....

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6 hours ago, Veeger said:

Nope.  Electric winches....

Good!

I just can't believe that some are considering removing the athletic aspect of a sport which is already not that athletic for most classes.

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22 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

you missed one:

enforce the current rule

aka "deprive them of the use"... 

 

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There was a boat on the bay, I think snozzel or something like that. With power winch’s, super fast. They had buttons to activate the winch’s from the weather rail. So they could trim the jib or main from a full hike. I think they changed the power winch penalty because of this boat.  

 

Found it 

 

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Quote

I simply want to do that on a level field. 

Using powered winches does not make a level field.   Yes, Snozzedled used power winches and would round a leward mark and press a bottom with all the crew on the weather rail.

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38 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

aka "deprive them of the use"... 

 

Deprive as used here suggests to me the wrongful taking of something to which they are entitled. Asking someone to not use something expressly barred by the rules is not deprivation, it is asking someone to not cheat. The sense that they are entitled to use a tool that is expressly barred by the rules they choose to play under, and that asking about it is the distasteful act strikes me as inverted. That said, and again: my goal is to see Rule 52 amended by the SIs to allow their conduct, and the conduct in which I would like to engage on occasion, not to disqualify them. 

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5 minutes ago, solosailor said:

Using powered winches does not make a level field.   Yes, Snozzedled used power winches and would round a leward mark and press a bottom with all the crew on the weather rail.

Agreed.  Powered winches are most certainly an advantage,  or they'd not use them. 

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23 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

Deprive as used here suggests to me the wrongful taking of something to which they are entitled. Asking someone to not use something expressly barred by the rules is not deprivation, it is asking someone to not cheat. The sense that they are entitled to use a tool that is expressly barred by the rules they choose to play under, and that asking about it is the distasteful act strikes me as inverted. That said, and again: my goal is to see Rule 52 amended by the SIs to allow their conduct, and the conduct in which I would like to engage on occasion, not to disqualify them. 

I'm fine with you requiring somebody to follow the rules, and you should not have to do it.  We should expect people to honorably comply.  

I have no idea if these folks are even aware of the prohibition, or are cynically cheating to win more races.  

You are clearly torn about it, and you have the choices that are listed, to prevail in depriving them of their powered winches in a race that you are entered in such that they don't have an unfair advantage. 

If you know that they are aware and intentionally cheating, then that's a different slant than they merely equipped the boat to accomodate older/smaller/fewer crew and are not realizing that's outside of the rules. 

If you petition your local organizing entities to have a class where power assists are allowed and rated, that may be a less confrontational means than directly protesting them and perhaps that's an evolution that would allow for use of autopilots at single/doublehanded and power for a crew size below a certain number vs Boat size etc. 

Presumably in a protest you would need to be able to prove that they were using power and not manual mode. 

Expect that one likely outcome is that they stop racing... 

 

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Thanks LR. I agree and recognize that the choices you present are the choices. I am not out to cast people away from racing. I agree that that is a risk, and not one I approach lightly. I  going to chew on it all before acting, or not acting. 

The self policing issue rankles me because, as you say, it ought not fall to another competitor to police a boat. I am serving as bar disciplinary counsel these days. You have have helped me reflect carefully on how my current bent towards ethics policing and prosecution may inform my feelings and approach here. That is a useful check. Thank you. 

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On 2/9/2020 at 6:05 PM, LionessRacing said:

I'm fine with you requiring somebody to follow the rules, and you should not have to do it.  We should expect people to honorably comply.  

I have no idea if these folks are even aware of the prohibition, or are cynically cheating to win more races.  

You are clearly torn about it, and you have the choices that are listed, to prevail in depriving them of their powered winches in a race that you are entered in such that they don't have an unfair advantage. 

If you know that they are aware and intentionally cheating, then that's a different slant than they merely equipped the boat to accomodate older/smaller/fewer crew and are not realizing that's outside of the rules. 

If you petition your local organizing entities to have a class where power assists are allowed and rated, that may be a less confrontational means than directly protesting them and perhaps that's an evolution that would allow for use of autopilots at single/doublehanded and power for a crew size below a certain number vs Boat size etc. 

Presumably in a protest you would need to be able to prove that they were using power and not manual mode. 

Expect that one likely outcome is that they stop racing... 

 

If you follow this logic of "everybody has a right to race", you end up letting anybody enter cycle races with electric bikes! I do have sympathy for disabled sport, a few weeks ago my rowing club entered in our river head a boat coxed by a guy that got a brain injury in a plane accident, they didn't crash and the guy was over the moon he managed to take good lines despite the strong current and his disability. We just find the right condition for disabled people to have fun while others still enjoy proper races. On the other hand, letting everybody have electric winches is simply denaturing the sport of sailing. If the lack of electric winch is an actual problem for them you can always petition your club for a rule allowing crew over 65 (or pick an appropriate number!) to use them. They can have fun while others still enjoy proper racing. The club could also try to find a few crew for them, that's win - win.

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On 2/9/2020 at 7:05 PM, LionessRacing said:

If you petition your local organizing entities to have a class where power assists are allowed and rated, that may be a less confrontational means than directly protesting them and perhaps that's an evolution that would allow for use of autopilots at single/doublehanded and power for a crew size below a certain number vs Boat size etc. 

It seems that the power assist is already rated, but not allowed:

On 2/8/2020 at 4:10 PM, sshow bob said:

May a boat race using powered mainsail trim, winches or ram, if the regional PHRF authority says its rating incorporates that powered trim device, but the NOR and SIs for a race invoke the RRS and do not contain language excepting the prohibition against the use of such a device?

 

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On 2/8/2020 at 3:15 PM, LionessRacing said:

Generally, what's the point? 

Does the powered gear make them faster? 

does the powered gear save windage or weight ? 

Does it allow a smaller/older/less able crew to compete at all ? 

 

Grinder pedestals, driveshafts , clutches. , bevel boxes ..... take up huge interior volume and dictate the deck ,cockpit layout 

 

power winches make a lot of sense. 

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6 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

Grinder pedestals, driveshafts , clutches. , bevel boxes ..... take up huge interior volume and dictate the deck ,cockpit layout 

 

power winches make a lot of sense. 

less crew, less flights, less rooms, smaller crew, way smaller bar tab= cheaper racing

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buttons can be on the high side.., and some of these winches and line handling systems can ease and trim...

less weight to leeward is a big advantage.

but the solution is to have the NOR invoke class rules, and modify RRS for some classes - let each class in the regatta follow their class rules. if a PHRF class wants to allow power winches, race in a class that doesn't allow them, or find another regatta.

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Anyone - except One Australia - can cross sheet and trim from the windward side; this is not a significant advantage of electric winches.

Two reasonably trained crew on a single pedestal can outperform any equivalent DC powered winch through most maneuvers. The motor will win when the winch is top handled. It's difficult to rationalize why I can add a grinding pedestal but not DC motors provided the crew size stays the same. The pedestal generally detracts from the value of the boat whereas the motors generally increase its value.

That said, I completely agree that the RRS prohibits the use of stored energy and that, unless the SIs specifically alter Rule 52, those using electric winches are in violation and should not compete and be DSQ if they do.

Engine driven hydraulics are an entirely different story.

 

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5 hours ago, Moonduster said:

Anyone - except One Australia - can cross sheet and trim from the windward side; this is not a significant advantage of electric winches.

Two reasonably trained crew on a single pedestal can outperform any equivalent DC powered winch through most maneuvers. The motor will win when the winch is top handled. It's difficult to rationalize why I can add a grinding pedestal but not DC motors provided the crew size stays the same. The pedestal generally detracts from the value of the boat whereas the motors generally increase its value.

That said, I completely agree that the RRS prohibits the use of stored energy and that, unless the SIs specifically alter Rule 52, those using electric winches are in violation and should not compete and be DSQ if they do.

Engine driven hydraulics are an entirely different story.

 

So, I take it that you don't consider diesel fuel as 'stored energy'.....?

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At our club, issues like this are discussed at the pre-season race meetings. A balance is found between enabling an exceptional boat, say powered winches for a disabled member, and having pure level racing...especially in PHRF which is a crap shoot at best.

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Seems to me the powered penalty is reducing so you can race a boat without gorillas who might be professional cyclists.

I seem to remember a certain regatta a while back where half the crew where not sailors so as to meet the powered need.

( oh yes I'm a professional sailor but I cant sail....)

Isnt it meant to be yacht racing by sailors?

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Just leave it up to the class rules and the NOR/SI's.., of course, nobody should do it if it's not permitted and they haven't declared it for rating purposes

larger boats, including super yachts, and offshore catamarans (gunboats) mostly always race with powered winches.

The newport bermuda race permits powered winches for some classes

ORR permits you to declare that you use powered winches to trim sails - and if you are going to do it in the bermuda race, you need to be in a class that permits it.., and have rating that reflects it..

I think it is permitted for all Finisterre (cruising class) boats in the race - as long as their ORR cert has it declared

It would be interesting to see ORR certificates for the same boat with and without use of powered winches

 

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So, I take it that you don't consider diesel fuel as 'stored energy'.....

Diesel is certainly stored energy. What's a "different story" is that a good hydraulic winch package driven by a diesel engine is an entirely different animal from winches with DC motors bolted up. Different trade offs, different performance advantages, etc.

 

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going back to the original post, PHRF-NE doesn't differentiate between a boat with or without powered winches. Therefore, it would seem as if the governing rule would be Rule 52, and if the NOR and SI didn't modify rule 52 to use powered winches then the boat was out of compliance and could have (should have?) been protested.

The convenience of powered winches has nothing to do with it. In my club, I've been approached by skippers whose boats have powered winches and asked to modify the SI's to allow them to participate in an event. Depending on the event, I've made that accommodation in order to keep participation high. But all participants would be aware of the change to the SI's and so no surprises. If I decided not to make that change, and a boat competed and used its stored power, I would hope another boat would call them on it. We all need to race within the rules as written, not as wished for.

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I would expect to take a I rating hit from powered winches and different for elec and halyard only versus trimming

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In answer to the question, a rating or handicap authority is to rate or handicap the speed of the boat. If powered winches create some speed advantage, their job is to rate or handicap that.

Conditions of the race are set by an organizing authority. It the organizing authority wishes to waive powered winches, this boat is in. If they do not wish to waive powered winches, this boat won't be in this event.

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I would expect to take a I rating hit from powered winches and different for elec and halyard only versus trimming

This approach just doesn't work. Snatch block arrangements allow any winch to be used for any function. In reality, it's all or none from a rating perspective.

 

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Here's the actual rule from the ORR rulebook:

4.08 Energy Storage 
Unless modified by the Race Organizing Authority the prohibition on the use of stored energy while racing - RRS 52 Manual Power - shall not apply to trimming, hoisting, reefing, furling or dousing of sails, adjusting of backstays and running rigging. 
 
Please refer to ORR Appendix 7 for boats rated with movable ballast (water ballast or canting keel). 
4.08.1 The use of stored power for the hoisting of mainsails, or the reefing or furling of sails need not be declared. 
4.08.2 Boats using stored power solely for the adjustment or operation of backstays shall declare this to the Rating Authority. There will be no rating change. 
4.08.3 Boats using stored power for the adjustment or operation of running rigging other than as noted in Rules 4.08.1 and 4.08.2 shall declare this to the Rating Authority and shall result in a rating adjustment.
 
This is an interesting read, because it takes the opposite stance of the RRS - "...the prohibition on the use of stored energy... shall not apply to trimming, hoisting, etc.."
As it was explained to me by the ORR rules expert, this essentially means that an OA would need to get written permission from ORA to invoke Rule 52, whereas I think most racers would be looking to the OA to exclude Rule 52. Clearly the old adage "to keep a secret from a sailor, put it in the SI's" needs to be amended to include rating rules as well.

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Pretty fucked up that ORR allows powered winches (without limitation) to be used for asail hoists and gybes. But put a runner on a powered winch and you get a rating hit.

 

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On 2/14/2020 at 2:12 AM, Moonduster said:

I would expect to take a I rating hit from powered winches and different for elec and halyard only versus trimming

This approach just doesn't work. Snatch block arrangements allow any winch to be used for any function. In reality, it's all or none from a rating perspective.

 

protestable, so not really a problem as you can hear the electric ones used when there is no hoist

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Right, not really a problem. You do the rest of us a favor and follow them around the course. Keep a close eye.

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On 2/14/2020 at 9:31 PM, Moonduster said:

Pretty fucked up that ORR allows powered winches (without limitation) to be used for asail hoists and gybes. But put a runner on a powered winch and you get a rating hit.

 

Moonduster, you read that backwards. backstays/runners need to be declared but get no hit. if you trim mains, jibs and a-sails that you get a hit. and raising sails don't even require mention.

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On 2/10/2020 at 12:30 AM, IMR said:

There was a boat on the bay, I think snozzel or something like that. With power winch’s, super fast. They had buttons to activate the winch’s from the weather rail. So they could trim the jib or main from a full hike. I think they changed the power winch penalty because of this boat.  

 

Found it 

It is quite simple. IRC will adjust the rating as it did for this boat and others. Now you are good to go.  Maybe other ratings could do the same so we all can go about enjoying our sport. 

 

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The question of "Can a rating authority authorize powered winches?"..How do you define authorize? A rating authority can either make a rating adjustment or not do so with regards to the powered winches, sure. But the rating authority can't tell the host club(s) that they need to have a waiver for RRS 52 (Manual Power) in their NOR and/or SI's in their events. 

 

The winches may or may not be fairly rated (esp. in PHRF), but that is a completely separate issue than "Is it legal under the RRS of sailing?". Which, as mentioned, if there is no language in the NOR/SI's that provides a waiver or suspension of RRS 52, then any boat using powered winches while racing in an event held under the RRS would be breaking the rules, and should be protested. The self-policing thing with sailboat racing that is supposedly one of the great tenets of "Corinthian racing" doesn't work if people don't protest boats that break rules.

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used mine on a couples race a couple years back to furl in screacher  ...... somebody made a remark, I had no idea..lol    dropped out of the race and let another couple win ..

no big deal 

 

for our own races since than, we add to the NOR and SI that electric winches are allowed. They are not as fast as experienced crew anyhow. It also sets a tone to allow older folks to race and be inclusive. We need every participant we can get 

 

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