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PHRF fleets dying?


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#1 Editor

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 04:29 AM

Another Reader Rant! First of all a big shout out to all of those that organized and participated in this years SYCA Midwinter Regatta. Just because no one shows up doesn't mean we don't appreciate all your hard work. The turn out and enthusiasm, at least where we were, was pathetic. PHRF AA had four boats, PHRF A had four boats and one was unable to compete on Sunday, PHRF B had five boats and PHRF C had seven for a grand total of twenty competitors. The after race activities were inactive and the trophy presentation was a magical and memorable five minutes. What is the problem here? Clearly I am not the only one to notice this phenomenon. Comments?

#2 TMSAIL

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:20 AM

Another Reader Rant! First of all a big shout out to all of those that organized and participated in this years SYCA Midwinter Regatta. Just because no one shows up doesn't mean we don't appreciate all your hard work. The turn out and enthusiasm, at least where we were, was pathetic. PHRF AA had four boats, PHRF A had four boats and one was unable to compete on Sunday, PHRF B had five boats and PHRF C had seven for a grand total of twenty competitors. The after race activities were inactive and the trophy presentation was a magical and memorable five minutes. What is the problem here? Clearly I am not the only one to notice this phenomenon. Comments?

Sounds like a regatta that needs some help.

I chair a major Regatta and we have been pretty stable at 50/50 PHRF vs OD over the last 5 years.
I firmly believe that Regattas need to be constantly striving to keep things exciting. When the NOODs started most clubs were running Triangles or Olympic courses.
The NOOD and other large regattas made W/L into the course to use.
Boats were attracted to gate marks, off sets, multiple circles.
Now most large areas have adopted W/L as the norm.

Time for a Change??

#3 Phoenix

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 12:26 PM

I can't really address the west coast issues. However, here on the Chesapeake Bay we have a similar problem. Handicap participation is dwindling while one design participation is somewhat stable in most fleets. I believe that there are two major factors and several minor factors contributing to this decline.

Handicap racing is not suited for short W/L courses. Unless the splits are very narrow and the boats are similar it's just bad racing. Go to longer legs at least and throw in some reaching. Handicap racing is about boat speed and seamanship, not starts and corners. Longer legs place a premium on positioning relative to the weather, not threading your way through 30 boats to the weather mark.

Group the boats according to relative performance profiles. Racing a J-35 with a Mumm 30 tells you nothing about anything. It would be far more interesting to everyone if the J-35 raced against a wider band of more similar boats than going out to the start, looking at the conditions and just going home. We're getting more and more of that.

Reduce the crew limit by about 40%. Ten on a J-35 is like being in the New York subway at rush hour. Make the crew limit six with longer legs and some actual dynamic sail trimming and everyone gets to participate without blowing snot bubbles. I'd like to see how well some of these guys with Mumm 30's do with three, maybe four in 15 knots upwind.

You know there is a problem when owner's groups get more boats for a fun race than show up for sanctioned races. You know there is a problem when a charity non spinnaker race is the biggest draw of the summer in Annapolis. None of this is news. It has been happening for years. When I ask the race committees why they are going to shorter and shorter courses they tell me that it's because that's what the racers want. If that truly is what the racers want, then why is participation declining?

#4 barleymalt

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 12:48 PM

This seems to be a pretty common complaint across sailing. My $.02, FWIW is that it is probably due to a combination of things. First, sailors have increasingly more time commits outside sailing including work, family and other interests. Serious races are almost always scheduled on weekends, a lot of us can't sail every weekend. Why are there no good weeknight races? Second, the cost of racing, and to stay competitive in sails and prep with your average racer/cruiser is getting steeper. Third, as Phoenix points out, the types of boats that are handicapped together are different enough that getting competitive racing is difficult. Fourth, a lot of the venues involve long rides out to the course, which adds a couple hours to the time. There are groups of racers that want W/L courses, and groups that want triangle courses and often won't sail the other. And lastly, most of the after race events are overpriced and lame. When you are tired of paying $5 for a shitty beer and $6 or $7 for a shittier hamburger while watching 70 year olds feebly dance to horrific music, you go elsewhere.

#5 sailman

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:17 PM

There's a formula for driving the PHRF fleets into non-existence! Limit participation?!? :blink: You are on the mark about getting tighter groupings and putting similar boats together. I think the ED had the call about the administration being part of a root cause.

Weight limits, crew limits, cruising credits, roller furling credits, golf handicaps, and Industry Professional Rules are impediments to PHRF racing.

Short courses and WL are fine, having the occational reaching leg race should be reserved for weekend races where you have the time to run longer races, not week night racing.


Will Museler

I can't really address the west coast issues. However, here on the Chesapeake Bay we have a similar problem. Handicap participation is dwindling while one design participation is somewhat stable in most fleets. I believe that there are two major factors and several minor factors contributing to this decline.

Handicap racing is not suited for short W/L courses. Unless the splits are very narrow and the boats are similar it's just bad racing. Go to longer legs at least and throw in some reaching. Handicap racing is about boat speed and seamanship, not starts and corners. Longer legs place a premium on positioning relative to the weather, not threading your way through 30 boats to the weather mark.

Group the boats according to relative performance profiles. Racing a J-35 with a Mumm 30 tells you nothing about anything. It would be far more interesting to everyone if the J-35 raced against a wider band of more similar boats than going out to the start, looking at the conditions and just going home. We're getting more and more of that.

Reduce the crew limit by about 40%. Ten on a J-35 is like being in the New York subway at rush hour. Make the crew limit six with longer legs and some actual dynamic sail trimming and everyone gets to participate without blowing snot bubbles. I'd like to see how well some of these guys with Mumm 30's do with three, maybe four in 15 knots upwind.

You know there is a problem when owner's groups get more boats for a fun race than show up for sanctioned races. You know there is a problem when a charity non spinnaker race is the biggest draw of the summer in Annapolis. None of this is news. It has been happening for years. When I ask the race committees why they are going to shorter and shorter courses they tell me that it's because that's what the racers want. If that truly is what the racers want, then why is participation declining?



#6 sabay

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:25 PM

I think the story is the same all over. Sailboat racing is down. The number of new people entering the sport is very low. This may be due to the amount of time sailboat racing requires.

#7 DriverEd

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:30 PM

I could be way off base here - but I think there is a greater gap between the "cruisers" and the "racers" of the world, which makes it intimidating to even get out on the course. I talk to some of the people in our area that used to race, and they would race a couple races a year and have a chance at winning something. If those same people were to go out today, they woulds still be trying to get to the windward mark while the racers are heading in for the first beer at the club.

Also, the boats have started to diverge. Most boats on the course are racer/cruiser boats. In the 70's and 80's, you could take your Bristol 35.5 out and do pretty well, and you can still do that today. Try to take a Beneteau Oceanis with a roller furling main or a hunter with a two inch keel and try to go to weather - it won't happen. Now you can get a First Series Beneteau, or a C&C or J109 and go out and compete, but the cruise boats are getting more condolike and will not sail to any rating. You make a choice when you buy a boat, and the choice for most people is to cruise instead of race, so they go with the condo.

I have some fiercly competitive people on my crew, former college athletes that still are very involved in rec level athletics, but they are going to buy a big hunter because they can go race on OP boats, and come back to the dock with the comforts of home. And if they are cruising, it has a big engine for when you are not reaching in optimal conditions.

#8 sailman

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:03 PM

I could be way off base here - but I think there is a greater gap between the "cruisers" and the "racers" of the world, which makes it intimidating to even get out on the course. I talk to some of the people in our area that used to race, and they would race a couple races a year and have a chance at winning something. If those same people were to go out today, they woulds still be trying to get to the windward mark while the racers are heading in for the first beer at the club.

Also, the boats have started to diverge. Most boats on the course are racer/cruiser boats. In the 70's and 80's, you could take your Bristol 35.5 out and do pretty well, and you can still do that today. Try to take a Beneteau Oceanis with a roller furling main or a hunter with a two inch keel and try to go to weather - it won't happen. Now you can get a First Series Beneteau, or a C&C or J109 and go out and compete, but the cruise boats are getting more condolike and will not sail to any rating. You make a choice when you buy a boat, and the choice for most people is to cruise instead of race, so they go with the condo.

I have some fiercly competitive people on my crew, former college athletes that still are very involved in rec level athletics, but they are going to buy a big hunter because they can go race on OP boats, and come back to the dock with the comforts of home. And if they are cruising, it has a big engine for when you are not reaching in optimal conditions.


Good point about the floating condos. I still can not understand the thought process behind buying a Hunter or similar such abboration. There are plenty of cruisers out there which can actually sail and have accomodations, the Hunters seem to attract those who prefer the ammenities of Power Boats and suffer the performance loss because of it. My thinking is that the people buying those boats are not competative minded sailors and probably not that competent in terms of racing boat handling. But if they want to come out and race there should be a Cruising or Navigator division where they sail away from the WL course so that they can have reaching legs and not tangle with those who are faster and more competative.

Just my three cents.

Will Museler

#9 carcrash

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:10 PM

For decades, I used to race every possible race every year. Generally, 48-50 weekends per year, and about another 100 weekday races during the summer. Oceanic, port to port, overnight, round the cans, local, international, one design, olympic classes, windsurfers, box rules, and arbitrary and measurement handicap.

Now, I race two or three regattas per year.

Those few regattas are the most fun I know, and all are in Hawaii: Waikiki-Ko'Olina, Three Day Around Oahu, and Lahaina-Waikiki return. And a few Friday Night races out of the Ala Wai.

I concentrate on the aspects that bring enjoyment: the people, the conditions, the beauty, the responsiveness of the boat -- simply sailing and feeling good. Sure, we sail very hard, and celebrate like crazy when we squeek out a boat-for-boat win against a faster boat, cheer over the pickle dish in the bar, but at the end of the day, its realizing we all just had a great time. Great time sailing, great time before and afterwards.

Every handicap race boat I see built for the last zillion years is frustrating because they are always, ALWAYS much slower than they need to be. The game played by the designers is to "optimize" by introducing characteristics that slow the boat down, but where the "rule" thinks it slows it down more. I was very close to throwing down a wad of cash on a boat last summer, until I realized that the owner had spent the entire time he owned the boat "optimizing" the rating by making it go slower and slower and slower. No sale.

As CCA gave way to IOR, seaworthyness got the short shrift. As IOR evolved to a Grand Prix rule, the boats became so useless offshore that people began literally dying, and owners of even Maxis stopped doing overnight races, preferring a hotel to a berth on their yacht. How bizarre is that? IMS continued that trend with utterly bogus interiors that are all the same on all the boats.

Remember when berths did not get wet? When the galley was actually useful for feeding hot meals to a crew when underway? When a head could actually be used?

The result is a buch of race boats that are so horrible to sail that they are always powered to and from the start line, and stay bound to their slips between races.

Oh, for PHRF you can buy a clorox bottle built by Catalina, Beneteau, Jeanneau, Hunter, etc that is ugly, fat, slow, and so horrible under sail that I almost never see one without an engine running.

Clearly, the boats are stupid pigs, so who wants to sail one.

But the other aspect is the crew size: as the boats have become so fat, they respond well to properly placed moveable ballast. At one time this was cool, because you could and would pack the boat with friends, bring along a bunch of beer and pot, and everyone would have a great time. But soon, the role of rail meat became that of long, slow, wet, cold torture. Odd, no one wants to come sailing anymore.

DUH!!

So, to solve this problem:

1) Sink every clorox bottle, IRC, IMS, and IOR boat. This will clear out the marinas.
2) Make handicap rules for yacht racing, not for stupid boat racing. Yacht: something you want to spend a lot of time aboard.
3) Discourage anything that takes a lot of highly skilled crew, like running backs or spinnaker poles.
4) Encourage anything that adds to the fun and comfort of the total crew: sail plans that can go from "enough for 3 knots TWS" down to "enough for 40 knots" easily and safely (like the Open and ORMA classes); no hiking; dodgers for bad weather; full and ergonomic galleys for hot meals underway; responsive boats with nice motions. Note that nothing on this list means "slow" or "expensive."
5) Discourage anything that needlessly adds expense, especially if it increases danger, like carbon hulls, decks, and foils (masts and spars are OK), idiotic sail material like 3DL that deteriorates at the rate of $100 to $500 per hour of use, and canting keels. Don't outlaw, but don't give any advantage. If carbon boats are winning, their handicaps need to be increased until they only do when they sail the most perfect race possible with all the possible luck factors thrown in.
6) Race in beautiful places. In Southern California, this means generally NOT in LA/LB harbor, or SD bay, but offshore -- get back to the islands. Do port to port, these still have some popularity, and would be more popular again if the boats wern't such sewers to stay aboard.

Doesn't anyone remember overnight racing, how fun that was? Propping the dinner plate on your knees having lasagna warmed in the oven, climbing into a warm and dry berth, coming up on watch to see the canopy of stars or the soft glow of wet fog, matching sail changes to sail changes, tack for tack with competitors whose running lights dip between the swells, creeping around dark islands hearing the booming of unseen sea caves, stumblinig back down below at end of watch, stripping off the wet foul weather gear, and back into a warm bunk.

#10 Ned

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:16 PM

From Phoenix: "You know there is a problem when owner's groups get more boats for a fun race than show up for sanctioned races."

Maybe that's because the sanctioned races aren't fun? People have better ways to spend their time and money than winding around short windward leeward courses in boats that aren't intended for it with crews that aren't prepared for it. Not everyone likes the key west format, especially for PHRF. Add in the cost to grand prix prep your average leadmine and the rank and file are pretty much voting with their checkbooks.

To stimulate participation have more fun races. Have penalties for the number of new sails per year. Have a mix of courses none of which require particulary rigorous around the cans boathandling. And no whining, about anything. It's PHRF, stop trying to make every podunk weekend the Admirals Cup. Find out what the owners want and try to develop an event around that. Having fewer good regattas is much better than having lots of crappy ones. Can't have narrow rating bands without lots of boats.

#11 C Koch

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:18 PM

This seems to be a pretty common complaint across sailing. My $.02, FWIW is that it is probably due to a combination of things. First, sailors have increasingly more time commits outside sailing including work, family and other interests. Serious races are almost always scheduled on weekends, a lot of us can't sail every weekend. Why are there no good weeknight races? Second, the cost of racing, and to stay competitive in sails and prep with your average racer/cruiser is getting steeper. Third, as Phoenix points out, the types of boats that are handicapped together are different enough that getting competitive racing is difficult. Fourth, a lot of the venues involve long rides out to the course, which adds a couple hours to the time. There are groups of racers that want W/L courses, and groups that want triangle courses and often won't sail the other. And lastly, most of the after race events are overpriced and lame. When you are tired of paying $5 for a shitty beer and $6 or $7 for a shittier hamburger while watching 70 year olds feebly dance to horrific music, you go elsewhere.


What he said. We've got a pretty active Wednesday night series at our club and a lot of the participants are well rigged with high tech racing sails and gear -- for Wednesday night beer can races -- go figure. While at least one person I know thinks of these guys as "low hanging fruit" for induction into the sanctioned weekend races, I disagree. Trying to get any of these folks out on a weekend is like pulling teeth. Both my other half and I tried for years to encourage these folks to join us on the course, and the recurring theme is that there are other committments -- soccer, little league, family stuff, you name it -- and these folks just don't want to commit to the weekend series. Wednesday nights are no problem - the time commitment is minimal. But weekends - no way - there's too much other stuff going on (way more other commitments than 20 years ago when racing was in its heyday in Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine)

... crew limits, cruising credits, roller furling credits, golf handicaps, and Industry Professional Rules are impediments to PHRF racing.



I can't speak to all of those things, but why would R/F or cruising credits be an impediment? Granted, I'm a little biased here as we get a six-second "recreational credit" for having a R/F and non-exotic sails, but it seems to me like that type of credit might help get more cruiser/racer types onto the start line, not fewer. The last thing we want is for people to think that they don't belong on the course because all they have is dacron sails on a R/F. I think we ought to be encouraging anyone and everyone to get out there (seeing as to how desperate we really are :) )

Anxious to see other responses to this thread.

#12 Soton_Speed

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:24 PM

For decades, I used to race every possible race every year. Generally, 48-50 weekends per year, and about another 100 weekday races during the summer. Oceanic, port to port, overnight, round the cans, local, international, one design, olympic classes, windsurfers, box rules, and arbitrary and measurement handicap.

Now, I race two or three regattas per year.

Those few regattas are the most fun I know, and all are in Hawaii: Waikiki-Ko'Olina, Three Day Around Oahu, and Lahaina-Waikiki return. And a few Friday Night races out of the Ala Wai.

I concentrate on the aspects that bring enjoyment: the people, the conditions, the beauty, the responsiveness of the boat -- simply sailing and feeling good. Sure, we sail very hard, and celebrate like crazy when we squeek out a boat-for-boat win against a faster boat, cheer over the pickle dish in the bar, but at the end of the day, its realizing we all just had a great time. Great time sailing, great time before and afterwards.

Every handicap race boat I see built for the last zillion years is frustrating because they are always, ALWAYS much slower than they need to be. The game played by the designers is to "optimize" by introducing characteristics that slow the boat down, but where the "rule" thinks it slows it down more. I was very close to throwing down a wad of cash on a boat last summer, until I realized that the owner had spent the entire time he owned the boat "optimizing" the rating by making it go slower and slower and slower. No sale.

As CCA gave way to IOR, seaworthyness got the short shrift. As IOR evolved to a Grand Prix rule, the boats became so useless offshore that people began literally dying, and owners of even Maxis stopped doing overnight races, preferring a hotel to a berth on their yacht. How bizarre is that? IMS continued that trend with utterly bogus interiors that are all the same on all the boats.

Remember when berths did not get wet? When the galley was actually useful for feeding hot meals to a crew when underway? When a head could actually be used?

The result is a buch of race boats that are so horrible to sail that they are always powered to and from the start line, and stay bound to their slips between races.

Oh, for PHRF you can buy a clorox bottle built by Catalina, Beneteau, Jeanneau, Hunter, etc that is ugly, fat, slow, and so horrible under sail that I almost never see one without an engine running.

Clearly, the boats are stupid pigs, so who wants to sail one.

But the other aspect is the crew size: as the boats have become so fat, they respond well to properly placed moveable ballast. At one time this was cool, because you could and would pack the boat with friends, bring along a bunch of beer and pot, and everyone would have a great time. But soon, the role of rail meat became that of long, slow, wet, cold torture. Odd, no one wants to come sailing anymore.

DUH!!

So, to solve this problem:

1) Sink every clorox bottle, IRC, IMS, and IOR boat. This will clear out the marinas.
2) Make handicap rules for yacht racing, not for stupid boat racing. Yacht: something you want to spend a lot of time aboard.
3) Discourage anything that takes a lot of highly skilled crew, like running backs or spinnaker poles.
4) Encourage anything that adds to the fun and comfort of the total crew: sail plans that can go from "enough for 3 knots TWS" down to "enough for 40 knots" easily and safely (like the Open and ORMA classes); no hiking; dodgers for bad weather; full and ergonomic galleys for hot meals underway; responsive boats with nice motions. Note that nothing on this list means "slow" or "expensive."
5) Discourage anything that needlessly adds expense, especially if it increases danger, like carbon hulls, decks, and foils (masts and spars are OK), idiotic sail material like 3DL that deteriorates at the rate of $100 to $500 per hour of use, and canting keels. Don't outlaw, but don't give any advantage. If carbon boats are winning, their handicaps need to be increased until they only do when they sail the most perfect race possible with all the possible luck factors thrown in.
6) Race in beautiful places. In Southern California, this means generally NOT in LA/LB harbor, or SD bay, but offshore -- get back to the islands. Do port to port, these still have some popularity, and would be more popular again if the boats wern't such sewers to stay aboard.

Doesn't anyone remember overnight racing, how fun that was? Propping the dinner plate on your knees having lasagna warmed in the oven, climbing into a warm and dry berth, coming up on watch to see the canopy of stars or the soft glow of wet fog, matching sail changes to sail changes, tack for tack with competitors whose running lights dip between the swells, creeping around dark islands hearing the booming of unseen sea caves, stumblinig back down below at end of watch, stripping off the wet foul weather gear, and back into a warm bunk.


Framed and on the wall.... :rolleyes:

Nostalgia 'aint what it used to be.

#13 SemiSalt

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:28 PM

There are plenty of cruisers out there which can actually sail and have accomodations, the Hunters seem to attract those who prefer the ammenities of Power Boats and suffer the performance loss because of it.


1) I very much agree that with the disappearance of the true cruiser/racer, the liklihood of a marginal cruiser getting into racing is reduced. I also think a close look a the "cruisers out there which can actually sail an dhave accomodations" will show that most have race-oriented features, e.g. deep keels, which are a handicap for cruisers. Cost is also a big factor. Expensive as they are, a pure raceboat is a lot cheaper than a dual purpose boat.

2) IMHO, the biggest difficulty in getting people into racing (aside from the overall weakness in the sailing market) is that the best racers are too good, and racing has gotten very technical. I see postings all the time here on SA viewing that a model that, from my position as an old fogy, I would consider a fully tricked-out raceboat (e.g. most any J-boat) is a pig with too much cruising accomodation.

3) I agree with Phoenix on most of his points. I will point out however, that setting up divisions with similar boats only works when you have enough participation.

#14 trane

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:58 PM

Used to race all the time. OD, PHRF. Now I've gone cruising on a credible PHRF boat (J/35) . Why? It's just more fun with friends, family, etc. Saying there are competing things to do is just an excuse, in my opinion. If you choose to do other things, it's because you enjoy them more. Racing used to be a lot more fun.
Raised kids in OD and PHRF when there was soccer in town, music lessons, and we sailed as a family not to be totally consumed by career when my kids were kids. Our family friends were other families racing, OD and PHRF. Who won't go to a great fun picknick with friends with great food and drink during/after some great fun sailing in beautiful changing venues?
What's it all about now? Look in the mirror.
Just my opinion, and know it's not for everyone else.

#15 IRC Rocket Rider

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:06 PM


Another Reader Rant! First of all a big shout out to all of those that organized and participated in this years SYCA Midwinter Regatta. Just because no one shows up doesn't mean we don't appreciate all your hard work. The turn out and enthusiasm, at least where we were, was pathetic. PHRF AA had four boats, PHRF A had four boats and one was unable to compete on Sunday, PHRF B had five boats and PHRF C had seven for a grand total of twenty competitors. The after race activities were inactive and the trophy presentation was a magical and memorable five minutes. What is the problem here? Clearly I am not the only one to notice this phenomenon. Comments?

Sounds like a regatta that needs some help.

I chair a major Regatta and we have been pretty stable at 50/50 PHRF vs OD over the last 5 years.
I firmly believe that Regattas need to be constantly striving to keep things exciting. When the NOODs started most clubs were running Triangles or Olympic courses.
The NOOD and other large regattas made W/L into the course to use.
Boats were attracted to gate marks, off sets, multiple circles.
Now most large areas have adopted W/L as the norm.

Time for a Change??


You're right. I recall what a breath of fresh air the W/L with gates and offsets was. Now it seems it's all we get to do. Don't get me wrong, I still love em! I just like a little variety.

There seems to be a resurgance on distance and point to point racing in Lake Erie. Some old time long distance races that I thought had faded away are suddenly being talked about and seem more popular again. I've heard in one YC bar recently"Hey you guys. We need to know what pajamas do you wear when your out racing overnight on your boat?" Seriously, A little distance race and maybe a trapaziod around the compass rose every now and then mixes it up for the better. And the party, well the party is about the people who attend. The committee can provide some lubrication to get it going, but if you don't have the right people, it just doesn't matter.

#16 C Koch

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:25 PM

Used to race all the time. OD, PHRF. Now I've gone cruising on a credible PHRF boat (J/35) . Why? It's just more fun with friends, family, etc. Saying there are competing things to do is just an excuse, in my opinion. If you choose to do other things, it's because you enjoy them more. Racing used to be a lot more fun.
Raised kids in OD and PHRF when there was soccer in town, music lessons, and we sailed as a family not to be totally consumed by career when my kids were kids. Our family friends were other families racing, OD and PHRF. Who won't go to a great fun picknick with friends with great food and drink during/after some great fun sailing in beautiful changing venues?
What's it all about now? Look in the mirror.
Just my opinion, and know it's not for everyone else.


You make a good point, and I'm surprised stickboy hasn't chimed in here yet. In order to get more people to participate, organizers have to make racing more fun than the alternatives. It used to be the most fun thing out there, but for a lot of people, that's no longer the case. We were just talking about this the other night and stickboy noted how the parties used to be a lot better, what he remembers of them anyway B)

Someone also mentioned point to point, and Camden Castine was/is a great example of that. But the expense has become considerable since the racers can no longer stay in the MMA dorms. Since most of the boats racing today don't have the chic accommodations of our 1970s vintage Clorox bottle Pearson 30, most skippers and crews have to find rooms in town, and a room in Castine in late July is a wee bit pricey, not to mention I'm not even sure Castine has enough rooms to house the whole fleet.

I've always been torn between racing and cruising. I love both. It's fun to see how fast you can make the boat go and play with other boats, but it's also fun to drop a hook at Snow Island in Quahog Bay, paddle the kayak around, and watch the seals and osprey while enjoying shrimp cocktail and a cold drink.

#17 railrider

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:35 PM

Interesting topic....what I see are a lot of good PHRF sailors going back to their roots and racing dinghies on weekends. Look at the HUGE growth in Laser Masters divisions and fleets...especially now with the radial sail for less bulky competitors. Lightnings are also doing well. These people realize the racing is more competitive, the costs are less, and the social aspects are a keg of beer on the beach. a little awards ceremony, a beautiful sunset and CHEAP regatta fees. See Anarchy "How Many Dinghies Race at Your Club" if you don't believe me: http://www.sailingan...=30591&hl=laser

Gentlemen, dinghy numbers are up and these people are not necessarily young, or new to the sport. PHRF sailors: Join your local dinghy one design fleets now before you go the way of the dinosuar. IOR, Americap, ect.

The funny part is, I believe the PHRFers are not getting rid of their Lead Boats...but using them for cruising. I also think it is ironic that PHRF format has gone to W/L coarses just when everyone is buying sprit/assymetrical boats which are more condusive to triangle racing! :( Are we out of step here or what?

#18 NoStrings

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:41 PM

I think it needs to be made less intimidating. Let's face it, a lot of those cruiser racers sitting at anchor or at the dock are owned by "older" people, and by "older" I mean people in their 40's+, who just don't need the aggravation.
First, for Christ sake, look at the damn rulebook. It's ridiculous that you need to have a sea lawyer and a three dimensional visualization tool to understand the fucking thing. I'm willing to bet that if it were condensed down to a very simple half dozen common sense rules (like the COLREGS right of way rules) you might see a little change.

Second, you need to change the perception. The words "racing program" imply expenditures of huge sums of money and time. For all of you guys who race the worlds major regattas, that's is well and good, but the rest of us have lives outside of sailing. How many times have I read on SA that if an owner can't afford to pay for the fuck ups of his crew, he needs to buy a smaller boat? I'd rather spend my money having fun with my boat than paying for sail repairs because some numbnuts ran a sheet around the shrouds.

Third, you also need to change the perception of the racing community as being filled with assholes. I cannot count the number of times that we have seen or heard about some member of a crew on a "race boat" hailing some family on their Swan (on starboard) with the words "Get out of our way, we're racing". Yeah, that helps attract people to the sport.

Fourth, check out the popularity of cruising rallies like the ARC (who turn away entrants) and the Baja Ha Ha. What are they doing right? In the case of the Ha Ha, there is an overt attempt at making the event fun for everyone in the family sense. They sail a couple of overnight legs, and overnight in remote locations. There are beach parties, and drinking to the point of public puking is discouraged. BJ's new HR53 crewed by his family would fit in perfectly. So would my Baltic, and so do the Santa Cruz 52's. The Ha Ha has averaged about 120 boats for the last 5 years and seems to be growing in popularity. Perhaps this is what those people who own cruiser/racers want.

Last, I would rather spend my afternoons sailing and enjoying the bay or ocean than sailing back and forth on some W/L course on the Cityfront that places a premium on sail handling speed, short tacking, quick spinnaker sets and the like.

#19 SamLowry

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:45 PM

Most of the responses here point out how complex this issue is. I find it especially humorous that the suggestion to "get rid of all the clorox bottles" is immediately followed by a recommended design brief that pretty much describes a "clorox bottle" to a T.

There is a bit of nostalgia here that also smacks of fantasy. Since when have there been dry bunks in the good ol' days? Read K. Adlard Coles's accounts of real men racing real boats on real ocean legs, and there wasn't a dry boat in the bunch. If you look over the history of yacht racing back 120 years, you'll see that the humans involved have more to do with the waxing and waning of the sport than the boats themselves.
If you want to slowly slice yourself in half on a Melges 24 hiking line, you'll find plenty of others that want to do the same thing. If you want to serve Filet Mignon on a H-R 52 during a Caribbean 1500, then you'll find a bunch to sit alongside you.

Sailing and racing requires commitment, enthusiasm, energy, and leadership. Not everyone has these traits all at the same time. I've burned out from time to time, tried different classes, but I always come back because I enjoy it. I'll be in the market for a clorox bottle this summer to race PHRF and cruise. So I'll be doing my part to add to the participation.

#20 C Koch

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:58 PM

Most of the responses here point out how complex this issue is. I find it especially humorous that the suggestion to "get rid of all the clorox bottles" is immediately followed by a recommended design brief that pretty much describes a "clorox bottle" to a T.


Same here... which is why I made a point to use the term Clorox bottle to describe the cruiser/racer we've been sailing for 8+ years. A Pearson 30 is a great example of a poor man's cruiser/racer.

#21 hdglightning

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 04:10 PM

Sailboat racing is declining for a number of reasons, most if not all are economic based.

The simple problem is that the late 90's boom resulted in an "upgrade" of many sorts. People who before loved their $50k PHRF racer upgraded to Farr 40's, and bigger. Even folks with 20footers upgraded to 30's, etc. Along with that came increased operating costs, need for more pros, etc. Basiclly the level went up. For a while it was great, and everyone thought it was on the rise. But alas, the boom did not hold and many of those upgrades simply dissapeared.

But the level was already raised. So someone with a Farr 40 can't drop back to a J-35, etc. Or if they do they get the bitching and scorn that folks like DC get when they go out to get a PHRF racer...why pick on the "little guys".

Now 4 years later, the younger crowd (sub 35 year olds) are not making nearly as much as 5 years ago, and as such they simply don't have enough money to invest at a high level. Yet there are also few lower levels to pick from that offer excitement and fun, not many gen x type folks (who have the money to buy a boat) want to kick around in a PHRF cruising fleet...they want the thrill of the faster boats. BUT those fleets dwindled as the richer guys upgraded and died off.

In Annapolis the Melges 24 fleet shows this 100%. 4 years ago it was strong, and then they died. Recently there has been a resurgance, but not a great one. But great boat, what happened?

Dinghys are the same situation. The popularity of boats like the laser are good and bad...it is hard to get a new class into SSA in Annapolis simply because the lasers really have taken over the place...yet boats like the 49er, the Finn (due to a resurgance in it's popularity), and the I-14 (which built SSA!)...all are dying or essentially not able to get a foothold in the area (no club support or launching facilities). While not PHRF, these are the driving classes for future sailors, who will sail and race for YEARS.

Racing will continue to decline until financially things turn around in the US. Racing will then increase as the clubs start hurting for members, and at that time they will start to invest in supporting classes, etc. Big clubs will never have the need for this, but local clubs and small dinghy clubs are the key for successful racing in PHRF and other rating classes for the future.

#22 LeeJerry

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 04:28 PM

First, for Christ sake, look at the damn rulebook. It's ridiculous that you need to have a sea lawyer and a three dimensional visualization tool to understand the fucking thing. I'm willing to bet that if it were condensed down to a very simple half dozen common sense rules (like the COLREGS right of way rules) you might see a little change.

Third, you also need to change the perception of the racing community as being filled with assholes. I cannot count the number of times that we have seen or heard about some member of a crew on a "race boat" hailing some family on their Swan (on starboard) with the words "Get out of our way, we're racing". Yeah, that helps attract people to the sport.

Last, I would rather spend my afternoons sailing and enjoying the bay or ocean than sailing back and forth on some W/L course on the Cityfront that places a premium on sail handling speed, short tacking, quick spinnaker sets and the like.

First, while I certainly agree that this is the perception and is a major obstacle to novices, I do not think that the rules are unreasonable. Yeah, the whole book approaches 200 pages, but the important ones are covered in less than 10. In fact, several sources market "condensed" versions of the rules on a single placard. It is not necessary to have a Phd in RRS to enter the sport. Learn the basics to start and grow your rules knowledge as you grow racing ability. In fact many professionals in other sports do not fully understand their rules. How often do you see (watching the event or on Sportscenter) the officials having to explain a ruling - Tiger calls for an official, or ask the Oakland Raiders about the arm in motion thing, or the sterotypical example of baseball's infield-fly rule.

Third, there are assholes everywhere. They are part of society. There are probably even a few around here. ;) Besides, it takes all kinds. One person's asshole is another's...

Last, if you don't care about speed or sail handling etc, well then you're a cruiser and nothing will change that. If you don't like dribbling a basketball, then you shouldn't play a full 5 on 5 game, but maybe you still like a nice game of HORSE.

#23 Griffintamer

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 04:53 PM

As I recall last year our infamous Southwestern Yacht Club hosted the bigger boat fleet. With its poor race management and the drunken throphy party I'm sure many skippers decided to stay home and watch TV.

#24 poopie pants

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 04:57 PM

"First, for Christ sake, look at the damn rulebook. It's ridiculous that you need to have a sea lawyer and a three dimensional visualization tool to understand the fucking thing. I'm willing to bet that if it were condensed down to a very simple half dozen common sense rules (like the COLREGS right of way rules) you might see a little change."

Ah

part 1-2 of the rrs are 10 pages . Thats the on the water stuff Not all that mysterious

the rest is race management, windsurfing rc,protest

#25 Paprika

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 04:58 PM

What he said. We've got a pretty active Wednesday night series at our club and a lot of the participants are well rigged with high tech racing sails and gear -- for Wednesday night beer can races -- go figure. While at least one person I know thinks of these guys as "low hanging fruit" for induction into the sanctioned weekend races, I disagree. Trying to get any of these folks out on a weekend is like pulling teeth. Both my other half and I tried for years to encourage these folks to join us on the course, and the recurring theme is that there are other committments -- soccer, little league, family stuff, you name it -- and these folks just don't want to commit to the weekend series. Wednesday nights are no problem - the time commitment is minimal. But weekends - no way - there's too much other stuff going on (way more other commitments than 20 years ago when racing was in its heyday in Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine)


Interesting – this is the first time I’ve heard of someone with a problem similar to ours.

Our club has a hard core group of about 20 racers, with another 10 or so serious enough to be out often, then another 10 or so every-now-and-thens. By far, the most competitive and the highest participation is for our Wednesday night series. Except for all but the biggest (2-day) weekend regattas participation is low and dropping.

It is not dropping across the board. Our fleet is split into A1 (<103), A2 (>103), and B (non-spin). We have no 1-design because we can’t get critical mass. A2 is doing well – typically 10-15 boats on the line for both Wednesdays and weekends. These boats are classic plastic racer-cruisers – J29s (of mixed configurations), J30s, S2s, etc. Because it’s competitive and fairly inexpensive many of the recent additions to the club’s racing fleet have been A2. The B’s are holding their own, with some newbies testing the racing waters.

A1 is having a tough time because it is a mix of older bigger racer/cruisers (Cal 40) and sport boats (Melges 24). They are together because of the ratings band but they never see each other on the course. Ideally we could split them into sport boats and ‘classics’, but with dwindling numbers it only makes the problem worse. Heavy discussions this winter about moving the class split up. Problem is that if we equalize A1/A2 fleet participation numbers we would split our J29s between the two classes, or if we move the split high enough to keep all the 29s together we eviscerate the A2 class. Looks like for this season we’re going to keep the split where it is for Wednesdays and just run a single ‘A’ class for weekends (except those larger regattas where we attract enough ‘away’ boats to fill up the classes. We’re also talking up the low-key aspect of B class to our cruisers to try to attract some new faces.

Side note – After 12 years of OPB I’m doing some serious tire kicking for a boat. I want a fast cruiser under $30k. Because racing is in the back of my mind with my boat I'm looking at boats about 30’ +/- and a PHRF in the 130-150 range. As of now I don’t plan to race A2, maybe some B. I do plan to stay on the boat most weekends and either weekend cruise over to Sandy Hook, day cruise on the non-race day when we have a typical weekend race, or just have my own place to crash in the middle of 2-day regattas. I will continue to crew OPB.

#26 zk.kz

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:09 PM

A minor reality check: The fleet originally described in this rant was in fact the PHRF fleet racing out of Long Beach.
A quick check (LBYC.org) shows that compared to 2004 we are up by 5 boats and 1 class.
In 2004 we had 3 PHRF classes composed of 15 boats total. In 2006 there were 4 classes consisting of 20 boats. How this represents a decline is way beyond the "new math" I've never mastered.

#27 Paprika

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:12 PM

A minor reality check: The fleet originally described in this rant was in fact the PHRF fleet racing out of Long Beach.
A quick check (LBYC.org) shows that compared to 2004 we are up by 5 boats and 1 class.
In 2004 we had 3 PHRF classes composed of 15 boats total. In 2006 there were 4 classes consisting of 20 boats. How this represents a decline is way beyond the "new math" I've never mastered.

"Never let truth get in the way of a good arguement."
--My ex-wife

#28 Foredeck Shuffle

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:20 PM

Have noticed this in Annapolis as ten to fifteen years ago there where boats everywhere of all sizes. Been discussing this with a few friends for nearly a year, what happened to Annapolis sailing? Sure, there are a ton of J22's and J24's around, some of the dinghy fleets are doing well but for the most part, the OD scene lacks quality and depth and the PHRF fleet is full of old tubs. With the fall of IMS, fast PHRF (AO) has collapsed.

A few observations were made from pub discussions.

- ISAF rules on pro's on OD boats has killed interest among the more serious racers. The OD fleets themselves suffer from lack of training. Crew handling proficiency is low and skippers are busy teaching, not sailing. Seriously here, the J105's allow no G3's. The Ben36.7 fleet allows only 1 G3. The J109 fleet is about to go the way of the Ben36.7 fleet. If you are not on a Mumm30 or Farr40 and you are above a G1, you are pretty well screwed.

- Almost no one practices anymore. If you attempt to organize practice on a boat that wants to do well, you rarely find more than 1/2 of that crew around on practice dates. Crew are also becoming more demanding, the want crew gear, food, booze, travel expenses, party tickets and favorable finish results but they themselves have rarely prepared for it. Few have read the RRS, learned what real sail trim is, make the effort to move into every type of position available on a boat so that they understand their own preferred job better. I rarely meet a crew that takes some of the lighter boat maintenance out of the hands of the owner and perform proper clean up and boat maintenance at the end of each race and practice. I don't doubt this turns many an owner off.

- Fewer owners that are true sailors. The numbers overall have decreased and those that do have the ability to write checks, cannot handle their own boats. They have a hard time getting or keeping quality crew, programs suffer, boat eventually quits or even get sold. Attitudes with some of the boats I've seen are that an owner steps in, puts down some cash and is not happy when they do not do well their first or second year. No one seems to have the patience to build their skills.


Not sure what is going on but there are fewer boats of quality on the Bay. Fewer owners with the skills needed. There are fewer crew available with the skills that enable the owner to forget about the boat and just drive.

Maybe sailing is becoming quaint?

I think that the rules that push pro's away from various teams and programs hurt sailing overall. I'm a G1 and I'll never accept a penny that would endanger my classification (not that anyone wants to pay me) but I know I've built my sailing career on the backs of G2's and G3's with their instruction and guidance.

Once upon a time, there were no classifications and we referred to them as "industry sailors" and they appeared on boats all over. With the ISAF classification system, we quickly saw boat classes rule pro's as verboten. I rarely see pro's wandering around to various boats now and I think it's the fault of the owners and it's hurting all of sailing.



Oh, one small edit, what "carcrash" said, minus the anti high tech bits.

Edited by Foredeck Shuffle, 24 February 2006 - 05:38 PM.


#29 NoStrings

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:22 PM

First, while I certainly agree that this is the perception and is a major obstacle to novices, I do not think that the rules are unreasonable. Yeah, the whole book approaches 200 pages, but the important ones are covered in less than 10. In fact, several sources market "condensed" versions of the rules on a single placard. It is not necessary to have a Phd in RRS to enter the sport. Learn the basics to start and grow your rules knowledge as you grow racing ability. In fact many professionals in other sports do not fully understand their rules. How often do you see (watching the event or on Sportscenter) the officials having to explain a ruling - Tiger calls for an official, or ask the Oakland Raiders about the arm in motion thing, or the sterotypical example of baseball's infield-fly rule.

Third, there are assholes everywhere. They are part of society. There are probably even a few around here. wink.gif Besides, it takes all kinds. One person's asshole is another's...

Last, if you don't care about speed or sail handling etc, well then you're a cruiser and nothing will change that. If you don't like dribbling a basketball, then you shouldn't play a full 5 on 5 game, but maybe you still like a nice game of HORSE.


I learned this one in the Pentagon: Facts may be argued, but PERCEPTIONS last forever. If you want to increase participation, I'd start there. You're talking in this thread about attracting participants, agree that the rulebook "is a major obstacle to novices" but you "don't think that the rules are unreasonable". Well, you're not one of the people (novices) that the sport needs to attract. I've raced for years, but not as a boat owner. I'm the guy you need to attract and I'm telling you that I think I need to know a lot fewer rules to race on the ocean than around the bouys. Go back and check out the protest related threads on this site. The fucking things make my head hurt.

Yes, there are assholes everywhere. I tend to avoid them. When I hear one of them screaming something about a "racing right of way", I start thinking about Harpoons. (that would be an AGM-84, not a spear).

You've also misinterpreted my comment about sail handling and speed. I never said that I don't care about those matters, only that sausage courses place a premium on them. You're applying the sterotype that cruisers don't care about sailhandling and speed. I never said that.

BTW, you can bet that Tiger knows the rules, but by calling in an official or his playing partner to make the interpretation he significantly reduces the risk on his part.

the sterotypical example of baseball's infield-fly rule.

I'm not sure what the hell this has to do with anything. Stereotypical of what?

#30 BIAM

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:44 PM

I've done PHRF and OD extensively......

Big boat phrf sucks........well sailed boats in certain conditions can either win consistently or lose consistently depending on rating and conditions......its just not fun when you add the rating stuff into the picture.....

plus, phrf generally requires a sizeable crew, and its very tough to get good sailors who can reliably commit to a real program.....it can be done, but its real work.......again, its not fun......

OD at least has the potential for a level field, smaller crew........

I'll never do PHRF again, unless its strictly for a fun outing on the water....

#31 fastwhenwet

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:45 PM

Good topic and interesting to see other's take on the situation. From my observations there appears to be some truth in every post. As a first year race chair at my club trying to bring back to life a race program I see first hand the lack of interest in things as they currently stand. When we have a club cruise we get 40+ boats to go and when we have a race we are lucky to get 5. I think some of the issues are exactly as stated here, the cost to be competitive, getting regular crew( a real biggy ) and an intimidation factor. When we have a fun type non-race race such as " start, sail out close hauled 45 minutes turn around at that time and sail back to the starting line" we get 12 to 15 boats out. Sort of self handicapping. Everyone hits the finish line at about the same time. The cruisers come out for this but call it a race and no one shows up even in the non-spin class. We have tried rules seminars, starting seminars and foredeck seminars over the last 2 years and nothing seems to work. Membership is mostly middle aged and mostly cruising type boats. Hell, how many of the new boats being sold to the 45+ age group are sold with spin gear? Not many I would guess. The interest lies mostly in going to another harbor, rafting up and socializing.

I am starting to wonder what has happened to the competitive spirit. If the ED is refering to the race last weekend that I think he is I was there and the turnout was disappointing. We sucked but that was looked on simply as an indication of what we need to work on to get better. The goal is to win but the satisfaction that comes from learning how to will be the real reward. There is no shame in losing only in giving up. How do you get more people to see that? A large number of our sail members are business owners or execs, they are successful and competitiv professionally yet don't bring that to their hobby. I have tried reason, cajoling and even blunt challenging but so far to no avail. It is like pissing into the wind (Although you do get a warm feeling from it ). Going to keep trying and any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kind of rambled on but this thread touched a nerve.

#32 Phoenix

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:55 PM

Let me add some scattered thoughts here. They come more easily that way. In the mid 90's we had over 2,000 PHRF certs on the Chesapeake. We now have less than 1,000. That's a pretty steep decline.

Cruisers are either just as competitive as the racers or they purposly ignore all vestiges of sail trim. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground here. Just take a day sail with a cruiser some time. Either they look at you like you asked to screw their wife when you inquire if you can adjust something or they turn into sponges and launch the sail trim 101 seminar.

There was a time when people had fun racing. they did it because they loved the sport and the water. That was true even in the SORC when it went somewhere. The industry pros were helpful and forthcoming as long as you really wanted to learn. While this is still true in the Etchells fleet and probably in some others, most of the mid fleet handicap racers today would rather give you a snarl than tell you why they went up one side or the other on the weather leg.

I have owned boats where there was a dry bunk, sometimes the entire boat was dry. All of my boats have been dry at least once in the time I have owned them. They have all leaked at some point. If you are spending the night on the boat, you fix the leaks. If you never spend the night on the boat, you might not even know it leaks.

There was a race on the Bay called the Rhode River race. You started in the morning and raced about 20 miles. At the end, you rafted up to an oyster buy boat (motorboat). There everyone got totally paralytic. You slept on the boat. That solves the crew limit doesn't it. Then you got up in the morning, threw up, and raced back. When the venue was like that you knew your competitors. You even knew some people in other classes. There was a feeling of belonging. Today, everybody throws the boat into the slip or trailer, hoses it off in some few cases and splits. Of course it isn't as much fun. There is no feeling of investment.

What kind of sums up the change was something that happened a few years ago. there was a long postponement and one crew member was whining that he could have been mowing his lawn instead of sitting on a boat. If that's even in the range of choices then there's a problem.

#33 JustDroppingBy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 06:14 PM

I'm not disputing that the number of boats out racing is down, but it might be worth pointing out that the SCYA Midwinters is a huge event, with more than 700 boats out racing in total. The fact that it's spread between clubs and venues more than 100 miles apart from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and that there were some duplications in the PHRF venues, this had to contribute to the appearance of fewer boats on certain courses.

Other courses, such as the OD course in MdR, were overwhelmed with boats -- we had the Schock 35, J/80, Stars, Martin 242s and the Sport Boats tripping all over each other at times. Even at that, the SB category was missing a couple of boats that opted to sail elsewhere in PHRF.

#34 LeeJerry

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 06:57 PM

[quote name='Soton_Speed' post='640297' date='Feb 24 2006, 06:24 AM'][quote name='carcrash' post='640280' date='Feb 24 2006, 02:10 PM']
For decades, I used...[/quote]
Framed and on the wall.... :rolleyes:

Nostalgia 'aint what it used to be.
[/quote]

[quote name='Foredeck Shuffle' post='640567' date='Feb 24 2006, 09:20 AM']Oh, one small edit, what "carcrash" said, minus the anti high tech bits.[/quote]

Not sure what good these guys see in what carcrash has to say. I disagree with most of it. And thought exactly this as well:

[quote name='SamLowry' post='640413' date='Feb 24 2006, 07:45 AM']Most of the responses here point out how complex this issue is. I find it especially humorous that the suggestion to "get rid of all the clorox bottles" is immediately followed by a recommended design brief that pretty much describes a "clorox bottle" to a T.[/quote]

To highlight a couple of other misconceptions:

[quote name='carcrash' post='640280' date='Feb 24 2006, 06:10 AM']3) Discourage anything that takes a lot of highly skilled crew, like running backs or spinnaker poles.[/quote]
Yeah, that’s what we need to do is to dumb down the sport. Skill and safety are way overrated. A little story: To get a driver’s license in Maryland, they give a little driving test thrOugh some coNes in thE parking lot. So a number of years agO, tHey looked into giving real road tests like in most states. But they had to drop those tests and go back to their parking lot because too many people were Failing the road tests. SIlly me would have thought there was a problem and maybe enVisioned actually educating drivErs rather than just dumb down the test.

[quote name='carcrash' post='640280' date='Feb 24 2006, 06:10 AM']4) Encourage anything that adds to the fun and comfort of the total crew: sail plans that can go from "enough for 3 knots TWS" down to "enough for 40 knots" easily and safely (like the Open and ORMA classes); no hiking; dodgers for bad weather; full and ergonomic galleys for hot meals underway; responsive boats with nice motions. Note that nothing on this list means "slow" or "expensive."[/quote]
Actually, everything on that list means “slow” or “expensive”:
Sail plans like Open and ORMA classes – I can’t think of boats that are more expensive for their size than these. Let’s have multiple headsails, each with its own stay, its own halyard and clutch, its own furler, and own sheets ‘cause that’ll save money. Right.
Hiking – while I don’t particularly like it (doing myself or making crew do it) either, there is no arguing that it makes boats faster, ergo no hiking is slow.
Dodger – windage and interferes with sail handling, i.e. slow.
Galley – additional weight (slow) and cost.
Responsive and nice motions – a bit more complicated, but nice motions generally means more weight, less stiff and a hull shaped not particularly well for speed.

#35 vincesail

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:03 PM

I see a few fleets with problems but many growing in Annapolis. The A1 and A2 PHRF fleets with mid-high priced boats is booming here Wed night and weekends although A0 and B are in the toilet.

The J22 and 24 fleets in Annapolis gets 15-25 boats each out every Thursday in the summer for really short JWorld races and 25+ for NOOD and 50+ for East Coasts. Guess everyone likes racing the same pig! But we do have problems for the basic weekend races especially in the summer. The Lasers are getting 20+ even in the winter Sundays (truely crazy people).

One observation:
People today with kids seem to babysit them all the time with planned activities or taking them to some sport. Now I'm sounding like an old fart.......but "when we were that age" we hung out with our friends and decided what to do on our own football, bball, sailing, drinking underage....maybe not always the best choices but hey.

#36 Clewless

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:03 PM

How about changing the race format?

Looking at San Diego races, the most popular race series is the Hot Rum. Pursuit race on random legs that draws >150 boats. Maybe that's where the MidWinters have to look to -- the draw is that everybody is racing against the likes of the ED, DC......and so on.

Having racing on same day as OD events also hurts. Boats like J105, 40.7, 36.7 that race PHRF are doing their OD races.

Just have one big pursuit race in a centralized location open to all classes and score the OD boats separately. Huge turnout on same race course, huge party afterwards. Concerntrate the racing instead of dispersing it all up and down the coast.

Clew

#37 LeeJerry

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:09 PM

First, while I certainly agree that this is the perception and is a major obstacle to novices, I do not think that the rules are unreasonable. Yeah, the whole book approaches 200 pages, but the important ones are covered in less than 10. In fact, several sources market "condensed" versions of the rules on a single placard. It is not necessary to have a Phd in RRS to enter the sport. Learn the basics to start and grow your rules knowledge as you grow racing ability. In fact many professionals in other sports do not fully understand their rules. How often do you see (watching the event or on Sportscenter) the officials having to explain a ruling - Tiger calls for an official, or ask the Oakland Raiders about the arm in motion thing, or the sterotypical example of baseball's infield-fly rule.

Third, there are assholes everywhere. They are part of society. There are probably even a few around here. wink.gif Besides, it takes all kinds. One person's asshole is another's...

Last, if you don't care about speed or sail handling etc, well then you're a cruiser and nothing will change that. If you don't like dribbling a basketball, then you shouldn't play a full 5 on 5 game, but maybe you still like a nice game of HORSE.


I learned this one in the Pentagon: Facts may be argued, but PERCEPTIONS last forever. If you want to increase participation, I'd start there. You're talking in this thread about attracting participants, agree that the rulebook "is a major obstacle to novices" but you "don't think that the rules are unreasonable". Well, you're not one of the people (novices) that the sport needs to attract. I've raced for years, but not as a boat owner. I'm the guy you need to attract and I'm telling you that I think I need to know a lot fewer rules to race on the ocean than around the bouys. Go back and check out the protest related threads on this site. The fucking things make my head hurt.

Yes, there are assholes everywhere. I tend to avoid them. When I hear one of them screaming something about a "racing right of way", I start thinking about Harpoons. (that would be an AGM-84, not a spear).

You've also misinterpreted my comment about sail handling and speed. I never said that I don't care about those matters, only that sausage courses place a premium on them. You're applying the sterotype that cruisers don't care about sailhandling and speed. I never said that.

BTW, you can bet that Tiger knows the rules, but by calling in an official or his playing partner to make the interpretation he significantly reduces the risk on his part.

the sterotypical example of baseball's infield-fly rule.

I'm not sure what the hell this has to do with anything. Stereotypical of what?

The infield-fly rule is a typical example used to show that other sports, even ones played since we were kids, have rules that are complicated and not understood by all participants, and yet the game goes on just the same. Likewise, sailboats can be raced without knowing every intricacy in the rules.

I agree completely that the perception is the thing and needs to be addressed. Just pointing out that I don't think the rules themselves need to be (significantly) changed.

#38 Shife

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:19 PM

[quote name='LeeJerry' post='640712' date='Feb 24 2006, 01:57 PM'][quote name='Soton_Speed' post='640297' date='Feb 24 2006, 06:24 AM']
[quote name='carcrash' post='640280' date='Feb 24 2006, 02:10 PM']
For decades, I used...[/quote]
Framed and on the wall.... :rolleyes:

Nostalgia 'aint what it used to be.
[/quote]

[quote name='Foredeck Shuffle' post='640567' date='Feb 24 2006, 09:20 AM']Oh, one small edit, what "carcrash" said, minus the anti high tech bits.[/quote]

Not sure what good these guys see in what carcrash has to say. I disagree with most of it. And thought exactly this as well:

[quote name='SamLowry' post='640413' date='Feb 24 2006, 07:45 AM']Most of the responses here point out how complex this issue is. I find it especially humorous that the suggestion to "get rid of all the clorox bottles" is immediately followed by a recommended design brief that pretty much describes a "clorox bottle" to a T.[/quote]

To highlight a couple of other misconceptions:

[quote name='carcrash' post='640280' date='Feb 24 2006, 06:10 AM']3) Discourage anything that takes a lot of highly skilled crew, like running backs or spinnaker poles.[/quote]
Yeah, that’s what we need to do is to dumb down the sport. Skill and safety are way overrated. A little story: To get a driver’s license in Maryland, they give a little driving test thrOugh some coNes in thE parking lot. So a number of years agO, tHey looked into giving real road tests like in most states. But they had to drop those tests and go back to their parking lot because too many people were Failing the road tests. SIlly me would have thought there was a problem and maybe enVisioned actually educating drivErs rather than just dumb down the test.

[quote name='carcrash' post='640280' date='Feb 24 2006, 06:10 AM']4) Encourage anything that adds to the fun and comfort of the total crew: sail plans that can go from "enough for 3 knots TWS" down to "enough for 40 knots" easily and safely (like the Open and ORMA classes); no hiking; dodgers for bad weather; full and ergonomic galleys for hot meals underway; responsive boats with nice motions. Note that nothing on this list means "slow" or "expensive."[/quote]
Actually, everything on that list means “slow” or “expensive”:
Sail plans like Open and ORMA classes – I can’t think of boats that are more expensive for their size than these. Let’s have multiple headsails, each with its own stay, its own halyard and clutch, its own furler, and own sheets ‘cause that’ll save money. Right.
Hiking – while I don’t particularly like it (doing myself or making crew do it) either, there is no arguing that it makes boats faster, ergo no hiking is slow.
Dodger – windage and interferes with sail handling, i.e. slow.
Galley – additional weight (slow) and cost.
Responsive and nice motions – a bit more complicated, but nice motions generally means more weight, less stiff and a hull shaped not particularly well for speed.
[/quote]
Completely agree with LeeJerry.

#39 NoStrings

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:27 PM

The infield-fly rule is a typical example used to show that other sports, even ones played since we were kids, have rules that are complicated and not understood by all participants, and yet the game goes on just the same. Likewise, sailboats can be raced without knowing every intricacy in the rules.


The infield fly rule is so simple that even the kids in the stands get it. Now, someone try and explain offsides in soccer (aka football everywhere but the US) and hockey to me.

#40 Phoenix

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:28 PM

There are two distinct things happening here. There is one school of thought that holds that things are pretty good the way they are, with good participation for beer cans that are more competitive than you might think, and pretty good weekend participation particularly some one design fleets. There is another school that hold thathandicap racing is down and needs to be fixed.

I guess both are at least partly true. The real question in my mind is what are we going to do to revitalize weekend racing in either type of fleet. I realize that this poses a more sweeping quetion than the Ed's and perhaps it will go to te root of the overriding issue of how to grow the sport that we all love enough to be sitting at a keyboard instead of doing something else.

At the Etchells fleet captains meeting this winter I asked the other Etchells fleets about their participation rates. They were all about the same ratio that we see in Annapolis. We get 15 to 20 Etchells on the line for Wednesday nights and about 10-12 on a good, not special weekend. We get 15-25 including travelers for a big regatta. thinking about it, that's about the same participation rate we get on the weekend.

I'm not buying the argument of too many choices. There have always been kids sports and family functions. The simple fact is that given a choice, our beloved sport is taking a back seat too often, particularly on the weekend. The question is what are we going to do about it?

#41 C Koch

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:39 PM

The infield-fly rule is a typical example used to show that other sports, even ones played since we were kids, have rules that are complicated and not understood by all participants, and yet the game goes on just the same. Likewise, sailboats can be raced without knowing every intricacy in the rules.


The infield fly rule is so simple that even the kids in the stands get it. Now, someone try and explain offsides in soccer (aka football everywhere but the US) and hockey to me.


Offsides in hockey is no more complex than the infield fly rule. Puck has to cross the blue line before any of the players on offense. BTW, that and icing are the only hockey rules I know!

And while I understand port/starboard, windward/leeward, and room at the mark (and that is is no mast abeam anymore) my brain starts to hurt when people here debate the intricacies of who has rights during certain overlap situations and how circumstances surrounding development of the overlap come in.

Perception does play a big part, no question. Perceptions of expensive gear, asshole skippers, blue blazers, rivalry/animosity between clubs, etc. But some of that perception is based in reality and that's where the problem lies.

Make it fun, whether it's the course, format, party afterwards, whatever. Make it fun and more people will want to be out there.

#42 NoStrings

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:50 PM

Isn't it interesting that this discussion is taking place here, and not somewhere within USSailing?

edit: I forgot to add, FLAME away.

#43 Gone To Plaid

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 07:59 PM

Phoenix is right about BELONGING. I think this really holds the key. A few points touch on this, but all revolves around that simple centerpoint:

1. Distance racing – back when everyone was on a boat for a day or even a night with the same people, it mattered more to make certain that your time spent on a boat was fun. You and everyone else went out of the way to be part of a functioning team, because if you didn’t, it wasn’t fun for anyone. Now the races are short and intense, and you can yell, and as long as the boat wins, that’s the payoff and nobody minds.
2. Racing with friends – these days, people jump boats to get on the coolest, fastest, most bad-ass boat they can. They don’t care as much about having the time with friends be foremost, or that the more time spent on the water, as long as they can go back to the bar and say ‘I was on such-and-such boat’.
3. Professionalism – before, everyone was a sailor, from Olympians, to sailmakers at SORC, to the guy in the next slip. Now, with the rise of Pro-Grading, everyone is comparing themselves to the next guy over. ‘I’m better than him’.
4. Competition - No longer is there the comraderie that Phoenix talks about. The competition level is too high now for the boat you’re racing against to be friends. Even on a boat, people compete because everyone wants to be a trimmer, not just rail meat. Back when there were no crew limits, it was OK that 6 of 12 people were not the trimmer or bowperson. And that wasn’t looked down on; it was still noble to ride the rail.

Back when there was actually LESS competition, more people did it. Back when the point was to sail first, and compete second, more people came out to sail. They sailed with friends and they had fun whether they won or not. They spent a day on the boat, working on it, sailing it, and if they won it was because they were lucky. In the early 90’s there was A GovCup race with 500 boats in it (Phoenix, you remember which year?). I’m sure that 90% of those were cruisers first, and they just came out to do this one FUN sail down the Bay.

Now that we as a sport have shifted our focus to competition, to windward/leeward, to needing to know the rules, to wining, it’s not as easy to get into, people, even on boats with friends care more about whether they have performed well than if they have fun, and racing sailing has become a chore. Now that we have a difference perceived between ‘Pro’ and ‘Amateur’, people are inclined to say ‘Well, I won’t do well, so it won’t be fun enough to go out sailing’. Basically I’m saying that the mindset that ‘If you don’t win you’re a LOOSER’ that pervades American society has even hit us here. And I think that is a primary reason numbers are down in PHRF.

That being said, there is a place, as Vince says, for those of us who want to compete. We can, and do go out every Thursday on J/22s and J/24s. But you know what, when we did this, we left the not-so-competitive types sitting at the dock. And they sorta said ‘OK, we might not go sailing now……’ And they haven’t.

#44 miahmouse

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:06 PM

This whole thread highlights all the reasons that racing fleets die PHRF/OD/Whatever. The major one that comes out time and time again is the various bullshit excuses for "why I don't race anymore": my rating sucks, my sails suck, I can't find crew, W/L's suck, it's too competitive, it's not competitive enough, there's too many races, there's not enough races, etc...... and the pussyhurt bullshit-express continues on forever and ever.

Stop the bitching and get the hell out on the water, stainding in the corner pouting cause you didn't get your way certainly doesn't work. Don't think your rating is fair, well get the hell out on the water and prove it. Can't find crew, train new ones. Sails are blown out, who gives a shit. W/L's suck, get enough people out there to get the RC to setup triangles. If the party sucks call a couple friends, repeat till the party doesn't suck.

It's all as fun as you make it. Rather than encourage the herd mentality of bitching till it changes, get the hell out there and enjoy it for what it is and others will follow. Take a step back and realize that regardless of where you placed, because of whatever bullshit excuse, you still spent a day on the water... with friends... doing something you enjoy...

#45 Phoenix

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:28 PM

Damn, I'm spending a lot of time on line today. Thanks Ed. My monthly billings will reflect this I'm sure.

A group of us were talking about the etchells schedule a while back and I said that if we wnated to do more races on the weekends we could schedule them for a less conflicted weekend and I was sure we could get a race committee together. I was told in no uncertain terms that the Green Book was ready to go to press and that the CBYRA schedule was graven in stone. I don't really care what the green book or CBYRA says, if we want to race we can do it. We need a committee, not a PRO, not even a yacht club, just a gorup of people who want to race.

That being said, this is our sport. It will be what we make it. If anyone else wants to pick a vacant weekent and start another Rhode River race or just a simple pursuit race on a Saturday then e mail me. We can get it advertized in Spinsheet as class news at least. Flyers will do the trick as well. I'm ready to take back my sport.

#46 dispursed

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:41 PM

i'm not sure if anynone else is reading down this far -- i know i gave up after the first 10 rants.

- i couldn't agree more with j-35's vs mumm 30's. shit, i've seen melges 24's against 40 IOR boats. that's just not apples to apples against any rating system.
- the best after-race partys are on the boat. or a neighbor's boat.

what is working for the PNW is the variety. we have some great W/L courses, some nice weekend 30nm races, lots of clubs doing summer nights, and a sprinkling of 60nm overnighters.

additionally, we have a couple of races out of the norm that really get everyone talking. there is a "la mans" race that starts within a bay with a very narrow mouth -- makes for a great battle to escape the start. there is a double hander-overnight race with a start based on rating -- big fun. a no-ratings summer fun race that is more about the raft-up afterwards than "winning." finally (for my list at least) a winter two day race that gets everyone out of town -- it's really about the saturday night party.

in addition to the typical races, these add spice to the weekend battles. everyone has complaints about various races/committes/handicaps/etc, but there is a race that favors most every type of boat and every style of owner.

participation waxes and wanes from year to year, but the overall state of the region is strong.

#47 Burnsy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:50 PM

Phoenix is right about BELONGING. I think this really holds the key. A few points touch on this, but all revolves around that simple centerpoint:

1. Distance racing – back when everyone was on a boat for a day or even a night with the same people, it mattered more to make certain that your time spent on a boat was fun. You and everyone else went out of the way to be part of a functioning team, because if you didn’t, it wasn’t fun for anyone. Now the races are short and intense, and you can yell, and as long as the boat wins, that’s the payoff and nobody minds.
2. Racing with friends – these days, people jump boats to get on the coolest, fastest, most bad-ass boat they can. They don’t care as much about having the time with friends be foremost, or that the more time spent on the water, as long as they can go back to the bar and say ‘I was on such-and-such boat’.
3. Professionalism – before, everyone was a sailor, from Olympians, to sailmakers at SORC, to the guy in the next slip. Now, with the rise of Pro-Grading, everyone is comparing themselves to the next guy over. ‘I’m better than him’.
4. Competition - No longer is there the comraderie that Phoenix talks about. The competition level is too high now for the boat you’re racing against to be friends. Even on a boat, people compete because everyone wants to be a trimmer, not just rail meat. Back when there were no crew limits, it was OK that 6 of 12 people were not the trimmer or bowperson. And that wasn’t looked down on; it was still noble to ride the rail.

Back when there was actually LESS competition, more people did it. Back when the point was to sail first, and compete second, more people came out to sail. They sailed with friends and they had fun whether they won or not. They spent a day on the boat, working on it, sailing it, and if they won it was because they were lucky. In the early 90’s there was A GovCup race with 500 boats in it (Phoenix, you remember which year?). I’m sure that 90% of those were cruisers first, and they just came out to do this one FUN sail down the Bay.

Now that we as a sport have shifted our focus to competition, to windward/leeward, to needing to know the rules, to wining, it’s not as easy to get into, people, even on boats with friends care more about whether they have performed well than if they have fun, and racing sailing has become a chore. Now that we have a difference perceived between ‘Pro’ and ‘Amateur’, people are inclined to say ‘Well, I won’t do well, so it won’t be fun enough to go out sailing’. Basically I’m saying that the mindset that ‘If you don’t win you’re a LOOSER’ that pervades American society has even hit us here. And I think that is a primary reason numbers are down in PHRF.

That being said, there is a place, as Vince says, for those of us who want to compete. We can, and do go out every Thursday on J/22s and J/24s. But you know what, when we did this, we left the not-so-competitive types sitting at the dock. And they sorta said ‘OK, we might not go sailing now……’ And they haven’t.


Agreed. Everyone is so worried about being the best, that there's no emphasis on getting better. Lose the camraderie, lose the fun, and there isn't much other incentive to keep playing this expensive game.

#48 Delta Blues

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:00 PM

The biggest reason for racing is that it is FUN.

When people quibble that they didn't win because of their rating, or their crew are making comments like that, the fun factor is going down the shitter. When you add the rule de'jour, IOR, IMS, Americap, PHRF, IRC, etc. people get tired of trying different things out, to find that there still is only 1 winner in a section and 12 boats that didn't win. Those 12 want to pack their bags and go do something else.

However, make the action fast paced on the water and don't postpone or have huge time gaps between races, make sure that the crews get together after the races and share their experiences, and knowledge, and make sure that the losers learn somthing new to take to the course the next day, and you are getting closer to having numbers go up. I have found that too many people are focused on this race management training stuff and try to make everything out on the water "perfect" that the spotlight has been taken off of the "having a good time" factor. We must make sure there are gatherings (parties, if you will), every time they go out.

Think about the evening beer can races. Usually race management sucks, the course is laid out shitty with reaches on 3 legs, but the place is jammed! You gotta hustle from work, throw the boat together, zip around the course, pack the boat and get to the club for a burger and a beer. The principle of making it quick action and fun is lost with the elusive effort to have "great race management."

#49 JustDroppingBy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:06 PM

We average around 100 boats each Wednesday night race of the year in MdR... alot of those people don't race anything but Wednesday nights, and it's got its own scoring system that is based on PHRF for the series honors.

Our weekend races, with the exception of the early season ones like Malibu and return (with 120+ boats this year) don't get that kind of turnout in general.

One of the reasons that I think the numbers work out this way are because there are so many races on the calendar, it's pretty much impossible to do them all, unless you're in a boat that only needs a couple of crew and one set of sails to be competitive.

By the time you factor in all the distance races, the OD races, Lipton Cup, Congressional Cup, Mayors Cup, the womens racing, the series races, the bbq races, the man/woman races, the three monkeys on the bow races, the midget driver races, and every other conceivable type of race that goes on in SoCal, the participation is substantial overall, but alot of the races -- especially if its a weekend non-series race that hasn't got a strong OD participation -- are not getting a ton of entries because no one's got the time, the inclination or the available crew.

We do seem to be seeing a lot of the clubs in our area really making a push to get more people out on the water and into racing. We had a performance seminar last night that had well over 100 attendees, even though the flyer had the phone number to register listed incorrectly. So I guess we'll see if participation increases or not this season...

#50 Das Boot

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:10 PM

Maybe we should look at how it's done in Europe. Sailboat racing and sailing in general seems much more popular than here in the States. Heck, where do most of the boats and innovation come from, certainly not here. I also here that the boat shows in Europe are absolutely phenomenal.

Maybe us fat lazy Americans prefer sitting behind the wheel of cheap motorboat drinking Budweiser rather than doing anything that takes any thought or effort.

#51 Blownout

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:15 PM

No DC beating up on the beer can gang? Is he just watching the cup?

#52 EighthDeadlySin

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:25 PM

Phoenix, maybe you need to come north of the Bridge once in a while. Region 2 has 4 weekends of point to point races starting near Baltimore Light on Saturday, party Saturday evening, race back on Sunday. Two into Baltimore, and two across into the Chester.

Unfortunately, participation in those has fallen off over the last decade, too.

#53 fastwhenwet

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:37 PM

Lots of good stuff here, beats the hell out of working on a Friday, but don't recall seeing to many posts from people who stopped racing and why they did. Seems like almost eveeryone posting is racing fairly regularly and we are all trying to get into the minds of those who are not. I am talking primarily phrf. I know pfrf sucks yada yada yada but it is the game if you don't race one design. Lots of boats that could be out in phrf aren't. In Long Beach last weekend there was 1 j35 out, no Express 37's no C&C's 1 O30 etc. I know there were boats in the slips. Would like to hear from those that didn't get out as to why.

#54 celphtaught

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:44 PM

i dunno about everyone else, but on lake champlain we have several thriving PHRF fleets. the LCYC awards banquet this year took 3 1/2 hrs to present all the trophies, on any given night we have no less than 65 boats on the water, counting our 16 boat etchells fleet. at mallets bay they have a similar fleet, and plattsburg also has a large fleet. this is in VERMONT of all places people, come on, if we can field that many boats, its strange why other clubs are faultering. our fleet is primarily jboats, c&c, and benetau, plus an aerodyne, and a swan, along with some other random boats thrown in.

#55 BeerDidClam

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:59 PM

The biggest reason for racing is that it is FUN. [snip]

However, make the action fast paced on the water and don't postpone or have huge time gaps between races,
[snip]
Think about the evening beer can races. Usually race management sucks, the course is laid out shitty with reaches on 3 legs, but the place is jammed! You gotta hustle from work, throw the boat together, zip around the course, pack the boat and get to the club for a burger and a beer. The principle of making it quick action and fun is lost with the elusive effort to have "great race management."



here's my pet peave...having racing defer to the freakin' caterers schedule! why do we have to be on
the water by 8:30 am and off the water by 4? For some fukkin PARTY? Hey, I came to race, not eat gloppy chicken and lumpy mashed potatoes.

Why dont light air venues schedule the first warning signal for after 2pm when there might be a prayer of a seabreeze?
Here's the data from last Friday at St Pete (courtesy iWindsurf.com). Guess where we were by 3pm when
the breeze picked up?

One more regatta like Screwpile/ARW/St Pete NOOD and I may take up lawn darts. Race management needs to stop smoking crack and do what it takes to get some actual racing in, even if it means we dont eat until 2000 hrs. Pushing a fork around a plateful of gravy and greenbeans while watching the cruising crowd actually out there sailing in a beautiful late afternoon seabreeze is NOT fun. -end of rant-

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#56 offshoretiger

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:13 PM

here's my pet peave...having racing defer to the freakin' caterers schedule! why do we have to be on
the water by 8:30 am and off the water by 4? For some fukkin PARTY? Hey, I came to race, not eat gloppy chicken and lumpy mashed potatoes.

Why dont light air venues schedule the first warning signal for after 2pm when there might be a prayer of a seabreeze?
Here's the data from last Friday at St Pete (courtesy iWindsurf.com). Guess where we were by 3pm when
the breeze picked up?

One more regatta like Screwpile/ARW/St Pete NOOD and I may take up lawn darts. Race management needs to stop smoking crack and do what it takes to get some actual racing in, even if it means we dont eat until 2000 hrs. Sitting in the clubhouse and watching the cruising crowd actually out there sailing in a beautiful late afternoon seabreeze is NOT fun. -end of rant-



Sooo with you on this one, for club racing you get what you get but for 'event' regatas the races should be held when the breeze is best

Though finally getting back to the club at 2100 after putting the boat to bed to find ther caterers have gone home and you have to go hunting for takeways isnt that much fun either

#57 b.difernt

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:21 PM

[
You're right. I recall what a breath of fresh air the W/L with gates and offsets was. Now it seems it's all we get to do. Don't get me wrong, I still love em! I just like a little variety.

There seems to be a resurgence on distance and point to point racing in Lake Erie. Some old time long distance races that I thought had faded away are suddenly being talked about and seem more popular again. I've heard in one YC bar recently"Hey you guys. We need to know what pajamas do you wear when your out racing overnight on your boat?" Seriously, A little distance race and maybe a trapezoid around the compass rose every now and then mixes it up for the better. And the party, well the party is about the people who attend. The committee can provide some lubrication to get it going, but if you don't have the right people, it just doesn't matter.
[/quote]

Here it is folks! Entering into the root of the problem.

The racers need to learn how to loose. The cruisers need to learn how to race. Everyone needs to "learn how to sail", cause ain't none of us so good we can't learn more. And . . . the RCs and club racing organizers need to "Lubricate" the events.
In a not so distant past, we . . . i.e. Thunderbird Sailing club in Norman Oklahoma used to throw a regatta and afterwards buy a few pizzas at a local, but 25 mile distance from the lake pizza party. You bought your own beer and the sometimes private extra pizza(there was a budget). But the point is the fleet showed up.

Later, when I was vice commodore, we had a windfall in the budget . . . provided softdrinks, burgers, and wives "volunteers" salad contributions at the end of the day. skippers brought beer, stayed up late had many a good Summer night apreregatta. Recruited 6 new members in a 25 member club. For a few seasons the club provided a few cases of beer. State regs and such ended that pretty quick but recruitment was up and up and up.
A variety of races, Friday nights, Saturdays, Sundays, weekend series, even tried Wednesdays but ended up in match racing. Family events seemed to be the key.

Now of course, (I left in 1994), they are a cruising club, and are suffering from the same problems described here on forum. Boring, I hate to say this but nobody comes unless food is offered(so I hear).

My 2 cents

#58 d'ranger

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:31 PM

In my 30something years of sailing boats and technology have improved vastly.

Manners and attitudes have not.
whether it is because this is an alchohol fueled sport or not I don't know. I do know that it seems the classes I tend to race in become dominated by the poor winners groups, who load the boats with the A team for the beer can races.

You would think that careers and the fates of nations ride on some of these events.

My three rules are:
1 Have fun (unless you want to pay me a LOT of money)
2 Be competitive
3 Learn something

I don't see much of 1 and 3

#59 Tax Man

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:36 PM

As an example for Lake Ontario (Toronto).

In 2000 there were about 35 boats each weekend with PHRF ratings of 120 or less.
20 in PHRF
6 to 8 in IMS
8 J105 racing OD

In 2005 the number of boats was the same but:
Only 3 or 4 in PHRF
6 - 8 in IRC (replacement for IMS)
15 J105's OD
6 J35's OD
4 Ben 36.7's OD

Clearly there has been a big shift towards one design racing. Reasons could include:
First over wins. No math required.
Racing is more exciting with more crossings, busier roundings, level playing field.
No handicap politics.

#60 offshoretiger

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:47 PM

As an example for Lake Ontario (Toronto).

In 2000 there were about 35 boats each weekend with PHRF ratings of 120 or less.
20 in PHRF
6 to 8 in IMS
8 J105 racing OD

In 2005 the number of boats was the same but:
Only 3 or 4 in PHRF
6 - 8 in IRC (replacement for IMS)
15 J105's OD
6 J35's OD
4 Ben 36.7's OD

Clearly there has been a big shift towards one design racing. Reasons could include:
First over wins. No math required.
Racing is more exciting with more crossings, busier roundings, level playing field.
No handicap politics.


Another possible reason for a swing to OD racing is there is some level of class support. So when you cant figure out how to make your boat go faster/fix that thing thats bugging you/get a sail change done esier you can just go and ask one of the other boats in the fleet and get help. And the whole social thing comes back a bit. Its a lot harder to get that sort of support in any handicap fleet cos all the diffrent boats have there own problems.

#61 bowdude1

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 11:02 PM

How about yacht clubs actually kick all the inactive boats in dry storage out so those active people with boats can actually have dry storage near a lift and go racing on the weekend without having to spend 90 minutes to just get their boat in the water. I only mention this because it is nearly impossible to get dry storage at a Yacht Club in San Diego because tons of people who don't touch their boats won't give up their storage.

#62 celphtaught

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 01:53 AM

or grow some balls and move somewhere with a mooring....

the trend ive started to see is all of our A fleet is sellign their boats and getting etchells. just in this past 2 years, we've lost like 5 A class boats, and gained 6-7 etchells

#63 Tcatman

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:07 AM

[quote name='offshoretiger' date='Feb 24 2006, 02:47 PM' post='641099']
[quote name='181Li' post='641069' date='Feb 24 2006, 02:36 PM']


Another possible reason for a swing to OD racing is there is some level of class support. So when you cant figure out how to make your boat go faster/fix that thing thats bugging you/get a sail change done esier you can just go and ask one of the other boats in the fleet and get help. And the whole social thing comes back a bit. Its a lot harder to get that sort of support in any handicap fleet cos all the diffrent boats have there own problems.
[/quote]


Hey... sailboat racing is a social contract... we all agree to the rules, ratings etc ... WE are also social animals... So, if its just the racing / competition... the group is likely to die...

Stuart Walker emphasized the need to make people feel like they belong to a group... The key's seem to be two fold... quality racing... and attention to the social scene where people can meet, connect and feel like they are part of a group. (one design just may be easier to develop that group social contract)

If you want to be part of the group on Saturday and Sunday... you will make life work out so that you get to go racing.

I think all classes and clubs face the same problems and just have to find a way to make both the racing contract and the social contract work.

#64 Yachtsman

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:12 AM

Twice around a windward leeward is the best way to test skill on one design (or tight PHRF bands). Getting the spinn down in one piece and then getting it set up and ready to go again takes a lot more skill that just playing with the spinn only once and reaches are a parade in one design.

With that said PHRF fleets need to bring back the triangle or trapezoid courses, first leg upwind. Set it up so that it is a longer courses once around with reaching legs. Some boats do better upwind, others downwind and others on a reach, having all three helps equalize the chances of winning. Mix up the courses each week (triangle one week, trapezoid the next) to further equalize the chances of winning. The racing would be less physical, less technical but no less tactical.

Use and olympic circle or you could set a drop mark upwind from the start near some fixed marks. All the boats go around the drop mark. OD then goes back and does there two or more laps around the hot dog. Meanwhile the PHRF boats reach off to a fixed mark and then back to the finish. Set up the start so that all the boats get to the finish at a similar time.

J

#65 bluelaser2

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 03:21 AM

<rant> Sail racing is plain and simple; a dying art.

It takes years to learn it. Years more to be good at it. The boat, while a big chunk of change, is the least expensive part of the whole thing. Water access has been turned into big money condos. Incomes have actually declined over the last 5 years. Back in the day in the USA, education, healthcare, housing, and energy were cheap - manufactured objects, served food and drink, and entertainment were expensive, but people had money for them. Reverse it all in today's world. Competition ? who needs it on the water when that's all life is anymore- fun is now the absence of competition.

It may come back in future decades- advertising has certainly established sailboats as objects of wealth and style, and that will have an effect over time- but probably more in the cruising arts. Fast boats that are good on TV may help too- sort of a water borne NASCAR- like the 18's were down under. That could happen in a few years. It will have to start simple and small - maybe on lasers- but it may happen. It cant happen until another generation learns how to sail, but they are- junior sailing is doing well and our club sail camp is the best thing going in the summer. Thats a good sign. And although I would not want to own a Bavaria yacht, they are on the right track in building them. Thats a good sign too.

Clubs need to lower entry fees and menu prices, do longer courses and help with crew recruiting and training, child care, etc. and make the after race activites family friendly. Thats the only way its going to work- otherwise the spiral will keep tightening- fewer boats for less fun and more money bringing out fewer boats which is less fun and dividing more costs among fewer participants. <end rant/>

#66 TMSAIL

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 03:23 AM

There is also a built in bias by the better sailors to object to anything but W/L at Regatta's
I floated the idea of a long course race (giant trapazoid or some random, but long course) in place of the normal 2 or 3 W/L on Saturday ( 3 day regatta ). Many sailors liked the idea, but there were strong feelings against, the majority came from the top sailors in the GP sections.

#67 TOTALXS

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 04:51 AM

I've just returned to racing after 9 long years. I returned to racing because just sailing back and forth got BORING! We are racing because our busy schedules do not allow for any real cruising and what is more fun than making a sailboat go as good as it can. As far as the expense of racing, it has always been expensive - particularly to win - it costs alot in both time and money. This has NEVER changed - not since the first sailboat race was ever held. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the actual sailing/ racing really hasn't changed. The administration of racing has changed, the people of racing have changed. It took me months to just find the information to start racing locally. No one really comes up to us at a race and says hi, we generally have to make the first move. Right now, we are stuggling. If we get a bullet, we'll probably be rewarded with a rating change. The organizers seem to make decisions based on what is best and easier for them (or their cronies), not what is best for the racers at large. The current courses included. All of this helps insure that the boats you see tied up to a dock and never moved stay that way. Their owners are too bored with just daysailing to do it more than once a month, if that. Their busy schedules keep them from cruising. They have no idea how to get started in racing and the organizers won't make it fun if they do. I previously raced in Annapolis. It wasn't cheap, it wasn't easy, but it was fun, win or lose. Here, I can see that if we (the crew) weren't so diehard in our quest for sailing time, we would get discouraged and quit. On a little more up-beat note, tonight while we were getting the boat ready for tommorrows race, a dockmate (whose sailboat has not left the dock in the year we've been at this marina) came up to us and said we were depressing the other sailboat owners at the marina. Seems they have talked about us and on how our boat probably gets more time on the water in a month than all of the others get in a year has them all depressed. Enough that many are planning on getting their boats out on the water. Maybe the old idea of leading by example can work! And since having complained about how the racing is being administrated, it's time we all got in there and started to change it. And we will, right after we get in enough practise to go earn the rating change.

#68 ipexnet

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 05:50 AM

Doesn't anyone here work within a Yacht Club?

I totally agree with basically the entire SA position that Yacht Clubs are just dropping the ball with membership, recruiting, and FLEET DEVELOPMENT.

The fucking clubs are suppose to be about SAILING, and instead they are about wedding receptions (guess I can't bitch too much as mine was held at a club as well- of course the whole reception was discussion of sailing.....).

Anyone running a club should really think about about the direction of sailing. Right now there are great junior programs, great college programs. But after that there is NOTHING. Entire generations of future sailors are being lost because there just isn't anywhere for them to fit in. No where for them to develop their skills. No where for them to for teams and compete against other teams.

What can clubs do?

Open your damn pocket books and buy some standard boats. Make it standard so that EVERY CLUB in socal buys the same boat. Forget the fucking Martin in MDR, the cal20s in LBG, the 105s in dago. Why is everything setup so that you can only race your stupid slow boat in your own backyard against the same aging old guys you have raced against for the last 50 years?

isn't there anyone who sees why sailing is dying?

All those phrf boat should be converted to scrap and open room in marinas for one designers. Oh and marinas- marinas should no longer be treated as revenue sources to local governments. Having to pay $500/mn just to have your boat in a slip and getting NOTHING IN RETURN... geez I wonder why sailing is dying????

I have enough money to buy a new OD boat- thought about getting the Lumbo30 and now think about signing up for a FT10.... BUT- I can't race in any races because I am not a member of a yacht club and I can't afford the monthly slip fee. It would be quite easy for me to get my friends into sailing if I had a boat, but I just can't afford one, or more appropriately I can't afford the operation of it.

Slip fee, $6000 a year
Yacht Club fees $1500 a year
Race entry fees and expenses, $1500 a year
sails and maintance per year $5000 a year
that is 14K a year- A YEAR!!!!!!!!

SO WHERE IS THE FUTURE OF SAILING?
LASERS, 505s, CATS, etc.

every effort should be made right now to retool yacht clubs to be able to support the next generation of club racing. And most importantly to get rid of all those rotting POS boats taking up all the dry storage and dock space.

#69 celphtaught

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:17 PM

hey, be nice now, i work at a yacht club in the summer. we have a strong junior program with 10 FJs and 2 420s, but thats all the budget allows for. sure, if i had my way as an instructer id be getting the kids out there in 29ers, lasers, etc, but when boats cost 6-7 grand a piece, getting funding is a little hard. at the community sailing center downtown they have everything from escapes to sonars, which makes for a nice variety of boats, but theyre publically funded, and are able to make purchesses like that.

#70 2slow

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:29 PM

One thing our club has done for years to initiate new sailors to racing is having pursuit starts. We try to have everybody finish at the same time instead of start at the same time. Its fun to see the end of a two hour race with J-24's, Hunters, Pearsons, S-2s, Solings etc. having a tight finish. We give extra time for new skippers and skippers that have not finished in the top half of the fleet before. There are other clubs on the lake that offer more competitive sailing, but many racers on our lake have started racing in our non intimidating way. We don't have committee boats or protest hearings, its all based on the honor system and it is very easy to know who won the race. Its the boat that crossed the finish line first. We emphasize fun, have beers afterward and newbies learn about racing.

#71 trane

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:34 PM

I've just returned to racing after 9 long years. I returned to racing because just sailing back and forth got BORING!


I consider racing incredibly boring because you just go back and forth, back and forth, same place, same place.
Refining the dance on the head of a pin. Cruising is the opposite. New places, new people, new challenges. etc. Time is your issue, acknowledged, not cruising.
Don;t get me wrong, used to love it all, OD, PHRF, just got bored, and as said above, sick of the over-priced and shitty beer and food, and blah, blah, blah ...

#72 Andrew W

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:57 PM

I was from New Zealand orginally but have done 10 years sailing out of San Diego. I love the boats that I am on (as crew) but could never own here in SD. The expense is just to high, & yearly costs would easily be 15K - 20K.

The style of racing here is much different here in the US vs. NZ. Back in NZ, you can pick up a relatively cheap "trailer sailor", and take it around the country doing 1 design, as well as club racing. By nature they are light, powerful & fun to sail. Sports boats in the US are not welcome in PHRF - hit hard by ratings & rules. 1 design fleets are sparse, and the boats tend to be on the expensive side (Mumm's, melges etc).

I have raced PHRF here in San Diego and 1 design (Schock35, J105, J120). In one design, the racing is just so much better & intense. The only PHRF races I like doing is the Hot Rums (Pursuit Style random leg), beer cans & the offshore stuff. I was a little pissed off with the whole rating system in PHRF. The one year we seriously went after some PHRF races, and when we doing well, our rating got changed mid season (on a 30 year old class of boat).

So to help PHRF - Keep it fun, keep it affordable, encourage sports boats, dont overlap PHRF & 1 design races.

#73 railrider

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 03:01 PM

[/quote]I have found that too many people are focused on this race management training stuff and try to make everything out on the water "perfect" that the spotlight has been taken off of the "having a good time" factor. [quote]

[/quote]The principle of making it quick action and fun is lost with the elusive effort to have "great race management."
[/quote]

I agree with this statement. Everyone is so concerned with the "professionalism" of the race committee and bitches and moans if the line isn't square. This makes the RC putter around trying to make everything perfect while the fleet sails around for a half hour or more not racing and not having fun. Later, after the race, the back of the fleet bitches and moans about the line (even thought the line was uneven for us all). These same people never volunteer for RC and drive the few who do volunteer away from the sport. No RC, No races, no sport!

People:Be a little less professional (who's kidding who), less critical (of RC and each other), and do more racing. Everything now-a-days has to be so perfect, so organized, and so sophisticated. I call it "The Wusification of America"

#74 barleymalt

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 03:18 PM

I've just returned to racing after 9 long years. I returned to racing because just sailing back and forth got BORING! We are racing because our busy schedules do not allow for any real cruising and what is more fun than making a sailboat go as good as it can. As far as the expense of racing, it has always been expensive - particularly to win - it costs alot in both time and money. This has NEVER changed - not since the first sailboat race was ever held. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the actual sailing/ racing really hasn't changed. The administration of racing has changed, the people of racing have changed. It took me months to just find the information to start racing locally. No one really comes up to us at a race and says hi, we generally have to make the first move. Right now, we are stuggling. If we get a bullet, we'll probably be rewarded with a rating change. The organizers seem to make decisions based on what is best and easier for them (or their cronies), not what is best for the racers at large. The current courses included. All of this helps insure that the boats you see tied up to a dock and never moved stay that way. Their owners are too bored with just daysailing to do it more than once a month, if that. Their busy schedules keep them from cruising. They have no idea how to get started in racing and the organizers won't make it fun if they do. I previously raced in Annapolis. It wasn't cheap, it wasn't easy, but it was fun, win or lose. Here, I can see that if we (the crew) weren't so diehard in our quest for sailing time, we would get discouraged and quit. On a little more up-beat note, tonight while we were getting the boat ready for tommorrows race, a dockmate (whose sailboat has not left the dock in the year we've been at this marina) came up to us and said we were depressing the other sailboat owners at the marina. Seems they have talked about us and on how our boat probably gets more time on the water in a month than all of the others get in a year has them all depressed. Enough that many are planning on getting their boats out on the water. Maybe the old idea of leading by example can work! And since having complained about how the racing is being administrated, it's time we all got in there and started to change it. And we will, right after we get in enough practise to go earn the rating change.


I disagree that the costs have not changed or that racing itself has not fundamentally changed. The amount of prep and relative expense to win consistently has increased in the last thirty years dramatically and top level programs have gotten much less corinthian. How many "pros" where there in 1975 getting paid to sail? The improvements in technology mean that the owner willing to buy top cloth and gofasts every year has a built in advantage over lower budget programs. Even the top level racing, ie. America's Cup were not three or five year campaigns as they are now. There is a very clear gap between grand prix classes like the TP52 and Farr 40 and your average club racer that did not exist to nearly the same degree before. If there is a common theme among the posts here, it seems that a lot of people prefer the lower key racing, because it's more fun.

#75 DoRag

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 04:09 PM

Doesn't anyone here work within a Yacht Club?

I totally agree with basically the entire SA position that Yacht Clubs are just dropping the ball with membership, recruiting, and FLEET DEVELOPMENT.

The fucking clubs are suppose to be about SAILING, and instead they are about wedding receptions (guess I can't bitch too much as mine was held at a club as well- of course the whole reception was discussion of sailing.....).

Anyone running a club should really think about about the direction of sailing. Right now there are great junior programs, great college programs. But after that there is NOTHING. Entire generations of future sailors are being lost because there just isn't anywhere for them to fit in. No where for them to develop their skills. No where for them to for teams and compete against other teams.

What can clubs do?

Open your damn pocket books and buy some standard boats. Make it standard so that EVERY CLUB in socal buys the same boat. Forget the fucking Martin in MDR, the cal20s in LBG, the 105s in dago. Why is everything setup so that you can only race your stupid slow boat in your own backyard against the same aging old guys you have raced against for the last 50 years?

isn't there anyone who sees why sailing is dying?

All those phrf boat should be converted to scrap and open room in marinas for one designers. Oh and marinas- marinas should no longer be treated as revenue sources to local governments. Having to pay $500/mn just to have your boat in a slip and getting NOTHING IN RETURN... geez I wonder why sailing is dying????

I have enough money to buy a new OD boat- thought about getting the Lumbo30 and now think about signing up for a FT10.... BUT- I can't race in any races because I am not a member of a yacht club and I can't afford the monthly slip fee. It would be quite easy for me to get my friends into sailing if I had a boat, but I just can't afford one, or more appropriately I can't afford the operation of it.

Slip fee, $6000 a year
Yacht Club fees $1500 a year
Race entry fees and expenses, $1500 a year
sails and maintance per year $5000 a year
that is 14K a year- A YEAR!!!!!!!!

SO WHERE IS THE FUTURE OF SAILING?
LASERS, 505s, CATS, etc.

every effort should be made right now to retool yacht clubs to be able to support the next generation of club racing. And most importantly to get rid of all those rotting POS boats taking up all the dry storage and dock space.



I think this is the core problem. To many yacht clubs have morphed into social clubs with a diminished focus on sailing, not to mention, racing. My yacht club is a prime example of that. It was once perceived as a powerhouse source of racers and hosted a number of prestigious events. Today it has only two successful racing campaigns of any note. The emphasis is now more on the next party or the Opening Day ceremony where prizes are dolled out based upon who spent the most money hiring BN's to polish their boats. The prestige is now with the winner of Opening Day rather than a winner of a Fleet Championship, or KWRW, or whatever. A yaching event is now defined as putting your boat on autopilot and cruising to Catalina for a weekend.

Membership has changed to largely power boaters or even non boat owners. The leadership of the club now reflects that mix. Yacht clubs are the backbone of the sport of yacht racing. Once they cease to function effectively in taht role or change their charters, the inevitable result is the decline of the sport.

The king is dead, long live the king!

#76 sailingjunkiexl

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 04:20 PM

"Would like to hear from those that didn't get out as to why."

I've done 25 to 30 races per year for the past 8 years. 2006 are the first MidWinters that I didn't sail in over 10 years.

Too much work putting and keeping a competitive crew together. Everyone has conflicting commitments. Crew members have something pop up and back out last minute, yada, yada, yada. I've spent 2 to 3 hours on the phone calling people to replace 1 or 2 people for the next weekend.

Also, a crew must race regularly for the team to know the boat and improve effeciency. I've cut my race schedule way back this year, and I'm just doing random leg and off wind races. It's easier on everybody - the crew, me and my family.

I think that PHRF and race management have probably improved a little over the years, they're not to blame for a decline in sailboat racing. It's economic (the economy is beginning to slow) and social - time and commitment. Everyone has a scarcity of both. Question is, where do you want to spend them? :)

#77 Udog

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 04:27 PM

As I recall last year our infamous Southwestern Yacht Club hosted the bigger boat fleet. With its poor race management and the drunken throphy party I'm sure many skippers decided to stay home and watch TV.



Everybody on the Race Management team is a volunteer. Without them, volunteering their own time, we wouldn't have races at all. It may not be perfect, but the fun of racing beats watching TV any day.

The "Drunken Trophy Party"? This is a complaint I never thought I would see on SA. Again, a volunteer uses his free time to get the club to provide a free keg of beer and free food for the after race party. A few people at the party can't handle their booze and you want to condemn the whole damn thing. Not the clubs fault. Not the volunteer’s fault. How about blaming the few that couldn't handle their booze.

I agree with Andrew and Railrider. PHRF is failing in San Diego do to the lack of the FUN factor and everybopdy expecting everything to be perfect. CRA (club races in the bay), Hot Rum, and the Around the Coronado's all draw well (120 boats for the Hot Rums) and they all have one thing in common. Great after race party's with a lot of fun and camaraderie.

#78 ragbag

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 04:46 PM

Administration is part of the problem. I race a 30 footer rated 51 under PHRF, yet they insist on pairing us with boats in my size range that I end up owing hours to. It's is not fun to finish first and get beaten by boats you can't even see when you cross the line. We want some hand to hand combat in sailing, that's the fun. I have bitched up a storm about this each year, and this year I may not even enter the series. That's why PHRF sucks and is dying. This can be done much better with a few tweaks and some common sense.

#79 JustDroppingBy

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 05:24 PM

I have enough money to buy a new OD boat- thought about getting the Lumbo30 and now think about signing up for a FT10.... BUT- I can't race in any races because I am not a member of a yacht club and I can't afford the monthly slip fee. It would be quite easy for me to get my friends into sailing if I had a boat, but I just can't afford one, or more appropriately I can't afford the operation of it.

Quite a few guys I know have joined the womens sailing association in order to race in our area. It's 90 bucks a year that way :)

#80 respite

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 08:40 PM

Our Saturday PHRF type Club (Nothern Chesapeake) is all about the novice. There are no protests, hell you don’t even need to know any rules, we’re just happy to have you out there. Some have been novices for the last thirty or forty years and that’s great. Some graduate and disappear to Annapolis and that’s great too.

Still the intimidation factor is the biggest problem with getting new people to show up.

While our club is not typical we still have to fight peoples perception of what yacht racing is all about and mostly these perceptions are accurate.

When I look around at the pre-starts I see lots of couples and that is what is happening on our boat.

Weekends are time to decompress and after managing people all week I just don’t need to screw with race management, boat management, crew management, logistics, weather and all the rest of it. I just want to float around some course, relax and be amongst friends on the water.

Do I know the rules? Yes. Do a couple in their forties have the physical capacity to manage this? No. So we stay clear and know we aren’t winning anything again this week.

Do I understand start management. Yes. Are we interested in the stress of tight quarters boat handling? No. Especially since if some dickhead yells at my girlfriend I’m likely to put a permanent mark on his face. She does not find this relaxing.

Do we want to go to after parties where guys are puking, exposing themselves and using language that would make a stevedore blush? While it seemed very cool when we were in our twenties, that party’s over.

It’s not a money issue. This is the richest nation on earth. People blow ridiculous amounts of money on cars, boats and houses. There are thousands and thousands of people willing to lay out the serious ching it takes to get on the water. But they will not spend a hundred grand to feel like they’re being punished.

I was in a PHRF race where a boat with brand new awl-grip, got rubbed by some one who did it because they had the right of way and they could. Is there any remote possibility that guy was having fun? Hell no. He probably had to grovel to his wife just to get that paint job and then he had to tell her it was ruined by some sea-lawyer. I know he was never seen racing again.

What makes me laugh are the people who are very serious about their racing that demand that I also be very serious about mine. Fuck you. I don’t owe you any money. I could give a shit what you demand.

Race around your W/L gates and offsets course with your Pros, software, Kevlar and a crew of seventeen. It’s PHRF for chrissakes!

I’ll be tied up at River Watch partying with your wife.

#81 Tripp

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 09:41 PM

I also think the move to dinghys is a result of people getting fed up with trying to find 5-8 regular crew week in and week out.

People with 28+ foot boats that are crew hogs get really frustrated when they can't be competitive due to lack of decent crew.

So they eventually sell their PHRF boat.

#82 IRC Rocket Rider

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 04:30 PM

I also think the move to dinghys is a result of people getting fed up with trying to find 5-8 regular crew week in and week out.

People with 28+ foot boats that are crew hogs get really frustrated when they can't be competitive due to lack of decent crew.

So they eventually sell their PHRF boat.


Crew should never be a problem. If it is, you are doing something wrong. We have never had trouble getting decent crew. Good boats that are well prepared with fun programs have more crew and can pick who they want to take. You don't have to have a sled to find crew. Even a Benislow can have more than it needs.

#83 TMSAIL

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 05:02 AM


I also think the move to dinghys is a result of people getting fed up with trying to find 5-8 regular crew week in and week out.

People with 28+ foot boats that are crew hogs get really frustrated when they can't be competitive due to lack of decent crew.

So they eventually sell their PHRF boat.


Crew should never be a problem. If it is, you are doing something wrong. We have never had trouble getting decent crew. Good boats that are well prepared with fun programs have more crew and can pick who they want to take. You don't have to have a sled to find crew. Even a Benislow can have more than it needs.


I agree with you, but you have to be willing to bring people in and work with them so that when a bunch get married, move, what ever you are not left high and Dry, I raced my boat for 15 years I had four distinct crews during that time. I kept getting older and the crew kept getting younger and better looking.

#84 S Brennan

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 05:57 AM

Ragbag,

You may want hand to hand combat, but many don't need additional conflict in their lives.

Think of it this way, some want to drive to work as quickly as is possible and others want to make sure that nobody passes them in traffic. Some people like professional wrestling, others like watching sprinters dash 100 meters. I played football and served in the US Army, I think either provides a better venue for combat than Sailing.

If hand to hand combat is your true desire, consider dinghy sailing or if that won't fill the need, a tour or two in Iraq ought to turn the trick...heck, after you got back don't be surprised if a Hunter starts to look good.

I used to think sailing in storms would be great and an all knowing God granted me the wishes of my youth...careful what you wish for.

#85 DoRag

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 11:27 PM

Ragbag,

You may want hand to hand combat, but many don't need additional conflict in their lives.

Think of it this way, some want to drive to work as quickly as is possible and others want to make sure that nobody passes them in traffic. Some people like professional wrestling, others like watching sprinters dash 100 meters. I played football and served in the US Army, I think either provides a better venue for combat than Sailing.

If hand to hand combat is your true desire, consider dinghy sailing or if that won't fill the need, a tour or two in Iraq ought to turn the trick...heck, after you got back don't be surprised if a Hunter starts to look good.

I used to think sailing in storms would be great and an all knowing God granted me the wishes of my youth...careful what you wish for.



You're my hero.

#86 tweaker

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 02:00 AM

"Would like to hear from those that didn't get out as to why."

I've done 25 to 30 races per year for the past 8 years. 2006 are the first MidWinters that I didn't sail in over 10 years.

Too much work putting and keeping a competitive crew together. Everyone has conflicting commitments. Crew members have something pop up and back out last minute, yada, yada, yada. I've spent 2 to 3 hours on the phone calling people to replace 1 or 2 people for the next weekend.

Also, a crew must race regularly for the team to know the boat and improve effeciency. I've cut my race schedule way back this year, and I'm just doing random leg and off wind races. It's easier on everybody - the crew, me and my family.

I think that PHRF and race management have probably improved a little over the years, they're not to blame for a decline in sailboat racing. It's economic (the economy is beginning to slow) and social - time and commitment. Everyone has a scarcity of both. Question is, where do you want to spend them? :)



Bingo! Everyone is more busy . No time. Sailing is more expensive.

#87 transpac

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 02:36 AM


"Would like to hear from those that didn't get out as to why."

I've done 25 to 30 races per year for the past 8 years. 2006 are the first MidWinters that I didn't sail in over 10 years.

Too much work putting and keeping a competitive crew together. Everyone has conflicting commitments. Crew members have something pop up and back out last minute, yada, yada, yada. I've spent 2 to 3 hours on the phone calling people to replace 1 or 2 people for the next weekend.

Also, a crew must race regularly for the team to know the boat and improve effeciency. I've cut my race schedule way back this year, and I'm just doing random leg and off wind races. It's easier on everybody - the crew, me and my family.

I think that PHRF and race management have probably improved a little over the years, they're not to blame for a decline in sailboat racing. It's economic (the economy is beginning to slow) and social - time and commitment. Everyone has a scarcity of both. Question is, where do you want to spend them? :)



Bingo! Everyone is more busy . No time. Sailing is more expensive.



I have to agree time- everything is hard to organize! races and handicaps. we where going to race this weekend - but my hubby did not line up any crew. To busy, it is an overnighter so I bet we are too late. The boats fast but the rating is really really bad and needs changed, the time has come , we need to do it but you have to collect all your results etc and present it to the committee argh--tick tick time..that snowballs into less wins harder to get crew...so I bet we won't sail in RACES as much because we are all to busy, plenty of just funning.

#88 ragbag

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 03:06 AM

Ragbag,

You may want hand to hand combat, but many don't need additional conflict in their lives.

Think of it this way, some want to drive to work as quickly as is possible and others want to make sure that nobody passes them in traffic. Some people like professional wrestling, others like watching sprinters dash 100 meters. I played football and served in the US Army, I think either provides a better venue for combat than Sailing.

If hand to hand combat is your true desire, consider dinghy sailing or if that won't fill the need, a tour or two in Iraq ought to turn the trick...heck, after you got back don't be surprised if a Hunter starts to look good.

I used to think sailing in storms would be great and an all knowing God granted me the wishes of my youth...careful what you wish for.


S-

I was drafted into the military at age 18. I can relate better to movies such as Full Metal Jacket than I care to. I did sail and race dinghies form many years when I was a younger man. I have owned a Catalina (close enough), and yes, they do suck as sail boats. Now, can I please be paired with similarly rated boats for some close racing?

#89 inquiring Mind

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 04:38 AM


I also think the move to dinghys is a result of people getting fed up with trying to find 5-8 regular crew week in and week out.

People with 28+ foot boats that are crew hogs get really frustrated when they can't be competitive due to lack of decent crew.

So they eventually sell their PHRF boat.


Crew should never be a problem. If it is, you are doing something wrong. We have never had trouble getting decent crew. Good boats that are well prepared with fun programs have more crew and can pick who they want to take. You don't have to have a sled to find crew. Even a Benislow can have more than it needs.


Well I have been doing something wrong for some time then. I have to have a pool about twice the size of the desired number of crew and I spend a lot of time trying to arrange for just the important races. And I can never get people together for a practice. Weekends are just too sacred for most people. Even Beer Cans are a problem. You never know how many people will show up I may have five or I may have 12. And you can't turn corners with people who don't work together time after time (and aren't able/willing to practice). And I buy the beer. So tell me = what m I doing wrong?

#90 flytact

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 12:50 PM

If your problem is getting consistant crew to come out 25 times a year then you are participating in too many races. We race about 35 times a year but only 10-11 of those are CBYRA sponsored events counting towards Bay highpoint. The others are Wed. club races to unwind during the week and get the crew who turn up into a groove.
The result: 7 consistent crew for the last 5 years, most with kids and some driving as much as 1-1/2 hours

#91 dispursed

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 02:04 PM

You never know how many people will show up I may have five or I may have 12. And you can't turn corners with people who don't work together time after time (and aren't able/willing to practice). And I buy the beer. So tell me = what m I doing wrong?


i find shouting out my favorite lines from "full metal jacket" really helps pull a crew together.
"glen garry glenross" is also good.

i pretty much just sit back and shout things at them. its all good.

#92 Christian

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 05:09 PM

There is also a built in bias by the better sailors to object to anything but W/L at Regatta's
I floated the idea of a long course race (giant trapazoid or some random, but long course) in place of the normal 2 or 3 W/L on Saturday ( 3 day regatta ). Many sailors liked the idea, but there were strong feelings against, the majority came from the top sailors in the GP sections.



That probably has somethign to do with the fact that these "top" teams have learned to win in the very limited world of W/L short course racing. And they will most likely all tell you that this is the best way to test the skills - which in my mind is BS - it is testing a very limited set of sailing skills. I love a variety of courses - W/L, olympic, random leg and distance stuff. Keeps me on my toes and provides THE most important factor - FUN.

Too many sailors are so narrowly focused on collecting their pickle dishes that they forget that sailing (for most people) is a LEISURE activity and it should be fun.

#93 SailDry

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 07:34 PM

"glen garry glenross" is also good.


"Second place, steak knives.
Third place, YOUR FIRED!"

Sailboat racing takes two things: time and money. As time goes on people have less of both.

#94 JustDroppingBy

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 07:55 PM

Well I have been doing something wrong for some time then. I have to have a pool about twice the size of the desired number of crew and I spend a lot of time trying to arrange for just the important races. And I can never get people together for a practice. Weekends are just too sacred for most people. Even Beer Cans are a problem. You never know how many people will show up I may have five or I may have 12. And you can't turn corners with people who don't work together time after time (and aren't able/willing to practice). And I buy the beer. So tell me = what m I doing wrong?

Our club hosted a sailing seminar last Thursday night, and we had more than 120 people in attendance. Some of the better OD racers were on the panel, most of whom race PHRF when there aren't enough boats for a fleet start. The biggest comment about crew is that you really need a good core, and you need to get your commitments for the season as early as you can. Our current S35 national champ/season champ from last year asked his crew for commitments the week after nationals were over last fall. We have 8 major OD regattas counting towards the season and then our nationals. That makes 22 days of racing plus I'd guess another 9 days of practice for most teams minimum, so you're at 31 days so far for the year. We use an early in the year series of three days for practice as well, and some other small races throughout the season for practice as well. Which puts us at around 40 days on the boat. Wednesday night races would make 16 more trips out (we don't do them all since the boats often at the OD venue the week before we race it) for the crew, and some of our deliveries to other clubs we race at, we take a partial crew and do a little practice.

Out of those 40 sure days, I'd say that our core crew -- the 2 of us, plus 5 more, are always there. Then we fill in on a couple of positions currently, until we find the right folks that fit the boat and like to spend that much time with the rest of the boat.

It's a lot of work, and I didn't realize just how many days of work it was until I counted them up.




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