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Phrf racing 45minute races too short for fair results??


JimB

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I need opinions. I am arguing for longer races for our club racing. We seem to be stuck at 45 minutes and sometimes shorter. Our rating range is 168 (J24) to 138 (B25).

 

Presuming the J24 and the B25 are equally well sailed, given our typical 6-8 knots race breeze, I believe it to be unfair to the faster rated B the shorter the race. I believe the faster boats need some what longer races to save their time when there is a 30 sec or more spread between boats. I am thinking 60 to 70 minutes would be fair to all boats.

 

What are your thoughts? I am hoping for lots of opinions here.

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Isn't the rating done time-on-time? Then it shouldn't matter how long the races are, as long as it's the same course at the same time for everyone it should be fair. Sure, some boats (often bigger ones) are harder to handle around a smaller course, but if they are being sailed well then it shouldn't make a difference.

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Yes in theory using time on time should make things equal but in reality courses are not always square, start lines are sometimes too short and unsqare making it difficult for the faster boat to break out and away from the slower boats. The longer it takes to clear your air the tougher it its to correct over the slower boats. The shorter the course the tougher it is for the faster boat to save it's time in these less than ideal conditions because it often takes time to find a clear Lane. As the skipper of one of the faster rated boats it has been my experience I win my share of longer races but rarely correct out ahead on a short race. I have been lobbying for longer races but they rarely happen. In fact we have ended up with lots of 30 minute races that I feel really suck for the faster boats. Hoping for more opinions.

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making it difficult for the faster boat to break out and away from the slower boats.

And the greater the percentage of the race the slower boats spend in dirty air from the faster boats, so they are far more disadvantaged. There are reasonable arguments for longer races and for shorter races, but don't kid yourself this is one of them. Ultimately it should simply copme down to what the majority want to do.
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Isn't the rating done time-on-time? Then it shouldn't matter how long the races are, as long as it's the same course at the same time for everyone it should be fair. Sure, some boats (often bigger ones) are harder to handle around a smaller course, but if they are being sailed well then it shouldn't make a difference.

+1.

Yes in theory using time on time should make things equal but in reality courses are not always square, start lines are sometimes too short and unsqare making it difficult for the faster boat to break out and away from the slower boats. The longer it takes to clear your air the tougher it its to correct over the slower boats. The shorter the course the tougher it is for the faster boat to save it's time in these less than ideal conditions because it often takes time to find a clear Lane.

Bigger/faster boats have an advantage all else equal. Smaller boats have an even tougher time getting clear air, and more tactics to deal with! Once bigger boats get clear, they have little or no tactical situations to deal with - it's just boat speed then.

+ 1 practice your starting, most of the boats either jammed at the RC boat at the start or are late by over 30 sec.

+1. Unless your rating is unfair, or you're a displacement boat competing with sport boats, you should have an advantage as a lower rated boat at almost any WL course length.
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Yes the start is crucial when you have the fast boat and I believe even more so if the race is short. A badly set start line that is very short makes the situation even more difficult. Getting a clear lane quickly is paramount and even harder to do when the start line is not what it should be which seems to be often the case with us. It can sometimes take longer than you like to break out of the mess. TIME that is needed to correct over the rated slower but still fast boats.

 

The boats in our fleet and 168 to 138 rating band are mostly the same size in hull length and sail plan. J24s, Martin 242s, B25s and the little bigger S2 7.9S. There are no dogs in our fleet.

 

We have a perofessionally trained race committee that does a pretty good job in most aspects of the race except the start line. I have tried to suggest they are screwing up in that area but my comments are just seen as complaining and get no changes. They are volunteers giving their time so you cannot get too pushy with them. We are lucky to have them. The big problem is the most of them have never sailed let alone raced. They just enjoy getting out with us. We did bring in a professional race judge to train them.

 

So far the comments I have got back here suggest to me I need to somehow get the committee to better understand how important it is to set a good line if they continue to set short courses. After having said that I still do not like 30 to 45 minute races when we could be doing longer ones. Kinda like 2 minute sex vs something a little longer. 5 short races on a regatta day to me are less fun than 3 long ones.

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I think what the comments mostly come down to is that you've got your knickers in a twist about nothing...

And has it occurred to you that quite possibly short races are what the majority want...

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Our latest Thursday race ended-up being approx. 35 minutes and with the handicaps applied 4-5 boats were within 10 secs or so. The course was based on the original breeze of 5-6 knots, but thunder clouds moved-in around the bay and the winds reversed angle and pumped-up to 15-20, windward start became leeward after the first two fleets were off.

 

Generally our races are 55-65 minutes in length, but circumstances obviously affect the time once the boats are on-course. I am not sure length in time affects it that much. Are one or two boats cleaning-up every week? Are they normally that good? We have F395's, J35's, J105's, a J92s, B32, and a J120 in the mix. The B32 has gone to a 135% +/- headsail to play the rating game a little. We get a mix of winners with the 395's and B32 having the advantage most nights with our reaching legs, if some up and down then the 35's move into the mix. Similar mix in the spin B class, with a couple of usual supects at the front, depending on who sailed best that night, no matter the length.

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Kinda like 2 minute sex vs something a little longer. 5 short races on a regatta day to me are less fun than 3 long ones.

 

5 rounds in a day sounds OK to me..............

 

If the races become a procession then what is the point in longer length? An option would to be short courses one time and then longer ones on alternating days.

 

More starts and roundings teach you more than just riding around the course. OR do you have an advantage and just want to enjoy being out front longer, building a larger margin to brag on?

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+ 1 practice your starting,

most of the boats either jammed at the RC boat at the start or are late by over 30 sec.

 

Save that time, practice a little more twist in the main if you are ahead..

 

sail safe!

wow, you must not sail in very competitive fleets

 

me thinks the OP results arent up to par, and thus he's reaching for a way to blame the PRO/RC

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If you are one of the faster rated boats, you shouldn't have trouble getting off a crowded starting line, skewed or not. In 6-8 kts. of breeze, the faster rated boat has the advantage over the slower boat under PHRF TOD, with all other things being equal. The only way I can see the slower rated boat being advantaged is if the course is not a true W/L. Quit complaining about the length of the race and just sail faster. If the only way you can leg out on your competition is by sailing longer distances in a straight line, then you need to work on boat handling.

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I dont understand why the original poster is conflating the issue of a non-square course. There's absolutely nothing inherently "not fair" about a skewed course-- after all, everyone races on that same skewed course. Saying a skewed course is not fair is like saying a venue w/ 3kts of cross-current can never be fair. It can be a .4 nautical mile beam reach to the 1st mark and back, and most of the time the best boat will win!

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so, let's do a little arithmetic...

you rate 30 sec/mile faster than a J24...

the race takes 45 minutes, so you probably are sailing about 4 miles...

you should be 2 minutes ahead on the water when you finish...


let's say that speed is about 3 seconds/boatlength...

that's 40 boat-lengths...

or, roughly, you should gain about 1 boatlength on the J24 for every minute you sail...

does this make sense?


if all that is true, it shouldn't be that hard to punch out from a crowded start line, it seems to me...

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You are focusing on the wrong issues.

 

The fact that OP keeps losing is most likely his poor starts.

 

But even that misses the point. Stop wrrying about the rating and whether or not you win. Instead pay attention to how you are doing over the long term, racing with you friends. And enjoy it.

 

It isn't like your life depends on winning. I race a boat I can never win in but it is fun. Sometimes I race on other boats that do win. And we have done quite well portsmouth with our boat because everyone else is also using old sails, too. And that is also fun. But if you win because your rating is "fair" rather than because you worked to do better, it is an empty win.

 

Frankly all handicap racing suffers the problem that often the win/lose is just naval architecture. Where this happens most is when there are long free legs.

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PHRF is what it is.....

 

You get to go out and race against usually vastly different boat with similar ratings (maybe) and have fun.

 

Make it fun. It's just a sailboat race.

 

45 minutes...meh.

 

Conditions, tactics, and boat handling are the key. Sometimes it's your day..

 

Sometimes not.

 

Bring rum.

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By the way. 45 minute races means you get to race more races per day (hopefully).

 

I would rather race 5 WL races per day than 2 races of longer durations.

 

my .02.

 

You're results may vary.

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So let's forget about who wins and who loses for for a bit. I can deal with this locally. All I have to do is swap boats with the J24 who I owe 30 secs to for a few races to see what happens.

 

We have another problem that I feel relates. We are currently experiencing an alarming decline in racing participation especially with our end of season regatta. We used to get 35 to 40 boats with 10 to 15 travelling to our event from all over the province and further. We have been in a steep decline in participation for the last five years. Just about the exact time we started racing short fairly intense races. We also stepped up the level of race management bringing in a professional judge for the first four of the last five years. So despite the high level race management our participation this year was just 13 boats with nobody travelling from out of town. Last year was not much better with 19 boats and just one from out of town. We are basically just left with us old diehards. It is my feeling our shift to a higher level of intensity is a good deal of the cause of our decline in participation. None of our less experienced sailors came out this year or last. I think we have turned them off. Despite the high level of race management no one from out of town is making the trip. I think we have turned them off as well. I can't help but think we have become too intense scaring off the lesser experienced as well as the older sailors who have tired of this level of racing. Demographics are not working in our favor. Here in Alberta most of our keel boat sailors are baby boomers and unfortunately we are getting a little long in the tooth. If we do not turn this decline in participation around we will be all done soon as far as racing is concerned. I think we need to ease up on the intensity. 30 to 45 minute races are simply more intense as are short start lines. We do not have a lot of time to turn this problem around as most of us diehards are now in our early 60s. I think we need to lighten up. We need to remember we all started playing this game at a different level. A level that was less intense and not intimidating for the new or less experienced. What are you guys experiencing in terms of participation? If you are experiencing the same issue what are you doing about it?

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Jimbo: Jeezus christ, you're overthinking this and you just need to practice your starts more, and also drink more beer during beer-can races. Then, when you get back to the club, buy that guys that won a couple beers and pick their brains on their starting techniques.

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The thing that grinds my gears is when I drive 35 minutes one way to do a 35-40 minute race. Throw in minimum 30 minutes for boat prep/put away and it's a bunch of work and effort for not much racing, win or lose.

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The thing that grinds my gears is when I drive 35 minutes one way to do a 35-40 minute race. Throw in minimum 30 minutes for boat prep/put away and it's a bunch of work and effort for not much racing, win or lose.

damn, that sucks. maybe if you sell all your gear on eBay you could buy a decent set of golf clubs?

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The thing that grinds my gears is when I drive 35 minutes one way to do a 35-40 minute race. Throw in minimum 30 minutes for boat prep/put away and it's a bunch of work and effort for not much racing, win or lose.

damn, that sucks. maybe if you sell all your gear on eBay you could buy a decent set of golf clubs?

I hate golf!

 

I hate golf!

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So let's forget about who wins and who loses for for a bit. I can deal with this locally. All I have to do is swap boats with the J24 who I owe 30 secs to for a few races to see what happens.

 

We have another problem that I feel relates. We are currently experiencing an alarming decline in racing participation especially with our end of season regatta. We used to get 35 to 40 boats with 10 to 15 travelling to our event from all over the province and further. We have been in a steep decline in participation for the last five years. Just about the exact time we started racing short fairly intense races. We also stepped up the level of race management bringing in a professional judge for the first four of the last five years. So despite the high level race management our participation this year was just 13 boats with nobody travelling from out of town. Last year was not much better with 19 boats and just one from out of town. We are basically just left with us old diehards. It is my feeling our shift to a higher level of intensity is a good deal of the cause of our decline in participation. None of our less experienced sailors came out this year or last. I think we have turned them off. Despite the high level of race management no one from out of town is making the trip. I think we have turned them off as well. I can't help but think we have become too intense scaring off the lesser experienced as well as the older sailors who have tired of this level of racing. Demographics are not working in our favor. Here in Alberta most of our keel boat sailors are baby boomers and unfortunately we are getting a little long in the tooth. If we do not turn this decline in participation around we will be all done soon as far as racing is concerned. I think we need to ease up on the intensity. 30 to 45 minute races are simply more intense as are short start lines. We do not have a lot of time to turn this problem around as most of us diehards are now in our early 60s. I think we need to lighten up. We need to remember we all started playing this game at a different level. A level that was less intense and not intimidating for the new or less experienced. What are you guys experiencing in terms of participation? If you are experiencing the same issue what are you doing about it?

 

I would guess the massive economic nose dive 6 years ago had a lot more to do with declining participation than any changes to the racing. Non-baby boomers aren't exactly rolling in cash the last few years.

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Well NorCal you might be right about over thinking. I tend to do that. However our steep decline in participation is real. Our situation needs a change up before we just fizzle out due to old age. I was one of the founders of our club 25 years ago. I WAS Commodore at our peak in participation and fun. I believe the steep decline we are in now can be some what attributed to our current racing style. Yes there will be a small core of us still fighting it out until we can't do it anymore but if things keep going they way they have been we will be a very small group. So what do we do? Anyway I am way off the the reason for my initial post now. Time to say good night.

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Just to respond to bpw. There is no shortage of money around here. Our? 30 to 50 year old sare making big money. We are in the middle of the biggest economic boom we have ever had. 30year old truck drivers are making $100,000 plus driving in our oil patch with lots of time off in the summer. Now it is time to say good nite.

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The thing that grinds my gears is when I drive 35 minutes one way to do a 35-40 minute race. Throw in minimum 30 minutes for boat prep/put away and it's a bunch of work and effort for not much racing, win or lose.

damn, that sucks. maybe if you sell all your gear on eBay you could buy a decent set of golf clubs?

I hate golf!

 

I hate golf!

 

It sounds like you're not particularly fond of sailing, either

 

FB- Doug

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So let's forget about who wins and who loses for for a bit. I can deal with this locally. All I have to do is swap boats with the J24 who I owe 30 secs to for a few races to see what happens.

 

We have another problem that I feel relates. We are currently experiencing an alarming decline in racing participation especially with our end of season regatta. We used to get 35 to 40 boats with 10 to 15 travelling to our event from all over the province and further. We have been in a steep decline in participation for the last five years....

... ...

If you are experiencing the same issue what are you doing about it?

 

 

Yep racing is on the decline here. One step is to contact the people who used to come but don't any more. Ask them. You Canadians are friendly, right, so just talk to some of them. There isn't any point in making the decision on what the problem is, based on what -YOU- think about the racing.

 

We have asked people who are no longer racing regularly but not gotten any conclusive answers. We also have started a junior sailing program and hopefully that will produce some results even if it takes a few years.

 

FB- Doug

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Whine, whine, whine!

 

In theory skewed courses should help the slower boats since the actual distance sailed is less than it would be if the course was perfect, but do you even plan for a perfect course, or do you sail around gov't marks? Do you use distance or W/L handicaps?

 

Other than that, the OP's explanations of why he is losing are just excuses for losing. I lose a lot of races, I think the best way to change that would be to raise my game.

 

That said, I prefer races that take at least an hour but that's mostly because we only have one start per night.

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JimB,

 

Racing, in particular handicap racing, has been on the decline around here for quite some time. If you really want to get to the root of the issue, question those that no longer participate to see if it is Organizing Authority issue, a Race Management issue, or just a lifestyle change. The diehards will always show up. You don't want to alienate them, so they should also be involved in your poll. Rather than posting on a forum that doesn't involve any of your current or former participants. If it is a change in lifestyle for the younger (30-45) crowd, there is not much you will be able to do with the length of course to bring them back to the level it once was.

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Just to respond to bpw. There is no shortage of money around here. Our? 30 to 50 year old sare making big money. We are in the middle of the biggest economic boom we have ever had. 30year old truck drivers are making $100,000 plus driving in our oil patch with lots of time off in the summer. Now it is time to say good nite.

The money might be there for certain individuals, but there are a lot of things competing for your time these days. It is very difficult for someone with a young family and career to devote a regular part of their week to something as frivolous as sailing.

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I drive 60 miles each way. Then sail 45 minutes to reach the staging area. It takes me close to an hour to get the boat ready to race and another putting everything away. All in all I spend 7 hrs to spend about 2 racing. I did all this Saturday to race three one mile races. However....absolutely loved it. Wind was 15 to 20 knots, 65 degees. On the last race we nailed the start and ended up in second place. Smiled all the way back to my marina. The one positve thing about several short races is that it minimizes the effect of the speed differences between boats and puts a premium on a good start and on tactics. We also have long distance races that take about 4 hours. The fast boats have a big advantage here since the start and tactics have much less importance. On long races we often end up with long beam reaches. Having several short races allows you to throw out some of the worst performances or even miss some and still remain competitive over the series.

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Jimbo: Jeezus christ, you're overthinking this and you just need to practice your starts more, and also drink more beer during beer-can races. Then, when you get back to the club, buy that guys that won a couple beers and pick their brains on their starting techniques.

+1. There's nothing wrong with 45 minute buoy races, and no disadvantage for faster boats.

 

And as for the decline in participation, it's happening almost everywhere, especially at all but the big top tier clubs (the 1% elites have different motivations and resources). Middle class/"Everyman" clubs have been hit the most. There are lots of reasons, and changes in course length are probably a minor factor among many. It is disappointing for all of us, but changing to longer races seems unlikely to "fix" the problem IME. Read Saving Sailing and all the other books and articles...and good luck turning the tide.

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Our best participation has been distance races. 10-25mile races.We stress the fun factor. Beer and bbq at the end. Encourage cruising JAM. Seperate starts of course. The longer distance allows less handling skill but more on nav and tactics. More newbies on the cruisers.

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The thing that grinds my gears is when I drive 35 minutes one way to do a 35-40 minute race. Throw in minimum 30 minutes for boat prep/put away and it's a bunch of work and effort for not much racing, win or lose.

 

damn, that sucks. maybe if you sell all your gear on eBay you could buy a decent set of golf clubs?

I hate golf!

I hate golf!

Take up shooting?

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Our best participation has been distance races. 10-25mile races.We stress the fun factor. Beer and bbq at the end. Encourage cruising JAM. Seperate starts of course. The longer distance allows less handling skill but more on nav and tactics. More newbies on the cruisers.

 

...more newbies on the cruisers..if we want to bring more people into the sport, this has a certain ring to it.

Duration of newbie length..(long enough to get pissed?)..long enough for the newbie to love it enough to brag about it....so not too much emphasis on mad sheet flying kite dropping short courses would be probably be good for the sport.

A mix is my vote, fwiw ours are mostly 12-17nm.

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The thing that grinds my gears is when I drive 35 minutes one way to do a 35-40 minute race. Throw in minimum 30 minutes for boat prep/put away and it's a bunch of work and effort for not much racing, win or lose.

winner winner. I HATE THAT. and this happens more than less of the time for me

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TOT favors the slow boats that advantage gets larger as the rating gap increases

TOD favors the faster boats in the same way

 

With TOD, light winds favor the big boats. In drifting conditions, it's often basically boat-for-boat.

With TOT, light winds favor the little boats since the handicap adjustments keep growing.

 

In my experience, if you re-score a TOD race in normal wind to TOT, the margins between the boats get smaller, but the order is usually the same or almost. It makes it seem that TOT corrects better, but I'm not sure that is actually true.

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Well NorCal you might be right about over thinking. I tend to do that. However our steep decline in participation is real. Our situation needs a change up before we just fizzle out due to old age. I was one of the founders of our club 25 years ago. I WAS Commodore at our peak in participation and fun. I believe the steep decline we are in now can be some what attributed to our current racing style. Yes there will be a small core of us still fighting it out until we can't do it anymore but if things keep going they way they have been we will be a very small group. So what do we do? Anyway I am way off the the reason for my initial post now. Time to say good night.

Become a better sailor. Notice what is going on with the wind, before and every 5 seconds while racing. Respond. Adjust. Go Faster. Teach the other sailors what you learn. Make everyone a better sailor, not just a better spreadsheet phrf analyzer.

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I have an advantage over many. I live on the river. My boat is in the slip in front of my house. It takes me 15 minutes to get to the starting line from my dock. That being said, when we get out for our one race on Thurs night, the longer the better. Yes, a longer race helps me take advantage of my 15K lb displacement. Yes, a longer race allows me to overcome poor starts . But, most of all, a longer race allows me more time on the water, more time racing, more time with my crew... just more enjoyment. We all seem to have trouble with declining participation. But, what do we really do about it? Usually nothing. I suggest we consider: inviting boat owners who do not race aboard for some races; lighten up; give an intro to racing course available to all; lighten up; make sure you promote your JAM fleet and give them an offset mark (not just W/L) to make their race more enjoyable; lighten up... Oh, if the "short vs long" sex is with different women, I'll take 5 of the short courses.

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. . . . Yes, a longer race helps me take advantage of my 15K lb displacement. Yes, a longer race allows me to overcome poor starts . But, most of all, a longer race allows me more time on the water, more time racing, more time with my crew... just more enjoyment. . . . . I suggest we consider: inviting boat owners who do not race aboard for some races. . . .

Plus plus plus.

 

Some times I will even share the helm!

 

Let me add a brief, impulsive note in behalf of PHRF racing. I acknowledge that one-design is preferable. But in any local venue there are usually a very limited number of class boats to select.

 

OTOH, PHRF allows the rest of us to choose whatever age-appropriate rig we like to sail and can afford to own and to see how fast they can get us around whatever course the RC selects. And, over a period of weeks, months, years, PHRF allows us to see if we are improving our performance relative to other boats. And the way I measure that improvement is not by the number of trophies members of my crew collect and take home, but the specific boats I beat to the finish line. Especially those I didn't expect to pass along the way! They make my evening at the bar and the remainder of the week off the water! In other words, I prefer to look at elapsed times and my racing as level racing.

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I prefer shorter races and get more races in per day. To me the start is the most fun and usually where the race is won or lost. And more mark roundings will separate the good boats from the average boats. I'd rather have four 45min races than 1 or 2 long races. It keeps the racing from just being a parade around the course. And if you cock up a start, you know you have more starts to redeem yourself on later in the day.

Speaking from experience on this one? ;):P

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Here in Austin we have several series throughout the year that consist of about 5 to 6 weekends of racing. Our A fleet couldn't agree on the short vs. long course debate so they decided to alternate between the two for each series. To the person who said that unsquare courses don't have an effect on racing, you are wrong. Boats don't have consistent performance on all points of sail. A boat that is a dog on a beat may really scream on a reach. Ratings are based on theoretically square courses so changes in the course can change that dramatically. Short courses also put a huge premium on the start. In a short race getting a good start is extremely important, but with a longer course there a lot more of a chance for someone to screw up or sail themselves into bad air. There's also the issue of different spinnaker types. Multiple laps and course with long reaches would likely benefit asym boats over symmetrical. If you want to offer fair racing I think you need to consider a mix of courses,

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Here in Austin we have several series throughout the year that consist of about 5 to 6 weekends of racing. Our A fleet couldn't agree on the short vs. long course debate so they decided to alternate between the two for each series. To the person who said that unsquare courses don't have an effect on racing, you are wrong. Boats don't have consistent performance on all points of sail. A boat that is a dog on a beat may really scream on a reach. Ratings are based on theoretically square courses so changes in the course can change that dramatically. Short courses also put a huge premium on the start. In a short race getting a good start is extremely important, but with a longer course there a lot more of a chance for someone to screw up or sail themselves into bad air. There's also the issue of different spinnaker types. Multiple laps and course with long reaches would likely benefit asym boats over symmetrical. If you want to offer fair racing I think you need to consider a mix of courses,

This is all getting just too complicated for me, I think I'll quit and take up golf or gardening. :ph34r:

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One of the government marks we often use for our Thursday evening races is 2.4 nm from the start. If the wind is light (which it usually is) and the tide is on the ebb (every other week), it's a long tedious slog. Not the sort of thing beginners like.

 

OTOH, most of the sailors in our little fleet hate mark roundings, as well as anything else that makes it clear they don't know the rules.

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Looking back on our actual race results I should have titled this post 30 minutes too short for fair results? Looking back on our actual numbers most of our races have been this duration. We go 2x around wl as well. As we run 2 fleets we often spend more time sailing around waiting to start than we do racing. I find this situation frustrating.

 

Now is it fair? In our normal wind conditions 6 - 9 knots my b25 at 138 is very close in upwind speed to the rest of our better sailed Martin 242s, S2 7.9s and a very fast j24 at 168. That is just the way it is. The simple truth-upwind racing on a short course does not allow for a lot of wind/ course strategy in comparison to a long course so I have little opportunity to make up for my faster rating with wind / course strategy. This situation gets worse if the wind makes a big shift and we end up just sailing straight to the mark with no tacking. Bottom line is I have to in most cases save my time downwind. In a breeze I can do that especially if the course is long allowing for lots of jibe opportunities taking advantage of wind shifts. If the course is short I do not have that opportunity. Thus the reason for my post in the first place.

 

As we all know phrf is far from perfect. Boats have different strengths and weaknesses. The Martin 242 is super easy to tack and super easy to handle around the marks perfect for short course racing. My b25 is very strong off the wind especially in a breeze but my advantage is of little benefit if I only have my spin up for a few minutes before I have t douse again. In my experience 60 minute races help in levelling the playing field in terms of boat strengths and again thus the reason for my post. I do understand the comments about better starts and better boat handling but I am no slouch in those skills relative to our fleet.

 

I will push hard over the winter to convince our mixed fleet to insist that our race management who are not sailors mix up the course durations. I know that their race management training did not include any discussion on boat strengths/ weaknesses / ratings and how all of that relates back to course duration. Yes I know that as per the responses, many of you do not agree with what I have presented here but then you are probably the guys that do not have to save your time.

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If you're using the words "fair" and "PHRF" in the same sentence, then the only person who can help you is a shrink. Racing boats that are heavier/longer/taller/planing/etc etc against each other is simply a way to get out sailing and enjoy it. It is "fair" depending on how you define that word.

 

Looking back on our actual race results I should have titled this post 30 minutes too short for fair results? Looking back on our actual numbers most of our races have been this duration. We go 2x around wl as well. As we run 2 fleets we often spend more time sailing around waiting to start than we do racing. I find this situation frustrating.

Now is it fair? In our normal wind conditions 6 - 9 knots my b25 at 138 is very close in upwind speed to the rest of our better sailed Martin 242s, S2 7.9s and a very fast j24 at 168. That is just the way it is. The simple truth-upwind racing on a short course does not allow for a lot of wind/ course strategy in comparison to a long course so I have little opportunity to make up for my faster rating with wind / course strategy. This situation gets worse if the wind makes a big shift and we end up just sailing straight to the mark with no tacking. Bottom line is I have to in most cases save my time downwind. In a breeze I can do that especially if the course is long allowing for lots of jibe opportunities taking advantage of wind shifts. If the course is short I do not have that opportunity. Thus the reason for my post in the first place.

As we all know phrf is far from perfect. Boats have different strengths and weaknesses. The Martin 242 is super easy to tack and super easy to handle around the marks perfect for short course racing. My b25 is very strong off the wind especially in a breeze but my advantage is of little benefit if I only have my spin up for a few minutes before I have t douse again. In my experience 60 minute races help in levelling the playing field in terms of boat strengths and again thus the reason for my post. I do understand the comments about better starts and better boat handling but I am no slouch in those skills relative to our fleet.

I will push hard over the winter to convince our mixed fleet to insist that our race management who are not sailors mix up the course durations. I know that their race management training did not include any discussion on boat strengths/ weaknesses / ratings and how all of that relates back to course duration. Yes I know that as per the responses, many of you do not agree with what I have presented here but then you are probably the guys that do not have to save your time.

 

Thing is, you're in a theoretically faster boat with no waterline advantage. In heavy air downwind, the B-25 should dominate; the corollary to that is any other conditions the B-25 struggles to make its time. Just the facts.

 

Short races- emphasizes starts, emphasizes boat-handling, emphasizes covering/getting clear air

Long race- emphasizes sail inventory, trim skills, reading the weather.

 

There is nothing more or less fair, it's a matter of what skill set you bring to the table. I race in a very mixed PHRF fleet, sometimes I'm the fastest sometimes the slowest. My boat (a Santana 23) dominates in light air but is pretty good all-around; I don't expect to win against 35 footers upwind in chop BUT it's great practice for the crew and fun sailing, win or lose. If you want serious "fair" racing then you need to pick a one-design class that suits your physique and budget.

 

Not trying to be insulting but you need to take a more positive attitude instead of trying to insist on conditions that favor you to win without improving your game.... especially when the axioms you're insisting on are not correct anyway.

 

FB- Doug

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PHRF ratings for boats of the types you describe are mostly derived FROM 35-55 minute races, that's what those boats mostly do.

 

The trouble with being fast boat in that fleet is that you all go around the marks at similar speeds, so there are say 2 minutes of the race where you are not going any faster VMG than the other guys. So in that way you may be right, but theoretically the ratings account for that as well.

 

The beauty is you should always work your way to clear air pretty quickly, but that is tough against M242's which have had a soft rating for years. I'm not sure what PHRF structure is used in Alberta but PHRF BC recently bumped the 242's from 168 down to 156. I thought it should have been 149 but apparently I was not persuasive enough. They probably have a taller rig than you on the B boat though, which won't help you either.

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I drive 60 miles each way. Then sail 45 minutes to reach the staging area. It takes me close to an hour to get the boat ready to race and another putting everything away. All in all I spend 7 hrs to spend about 2 racing. I did all this Saturday to race three one mile races. However....absolutely loved it. Wind was 15 to 20 knots, 65 degees. On the last race we nailed the start and ended up in second place. Smiled all the way back to my marina. The one positve thing about several short races is that it minimizes the effect of the speed differences between boats and puts a premium on a good start and on tactics. We also have long distance races that take about 4 hours. The fast boats have a big advantage here since the start and tactics have much less importance. On long races we often end up with long beam reaches. Having several short races allows you to throw out some of the worst performances or even miss some and still remain competitive over the series.

One correction. Short races are not about tactics, but more about rules knowledge and boat handling. Tactics are for longer course where you can leverage shifts and work more on positioning. NTTAWWT

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Well Mr Steam Flyer I do understand what you are saying. I also understand where you are coming from. I owned and successfully raced a Santana 23 for several years. In our fleet everyone owed me time as I would guess is true with you. I am not afraid to tell you flat out that correcting over faster boats is a easier challenge than saving you time over well sailed fast but slower rated boats.

 

Understand I am not looking for an advantage. I do not need that. I do understand where your perspective is coming from.

 

I simply believe 60minute races would level the playing field somewhat and provide a broader racing experience for everyone. Then there is our steep decline in race participation since we started to focus on short course racing. You can cite other reasons for our decline and no doubt some are valid but our decline started pretty much exactly with our change to the shorter course more intense racing style. Totally coincidence?

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Well Mr Steam Flyer I do understand what you are saying. .... .... I am not afraid to tell you flat out that correcting over faster boats is a easier challenge than saving you time over well sailed fast but slower rated boats.

 

.... ...

 

Personally, I would say the opposite. It's a lot easier to sprint around the course, racing the clock, when you are out in front with clear air and free pick of the upcoming shifts & gusts. As a smaller boat racing 30+ footers, I cannot cover them at all yet they totally kill my speed.

 

 

 

... ... Then there is our steep decline in race participation since we started to focus on short course racing. You can cite other reasons for our decline and no doubt some are valid but our decline started pretty much exactly with our change to the shorter course more intense racing style. Totally coincidence?

 

Maybe, maybe not. Does the club have some policy against holding different events with different length races? Does the place you sail have good prospects for longer races, maybe even point-to-point? Racing to a distant beach, holding a cookout, then racing back the next day is good fun.

 

FB- Doug

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Mr. Steam Flyer. Now knowing that you are sailing against mostly bigger boats I understand your position better. I am in a different situation in that my fleet is made up mostly of boats very similar in waterline length, sail area and displacement. We have 2 J24s,9 Martin 242s, 2 B25s, 2 S2 7.9s and now a bit of an odd ball Hot Foot 20. Yes I am the lightest but I cary more crew. We have no dogs. Up wind in our typical lighter wind and flat water we are all fast. Down wind again we are all fast in our normal conditions. As I mentioned in a previous post it is pretty much just us diehards left, we are all experienced racers. I know there is a big difference between your racing and ours. This difference explains the differences in our course duration perspectives. Maybe we have an unusual fleet make up here in that we are basically the same sized boats making it difficult for you to relate to my perspective.

 

We have fallen into a situation where short course racing is all we seem to do. It all started with the explosion of Martins. They went from three boats to a high of 13 over the course of two years. Our exec became mostly Martin owners. Heck they even had T-shirts made that said Martin Up on the back. I am not interested in blaming them for our current situation as they too have a perspective based on how they see the world. I started this thread looking for support and ammunition to bring back a better balance of race format. I now realize based on your feet mix probably few people have the same mix thus experience and thus perspective.

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Plumber has it right when he stated short course racing is about rules and boat handling. Long courses are about strategy, leveraging shifts and boat positioning.

 

Our Martin guys love short races. I am no slouch at starting and boat handling but what I love the most about racing and sailing period is long spinnaker runs when the wind is up. There is nothing more exhilarating than coming around the windward mark and popping on to a plane for a reasonable duration. I have had my B up to 14 knots sustained and have no problem sustaining 12s if the wind is up. Short course racing does not provide the opportunity for this kind of action. In fact most of our Martin guys do not like to go out when the wind is up. Too much potential for breakage and collisions at mark rounding etc. There are happy as pigs in mud with 6 knots of breeze. Most don't want to leave the dock in anything over 15,

 

So you see it is all about perspective. Mine is totally different from Mr Plumbers and Mr Steam Flyer. Again the reason for my post was to look for ammunition to support my argument for longer races or to be fair a mix of long and short.

 

Anyway I have just learned we may have a third B25 next year. We will just go set our own windward mark way out there. Let the short guys do their thing. I would bet the J24s and S2s would join us on the long course.

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Just to change the subject for a bit. I you dig up the post I started a couple of years ago titled Twitchy Boats you will read lots of good stories including my own with my Santana 23.

 

Mr Steam Flyer you have a fabulous light air boat. The S23 can do amazing things in light air up and down. I won lots of races with mine. I sold Bite Me and went to the B because it would not jump onto a full out plane which since my Taser days has always my favorite aspect of sailing. No body remembers the light air races. Everybody remembers the big air wins even if they do not happen often. With my Santana 23 anytime you got your boat speed up to 10 knots you were skating on thin ice. Any twitch and look out. My B just gets solider the faster you go. At 12 knots you can relax and have a rum while passing other boats. You remember those runs forever.

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Here's an hour long race:

 

Spin A

 

 

PHRF Time on Distance / Start Time 18:50:00 / Dist.6.25 n * Time Behind is Sec / Mile

1 Wired 39511 42 19:48:54 00:58:54 00:54:32 Farr 395

2 Fire & Ice 83198 81 19:55:05 01:05:05 00:56:39 20 J105

3 No Limit 39526 42 19:51:03 01:01:03 00:56:41 21 Farr 395

4 Rocket 48 72 19:54:28 01:04:28 00:56:58 23 J35

5 Time Bandit 73 72 19:54:56 01:04:56 00:57:26 28 J35

6 Kicks 50 99 19:59:00 01:09:00 00:58:41 40 J92S

 

8 Tampa Girl 83242 54 19:55:19 J120 RAF

 

Spin B

 

 

PHRF Time on Distance / Start Time 18:45:00 / Dist.6.25 n * Time Behind is Sec / Mile

1 Alliance 734 111 19:50:18 01:05:18 00:53:44 Capri 30

2 Privateer 282 132 19:53:18 01:08:18 00:54:33 8 2 9.1

3 Bay Wolf 40177 132 19:53:32 01:08:32 00:54:47 10 S2 9.1

4 Tenacity 241 132 19:53:46 01:08:46 00:55:01 12 Laser 28

5 Untouchable 11 111 19:51:43 01:06:43 00:55:09 14 Elliott 770

6 Meltemi 40787 132 19:54:04 01:09:04 00:55:19 15 S2 9.1

7 Junior 41186 123 19:54:53 01:09:53 00:57:04 32 J27

8 Volant II 99 177 20:02:10 01:17:10 00:58:44 48 J22

9 Boat 57 156 20:00:08 01:15:08 00:58:53 49 Wavelengh 24

10 Forerunner 23656 132 19:58:56 01:13:56 01:00:11 62 J30

11 Whirligig 82 141 20:01:01 01:16:01 01:01:20 73 Ulitimate 20

12 Abracadabra 511 156 20:05:16 01:20:16 01:04:01 99 Wavelength 24

14 Dr Bligh 30 132 19:59:08 56 Mike Maher S2 9.1 RAF

 

Melges 24

 

PHRF Time on Distance / Start Time 18:40:00 / Dist.6.25 n * Time Behind is Sec / Mile

1 Wicked Witch 719 75 19:43:49 01:03:49 00:56:00 Melges 24

2 Rogue 457 75 19:44:02 01:04:02 00:56:13 2 Melges 24

3 Whiplash 27 75 19:44:2 8 01:04:28 00:56:39 6 Melges 24

4 Carmelita 119 75 19:45:37 01:05:37 00:56:48 17 Melges 24

 

 

Wind started about 5-6 and built to 10 or so as the race went along. Light downwind start, upwind leg (S favored), downwind, upwind (S favored again) and a port close reach home with a short closehauled dash to the finish. WInd pulled to the NW making the upwind a skosh skewed.

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