Keeping racing afloat where it is barely afloat...

Zflag

New member
5
0
Florida
Scene: Backwater sailing area, where there is only a very small “racing” fleet consisting more of cruising boats than anything, now numbering maybe a dozen or a little more boats on a good day. Apart from the cruisers (some rather large - one is 30x the weight of the smallest boat!), there are a couple of symmetric spin boats remain, one or two A-kite boats, one of which is an actual new boat to the fleet (yay!) and a few miscellaneous PHRF boats. No two identical boats. After the fleet just seemed to gradually disappear or move away years ago, the racing that was left was pretty ragged; triangles were all over the place with little consistent orientation to the wind, legs were of all varying lengths and TWA’s, and sometimes were very frustrating in being so poorly designed that the few spin boats could not carry a spinnaker on ANY leg, even while competing with their PHRF spinnaker rating against boats with their non spin ratings.

Scene plays out: When faced with facts (including declining participation), the folk(s) in charge figured out (or perhaps I should say eventually agreed to) use a “Conservative triangle oriented properly to the wind”, that everyone can productively fly all their sails on (True Windward leg, 135 degree bear off, and 90 degree gybe to home). But alas, the two (small and old but well-tuned and W-L optimized, and well connected, perhaps) symmetrical spin boats somehow managed to get the “RC” to set, from hence on, only W-L courses, for the few spin boats which included a couple of A-kite boats and a multi or two. So now there are two starts to this little fleet, and a small group of annoyed members (anyone with a kite not attached to spinnaker pole). Talk begins of having yet a third subdivision to the tiny fleet, with a new name and consisting of anyone with asymmetric spinnakers. Even if it is only one boat, maybe two. Hmmmmm…Any ideas?

Some possible options(?)
  • Run everyone together (6-12 boats perhaps) around the Conservative triangles. But the some cruisers openly express discomfort with “the danger of so many boats on a start line”.
  • Have two starts. Spin(all) and non-spin, and both sail around the conservative triangles.
  • Do as it stands now: Have two starts. Spin (all) gets its own start but can only do W-L. Everyone else does triangles. Give the symmetrical guys what they want and disregard other spinnaker variants. And maybe have them lose interest also.
  • Splinter into three groups; Symmetrical spinnaker. A-kite boats (– or boat, as it may be). Everyone else. Lots of groups for a small number of boats.
  • Have two starts: PHRF> 150 or so (half the boats) and <150 or so, and run the conservative triangles so that everyone (symmetric spin, A-Kite, and jib and main) can carry all their sails.
  • Let go of the past and just go daysailing.
 

Marty Gingras

Mid-range Anarchist
One start, long line skewed a bit, and W-L. Makes it easy on the RC. Plenty safe. Let's the aggressive folks go for the favored end leaving plenty of room for the relatively casual. Let's folks have the option of jibing a lot or a little.
 
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AnIdiot

Member
442
342
Second Drawer
  • Propose that a group that's keen to race selects an "affordable" boat design for "one design" racing and builds a modest fleet of same, keeping their cruising boats for cruising, sport boats for sporting etc.
    • The boat should suit local conditions and reflect the passions of the community (Viper? Flying Fifteen? Sonata? Folkboat?)
    • Ideally it should have been in production for a long time but still have an active builder (Snipe? FF? Sonar?) This allows a low cost barrier to entry (old boats) but offers a future
    • shared ownership a possibility (eg RNCYC runs a small fleet of Sonar keelboats where the club owns half the boat and provides a mooring + winter storage and the owner maintains it).
    • Someone, preferably several people, need(s) to embrace the idea and evangelise it, selling the concept and implementation.
    • It's likely that the selected boat will work well with a small crew (2-4?), to maximise participation, enable newcomers, families, kids ageing out of junior classes etc
 

arcpix

Member
207
54
Earth
We run a W/L and triangle on the same course. Same start and finish line for all fleets. W/L fleets go first with T going last. W/L are typically 2X and T is 1x. Rule 26 rolling starts. Windward leg is always up wind. We have a permanent start pin mark which signal then lines up to for the upwind leg which works pretty well. Sometimes boat favored, sometimes pin favored. You have to run it to check where your best start position is.
 

billy backstay

Backstay, never bought a suit, never went to Vegas
We run a W/L and triangle on the same course. Same start and finish line for all fleets. W/L fleets go first with T going last. W/L are typically 2X and T is 1x. Rule 26 rolling starts. Windward leg is always up wind. We have a permanent start pin mark which signal then lines up to for the upwind leg which works pretty well. Sometimes boat favored, sometimes pin favored. You have to run it to check where your best start position is.

We do similar for Spring and Fall Frostbite races, but with a longer leeward mark for the larger, faster Etchells, which usually only do Windward-Leeward, with Spinnakers. The smaller boats, Laser, JY15, and Ideal 18's (non-spin), use the same start-finish and weather mark but with a triangle. The somewhat narrow river is challenging to create a W-L course when it blows from East or West, but we make do, the best we can. On a good day with a breeze, we can get in a half dozen races over a two-hour period. On a very shifty day, the mark boats work their butts off, moving marks between races.
.
 

10thTonner

Hazard to Navigation
1,640
600
South of Spandau
What about laying one fixed course in spring, race around that course every time, and call it a race series? Maybe around an island or some navigational marks? One start. On some days, the spin boats are favoured, on another day it’s the assys. Big price giving party at the end of the season with prices for best spin boat, best gennaker boat, best dinghy, best boat over x tonnes, best single hander, best wooden boat… heck, I know of a club where they had a price for the best boat with a permanent inboard head. No joke!
 

Bump-n-Grind

Get off my lawn.
14,769
3,556
Chesapeake Bay/Vail
  • Propose that a group that's keen to race selects an "affordable" boat design for "one design" racing and builds a modest fleet of same, keeping their cruising boats for cruising, sport boats for sporting etc.
    • The boat should suit local conditions and reflect the passions of the community (Viper? Flying Fifteen? Sonata? Folkboat?)
    • Ideally it should have been in production for a long time but still have an active builder (Snipe? FF? Sonar?) This allows a low cost barrier to entry (old boats) but offers a future
    • shared ownership a possibility (eg RNCYC runs a small fleet of Sonar keelboats where the club owns half the boat and provides a mooring + winter storage and the owner maintains it).
    • Someone, preferably several people, need(s) to embrace the idea and evangelise it, selling the concept and implementation.
    • It's likely that the selected boat will work well with a small crew (2-4?), to maximise participation, enable newcomers, families, kids ageing out of junior classes etc
Easy to spend other people's money, ain't it?

My wed night sailing org on west river had bouys they'd drop around the river and about 20 or so different predefined courses that wove around those bouys.
Courses were created for different wind conditions on the river and chosen just before the start. It wasn't perfect but it's been working for over 40 years.
It's not Annapolis but it would be hard to call it a backwater either.
Having boats that were usually more suited to w/l It was hard to compete against asyms on those nights that it turned out to be a reachfest. But my wed night racing was not what I based my life on. And it was fun to be on the water
 

The Q

Super Anarchist
I've sailed at a club that always set an almost perfect sausage triangle every time ( before the days of many assymetrics), the lake was an almost perfect circle, so they had a clock of buoys plus a centre.
Boring as hell.

It's one of the reasons I sail at my current club,
Races down river to a pub, have lunch, race back.
Races outside the club on the river round the buoys ,
Races up on the broad which because of its shape, means often a M course or a figure 8ish. Though they try to ensure there's at least one if not two spinnaker legs.

Each type of race has its own set of trophies, while many will sail in everything, there's always one or two who won't sail in that type of race.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
Scene: Backwater sailing area, where there is only a very small “racing” fleet consisting more of cruising boats than anything, now numbering maybe a dozen or a little more boats on a good day. Apart from the cruisers (some rather large - one is 30x the weight of the smallest boat!), there are a couple of symmetric spin boats remain, one or two A-kite boats, one of which is an actual new boat to the fleet (yay!) and a few miscellaneous PHRF boats. No two identical boats. After the fleet just seemed to gradually disappear or move away years ago, the racing that was left was pretty ragged; triangles were all over the place with little consistent orientation to the wind, legs were of all varying lengths and TWA’s, and sometimes were very frustrating in being so poorly designed that the few spin boats could not carry a spinnaker on ANY leg, even while competing with their PHRF spinnaker rating against boats with their non spin ratings.

Scene plays out: When faced with facts (including declining participation), the folk(s) in charge figured out (or perhaps I should say eventually agreed to) use a “Conservative triangle oriented properly to the wind”, that everyone can productively fly all their sails on (True Windward leg, 135 degree bear off, and 90 degree gybe to home). But alas, the two (small and old but well-tuned and W-L optimized, and well connected, perhaps) symmetrical spin boats somehow managed to get the “RC” to set, from hence on, only W-L courses, for the few spin boats which included a couple of A-kite boats and a multi or two. So now there are two starts to this little fleet, and a small group of annoyed members (anyone with a kite not attached to spinnaker pole). Talk begins of having yet a third subdivision to the tiny fleet, with a new name and consisting of anyone with asymmetric spinnakers. Even if it is only one boat, maybe two. Hmmmmm…Any ideas?

Some possible options(?)
  • Run everyone together (6-12 boats perhaps) around the Conservative triangles. But the some cruisers openly express discomfort with “the danger of so many boats on a start line”.
  • Have two starts. Spin(all) and non-spin, and both sail around the conservative triangles.
  • Do as it stands now: Have two starts. Spin (all) gets its own start but can only do W-L. Everyone else does triangles. Give the symmetrical guys what they want and disregard other spinnaker variants. And maybe have them lose interest also.
  • Splinter into three groups; Symmetrical spinnaker. A-kite boats (– or boat, as it may be). Everyone else. Lots of groups for a small number of boats.
  • Have two starts: PHRF> 150 or so (half the boats) and <150 or so, and run the conservative triangles so that everyone (symmetric spin, A-Kite, and jib and main) can carry all their sails.
  • Let go of the past and just go daysailing.
When I RC-ed a mixed fleet, the windward leg was for everyone. The symmetrical chute boats rounded the windward mark for home. The rest of the fleet had a diversion more or less on a beam reach and rounded that mark for a broad reach home. It made for a nicer day when it was hot and light.
 

Fleetwood

Member
216
58
Sydney, Oz
Permanent (skewed) figure-of-eight course, almost always uphill, downhill and beat legs, no matter the wind direction.
Pursuit start so start line never crowded (finish can be busy at the end of the series if the handicapper is doing its job....)
Accomodates all types of boats - cruisers to sportsboats, works for us.
 

Rain Man

Super Anarchist
7,215
2,070
Wet coast.
The recent trend to put asym's on non-planing hulls makes them slower downwind, IMHO, and complaining when the RC sets W/L's and they get slaughtered by the boats with symmetricals just illustrates the problem: while easier to handle in many respects, unless your boat can plane you will generally be slower downwind than a boat with a symmetrical kite.

Not that I think displacement hulls with asym kites should get a rating credit.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
The recent trend to put asym's on non-planing hulls makes them slower downwind, IMHO, and complaining when the RC sets W/L's and they get slaughtered by the boats with symmetricals just illustrates the problem: while easier to handle in many respects, unless your boat can plane you will generally be slower downwind than a boat with a symmetrical kite.

Not that I think displacement hulls with asym kites should get a rating credit.
My asym isn't for speed, it is for ease of handling. In light air I can do it all myself and if it is too heavy for the autopilot then I need one other.
For racing it can make the difference between going out or not, I would need 6 to make a decent go of a chute on a pole and 3-4 with the asym.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
Easy to spend other people's money, ain't it?

My wed night sailing org on west river had bouys they'd drop around the river and about 20 or so different predefined courses that wove around those bouys.
Courses were created for different wind conditions on the river and chosen just before the start. It wasn't perfect but it's been working for over 40 years.
It's not Annapolis but it would be hard to call it a backwater either.
Having boats that were usually more suited to w/l It was hard to compete against asyms on those nights that it turned out to be a reachfest. But my wed night racing was not what I based my life on. And it was fun to be on the water
There was a time - long ago on a river far far away - when races were around government marks and could contain all manner of points of sail in no particular order and a good racing skipper was expected to be able to get the best speed out of his boat no matter if the course was entirely broad reaches, entirely on one tack, or any other random thing.
Then W/L dinghy racing infected almost everything and if the course wasn't perfect everyone would bitch up a storm and it became a thing to wait around an hour to start while the RC tried in vain to put the buoys out at perfect angles when the wind was shifting 40 degrees back an forth :rolleyes:
 

bluelaser2

Member
445
82
CLE
Did a regatta few weeks ago on a J35. Moved the boat 4 hours to the venue. Crew drove to the venue, rigged the boat, motored out to the line, raised the sails...waited for our start thru three classes...and raced. First race was around 30 minutes. Second race took about 45 minutes to get underway after the first finish. Second race went for 16 minutes and 37 seconds. One lap. .7 miles.

Fun, but worth it? Hmmmmm
 

The Q

Super Anarchist
There was a time - long ago on a river far far away - when races were around government marks and could contain all manner of points of sail in no particular order and a good racing skipper was expected to be able to get the best speed out of his boat no matter if the course was entirely broad reaches, entirely on one tack, or any other random thing.
Then W/L dinghy racing infected almost everything and if the course wasn't perfect everyone would bitch up a storm and it became a thing to wait around an hour to start while the RC tried in vain to put the buoys out at perfect angles when the wind was shifting 40 degrees back an forth:rolleyes:

Luckily our river course isn't wide enough to set W/L it's only 180ft wide at the most, if you see the map below., The course being from the right side at the club, up to the top left, of the river.

During a 1 hour race, you may do the full length twice, but more likely up the the end, half way back, up to the end and back to the finish.
The normal wind direction, is straight down to the club, on the first straight.

Getting 4 series of 5 starts in a normal club day, Means messing around waiting for a perfect wind is impossible anyway.

It's the tightness of the sailing there is always something that needs to be done that makes it interesting. The skill in racing there, is not just getting wind and tide right, but also looking ahead, working out your route through the water , through wind shadows of trees and houses, crowded with us and inexperienced hire motorboats .

From the 30th of July is our Regatta week, the first two days are on the broad and is club members only. The Monday to Friday is an open on the River, where we have around 100 boats from Oppie's to 45ft broads sailing yachts, in the past we've had up to 150 boats. There can be 9 starts at 5 minute intervals, the next series will often start before the previous series finishes.

All clubs seem to have reduced amount of regular sailors, but keeping the racing interesting is most important. Forever setting identical courses when you have the freedom to do something different doesn't help attract sailors.
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