US Portsmouth v2

Tcatman

Super Anarchist
1,571
161
Chesapeake Bay
The trouble with extracting results for fleet racing from a handicap series is that ultimately you have competing tactical imperatives. In a fleet race you sail against the fleet, you put on a loose cover and so on, even if it means accepting an unfavourable shift. In handicap racing you can't cover the majority of your opponents, so such tactics aren't so good.
True... they are different games. In practice do you see this bad outcome in the returns from events officially scored PN and one design?
IME.... the most frequent complaint is.. the dreaded... hail.... I am not racing you.... don't tack on top of me... (The only solution is to make the handicap trophy bigger then the one design trophies.) Again it comes down to your racing culture and what the competitors value.
 
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Bored Stiff

Member
321
249
Copenhagen
The trouble with extracting results for fleet racing from a handicap series is that ultimately you have competing tactical imperatives. In a fleet race you sail against the fleet, you put on a loose cover and so on, even if it means accepting an unfavourable shift. In handicap racing you can't cover the majority of your opponents, so such tactics aren't so good.
This is not to be underestimated and is a large part of the popularity of handicap racing. Handicap racing is a race against the clock - effectively a bunch of time trials set off simultaneously. Avoid boat-on-boat tactics at all costs. OD racing is heavily biased towards fleet management and marginal positional gains. Much more aggressive and intimidating to new comers.
 

The Q

Super Anarchist
One other version of handicap racing is persuit racing, the basic version is each type of boat starts at a time back calculated from their handcap meaning if every was equal you'd all finish together.

Another version uses the average finishing time of the Person, over the previous season, is used to back calculate a starting time so everyone should finish together.

Either way it produces unusual results. Those who are good at starting in a fleet and get early clear ahead. Plus the fast boats on handicap that would get clear ahead, Often do not do so well.

My club does a version of the second system, it's quite enjoyable as a one off race once a year.

Our biggest race is the 3 Rivers Race, 100 plus boats, from 14 ft to 40ft in a up to 24 hour, 50 mile race. Over the years all sorts of boats have won that, it has its own handicaps which have slowly been altered and still are being adjusted to give everyone a chance.. (there are also class trophies, fastest passage, team of three boats and others)
 

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,310
1,143
Miami
Are people out to have fun sailing, and race along the way? Or is it a hardnosed race-at-all-costs, 1cm ahead the position is mine?

(Rethorical question.)
 

Blue One

Member
92
49
I have to say I do prefer pursuits over handicap races . As you get more boat on boat action and mostly because you know your result as soon as the gun signals the end of the race.
But it a very personal thing , as plenty of handicap sailors do dislike them .
Sometimes it’s just because a fast boat has to do a lot of overtaking to catch a slower boat that’s had cleaner wind.
As a very rough rule , handicap races very slightly favour fast boats and pursuits very slightly favour slow one .
Me, I am second to last off at my club and still prefer the cut and thrust of pursuits.😀
 

Kazrob

New member
18
30
Scotland
Handicap racing, especially on smaller courses isn't just against the clock and there's a whole range of other tactical considerations to tax the sailors brain that you don't see so often in OD racing.
  • Where does a slow, higher pointing boat start compared to faster boats on the start line?
  • How do you manage wind shadows from boats not moving at the same speed or angle as you?
  • If your class is fast upwind, but slow offwind, how do you deal with another class of similar PY number that is slower upwind, but faster offwind? (OK v Laser for instance).
  • How do you manage slow moving faster boats that are sailing beside you? (getting one of these between you and your close opposition is a great move btw :) )
  • How to overtake a slower boat on a reach? Go high and risk a luffing match, or go low and risk not breaking through the wind shadow
  • etc
In my experience on smaller courses, slower boats have a slight advantage in that it's not unusual to arrive at the first mark closer to the fast boats than the PY numbers would suggest, due to the fleet sorting themselves out after the start. Also on a smaller course, boat handling becomes a premium and slower boats often are less onerous at manoeuvres.
Either way it's great fun as long as you don't take every day too seriously.
 

The Q

Super Anarchist
The missing items from kazrob's list are tree and house wind shadows, the shallows at the edges as you try to use ALL the water, and in our case inexperienced hire boaters.

An example..Trees to the left, houses to the right, hire motorboaters all over the place and number 2 buoy is in the middle of the picture, which the Toppers are probably trying to round. The bigger boats going further up river.
1675099478312.png


We torpedoed a hire boat this weekend with our bow, a child was at the helm, on the wrong side of the river, and failed to stop/Avoid for a sailing boat.

More confusion on the river..
1675100115892.png
 
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Either way it's great fun as long as you don't take every day too seriously.
This last sentence sums up the whole topic, but since we have a forum to complain on...I race a medium speed old boat, C15, DPN ~90. I am so disappointed when the Thistles finish in the wind, and I am adrift as the wind has quit. Aargh! 😃 On the other hand, I enjoy them having to wait around for the next race, while the slow boats finish.
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
My daughter was directed not to have a baby around first weekend of August if she expected me to attend the birth or subsequent birthday celebrations. She had one July 31 which has caused some disruption in my VA GOVCUP attendance in last 5 years. More sensibly, she had her second kid in mid April.
Don't feel bad about your preferences. In Annapolis everyone knows to never have any type of anniversary or other celebration or memorial anywhere near the first weekend of May as it will be over run by the Annapolis NOOD and no one will attend your wedding, child event, or funeral during that two week window.
 

Major Tom

Super Anarchist
1,952
584
Darkest Africa
I fully agree with the above post by Kazrob,it gets especially interesting when boats of different classes are similar speeds around the course but are different speeds on different legs. This makes for interesting tactics when you are trying to race against boats in the same class as well as positioning yourself so you don’t get killed by a boat in another class on a leg that doesn’t suit your boat.
It definitely makes you a better all round sailor.
 

maxstaylock

Anarchist
749
462
This last sentence sums up the whole topic, but since we have a forum to complain on...I race a medium speed old boat, C15, DPN ~90. I am so disappointed when the Thistles finish in the wind, and I am adrift as the wind has quit. Aargh! 😃 On the other hand, I enjoy them having to wait around for the next race, while the slow boats finish.
Quite a number of clubs including mine run almost all races as Average Lap Times, you can race Optimists against Tornadoes. You need every lap to be the same, and can't move the course after the start, it works well, and ensures minimal time between racers (as usually the course is shortened just before the slowed boat comes round), and makes sure the sailors in the faster boats don't always get to the bar first.

762169.bin
 

Kazrob

New member
18
30
Scotland
Quite a number of clubs including mine run almost all races as Average Lap Times, you can race Optimists against Tornadoes. You need every lap to be the same, and can't move the course after the start, it works well, and ensures minimal time between racers (as usually the course is shortened just before the slowed boat comes round), and makes sure the sailors in the faster boats don't always get to the bar first.

762169.bin
This last sentence sums up the whole topic, but since we have a forum to complain on...I race a medium speed old boat, C15, DPN ~90. I am so disappointed when the Thistles finish in the wind, and I am adrift as the wind has quit. Aargh! 😃 On the other hand, I enjoy them having to wait around for the next race, while the slow boats finish.
One other advantage of average lap racing is if the race officer takes times on every lap, it's entirely possible to roll back to a previous lap if the wind dies suddenly after some boats have finished. In my experience most sailors usually see that as a fair decision from the race officer at club events.
 

Tcatman

Super Anarchist
1,571
161
Chesapeake Bay
Final thoughts, I still have no idea why the US Sailors value our style of one design racing. Secondly, I don't see how change can happen. Perhaps a great venue with a heavily promoted and well attended handicap event which deploys some of the strategies reported here could forge a new direction. I don't know of any weekend buoy type racing events that would even be a candidate.
 

JimC

Not actually an anarchist.
8,241
1,188
South East England
Final thoughts, I still have no idea why the US Sailors value our style of one design racing.
I submit there's no reason why they shouldn't. And 50 years ago many, possibly a majority of UK clubs ran class racing only, and most clubs run fleet racing for classes where numbers permit. And its repeated in every forum that class racing is the ideal, and people asking "what class" are always advised to get what's sailed at their club. UK as well as USA.

However there's a saying that you can't buck the market, and its quite evident that a substantial percentage of UK sailors would rather sail their choice of boat in a handicap fleet at their local club than travel to a club that has a fleet, or sail a boat they don't like that has fleet racing at their club. Back in the 60s clubs often had waiting lists and could enforce boat choices on their prospective members. Those days are long gone.

So handicap racing is much more a bottom up exercise than a top down one. Our clubs put on handicap series because that's what their members want, and the National authorities provide a service to the club by publishing handicaps. So I suggest the message to US clubs is to ask themselves whether they are losing members by not putting on handicap series for mixed class fleets, and if they think they could be then they know what to do about it. Oh and also to remember that growth comes from the bottom of the fleet, not the top! Arguably your best and keenest sailors are the ones you least need to listen to!
 
I submit there's no reason why they shouldn't. And 50 years ago many, possibly a majority of UK clubs ran class racing only, and most clubs run fleet racing for classes where numbers permit. And its repeated in every forum that class racing is the ideal, and people asking "what class" are always advised to get what's sailed at their club. UK as well as USA.

However there's a saying that you can't buck the market, and its quite evident that a substantial percentage of UK sailors would rather sail their choice of boat in a handicap fleet at their local club than travel to a club that has a fleet, or sail a boat they don't like that has fleet racing at their club. Back in the 60s clubs often had waiting lists and could enforce boat choices on their prospective members. Those days are long gone.

So handicap racing is much more a bottom up exercise than a top down one. Our clubs put on handicap series because that's what their members want, and the National authorities provide a service to the club by publishing handicaps. So I suggest the message to US clubs is to ask themselves whether they are losing members by not putting on handicap series for mixed class fleets, and if they think they could be then they know what to do about it. Oh and also to remember that growth comes from the bottom of the fleet, not the top! Arguably your best and keenest sailors are the ones you least need to listen to!
I think it'll change eventually - it'll have to. My concern is that it won't change while I'm still young enough to participate.
 

Tcatman

Super Anarchist
1,571
161
Chesapeake Bay
Oh and also to remember that growth comes from the bottom of the fleet, not the top! Arguably your best and keenest sailors are the ones you least need to listen to!
Another Stuart Walker Favorite of mine is that the most important guy in the fleet is your last guy in the pecking order.... if you loose him... you have a new last guy in the fleet and one less on the starting line.

Yes my suggestion for a high profile regatta is a top down solution because I think some leadership at a national level could help. I agree that the driving force must be sailors at the club level doing what they want.

An interesting thread might be asking the question... what works at the club level for keeping that bottom of the fleet keen on continuing racing.
 
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