Connecting with other "Slow Boat" Fleets, anywhere..
I am trying to connect with other PHRF 175+, "slow boat" / "cruiser racer" fleets out there.
I have Working-with and trying to promote and coordinate the local cruiser-racer fleet here in Vancouver and I am always given the following encouraging words by everyone: in every other city in North America, the slow-boat fleets are always the largest ones in every event. . I am guessing this is supposed to make me feel better for not driving a Farr 30 or whatever, but it is also very interesting, if true and I am hoping that if it is indeed true then I can exchange some info and pointers with others in my position...
So, how big is the "slow boat" / "cruiser/racer" fleet where you live? How does it compare (numerically) with everything else on the water? Is it reasonable to expect that it will amount to "half the boats in every race"?
Walking around the marinas around here, sure, the various 27-footers proliferate, but should that mean that they should dominate the race course too? So far, in Vancouver, we get about ~8 out of ~35 boats in the average race.. hardly 50%.
What is your experience?
I sailed a Tanzer 22 (PHRF 240) for about 5 years in the local PHRF fleet near Boston. We used to get 5 or 6 boats in the D-fleet (172+) on a good Wednesday night. Turnout in that fleet got smaller and smaller every year and has nearly dried up. The old timers tell me that D-fleet used to be the biggest, 10+ years ago, and has shrunk as boat owners have moved into more racing-oriented boats. This is exactly what I ended up doing. This year we combined C (150-172) with D, and the combined fleet is still only getting 5 or so boats. The B-fleet (100-150) and A fleet (<100) get 8-10 boats, most of which are pretty well sailed. My experience as the D-fleet captain for several years is that most of the slow boat owners would rather crew on the shiny new Henderson 30 than try to round up crew for the C&C 26. The Boston area is maybe a little unusual compared to major urban areas. Instead of sailing in one big fleet in Boston Harbor, the fleets are spread out in the harbors all up and down the coast. It can be hard to round up crew down here (Hingham) because people who work in Boston can't often get back from work in time for a Wed night start. This limits crew availability and may be one of the factors that limits the number of slow boats out racing.
In our fleet Kootenay Lake, BC we had an A and a B fleet which used to be split 50%/50% with 168 (e.g J/24) being the typical A fleet boat (with a SJ24 and SJ21 that competed very well in the A Class)
Well now days we are getting some newer generation faster boats making their way to our lake but the "slow" boats seem to be around still with some new "slow" boats too. The new generation boats (some fast Rocket 22 and big AND fast: Schock 35) are about 100 PHRF (or LESS)
We will likely add a C class and hopefully have at least 6 boats in each Class. I have heard PHRF doesn't work that well when the spread gets to be over 50 or 60 points.
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