SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody,
I was press ganged into being the VC Sailing for next season. We are a very small community based club of about forty members. We have a mix of sail and power boats. Currently there about ten sail boats, mostly a mix of pocket cruisers under 26feet, along with a couple McVay Bluenose sloops and some smaller daysailers as well.
We currently only have one sailing event in August, and I'd like to expand it considerably. The age of the membership is decidely in the 50 plus demographic, but there have been some younger members joining.

This past summer I was able to get a weekly Wednesday sailing night going, with about six boats getting involved. I would like to expand upon that.

What would be some good fun sailing events to try?

I would like to develop some sort of handi cap system for races, as well as some fun events, perhaps a scavenger hunt with sailboats(not sure how to make that work), stuff like that.

Also, I'm thinking of holding three or four races that accumulate points toward a club championship.

On the handicapping matter, would a golf type system work? Perhaps all boats would be rated against the fastest time of the various events regardless of equipment? The results collectively then used to develop individual handicaps.

Any ideas?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,921 Posts
Our racing chair made up a handicap system that he felt would be fair but more importantly, to give new sailors a chance to win every now and then. The point was to increase enjoyment and to get people to come out. Unfortunately, it created a divide between him and the racers that wanted to stick to the standard race scoring system. Eventually the members who wanted the standard system left the club.

The problem with developing your own system is that the races won't count for those people who want to join and eventually get into serious racing. Just something to think about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Hi everybody,
I was press ganged into being the VC Sailing for next season. We are a very small community based club of about forty members.

We currently only have one sailing event in August, and I'd like to expand it considerably. The age of the membership is decidely in the 50 plus demographic, but there have been some younger members joining.

Any ideas?
Here's a few quick thoughts after a few years working similar issues with this club South Winds Sailing Club, Lake Allatoona, Atlanta Georgia, Sailboat Racing, Cruising, Family Fun, Sailing Atlanta -

Lot's of conundrums in the challenge you face.... LOT'S .........

Try to get 'buy in' from at least half the members as to ' what they want' - fun club racing/fun sailing events or 'standard racing' ... probably start with fun events and morph if the attendance/interest warrants.

Members grow weary of seeing same boats/skippers winning all the races/getting all the trophies - but many won't make the effort to improve.

The slower boats enjoy being out in front so consider 'pursuit race' formats with the faster boats starting last and chasing the slower boats.

Skippers new to racing are often reluctant to 'mix it up' with experienced skippers - invite newbies to crew to get some exposure and encourage them to 'sail along on the fringe' of the fleet on a casual race to avoid the close quarter maneuvering.

Poker runs, club 'cruises', a 'Chili dash' can all help to get members out on the water sailing in close company with other boats .... if there's two boats nearby, there's a race going on in at least one cockpit ;)

Handicapping is the necessary evil of club racing - good luck with this one when the goal is trying to spread the trophies around in an 'equitable manner'...

Every skipper has an opinion of what works, what's best, etc - too long a topic for this post but I go back to 'get buy in' from the members - I will say that I'm of the opinion that for casual, fun, local club racing - a modified system (PHRF or Portsmouth based) that adjusts/squeezes the fleet by seasonally adjusting individual handicaps provides the opportunity to keep corrected times close enough that folks feel like they have a chance to win ... and that equals fun ........ conundrums abound !!!

Good luck (PM me if you'd like a detailed discussion)
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,488 Posts
PHRF rating information is available for nearly every design of boat, and there are guidelines for coming up with ratings for others. No need to reinvent the wheel, but what you can do is modify the base ratings for your local events to 'even up' the spread.

One thing we tried years back was to take a series of races, and back-calculate the results (which had been using standard PHRF numbers) to a common corrected time and adjusted ratings accordingly. That meant boats that were consistently at the back of the fleet were given a more favourable rating in an attempt to bring them into the fold.

Our club was a bit more competitive and this plan didn't stick, mainly because the slow boats were, of course, still slow and it seemed that we were rewarding poor prep and boat handling. However in a more casual club with a relatively similar fleet this could help to keep people interested and give everyone a chance to win, at least on the scoresheet.

Once you have a rating system in place, another good thing to try is a pursuit race. In this the boats' start time is based on their rating, ie fastest boats start last,slowest first. The idea is that all boats should then finish together in a big lump. It avoids the start line stresses,esp for newbies, and gives the slower boats a chance to 'mix it up' as the faster boats sail through the fleet from behind. It also gets rid of the long wait between first and last finishers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the great thoughts so far!
I definitely like the pursuit style race idea.
I have a clean slate, in that there is no racing culture currently at the club. I just want to encourage people to get out and give it a try. It is a sleepy place, with some recent fairly new to sailing members, myself included recently joining. Time to change the culture.
I hope to get more experienced sailors to mentor the new ones, either by switching crews around, or have the experienced sailor join various boats though out the season. I have one particular senior member in mind to help in this.
I'll start learning about the PHRF System
How does a Chili Dash work?
Keep the ideas coming please!
Thanks, Peter
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,488 Posts
Standard start sequence is often the most intimidating part of racing - in a tight fleet many races are won/lost at that point. Close contact, aggressive maneuvers, the odd gentle collision can get the adrenaline flowing and really amp up the stress levels. People that are 'good' at that set themselves up in favourable positions from the start.. those that shy away are always in catch-up mode.

But all of this can really 'turn off' the casual cruiser/come racer. That's where the pursuit format really pays off. It's up to you to start as close to your allotted time, so you still get to practice the 'time on distance' estimation, but without the presence of other traffic.

If you're short of race committee volunteers, you can use a 'rabbit start' where one boat is designated the rabbit, and runs the start line at the appropriate time.. the rest of the fleet has to cross close behind the rabbit to start the race. This can give the rabbit a nice windward position so it's not that big a disadvantage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pnewsom

·
Registered
Joined
·
778 Posts
One group I know of has what they call the "Po'boy Handicap Racing Fleet" which is done similarly to what has been described. The fastest/best boat is the rabbit boat, ergo all ratings shift round him. Effectively the skipper, not the boat, is rated. They also do staggered starts.
Trophies are booze, with the end-of-season/series a nice perpetual.

But it doesn't have to just be racing....
Overnight rendezvous? Sail out, camp somewhere, sail back.
Raft-ups.
Travel in a group to somewhere that takes a couple days.
Poker run.
Moonlight sails.
Have it as a goal to bring new people out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Great suggestions Multihullgirl, thanks!
I like the non racing activities. We sail on a stretch of the Ottawa River just west of Ottawa, Canada. It's a good size body of water, though we can only travel 20 miles or so because of dams. So the longer trips won't work. We are also hoping to get people to come out socially on the Wednesday evening, even if they don't sail. We'll see how it goes.

I need to press a good social director into service. :)

I'm still not quite clear on how the rabbit starts the race. Does the boat sail the length of the start/finish line, and the other boats cross afterwards?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
778 Posts
In my case:

The boats are assigned ratings. The slowest-rated boat starts first, and everyone else is staggered-start afterward, according to their ratings.

We don't have a line. Someone will set a mark in a prearranged spot, which is always the same, it's listed on the SI. All you gotta do to start is be somewhere fairly near the mark at the assigned start time. Last boat to finish has to pick up the mark and bring it back.

The 'rabbit' boat may be the fastest rated, or not, but the 'rabbit' is the only boat whose rating does not change throughout the season. Everyone who beats him gets adjusted to a faster rating, everyone who is behind him gets adjusted to a slower rating. Changes depend on how far in front or behind they finish.

There is also the factor of race-course. In our case, we generally do not adjust ratings if we can't get a course that has a reach, a run, and a beat, all three. This makes it fair to all boat types.

Your 'rabbit' has to be onboard with the concept and pretty much ok with rarely winning. In my example the 'rabbit' is the most experienced, dedicated racer in the bunch. In fact, it was he who has been developing our club's rating system in order to encourage the 'cruising' sailors to come out and play. The trick is to make sure that everyone understands that the ratings will not apply anywhere else, but the thing is, most of our guys wouldn't bother to race at all except for our system.

--oh, btw, we don't use spinnakers, although people are allowed to pole jibs out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
That's great Multihullgirl, now I understand. I have a feeling that something like this is what we need.
Thanks, Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
621 Posts
I try to do monthly full moon evening sail/raft up, even have a cd full of moon songs.
(we still use cd's no?)
Maybe make it a pot luck night.
Good for 4-5 evenings a season.
And/or a new moon outing to stargaze.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,778 Posts
We have an annual race - The Rat Race - in the fall. It starts in a pursuit format (based on PHRF handicaps) that ends at a port about 16 miles away. Boats used to have to start from anchor, but that must have gotten stopped by someone on the Race Committee with a slow windlass. 20 minutes of total engine time is allowed to be used at any time after the start. The race is timed (as much as is possible) to finish just about when the sun gets over the yardarm. Everyone rafts up for a cocktail party, and there can be prize for the best hors d'oeuvres. I like to rig up a line from the end of the spinnaker pole for swimmers to swing from.
The prize is an enormous plush rat in a hideously stained plywood frame that has row upon row of brass plaques with winners' names on it. A great tradition that YOU could start at YOUR club too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
778 Posts
--oh, I forgot until paulk reminded me, funny trophies:

The Po'boys have a last-place seasonal award, the "Lame Duck," which is a fairly large rubber-duckie wearing a little sailor hat. The winners (losers?) get a dog-tag engraved with their names, and the tags are hung round the rubber-duckie's neck. Keeper trophy is a tub-size rubber duckie.

The Best Breasts award at what is a sort of serious race, the Juana Good Time Regatta, which is a couple of toilet plungers mounted to a piece of wood
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,488 Posts
Adding a social/BBQ 'apres race' component often brings in more people. One of the clubs we used to race at (relatively serious Weds nights) was followed by a BBQ dinner, the club sold steak/chicken at reasonable cost and you cooked it yourself on the grill.. some bread and salad and everyone hung out and discussed the day's race over dinner and a beer (or two).
 
  • Like
Reactions: pnewsom

·
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Joined
·
4,526 Posts
Since you are on a river you can have a pursuit race with a difference. You need three marks, with the start in the middle (perhaps two actual marks forming a gate) and an upstream mark and a downstream mark. You start at your time, but you can go choose to go upstream or downstream first. You need to round both the upstream and downstream mark and then finish. Boats are finishing from both directions, in theory at the same time. You choose your route based on traffic, potential changes in the winds.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pnewsom

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,551 Posts
You can use two handicap methods in a race. say a standard one and a club handicap where last weeks winner is basically [email protected]@@@ and by the end of the season/series everyone has won a race. Then in the Apres race BBQ you style the prizes for the handicapping system you want to emphasise: First prize club = 24 beers, first place PHRF = 6 pack.


Also you could toy with some of the more modern race methods like the Americas Cup and many dinghy regattas where the race is only 20 minutes long and you do 3 races in 2 hours over the same course. 5 minutes between when the last person on one race finishes until the warning gun of the next race.

Depending on your geographic location theres fun races like a smash and grab where the race goes to a dock where the mid point is a dock you smash into, run along to grab a prize and get back o the boat to the next leg.

Good luck with it.

Oh, there are a few where you have to run up some big hill too. Crazy but some people love it!
 
  • Like
Reactions: pnewsom

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
Maybe a real navy cockswain can help out here. I once observed a navy competition of precision boat driving. It was much like a poker run, but there was no chance element and speed was the ability to maintain precise speed of your craft, differing for each leg.
You could turn this concept into a boating rodeo where several seamanship skills are involved going to and arriving at precise locations at precise times, tacking drills through a chicane, etc. disallow GPS and plotters - compass and chart only. You could have many stations and send boats out in different patterns, maybe pairing like boats. By putting precise speed vs max speed into the equation you could have all the boats returning as a fleet, raft up and party while the judges tally the results.
A varient would be instrument sailing, where the helmsman follows course and speed instruction from a navigator who is blinded to the outside world. That might be too difficult for the size boats you're talking about.
Just thinking...
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Boy, if i can get half of these great ideas going I'll be a hero, or cast out for bringing the club into disrepute.
Keep em' coming!
 

·
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Joined
·
4,526 Posts
Maybe a real navy cockswain can help out here. I once observed a navy competition of precision boat driving. It was much like a poker run, but there was no chance element and speed was the ability to maintain precise speed of your craft, differing for each leg.
You could turn this concept into a boating rodeo where several seamanship skills are involved going to and arriving at precise locations at precise times, tacking drills through a chicane, etc. disallow GPS and plotters - compass and chart only. You could have many stations and send boats out in different patterns, maybe pairing like boats. By putting precise speed vs max speed into the equation you could have all the boats returning as a fleet, raft up and party while the judges tally the results.
A varient would be instrument sailing, where the helmsman follows course and speed instruction from a navigator who is blinded to the outside world. That might be too difficult for the size boats you're talking about.
Just thinking...
John
I think this is called a predicted log. I am sure there would stuff on the internet about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
As someone who sails a "slow" boat and has zero experience racing, I would say that what makes me hesitate is the idea of a start. I have an Alberg 35 (PHRF about 201 I think), and the idea of being three or four feet from other boats that size is very intimidating. I would personally be much more comfortable with the pursuit starts. Also, how about a race where experienced skippers sail as mentor/crew with new racers, maybe a race ONLY for new racers under this format? And trophies can be given out for things other than finishing first: best improvement, funny trophies (most entertaining mark rounding?). I think the main thing is to get people over the initial threshold and help them find the fun.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top