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Average Lap Decaying Breeze

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DoubleTrouble View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Jul 16 at 4:50pm
Hi, there seemed to be a thread on this a couple of years ago but there didn't seem to be a conclusion.  The scenario is as follows.  We use Average Lap racing extensively at our club for handicap racing.  At a recent Cup race we had a steady 7-8 knots of breeze for 2 laps. The slower handicap boats were stopped after 2 and the faster ones went on to do a third.  However, during this 3rd lap the wind decayed significantly to 2-3 knots and it took the faster boats as long to do the final lap as the total of their first 2.  This had the result of distorting the results as some of those boats finished on their 2nd laps, (even some of the same class) were ahead on corrected time of those that did 3.  The race committee decided to put all those who did 3 laps ahead of those who only did 2.  However, that seems to penalise those boats who only did 2 but were sailing to or better than their handicap.  Times were taken for all the laps of all the boats so what I would have thought would be fairer and the way to do this would be to roll back all the results so that everyone completed just 2.  However, is there a precedent or guidance here on average lap on what the right approach should be?  Thanks
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 16 at 6:21pm
Well, to my mind you're either doing average lap racing or you aren't. If you are then you need to accept that sometimes you'll get funny looking anomalies. If you don't then you need to accept that you'll get even worse anomalies, but they don't look so obvious.

But having the race committee going back and picking and choosing different methods of calculating results for what they think looks right seems like a can of worms no wise person should open. Most of all they should do exactly and only what the NOR and Sailing instructions say.

The most important things with getting average lap racing right is to pick your stopping point well, and make sure there are enough laps. 2 and 3 aren't really enough. With say 6 laps the effects of one slow lap are normally much smaller.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peaky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 16 at 6:44pm
Surely the whole point of average lap racing is that all boats race for roughly the same length of time, and therefore in the same winds.

If all boats do three laps obviously the slow boats will be out longer and if the wind or tide changes that will affect the result. But with average lap racing the objective is to finish all boats at roughly the same time, so that event doesn't arise. The downside is that laps tend to need to be fairly small.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote KazR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 16 at 8:20pm
I would say that for club sailing, counting back to the previous lap is justified if there has been a significant change of conditions that grossly penalise a particular group of boats I.e the wind disappearing and boats being sent on a last lap that takes much longer than anticipated.
After all it is supposed to be fun and relatively fair
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ClubRacer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 16 at 11:54pm
as Kaz said above but I think you would need to make some sort of amendment to your sailing instructions in which it allows the race officer at his discretion to roll back laps if conditions change significantly (this only works if accurate lap times have been taken for every single boat)

This solves any disputes at the end of the race as everyone knowingly takes part with this in mind, obviously it wont stop people kicking up a fuss but in the long run its fairer racing

Without anything in writing before the race takes part to then just change peoples finishing times is a rocky road to go down and would certainly piss me off if had I had won, for it to then be changed without any prior notice. I would even debate filling in a protest form 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DoubleTrouble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 16 at 6:40pm
Thanks for all replies.  The surprising thing seems to be that there doesn't seem to be anything written down on this by RYA/Sailwave/Clubs etc given the widespread use of Average lap.  Agree that it needs to be part of SIs and with clear guidelines for ROs 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 16 at 7:46pm
Originally posted by DoubleTrouble

The surprising thing seems to be that there doesn't seem to be anything written down on this by RYA/Sailwave/Clubs etc


I don't find that surprising at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drifter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 16 at 7:55pm
Set a short lap expecting multiple laps. Always finish the lead boat first, and any lapped boats finish as they cross after lead boat, with arithmetic corrections for number of laps.

Minimises differences in actual sailing time, but doing this, at least once a year I've packed up and in the bar before the last boat finishes. For added fun, audibly ring "last orders" at the bar while they drift round... I find boats about to be lapped approaching the finish sit back and wait to be overtaken, rather than go round again.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote patj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 16 at 9:01am
At our club we do average laps and the laps are short anyway on the puddle apart from when an RO sets so-called "Olympic courses" of sausages and triangles or trapezoids and triangles which are just a procession. However we don't necessarily finish the lead boat first, rather we choose a point between groups of boats to hoist the blue flag and begin finishing as boats cross the club line on their laps (it's in the SI). This way the slow boats often finish before the faster ones and there is rarely more than 10 minutes between first finish and last finish. As fastest boat, we usually do at least one more lap than the majority, several of which we have to beat by about 9 minutes in an hour race!

Edited by patj - 25 Jul 16 at 9:01am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote cad99uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 16 at 10:24am
"However we don't necessarily finish the lead boat first, rather we choose a point between groups of boats to hoist the blue flag and begin finishing as boats cross the club line on their laps (it's in the SI). This way the slow boats often finish before the faster ones and there is rarely more than 10 minutes between first finish and last finish."

That is the way to do it.
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