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Why Fleet Racing will always suck ...

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G.R.F. View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 1:37pm
For the thinking man that is.


Now before I go getting accused of no experience for many years the windsurfing world followed the dinghy model because it was predominantly marketed by ex dinghy types, so the Windsurfer which was our equivalent of the Laser saw big number regattas to the point it had to split into four weight groups and at Worlds you would still get three figure numbers per group on the line.

But the one thing that I've found to be the principle difference between windsurf racing and dinghy racing is that there are more ways for the helm of a windsurfer to overcome his body limitations than there appear to be with a dinghy.

The sad fact is, assuming you get to be good to the point your tactics are spot on, your boat/board handling is up to speed, you will never be able to overcome the two facts about yourself that define whether you can win or lose in a given condition, and they are your height and your weight.

If all the equipment is identical and you are not permitted to change anything either by the use of your brain or your chequebook, then your results will always be defined by the windspeed in relation to the hull volume/sail area and its ability to propel your body weight.
Lighter will always be faster down wind, and taller will be faster upwind. Lighter will be faster in low wind and heavier will be faster in stronger winds, not much you can do about it.

Now in windsurfing there were tricks one could develop to overcome some aspects of your height & weight (or lack of it). No point going into them here, but I'd be interested to know if there is anything (other than having to design something specific) a light short bloke could do to perform in strong wind against a tall heavy bloke and vice versa. (If you'r short and fat, sorry your fecked)

Which is why if as I suspect it is, sailing boats of exactly the same design is a pointless activity (Once you've learned all there is to know about sailing of course, i recognise its use in the early stages).

Unless as usual I'm wrong of course.... Wink


Edited by G.R.F. - 13 Apr 12 at 1:40pm
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rogue View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 1:42pm
In my experience some of the more modern boats have a very wide weight range- the MPS world champions have sub-70kg guys right up to the 90+kg guys in its relatively short history.  This is down to tuning range and modern development iirc.

Many of the A Rig 300 sailors have moved up to the B rig once weight equalisation was effectively dropped.  Again it seems to be a class where the weight variation is relatively wide compared to say a Laser which seems fairly limited to the 75-82kg range.

The Blaze folks report a good weight range- you enjoyed one yourself and at the other end of the spectrum there are some bigger guys in it.

Even the older classes have some benefits with lipstick- the Solo and Phantom offer sail and mast configurations to suit weight.

As for a trolling thread, hat's off Graeme... but 19 boats out enjoying the sailing back at DWSC this week on a windless, post work jount, in probably one of the most annoying boats there is, proves that fleet racing must have some appeal ;-)




Edited by rogue - 13 Apr 12 at 1:53pm

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Post Options Post Options   Quote RS400atC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 1:58pm
I don't think this is really true in two person boats. Look at the top guys in the Merlins. They vary quite in bit in size. Likewise in the RS400'.
At club level, I find it's swings and roundabouts. I prefer to sail with a lighter crew. The big 2 bloke teams will sail over me on a tight windy reach, but I may have an edge in marginal planing and can plane deeper downwind. If I get the shifts right!
If you want perfect equality, you either have to get into weight equalisation, buy a leadmine or take up radio control boating. All good fun options, but I'll stick with the drawbacks of fleet racing hiking dinghies. Most of us have bigger problems than our weight, unless we are in completely the wrong boat.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote getafix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 2:04pm
FWIW there is some truth in this, at the extreme ends of weight/hieght and boat/rig combinations there are body types with which even the most skilled would find it hard to be competitive in certain conditions.

IMO these days we understand a lot more about techniques and the application of technology in terms of making a much wider range of crew sizes & weights competitive; for example, I'd be willing to bet that BA is below the weight considered 'optimal' when even Ian Percy won his medal in the Finns and Giles Scott is a very different build from BA so obviously, at this very, very high level, there is enough scope in technique and <legal> technology to make a difference.

Fleet racing is great BTW, just pays not to get too an@l about the details, you know you've gone too far when you're measuring, calibrating and re-splicing your L*ser hiking strap lines!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 3:00pm
Originally posted by rogue

 
The Blaze folks report a good weight range- you enjoyed one yourself and at the other end of the spectrum there are some bigger guys in it.


I did indeed and am looking for another for light days so I can go and kick his ass in light weather, for no matter how good he starts which way he goes, in light winds I shall be faster than him, and when it's windy the opposite will be true, precisely why I don't want the same ole same ole, had it most of my retired from serious competition life, (In the height of physical fitness and fully race fit it would be a different story) if it's light I win if its windy they do, unless (in windsurfing) it is so fecking windy everyone is compromised then my experience would cut in, I suspect this would be true of some of the more 'energetic' classes.

I proved it to myself that time I took a laser out, off the line I beat our resident hotshot, just got a better start, upwind he came through me like a knife through butter, it being quite breezy, downwind I reeled him back in by emulating his sailing stance and my light weight paid, upwind it was game over, so nothing more than a procession which fleet sailing becomes, unless you're very fit and can effectively apply kinetic assistance shall we say.

So fleet racing if you want to win stuff is the province only of the race fit, the rest of us should fiddle with our cheque books and dream of bimbling a better result in the boat park, which I suspect is what happens the country over...


Edited by G.R.F. - 13 Apr 12 at 3:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 3:19pm
Originally posted by G.R.F.

So fleet racing if you want to win stuff is the province only of the race fit, the rest of us should fiddle with our cheque books and dream of bimbling a better result in the boat park, which I suspect is what happens the country over...

as opposed to flexing plastic on the next new thing promising to revolutionise it all with different rigs, racks that move, different handicaps etc only to find that you're bumbling along on your own or in a 'fleet' of other miracle cures- nothing for comfort or even the slightest hope of a performance assessment other than that fecking bleeping from your countdown timer you don't know how to switch off...

no thanks, I think I'd rather take a Laser and accept I'm sh*te in lightwinds.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote I luv Wight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 4:17pm
Which is why some of us like development classes - more room to tune the rig to suit you, your sailing style, your weight, your favoured conditions, and  have different shape boats that carry different weights, suitable for different conditions, different wind strengths, but they all go more or less the same speed in the end - if you get it right  Wink.
And if it's not comfy to sail or the fittings aren't right or whatever - just get the jigsaw out and chop it / fill it / pad it .

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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 4:23pm
Originally posted by I luv Wight

Which is why some of us like development classes - more room to tune the rig to suit you, your sailing style, your weight, your favoured conditions, and  have different shape boats that carry different weights, suitable for different conditions, different wind strengths, but they all go more or less the same speed in the end - if you get it right  Wink.
And if it's not comfy to sail or the fittings aren't right or whatever - just get the jigsaw out and chop it / fill it / pad it .

And it's a fantastic option for diversity on the sport- it's all part of the competitive process in development classes, it's something I genuinely admire, but have neither the time nor skill to apply  LOL  The point here is that even in development classes it's STILL fleet racing- none of that clocking ticking nonsense against arbitrary values no one agree with.  

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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 4:33pm
Originally posted by I luv Wight

Which is why some of us like development classes - more room to tune the rig to suit you, your sailing style, your weight, your favoured conditions, and  have different shape boats that carry different weights, suitable for different conditions, different wind strengths, but they all go more or less the same speed in the end - if you get it right  Wink.
And if it's not comfy to sail or the fittings aren't right or whatever - just get the jigsaw out and chop it / fill it / pad it .

The thing is how is it that it's taken someone like me, who knows a bit more than the average joe, 8 years to realise what you're saying there is true..
We get sucked in by the marketing misinformation, if it isn't the bloody smod purveyors it's the old duffers going hmm you need a solo/streaker/insert appropriate coffin dodging device...

What is needed here is a prestigious class that encourages designs that make life fast and easy and don't get hamstrung by rules designed to protect tightwads...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 12 at 4:38pm
Originally posted by G.R.F.

Originally posted by I luv Wight

Which is why some of us like development classes - more room to tune the rig to suit you, your sailing style, your weight, your favoured conditions, and  have different shape boats that carry different weights, suitable for different conditions, different wind strengths, but they all go more or less the same speed in the end - if you get it right  Wink.
And if it's not comfy to sail or the fittings aren't right or whatever - just get the jigsaw out and chop it / fill it / pad it .

The thing is how is it that it's taken someone like me, who knows a bit more than the average joe, 8 years to realise what you're saying there is true..
We get sucked in by the marketing misinformation, if it isn't the bloody smod purveyors it's the old duffers going hmm you need a solo/streaker/insert appropriate coffin dodging device...

What is needed here is a prestigious class that encourages designs that make life fast and easy and don't get hamstrung by rules designed to protect tightwads...

you need to box rule up your V-Twin and find 20 to 20,000 others who agree with you... and then never bother asking anyone for a bloody handicap, race them scratch- a blend of chequebook and skill.

I'd happily apply the same principle to racing a D-One against an RS100... forget the bullsh*t handicaps, go sailing together and get a beer in afterwards.  Let the best sailor win.  Sadly the concept didn't float when I mooted it within our club.

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