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Old 13-03-2013, 00:14   #16
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Re: Increasing race participation

yeah! it's about time was saw more people of "Race" participating on the water..........

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Old 13-03-2013, 00:34   #17
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Re: Increasing race participation

My understanding is that any two or more sailboats in sight of each other and going in the same direction are racing.

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Old 13-03-2013, 03:39   #18
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Re: Increasing race participation

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, snoopy do.
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Old 13-03-2013, 04:04   #19
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Re: Increasing race participation

Our solution:

we, like you, use handicaps to rate different boats. We even call it "PHRF." But the 'P' stands for "Po'Boy", ergo "Po'boy's Handicap Racing Formula." We rate the skipper, not the boat. Our local ratings are usually very much favorable to the racer ;-)

Races are always distance, to government marks. We set a tet for our start that you've just gotta be reasonably near to start. Starts are staggered according to each boat's rating. Round marks in whatever direction, but you should be somewhere near the mark. Take your own time at finish.

Prizes are booze, usually a bottle of rum, whiskey, and wine. Three deep. First prize gets first choice. Depends on what our bartender can get, sometimes there's gift sets.

Ratings are shifted throughout the year, depending on the course. If the course happens to have a reach, run and windward that day, then it's considered to be good for calculating ratings. Usually by the end of the series/year, the boats are finishing together, which is the ultimate goal.
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Old 13-03-2013, 04:18   #20
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Re: Increasing race participation

Having been involved in club racing and its organisation, Id say a couple of things

(a) many are put of by the seemingly endless rules, protests, etc. Run a number of simple courses to explain basic rules to attract newbies, organise a class race, that has a simple handicap system and consider eliminating initially protests or consider the pursuit format.

(b) Try and get newbies to cross crew.

(c) Organise simple cruise in companies to break down barriers between hardened racer types and family cruisers, racers like cruising too,.

(d) Run start simple sail training and sailing appreciation courses aimed at adults to attract in non-sailers , often sail training today is aime dat kids and adults will not participate in that. Every new sailor is a potential racer. Even 1-3 hour evening courses out on a boat can be very popular for wives, non sailors and interested but fearfull types.

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Old 13-03-2013, 04:36   #21
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Re: Increasing race participation

I agree with Wayalan. I'd like to race, or think I might, but I'm a bit intimidated with all the rules and spinnakers. Make it a JAM race, and make your 10 captains that race each find another boat to race on as a mentor. use basic PRHF, but don't got the the nat's ass on this, just use the basic number for the boat. Make it what we call in rowing a "head race", meaning that everyone starts when they go by the start line and their is no starting gun. make the rules simple.
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Old 13-03-2013, 05:09   #22
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Re: Increasing race participation

You might want to research what they do down in Georgetown in the Bahamas. There is a very popular cruisers race there in conjunction with their "workboat" regatta. They keep it fun enough so participation seems very good, but of course there are 200-300 cruising boats there anyway in the winter. I seem to recall they start at anchor when the gun goes off and then everyone gets to motor for a bit in order to get sails up. The start line jockeying is very intimidating to many cruisers who are used to thinking that 50 feet between boats is way too close when under sail.
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Old 13-03-2013, 05:40   #23
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Re: Increasing race participation

One of our local clubs runs a cruisers race.

They call it the Wifeswapping weekend. Split up the couples so one of them goes on a different boat. Sail a half day to a point (take times) BBQ and have some wine.( sorry no organized wifeswapping for the night). Next day sail back, take times and winner declared. Boats are handicapped by the comittee without any formal system or any right of appeal.

Wifeswapping is very popular in that club. The race that is (gad what dirty minds)
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Old 13-03-2013, 06:04   #24
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pirate Re: Increasing race participation

Maybe they just don't wanna be 'In the Gang...'
I do not exist to impress the world.
I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy.

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Old 13-03-2013, 06:52   #25
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Re: Increasing race participation

Originally Posted by FecklessDolphin View Post
I have recently become Race Commodore for our yacht club on a lake outside Minneapolis. Our club has more of a cruiser than racing mentality. We only have 6 races each season. While we have 90 sailboats, only about 10 of us race. We would like more participation and are thinking about ways to make it more educational and to make it easier to start racing. Does anyone have experience with increasing race participation among a group of cruisers?
Having been in your position, sailors fall into three groups. Racers who enjoy the rules of game and competition, sailors whose interest is piqued by the racing game but unsure of their talents and rules of the game and cruisers. My advice is not to dumb down the game, but to make it more approachable by de-emphacising the rewards of being first or the fastest in the fleet.

Approach new recruits with an invitation to participate. Some will demure and give some excuse why they would not be competitive. Simply state it's all in fun and they would be sailing against boats similarly equipped and talented. I assume her you have broken the Fleet into (A) Spinnaker (B) non-spinnaker. I would describe racing, deemphasizing the first to finish, as chance to hone sailing skills in cruising terms. For instance, sharpening sailing skills sailing to a specific mark to weather in the most efficient manner might come in handy clawing off a lee shore. Or how to keep a boat moving in light air, or sail handling in bigger air would make one more confident when caught in the inevitable squall. Describe in terms of being forced to sail without a motor just in case they had too some day. Then you could say, there is the race and the race within the race. There will always be someone close by they can compete with. It's not the first to finish always, it's self improvement. Just as important, it helps the best crews and fastest boat describe a regatta or series in these terms and help with recruitment.
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Old 20-03-2013, 11:37   #26
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The club i was in before had a lot or racers and an active race community. I didn't participate that much because I like to sail to spend some time with friends in an unstructured environment. Sometime relaxing sometime harrowing, but generally at my own pace and the pace of the wind. What I do like is some creative problem solving. I would guess that many racers are into refining things, while many cruisers like the thrill of exploration. With this in mind I would think it really cool if there was some kind of sailing scavenger hunt that played upon cruising skills.
Like, use the dinghy to grab something on land, or take a photo of the nav buoy with all crew in the picture, it other wacky goals. That sounds fun!!
But then again I have been meaning to try and organize a pirate battle with paintballs and ship captures...
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Old 31-03-2013, 09:50   #27
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Re: Increasing race participation

I would suggest the most important thing to do is to help those boats that are truly interested by putting someone aboard that is more experienced.
This will help them through their moments of indecision, fear, and inexperience.
Only then will you be able to build a racing team.
Also may want to start with getting all the potential racers on only two boats of similar performance characteristics and have teaching sessions. Two boats make a race!
It is also interesting that you sail a J27 which may intimidate a lot of other boats in that size range. Of course you did not state what other types of boats are in your area. But in fact they may feel defeated from the start racing against a boat that can sail above it's rating in both light and heavy air. No matter what the rating formula, fast boats make smart skippers. Maybe let your crew sail your boat and you lend your expertise to the beginners.
Also I believe you stated you raced your boat at another club so take some of these potential racers with you to let them get a feel by sitting on the rail. That may be all the stimulus they need to start spending the family fortune on kevlar, carbon, titanium, etc.etc.
I wish you well and don't give up.
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Old 31-03-2013, 11:20   #28
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Re: Increasing race participation

I've run race programs for a number of years, am a cruiser with a few thousand miles under my keel and hear the story from both sides, from the cruiser side you hear that there are to many rules and to fast pased, and from the racer side, cruisers are lazy and dont want to learn the rules..
in a way there is truth to both sides...
Races can be tuned in many ways to accomadate cruisers like doing a reverse start where the handicap is given at the start instead of the finish.. allowing the higher numbers to go out first.. good fun and if everyone runs their numbers, (which they dont) all boats cross the finish line at the same time..
we've also run two day races where it was out and back where the layover would be a destination for cruisers also..
But we've found the best way to involve cruisers into our race program isw to get them on the deck first, pulling flags, working the starting horn, or recording the finish times, even put one in on the protest committee so they have a better understanding of the complete workings of the race program.
only takes a year or so befor they are out digging holes on the starting line and setting their watch for the gun..
The most experance I ever learned on a sailboat was the season I crewed on on a race boat..

IMHO , any cruiser not wanting to know the performance aspects of his boat , how to adjust the sails for performance, or to read the water for the lifts, is missing out on some of the most pleasurable times one could have on the water..
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Old 31-03-2013, 12:09   #29
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Re: Increasing race participation

I am not a racer - it all just seems so unneccessary!

But, apart from beer!, what might tempt me to start getting involved is a simple to understand event - maybe as a one off each year (or twice?), with folks either using own boat but also the option of also being welcome aboard "proper" racers as crew (or simply observers!) even at the price of hampering the win! and also onto your boat (I like the idea of a race tactitian!). Obviously with only 1 event a year not possible to do every option - but no need to do things quickly!

I don't mind being last! (although nice not to be!) but lots of complicated rules and protests (arguments?) when I have no idea WTF is going on and whether I am in the right or not just seems a pointless waste of time given I won't be fighting for first place. Of course if I got into the racing thing then the rules might start to become important and make sense!

I would certainly favour a cut down version of the rules, maybe simply around Col Regs?!........and on the start that rushing around in circles does seem a bit twattish (given I would be fighting over last! or alone in my class!), but nonetheless seems harsh to get penalised for not being part of the melee. What about a staggered start with everyone getting fixed start times (and if they do not cross at that alloted time at the official start line are deemed to have started!, maybe via a secondary mark?), slowest first and racers last (and maybe they can do a "proper" start amongst themselves?) - I don't mind finishing last because I am slower, Sailor and boat!, so don't need a pretend win via a handicap - just judged on overall time to complete the course so I have an idea of where I am starting from in comparison to other boats of similar type / size........and if I am interested in taking things further I can do "proper" racing in a different race.

Also gotta be some sort of post race "do", not simply for the beer! but also to give me a chance to pick brains over a shared experiance.
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Old 31-03-2013, 12:37   #30
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Re: Increasing race participation

The reasons I don't (yet) race:
- the time commitment - one or two days a week. Sometimes hard to get home from work soon enough
- put off by some of the more hardcore racers, captains that yell, protests etc
- haven't yet found a fleet that seemed low-key and more fun-oriented

... yeah these are excuses. It just seems that every time I consider regular racing, something puts me off. Maybe this year I'll make the effort.

In the knife thread, one comment was from a captain who related how he had to cut a jibsheet free during a race after a crewmember got it jammed on a winch during a tack. Said captain then informed offending crewmember that he now owed for a new jibsheet. Yeah, that sort of camaraderie really makes me want to race...

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