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Old 24-04-2011, 14:24   #1
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Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

As some of you know, I am pretty involved with the Pacific Cup organization (we sponsor a race from San Francisco to Hawaii). We are considering adding something akin to a "Cruiser's division" -- we will probably call it the "Aloha division". This is intended to let the more cruising-oriented among us to compete in the race without having to install and use all the “go-fast” gear that the hard-core racers use.

We are trying to decide what the gear restrictions should be for the Aloha division. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments on what we are thinking:
  • Roller-furling jibs, maximum two (not counting the required heavy air or storm jibs).
  • Asymmetrical spinnakers only, tacked on centerline on deck or to a fixed bowsprit, maximum two.
  • Cockpit dodger (may be folded down).
  • Primary anchor carried in bow roller.
  • Inflatable or folding dinghy carried on board.

We'd probably want to set a fairly large minimum size, to avoid having to wait for a slow tail-ender. I suspect that in practice most of these entrants would fall into the 37-47 ft size range anyway, and would be of fairly similar type.

I’m not here to promote the Pac Cup (of course I would be happy to talk about it if you are interested), but I’m trying to find out if this seems like a reasonable arrangement. Our idea is that this is the gear you would want to have if you were going to spend some time in the Islands, or continue on to Tahiti and the South Pacific, or to cruise your way home. Participating in the Pac Cup is a great way to get ready for more long-distance ocean sailing, and we hope that the Aloha division might make it more fun for the cruisers.

What do you think?
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Old 24-04-2011, 16:24   #2
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
As some of you know, I am pretty involved with the Pacific Cup organization (we sponsor a race from San Francisco to Hawaii). We are considering adding something akin to a "Cruiser's division" -- we will probably call it the "Aloha division". This is intended to let the more cruising-oriented among us to compete in the race without having to install and use all the “go-fast” gear that the hard-core racers use.

We are trying to decide what the gear restrictions should be for the Aloha division. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments on what we are thinking:
  • Roller-furling jibs, maximum two (not counting the required heavy air or storm jibs).
  • Asymmetrical spinnakers only, tacked on centerline on deck or to a fixed bowsprit, maximum two.
  • Cockpit dodger (may be folded down).
  • Primary anchor carried in bow roller.
  • Inflatable or folding dinghy carried on board.

We'd probably want to set a fairly large minimum size, to avoid having to wait for a slow tail-ender. I suspect that in practice most of these entrants would fall into the 37-47 ft size range anyway, and would be of fairly similar type.

I’m not here to promote the Pac Cup (of course I would be happy to talk about it if you are interested), but I’m trying to find out if this seems like a reasonable arrangement. Our idea is that this is the gear you would want to have if you were going to spend some time in the Islands, or continue on to Tahiti and the South Pacific, or to cruise your way home. Participating in the Pac Cup is a great way to get ready for more long-distance ocean sailing, and we hope that the Aloha division might make it more fun for the cruisers.

What do you think?
Hi Paul -

other traits that come to mind for 'cruising', based upon what I take off the boat for the SSS TransPac race:

outboard motor & dinghy
fenders
the big anchor/chain/rode
books
clothes
delivery home sails
cushions
charts

I'm not so sure I agree with the asymmetric-only spinnaker requirement to determine who's in the cruising class - many folks may carry a single spinnaker on a single pole. Likewise with headsails; rather than consider the quantity on board, you might ask how many have UV protection on the leach and foot

Might it be preferable to determine an aloha class via a purely subjective arrangement - entries are welcome to self-declare as 'aloha class' and the inspector will look at the boat and see if, in his/her opinion, the boat fits into the class? A list of gear laid out is inviting someone to bend the rules and sneak into that class...

Other things that might separate a cruiser from a racer - presence of polars with Expedition and/or Deckman on board, spare spinnaker pole, aluminum anchors, excess weight in the form of: more than 1 HF radio, extra large battery bank (say 800 AH vs. 500 AH), full cutlery set in the galley, flopper stopper, work bench and/or vice, boat heater (e.g., a webasto or espar)...

Somehow I suspect you're looking at a fairly subjective class determination.

- rob/beetle
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Old 24-04-2011, 17:55   #3
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

Rob, according to your list, VALIS has the "Cruise-O-Meter" totally pegged! I suppose I already knew this... I do have to deduct for the spare poles and Expedition, but the polars are largely guesswork.

We are definitely looking at the Marion-Bermuda Cruising race rules. In fact, the Aloha division was suggested by a Pac Cup board member who has crewed on the Marion-Bermuda. It's not likely that we will make this a stand-alone division, perhaps instead a category that has it's own set of awards. I'm not completely clear on this point.

I'm starting to like your suggestions though. Perhaps a handicap adjustment based on displacement/(weight of excess cruising gear)? And/or based on number of crew vs boat size?

The asym vs sym spinnaker criterion is problematic, but it does seem to be a common factor when you look at cruisers vs racers. This does raise the question of whether we are trying to promote a non-optimum configuration. The race usually has a lot of dead downwind in it, and the asym wouldn't be my first choice (on my displacement cruiser).
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Old 24-04-2011, 19:27   #4
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

Paul:

Would the boat have to meet the offshore race regulations? I looked at doing the SSS transpac and the cost for bringing my boat up to those standards was $5k to $10k with me doing the work. Can you use items like Windlass, A minimum amount of chain, a dinghy on board, also I would like to see rules about no feet over the rail etc. If some of these rules are unenforceable that would be OK. yachting could return to some of its more corinthian roots.
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Old 25-04-2011, 00:28   #5
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

Charlie, the rules for category one offshore races will still have to be satisfied. There are a few minor adjustments to the rules for this race, but these will apply to all entries.

These requirements are almost all safety-related and are (I believe) reasonable for a passage of this type. You can very probably make it to Hawaii without complying with the rules, but we should have that discussion elsewhere.

We are looking for a way to encourage folks who might not otherwise consider entering a race to Hawaii, and are trying to figure out how a boat might be included (or excluded) from the Aloha division. Ground tackle, dinghys, etc, are all potential factors. "No feet over the rail" is an interesting concept, but as you point out it would be difficult to enforce. I would prefer to have rules that are easy to use and understand.

The Aloha division may turn out to be a particular award that is given to the best adjusted performance by a boat that meets the Aloha requirements. This all probably depends on the feedback we get from participants and potential participants.
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Old 25-04-2011, 20:02   #6
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

I'm stymied by your allowing asym. spinnakers, but not symmetrical ones. (Mine are all symmetrical, and I'd be pissed to get passed by a Catalina 44 flying a chute when I couldn't.) All the hot new boats have asym. chutes.
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Old 25-04-2011, 22:02   #7
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

psk125, it isn't that we don't allow symmetrical spinnakers -- they are probably the best sail most boats can have for deep downwind racing, and most Pac Cup boats use them.

What we are looking at is a division for people who don't want to use symmetricals, due to cost, inexperience, crew size, don't care for the hassle, etc. This division would let them compete with similar boats.

Ultimately, it's not clear if the spinnaker type will be the determining factor. There are many ways to classify a boat as a cruiser, or a racer. At this stage we're just kicking ideas around. This is why I have asked for feedback.

Thanks,
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Old 25-04-2011, 22:20   #8
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

I'm curious as to how you intend to handicap the boats to make it a race dependant upon skill rather than possessing a faster/bigger boat.

I'd think you would want to exclude high-tech sails and limit it to medium- and heavy-displacement boats. Multi-hull boats should be be in a class separate from the mono-hulls.
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Old 25-04-2011, 23:16   #9
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

Mark,
As the race is currently run, boats are handicapped by rating (a blended upwind / downwind rating, based on typical race conditions), and are further grouped into divisions. You race the boats in your division, and all the boats, with your handicap applied. Your rating is determined by boat design and to a smaller extent by configuration.

It works fairly well, given that a single-number ratings can't reflect a given boat's performance over a wide variety of conditions. Also, given that over a one or two week race the fleet spreads out a lot, and two different boats can experience wildly different wind / sea conditions. It's a compromise, but short of a one-design fleet it's probably the best we can do.

The proposed Aloha division will attempt to include boats that have similar go-slow characteristics typical of a cruiser, many of these which are not reflected in the normal rating. We are trying to decide what these characteristics might be, and if the idea appeals to any potential participants.

The Pac Cup hasn't had any multihulls compete, at least not recently. It looks like we will have at least one in the next race.
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Old 25-04-2011, 23:21   #10
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Re: Cruising Rig Questions - Spinnakers, Etc.

Staysail or removable staysail required.
Minimum required anchor weight and chain length based on boat length/weight.
No poles other than whisker poles allowed.
I like the minimum battery bank size requirement mentioned.
Windvane requirement.
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