Topic : Triangular courses when there is more than one class

My solution to this problem aimed at starting the second race for the first class without having to wait for the subsequent class(es)to finish has been to set a trapezium course with the finish line set at the leeward mark ( or just a little way up the beat ).A better solution might be to set triangle ,sausage ,sausage ,triangle thus enabling the PRO to start subsequent races without having to worry about subsequent classes running down to towards the start-line of the first fleet .

Would this be preferable to the trapezium .Whilst this covers all the required points of sailing and is easy to set it is difficult to change if , as at Shoreham on Saurday , there is a late windshift .

Thoughts !!!

Posted: 04/08/2008 16:24:31
By: whitstable pro

Thanks for your exceptional efforts again at the weekend - fantastic as ever if a bit scary!

I am afraid you didn't convince me that the trapezoid course was better because:

When the wind shifted you had too many marks to move to get it all set up right quickly

The reaches were too tight and the run too short

I know I sound like an old foggy - perhaps I am - but I like the traditional format. No problem with finishing at the leeward mark when several races have to be organised quickly.

I would have no problem with just windward/leeward courses - I have sailed that format often in other classes, not just asymmetric, and it works well. I think runs are very important, tactically and technique wise.

Putting in more marks tends to 'extrude' the fleet and make a much bigger distance between the leaders and the back markers i.e. more of a procession

I don't want to criticise but you did ask - and I am sure that that Shoreham weekend would have been just as scary/good either way.

Thanks again, Pat

Posted: 06/08/2008 23:03:03
By: Pat Blake

Alan I do see your issue with the start line for second race, if a 2nd fleet (in this case Phantoms) were coming down the run for their finish. If only did 3 laps rather than 4 this would not be a problem.

Another option would be to use the reverse Olympic course, thus ending with a reach and keeping the 2nd fleet clear. We tried these a few years back at the Champs but weren't that popular by the top guys. Though probably better for middle fleet as gives chance to catch up more.

Thought the course was very good on Sunday, but no way the kites were coming out on the reaches!

Cheers, Ross

Posted: 07/08/2008 10:33:05
By: Ross
Not that I'm an expert but what is the problem with doing sausage, triangle, sausage, triangle short beat or fetch to finish?

Runs are tactical but I'd miss a good blast on a reach and the gybe mark is always good for a laugh in a bit of breeze

Posted: 07/08/2008 10:33:16
By: Andrew M
However, thinking it through, would need a wing mark placed a fair way from the windward one to avoid mayhem with a big bunch starting the run, will also be unpopular with the port layline addicts one I can think of at Shoreham

Posted: 07/08/2008 10:47:11
By: Andrew M
I'd agree with Pat; but only up to a point, Whatever the class I enjoy the tactics of a dead run too, but "power" reaches with a spinnaker gybe are part of it too surely?
A windward mark leg to get the running boats out of the way of those still on the windward leg is pretty nearly universal these days in any class, and has been since it was "invented" by Robert Harris for I think the 1965 Championship of the Merlin Rocket Class a universal panacea for which the whole yacht racing comminity should be grateful.
BUT and here is the BUT it should not be too long only a hundred metres or so.
As to Alan Chaplins problem, it has to be within the wit of man to postpone the second start if only for 15 minutes to sort it all out, it's not a problem unique to Shoreham, Keil Week, Cowes week, Palma and countless others manage it.
Frank Newton had two courses once; one to port one to Starboard with the windward & leeward marks 100 yards apart and the start lines on either side of the committee boat, the wing marks were suitably laid all would have been well but for a misunderstanding about which line was doing which course!It was an unrepeated shambles that kept the boat builders/repairers busy for weeks!
Perhaps the actuarial profession could be invited to arrange suitable algorithms; perhaps even produce tables; according to average speed in the conditions, class etc.

Posted: 07/08/2008 11:12:32
By: Ancient Geek
Can we have a course with no gybe marks? I'm not a very strong swimmer.

Posted: 07/08/2008 11:49:23
By: Mags
Can I have a course where you sail the course backwards as I have been told I spend too much time looking out of the back of the boat and I see this as the best solution.

Posted: 07/08/2008 13:15:29
By: Garry R
It's the rear sheeting Garry - John Gardiner is usually seen facing backwards too!

Posted: 07/08/2008 14:08:11
By: Pat2121
As to the real topic I think the triangle, sausage worked well at the inlands where we had two fleets and it helped that the vintage wing sailed less laps. 
The finish and start need to be together to avoid constantly moving the committee boat.
So - send the fast boats off first for more laps and the whole thing will work.

Posted: 07/08/2008 14:11:19
By: Pat2121
I recently did the Solo Nations Cup in Workum, Holland. This event was a multiclass event, FD's, Javelin, Olympic Jol, Spanker (yes that is the name of the class), Solo and Sunfish.. 
It was the best run multiclass event I have ever race in.. Races were around 1.25 hours long one mile beats. We had an inner and outer courses. Old Triangle, Sausage triangle finishing on the reach from a seperate finish boat. Then a short sail back to the start wait 15 mins and off again.
The last day only 3 classes sailing so they had the finish on the beat except they put the finish line on the other side of the committee boat.. So again we could get on with the racing quickly.


Posted: 07/08/2008 18:43:23
By: Rob Wilder
Our experience at Whitstable is that when you have more than one class there will be problems, especially if the wind shifts. We used to have joint Merlin and Nat 12s meetings (and lots of other joint meetings as well which I and Mike Fitz have RO'd) and however you configure the courses (unless you have 2 completely separate courses) you will run into trouble when you want to shift marks. Having more than one class can also lead to problems with general recalls and lots of hanging around between races.

I don't think most competitors realise just how difficult it is to set true courses and start lines at sea with tide, waves, drifting marks and committee boats, sea breezes etc. We therefore like to keep it as simple as possible. "Old" Olympic courses seem popular, with close three sail reaching, and the sausage gives you the windward leeward element.

Our solution is to hold single class opens, and only for those classes that are well supported in the club. There may be smaller fleets when you can combine, but they tend not to be so demanding. In my view, for a 30 plus fleet of discerning Merlins a single class open is the only way to give us the flexibility to provide a really good event - and even then we don't always get it right!

Posted: 07/08/2008 22:01:48
By: JC
Well said JC! Life for the PRO is hard enough with one class, as you add in more the issues multiply! I too run a number of events, next week it is the RS500 Nats, single fleet, windward leeward, fingers crossed it goes ok. Then, 3 weeks later, I've got the Hornets, Kestrels and Shearwater cats, now that really is an interesting 'mix'. For the multi fleet weekend, I'll keep the Committee Boat 1/3rd of the way up the beat, set triangle-sausage courses with two additions provisos: Boats must past through the start/finish line each beat but must not pass through on the run. Okay, this does create a rules situation, with the ODM then becoming an obstruction, experience has shown though that most sailors would rather have that than a whole load of hanging around waiting.

Three fleets, five races for each, 15 starts in total, it gets to the case that the biggest pressure on the PRO is that of keeping the event close to schedule. Yes, this is far from ideal, but it is very much the reality of life in many of the mid sized clubs.

Why the three fleets together? Simple - look at the money. With the costs of running an event escalating, the dreaded scourge of 'numbers' comes in to effect. For an Open event' held on the sea (even a restricted water such as Southampton) the breakeven point for the club is probably around the high teens in terms of entries.

With numbers in many classes on the wane, we've had issues over the last few years of giving a fleet a prime time weekend, only to have a bakers dozen or so boats turn up. It costs the club, not only in the financial sense, but in the goodwill that is needed from club members who've given up their time and their sailing to make the event happen.

The Merlins are lucky, for in the main they still have the clout and numbers to get the good locations for themselves. But with the credit crunch biting, not just for the sailors but for the clubs too, one must wonder how long the current situation where 'single fleet' regattas are the ideal, can be supported.

Posted: 08/08/2008 10:32:53
By: David
Thanks for the discussion -very helpful .

The Saturday problems which Pat described would have been corrected had not both mark moving boats become unavailable because ;
1. seasickness !!!!
2. need to go to help a distressed Merlin ,and
3. the third mark dragging and heading to Brighton !!! it was recovered yesterday !!!!

After further consideration I have rejected my two consecutive runs solution and propose that next year to set a big triangle and do triangle ,sausage ,triangle with a separate finish line either at the leeward mark or a little way up the beat .

Posted: 08/08/2008 17:52:19
By: whitstable pro
Good points from many people.  I have always believed that the only people who can criticise a PRO are those people who have actually done the job themselves.  It would be nice to think that all the top Merlin sailors put something back into the sport by helping to run Open Meetings at their club. It amazing how much more you have to learn about racing and it can actually be enjoyable.

Posted: 09/08/2008 16:13:48
By: Martin Watts


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