Nationals Championship Racing Structure – Discussion

15/05/2017 10:30:33
Good Morning All,
Most importantly I would like to thank Pwllheli Sailing Club for some fantastic champagne sailing conditions over the weekend. It has been the best sailing many of us have had for a long time and it will be a great Championships, so get your entry’s in!!
A different racing structure was tried out over the weekend, with the course being a sausage first with a leeward gate followed by a triangle to the finish. Many people felt that it improved the quality of the racing and didn’t disadvantage those who were unfortunate on the first beat or lighter teams as the first two long reaches often dispersed the fleet. By having the run first it allowed some great tactical racing for a longer period throughout the race, keeping the fleet closer together.
All the sailors who raced over the weekend were involved in a short discussion about their thoughts on the race structure. One suggestion was an additional sausage or windward beat to the finish would be preferred to provide more tactical options throughout the race. It was also suggested that a discussion would be a good idea to get all teams coming to nationals involved. The events co-coordinator at Pwllheli did explain that they do have a variety courses available for the championships and they could all be implemented throughout the week if required.
This could include the following:
1) Sausage, Triangle, Finish - weekend
2) Sausage Triangle, Sausage, Finish
3) Triangle, Sausage, Finish
4) Triangle, Sausage, Triangle, Finish
5) Sausage, Triangle, Beat, Finish
6) Inner Trapezoid (Beat, Run, Beat, Reach, Run, Reach, Finish)
7) Outer Trapezoid (Beat, Reach, Run, Beat, Run, Reach, Finish)
8) Potentially a mix of courses throughout the week….
The discussion is all over to you now; any thoughts are welcome!

15/05/2017 19:38:05
Chris Martin
My two pennies..............
I thought the sailing at the weekend was great. With hindsight we could have gone for three races on both days. Also with hindsight the races were a bit too short, but in the steady conditions of the weekend it would have made little difference if any had they been longer, and the way the SIs were written precluded another sausage (Easily sorted). It was a bit processional at times even with the short races!
 Looking on towards the champs:
I think Penzance taught us how long we want to be on the water for, a lesson a long time in learning. We need to stick to that length of time be it one race or two races.
Courses - i liked the sausage/triangle with the gate, though i think some rules education will be required for those who have never done this before. I'm not huge fan of trapezoid courses as in my experience they are often laid incorrectly, but at Plas Heli this may be a very differant story and maybe we should look to them for guidance as to what is best for us on the conditions of the day? They certainly did us proud at the weekend.

16/05/2017 09:39:28
Ian Mackenzie
Hi Everyone,
Thanks to Caroline for starting this thread. And for Chris's input. All comments welcome. Please give us YOUR feedback.
See separate post for exciting news re budget accommodation.
Cheers Ian

17/05/2017 12:49:51

I might just be really unfit, but I'm going to pretend it's because I'm a small girl therefore not just me being lame, but.....

I agree the races almost felt unfinished with just a sausage / triangle, but there would have been absolutely no way I would have survived another lap per race or extra race on the Sunday - I was well and truly spent! If you get a whole week like that I'd be surprised if you see many girls in the bar towards the end of the week (unless there's lots of time for napping!) and we know no-one wants that.

I reckon the extra sausage would be good, but only if you made the beats a bit shorter and made the races not more than 10 minutes longer. Anything that makes boats come together and give tactical decisions is good in my mind - I personally find that the fun bit of racing. I guess the only issue with that is that a short first beat at the nationals with 50/60 boats going onto a run (even if we do have a spreader mark) could cause carnage, although it works in asymmetrics with 120 boat fleets, so maybe its not a massive concern. 


17/05/2017 13:23:31
Andrew M
OK so I am going to be in Salcombe in August not Pwllheli this year however as the usual back marker of the fleet in Penzance and other Nationals, there is certainly an issue about a short 1st beat turning onto the run.  In the assymmetrics because of the angles they sail it is not so much of an issue but coming into the windward mark from anywhere on the left of the course can be quite tricky and a running boat surfing down a wave is not brilliantly controllable for avoiding the boats still on the beat.  OK so avoid the left hand side of the course, but what if it pays?  If going for this option the spacer mark has to be laid square to the wind and a good distance from the windward mark.  I'd also put in something about rule observance close to the windward mark as I would anticipate plenty of shouting and clouting and not so many pirouettes.

18/05/2017 08:09:51
Chris Martin
Thats where a well laid trapezoid course is better i think.

19/05/2017 12:45:39
Ben 3767
 My choice would be option 5 with a weather eye on option 8, is the idea to minimise the spreading of the fleet? If so, avoiding having a reach after the first beat is the way, and having more beats enables boats to get back in play...

19/05/2017 18:17:42
Ian Mackenzie
Hi Folks,
Keep the conversation going.
The more the merrier
Ian - Nationals Co-ordinator 

24/05/2017 10:37:24
My personal opinion is to have a option 2 as it keeps the quality of racing high throughout the fleet as more boats are racing closer together and more tactical decisions can be made throughout the race. From the Pwllheli ST i think another sausage is required. By making the legs slightly shorter you will be able to put another sausage in. My concern with wanting to make the racing shorter is that you may risk loosing the quality of the racing. I would personally prefer to do three laps at the championships even if the races are a bit longer because at the end of the day we are there to sail. I think you can easily have races with 3 laps and a target time between 45- 60 minutes. Although I might be slightly bias, it allows smaller and lighter teams to feel less disadvantaged especially if there is a tight reach straight after the first beat.

17/06/2017 16:03:51
Ian Mackenzie
Hi Caroline,
Hope the course diagrams and options in the Mag and on the Champs website answer all the points you raised above. Of course, the specific course choice will be down to the the Race Officer and conditions on the day. I trust Peter's Mag article and Pat's comments have put your mind at rest.
Still waiting for your and Chris's entries?

18/06/2017 16:15:26
Timothy Barr
Interesting to see what other classes do. Snipes have a choice of 6 courses which vary depending on wind strength. Sausage for light to medium, triangle sausage medium to heavy, triangle only for survival conditions. Courses make up part of class rules and size and laps are chosen to give 45mins to 60minute of race time for leading boat. The boats have totally different characteristics but their system does work quite well.

09/07/2017 22:25:05
Dan Alsop
What a good thread!
Being old and usually sailing lighter than optimum for sea conditions, and in Gangsta having a bit of broad reach / run flyer, I do love the "run before the reach" format.  But long races are not such an issue for me, I do like the longer races where you have time to learn what the wind and water are doing so that you end the week thinking that was a real championship, not just an open meeting that lasted 6 days.  So yes to an extra lap, especially if it's another sausage!
I agree that a sausage first course requires a well laid spreader, and suggest it should be too tight for spinnys and long enough so that those gybing to go left on the run have time to get hoisted and settled before having to avoid the port tack lay-line brigade. 
Very much looking forward to Pwllheli,
Dan Alsop 

19/07/2017 22:27:53
Great discussion

Leeward gate - nice tactical options at start of beat. Lovely.
Triangle, sausage - any more than # laps and finish at top or bottom does get confusing for some of us ;-) (More on trapezoid and run first below)
Epic long Ranelagh race - highlight of the week
Mix of 1 and 2 race days - more options for #bouncebackability
If 2 races need to be shorter race lengths - Chris M put this well

Trapezoid - times when big boys struggle on a triangle any tighter and the Merlin isn't so much fun to sail
Sausage first - carnage either at the top or bottom and our insurance premiums all appear to have just jumped up massively (yes, I've shopped around)


20/07/2017 12:06:20
Sausage is far more tactical, but yes there is the issue of the middle of the fleet being closely grouped. The leaward gate using 2 buoys would go some way to resolving this. Though not attending this year, I would be an advocate for No. 2. with either a downwind finish or 1/3 beat finish depending on how many races. on the Triangle the leaward rounding mark would need to be the furthest right to give a port rounding, but by then the fleet will hopefully be more spread out but teh end of lap 2. The crunch point at most Merlin champs I have attended tend to be the first leaward mark especially on triangles where merlins are approaching fast 3 sail reaching as others queue to round. Got hit 3 times from behind at the Whitstable champs, twice by the same boat in different races. 


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