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I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circles #12211
10/28/02 04:39 PM
10/28/02 04:39 PM
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jcasto1 Offline OP
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I love my catamaran. I love racing my catamaran. I love racing my catamaran upwind & downwind. I love racing my catamaran a long distance. I love *sailing* my catamaran back & forth across the lake as fast as I can, but I almost never get to do this in a "race".



How come there aren't more catamaran "races" that have nice long reaches, or crazy slalom shaped courses? Here's some reasons I can imagine are used.



Strategic - the strategic aspects of W-L courses (windward/leeward) represent the "pinnacle" of sailing skill. I say this a load of cr**. The pinnacle of sailing skill is demonstrated by whoever wins the sailing race. Everyone has the same rules, the same course, and the same chance at winning.



Handicaps - handicap numbers are derived based on certain course configurations or assumptions about them. I don't buy it. With the exception of Texel, every cat race score that I've seen posted (mostly US, I'll admit) uses the same Portsmouth numbers, even if it's a 100 mile course downwind, or a 50 mile course around an island, or a true windward-leeward "round the buoys" course. If everyone had their own handicap numbers, this reason (excuse?) would be more believable.



Race Committee workload - I've worked race committee countless times, and it's just as easy to set up a course to be a reach, as it is to set one up as a windward-leeward. For distance races where race direction at start is downwind, we've done downwind starts, or made a short upwind section on first leg of race.



Consistency - when you host a regatta, you want participants to be able to plan correctly, and compete fairly. If every club had crazy shaped courses, no one would know what to expect until they showed up. But this kind of home court advantage already is built into lots of races. Local sailing conditions on a lake or bay is just one kind of home court advantage. Many yacht clubs, and even cat clubs, use permanent buoys in lakes bays or channels, as marks of their races. Unless you use GPS and program in the waypoints, locals will always have advantages (What course is an I7? Where the he** is K mark? Is a "X" mark an obstruction or a mark of the course?). It reminds me of my first distance race - for some reason they started all the slow & novice boats first - I couldn't even see the first mark - my friend said "just sail on starboard, close-hauled, till everyone catches up with you, then follow".



Well, maybe this is the only reason that's valid - everyone's doing W-L, so if I don't, they won't come to my regatta.



What do you think?

Do you like sailing on reaches? I know you do, it's OK to admit it!


Jim Casto
NACRA 5.5 & NACRA 5.7
Austin TX
Lake Travis
-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circles [Re: jcasto1] #12212
10/28/02 04:53 PM
10/28/02 04:53 PM
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Jacques Offline
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Reaching by itself is just drag racing: the fastest and the one windward wins, so, to my opinion it is not enough to make a good race. but, a dose of reaching can be good: what about the good old olympic course with three marks(ABCACA)? I like this one: a lot of downwind/upwind plus the mandatory jibe at the B mark which make things very exciting (plus the fact that with a spin you have to deal with wind angles through the B mark: can be pretty difficult if windy). I would like ro races these.

Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circl [Re: Jacques] #12213
10/28/02 11:45 PM
10/28/02 11:45 PM
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I couldn't agree more. What ever happened to using B mark? AC, ACAC, ACACAC, ACA......boring......bring back the reaches. When I used to race in the 80's, that was the most exciting part of the race, and can be very tactical as well. It isn't necessarily the fastest boat that gets from A to B. It can also be the one that positions himself the best or uses the rules to his/her advantage. I feel removing the B mark did more harm than good.



I was at a race earlier this year where they finally did use a B mark and many people were confused by this and didn't know how to sail it. It was actually funny listening to the comments on the beach. "Wow, I never used a B mark before, that was kind of fun". "How did X boat catch up to me so much on that reach?" Gee, imagine a change from the standard sausage courses being fun.



I concur with Jim's sentiments about the ease of setup and poor excuses for not using another mark. I would also recommend putting this mark closer to shore so people on shore have something to watch.



There are many more variations of courses simply by adding another mark, AC stuff gets old after a while.



Kip Taylor

The Dalles, OR.....soon to be Boise!

TheMightyHobie18

Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circl [Re: Canes] #12214
10/29/02 01:03 AM
10/29/02 01:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 37
Cedar Creek, Tx
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I agree 100%. There is a group of us catsailors that go to Pace Bend Park every full moon weekend and we spend most of our time manuvering for a long reach run. It's fun, it's exciting and the land lubbers seem very interested when we come screeching by on a reach close to shore. Reaching is where, in my mind, the cat's full speed potential comes alive and it makes my heart thump. I love it! If it is a mixed regatta(mono's and cat's), maybe us cat sailors could solicit the race commitee beforhand and get a B mark for the cat class.

Don Caldwell

Supercat-20

Nacra 18 Square


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Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circl [Re: cappydec] #12215
10/29/02 11:41 AM
10/29/02 11:41 AM
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Posts: 74
Fulshear, TX
SGalway Offline
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A race is supposed to test a sailors ability on all points of sail. A reach just so happens to be one of those points of sail. The olympic course is the best in my mind, Triangle windward leeward finish downwind. This course is low maintenance for RC as the pin end of the line can be the leeward mark. Anyone that has sailed with a wing mark can attest, some pretty hairy stuff happens when you are stacked three or four deep, cruising at mach 6, and all have to gybe to round the mark...ROOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!! I vote wing mark!


Shannon Galway
Fulshear, TX
YoNav! Flying Phantom
www.yonav.net
Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circles [Re: jcasto1] #12216
10/29/02 01:08 PM
10/29/02 01:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 180
Chelmsford, MA
Barry Offline
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I 100% disagree. A reaching mark makes everyone go the same way on the course. Where can you put time on the boats behind you? A windward leward course opens up the whole course to you. I like to add one reaching leg at a weekend race. It's nice for the fun factor but not the true racing. Also under porthmouth ratings, it can mess up the results when spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats are racing.

I had the Area A US sailing rep intenionaly move a "B" mark around till it was too high to fly a spinnaker to the mark and too high to fly a spinnaker to "C". Well my rating is calulated on using the spinnaker 50% of the time. He was trying to favor the course to favor the 6.0's. When I asked him about it he admited he was trying to use the "B" mark so I couldn't fly the spinnaker on the reach or after I rounded B.

We also had a bad collision at B mark this year. There are two proper courses at B. One is to jibe at the mark the other is to continue by the mark. This has caused a serious accident this year. It would be wiser to put the engery into a offset mark instead of a reaching mark.

Reach around in between races or after racing is over.

Last edited by Barry; 10/29/02 01:11 PM.
Re: I love racing, A reach has its place. Sometimes [Re: Barry] #12217
10/29/02 01:49 PM
10/29/02 01:49 PM
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Syracuse, NY Hobie Fleet 204
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Tom Korz Offline
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I agree with Barry on this one.

I also think that it shows little knowledge of tactical racing to put a Wing mark, gybe mark, B mark on the first lap of a race course. we all know that the pecking order is established primarily on the first leg, putting a reach mark immediately after the First weather mark just solidifies this order.



Put the reach leg on the second lap.



Another problem w/B marks is that often RC's set them at the incorrect angle giving you 2 legs in which to parade around on. Make sure that at least one of your reaches is high enough to be fast & hairy.

Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circles [Re: Barry] #12218
10/29/02 02:19 PM
10/29/02 02:19 PM
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Baton Rouge, LA
Dean Offline
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Just one opinion from someone who stopped racing because of the windward-leeward courses.



Multihulls are made to have the most fun while reaching. Not designing a course to enjoy the boats' reason for being is kinda nutty. Maybe there is too much emphasis on including use of spinnakers. I like the old cat sailors' definition of a spinnaker: a sail for occupying a lot of time while going very slowly (hence, the use of the "B" mark and no self respecting cats had spinnakers.)



So, I stopped racing my last cat years ago when the catamaran courses started looking exactly like the monohull courses. We had these little Ferraris in the water but we were racing on courses suited to lumbering Cadillacs. It didn't, it doesn't, make much sense but because of that the spinnakers became prevalent.



I think it killed a lot of the speed thrill when the reaching died. It was like eliminating the long straight in front of the grandstand in a Forumula 1 race.



Does making a course that says, "this course does not include the fastest point of sail for the boat" make sense?


Re: I love racing, but I'm tired of going in circles [Re: Barry] #12219
10/29/02 02:25 PM
10/29/02 02:25 PM
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South Carolina
Jake Offline
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I've seen Rick White request that a B mark be added close, but not too close, to the A mark (say 50 - 75 yards). While it doesn't give you a very long reaching leg, it does clear up all the clutter at the A mark on a crowded course or when you have boats with large differences in speed. You still get a belly full of downwind tactics and a reaching leg to satisfy the speedsters.


Jake Kohl
They call that an "offset" mark [Re: Jake] #12220
10/29/02 02:47 PM
10/29/02 02:47 PM
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Syracuse, NY Hobie Fleet 204
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Tom Korz Offline
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that has been borrowed from monohull sailing, mostly larger boats where there is alot of messing with spin poles and gear.

It is a good idea, as you say in large fleets. It is also a nice safety feature to keep boats from bearing away into any boats coming in on Kamikaze port.



It has also been added to the US sailing Multihull course card with the designation as "course #" followed by an O



I think that you can get your fill of reaching in distance racing

Re: They call that an "offset" mark [Re: Tom Korz] #12221
10/29/02 06:31 PM
10/29/02 06:31 PM
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samevans Offline
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I like the offset mark.

It helps to keep the windward and leward boats farther apart and makes the A mark a much safer rounding especially when spinnaker boats are racing.

And when it is blowing like stink and you come into A mark with a hull flying, you get a whole new kind of thrill as you round down.

Re: They call that an "offset" mark [Re: Tom Korz] #12222
10/29/02 06:54 PM
10/29/02 06:54 PM
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GISCO Offline
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I believe the offset mark has been added to the NAHCA course card. As far as I can recall, a course card change hasn't been brought up at any of the multihull meetings. The use of an offset mark could be addressed in the sailing instructions if the US SAILING course card is used.



Gordon Isco

Re: They call that an "offset" mark [Re: GISCO] #12223
10/29/02 10:50 PM
10/29/02 10:50 PM
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Canes Offline
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I'm a little confused by Barry's statement here:



"Where can you put time on the boats behind you?"



What does that have to do with the course? Tactics are a way to put time between you and the next boat. Just by opening up the course, that doesn't give an advantage to any one boat or type of boat. The way to put time between you and your competitor is to sail fast, use the rules and tactics. It doesn't matter which course you are sailing, the object is to get to the finish the fastest.



Unless I'm missing something??



The B mark is a part of NAHCA course sticker. The race where we did have a B mark was an area championship. I was just surprised more people hadn't raced with one. I strongly feel a B mark should be in every race, whether it is on every lap or not. It just adds a little something extra to the race and gets away from strictly upwind or downwind.



Sail safe and fast,



Kip

TheMightyHobie18

Re: They call that an "offset" mark [Re: Canes] #12224
10/29/02 11:52 PM
10/29/02 11:52 PM
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Posts: 96
Racine, Wisconsin
Leo Offline
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Modified olympic is my vote. A course featuring beat reach reach beat run beat makes it a well balanced race course IMHO.



I've raced enough monodulls in my short life to know first hand how annoyed skippers of particular boats get when the RC runs nothing but windward lewards. Modified olympic makes it a race for both the reachers and the runners



Cats being a reaching kind of boat, why not throw in an afterburner igniting leg or two?


Paul Scott Bartelt 2001 NACRA 6.0 NA #546
Re: I'm still tired of going in circles [Re: Tom Korz] #12225
10/30/02 12:33 AM
10/30/02 12:33 AM
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jcasto1 Offline OP
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Several of the W-L-only crowd have pointed out the inherent dangers of a gibe mark (B) being placed at end of an extremely fast reaching leg. I think this is a valid concern, and needs to be addressed by the reachers among us.



There is an excellent solution for this one. The reaching mark, or "B" mark, doesn't necessarily have to be at the "top" or windward end of the course. I've been to several regattas where the "B" mark is set at the leeward end of course. The advantage here is obvious for beach regattas with a typical afternoon sea breeze - the reaching leg is close to shore, and is easier for spectators to see the fastest leg of the race. I think this course configuration also eliminates any of the concern about high speed reaching boats coming into a mark where some boats may want to jibe, some may not. Since the "B" mark is at the leeward end of the course, all boats are essentially sailing downwind to it. And, at the end of the high speed reaching leg, boats aren't turning as sharply around the leeward mark (C mark), they're just sheeting in & hardening up to the wind, maybe tacking.



Now I just had a flashback - I remember a regatta in the 80s where we had a quadrilateral shaped course - it had a reaching leg at top of course, and one at bottom of course. 4 marks to round for one lap. Does anyone else have experience with this confiuration? I think it may have been an experiment in 89-92 timeframe by US Sailing for performance dinghy type of races.


Jim Casto
NACRA 5.5 & NACRA 5.7
Austin TX
Lake Travis
Re: I'm still tired of going in circles [Re: jcasto1] #12226
10/30/02 01:21 AM
10/30/02 01:21 AM
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Canes Offline
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The course we had this year had the B mark at the leeward end of the course. As mentioned, this did eliminate confusion and forced you to make a good C mark rounding unless you wanted to lose a few positions.



I thought it worked well and it was readily apparent who spent time reaching and who didn't. There were several tigers at the race who used the chutes to B, then doused them for the reach to C. Good action, fun to watch and even more entertaining to be amongst.



Kip

The Dalles, OR....soon to be Boise!

Re: They call that an "offset" mark [Re: Canes] #12227
10/30/02 10:18 AM
10/30/02 10:18 AM
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Posts: 180
Chelmsford, MA
Barry Offline
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"Where can you put time on the boats behind you?"

Let me explain

Adding a reaching mark causes all of the boats on the course to saill the same way. They will all sail the same triangle. Where are the tactics in that other than trying to get clean air. Boats rarely pass eath other on reaches, from my personal experience.

By forcing all of the boats to sail the same triangle there are more risks for contact with other boats.

Also all the boats are sailing the same line so it is harder to pass boats, even slower ones.

Opening up the course doesn't give any boat an advantage but give you options. If you competor is on top of you can can jibe away. Can't do that on an ABC course.

Re: Reaching legs are tactical [Re: Barry] #12228
10/30/02 10:46 AM
10/30/02 10:46 AM
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jcasto1 Offline OP
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Barry, you keep contradicting yourself. You say on a triangle, or on a reaching leg, the only tactic is "trying to get clean air". Then you say on an "open course (WL I assume), "if a competitor is on top of you, you can jibe away". Isn't this the definition of "trying to get clean air? Your logic is a bit twisted , I think.



Tactics are tactics, regardless. Skill at sailing a reach is still sailing skill. If you can't seem to pass anyone on a reach, maybe you just need more practice. I know I do.



The Portsmouth numbers are derived from actual data, and one of the listed assumptions on page

http://www.ussailing.org/portsmouth/index.htm

reads as follows : "boats have in almost all documented cases sailed on courses including the three basic sailing angles: beating, reaching and running". If you know this has not been the case with races where someone has reported data to the Portsmouth Committee, you need to be sure that it is noted with the data.



A lot of the negative comments about B mark concerns the angle it is set at relative to A (or C, if it is at leeward end of course). This can be addressed at a club, division, fleet or class level by documenting the correct shape of the course in some kind of RC manual. In years past, the Tornado class rules actually mentioned a 70-90 degree angle when describing the preferred race course. Just as windhsifts can ruin a perfectl good WL course, same can happen to a reaching leg. But at least there can be guidance to RC about the desired position of the mark, relative to wind direction.







Jim Casto
NACRA 5.5 & NACRA 5.7
Austin TX
Lake Travis
Re: Reaching legs are tactical [Re: jcasto1] #12229
10/30/02 11:37 AM
10/30/02 11:37 AM
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Chelmsford, MA
Barry Offline
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I don't think you understand what I am trying to say. Lets just say you are on your 5.5 and I am on My Nacra 20. We are doing an ABC course. You are in the first start and I am in the third start. I get to A mark with you right in front of me. We are now heading on a reach. I am going a little bit faster that you are but there in no way you are going to let me roll you to windward. Now I spend the whole leg trying to break through your leeward. Is this tactics? I can't jibe away. I am stuck there. The fastest boat rarely wins races it's the boat that sail the fastest around the course that wins. How does this add to the quality of racing?

Lets just say at the Alter cup this year (all same boats and same speeds) sail an ABC course and then an ACA course.

Which race will have the most passing and lead changes? Have you ever been in a race where the wind shifted right before the start and it turn out to be a reach up and down the courses? What happens when the race is run? I have found in one design racing that the boats finish in basically the same order they rounded A the first time around. It happened at the Spring Fever Regatta this year. If we were on the same type of boat and were on a reach I will bet you would pass me if I were ahead. I would not let you by even if you were going faster. I would just keep in between you and the next mark and that is it. If you hit me from behind you will be off doing some turns. I agree if the reaching mark is set it should be set to leeward.

At this year Performance NA they had a few reaching legs. It did add some excitement because it was so windy but it didn't add to the racing overall. I didn't pass anyone and no one passed me. We all just followed each other and were all forced to sail the left side of the course.

I guess we are just at different racing levels.


Re: Reaching legs are tactical [Re: Barry] #12230
10/30/02 12:30 PM
10/30/02 12:30 PM
Joined: May 2002
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jcasto1 Offline OP
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Actually, Barry, I did know exactly what you were getting at, I just wanted you to come out & say it. You did a pretty good job describing your frustration with reaching legs.



I'm not sure why you think fighting for clear air, finding a way to use waves to your advantage, and the heightened concentration & boathandling which is necessary on reaching legs is not a gratifying part of catamaran racing for you. There are windshifts, and changes in velocity on reaching legs, just like on windward or downwind legs. Anticipating and handling these windshifts & waves, are all parts of the tactics of getting your boat to go faster than your opponent. And they are a hell of a lot more fun.



You may be right, you may be racing at a "level" that is different than what I'm racing at. Perhaps there is a place for W-L only races - one-design fleet racing at the championship level, or match racing. But at open regattas, where the (stated or unstated) goals are increasing participation and attracting new participants to our sport, W-L only courses are a losing proposition. Our sport has lost many potential participants, because we have abandoned parts of the sport that are fun. I think we can have fun & good racing at the same time. Reaching legs.


Jim Casto
NACRA 5.5 & NACRA 5.7
Austin TX
Lake Travis
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