Starting rules with mixed speed boats

Posted By: waynemarlow

Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/09/13 04:35 PM

Last night at our club racing ( all 30 odd boats off the same start ) I got myself into what I thought was the perfect start position, at a perfect half speed ( any slower and the Lasers get in the slot, any faster and you will hit the line early, sails almost in perfectly to hit the line as the boat next to the committee boat, ready to sheet in and be underway on the start gun.

Well about 5 metres from the start a Mustoo came in between myself and the next boat at full speed, hollering and shouting that I must luff up as he was on due course. Well he was burning off speed to tighten his course as both the Mustoo and I are similar upwind. Now not having the speed to burn I cannot luff up at all because I'll end up in irons ( as I did, as I value my paintwork ).

Now what rules apply as technically I am holding course, cannot go any higher, and he because of the extra speed can turn higher without serious loss of maneuverability. Who has right of way ? One extra thing he came from behind my beam.
Posted By: Jeff.Dusek

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/09/13 06:12 PM

The rules that apply in this case are 11 and 16.1. The leeward boat is the right of way (ROW) boat, and may luff you head to wind. As the ROW boat, however, she must fulfill her obligation under rule 16.1 and give you room to keep clear.

A boat does not have a proper course before the starting signal, so rule 17 does not apply.

Posted By: Mark Schneider

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/09/13 06:41 PM

All of his hollering is irrelevenent until he is leeward and properly the ROW boat... Then you have to take action... going head to wind if he also goes head to wind to kill time ... You just have to take action to keep clear.... If he taps you... everybody protests.. (key pt... what actions were you taking... helm and sheet to honor his ROW.

Could you have made the hole less apealling before he got that close to it?
Posted By: waynemarlow

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/09/13 10:09 PM

So what you are saying then I should have closed the hole before he got in there, at his speed he would almost certainly hit me up the "derrier" at which stage it would have been my fault for changing course, I couldn't think of any way of defending that situation and feel that it makes a bit of a mockery of starting.

Suggestions of tactics to avoid the same please as these skiff owners seem pretty savvy and he knew exactly what he was doing and will do the same again. frown
Posted By: Isotope235

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/09/13 10:35 PM

A fairly common starting tactic for some skippers in some fleets is to reach below the line on port and "tack under the marshmallow". The proper defense in that situation is "don't be the marshmallow". If you leave a hole between you and the boat to leeward big enough for another boat to squeeze in, then one probably will.

If I understand your (purely hypothetical) scenario correctly, the rules that apply are (in order) 12, 11 and 15, and then 11 and 16.1. Rule 14, of course, always applies.
Posted By: waterbug_wpb

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/10/13 01:57 PM

at risk of scratching your paint, you should have attempted to "close the door" on the Musto.

In THEORY, it's great to push your competitor to windward up enough to "peel" them off using the RC boat or another vessel, and then dive down enough to keep anyone from sneaking up your leeward hip and gaining ROW (in effect, peeling you off as well). Then, you should be almost full power off the line.

in my practice, however, it's very hard to do especially when everyone's at the line early and maneuvering ability is diminished because everyone's stalling around or reaching down the line toward the pin.
Posted By: Jake

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/10/13 02:53 PM

It's not helping matters that you are starting in a very mixed fleet with boats with different sailing characteristics. Sitting on the line waiting for the start in a catamaran with this fleet is probably exposing one of your biggest weaknesses to their strength - maneuverability at low speed and high wind angles. Your competitive strengths are speed and a tall sail plan (your wind shadow is significant and you will be less shadowed by theirs).

You may want to reconsider your tactic and perhaps hit the line a little behind so you can't be targeted. Take it to them with speed after the gun being careful to not sail closely on top of someone that can pinch and slow you down. Anytime you spend in this defense/offense pinching mode is slowing you down (even if you are gradually passing) and hurts both of you with respect to the time with other boats on the course. It's especially important for you, as the faster boat, to get gone and not get caught up in some battle (loosing the war). Start clear, pass clean with room, and be gone. Sacrificing a couple of boat lengths at the start may pay off in the long run here.
Posted By: waterbug_wpb

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/10/13 07:42 PM

+1 on Jake's comment. In a mixed fleet of leaners, just hang back and blast on by once they get going. You can probably pass through their lee in many cases without too much difficulty.

No point getting in to a pinching war... with anyone... it's only going to spell certain disaster for you. Don't ask me how I know smile
Posted By: catandahalf

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/10/13 10:39 PM

Was the line square to the wind or committee boat favored? The line length and true time square angle are the requirements for such a mixed fleet to enjoy a fair start. If you don't point high then avoid that inside, comm boat zone and go for speed in the pin or middle zones.
Posted By: waynemarlow

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/11/13 09:41 AM

I have tried the hang back and typically try a port start just behind the start, but with 6 or so Mustoos and couple of 49ers all who can tack on a dime and other cats trying the same, then almost immediately the start gun has gone off, boats are already tacking onto port, boats stuck on the line having a bitch with each other, and lasers doing about 2 knots, there hasn't been much luck in finding room through without tacking again. The minute you tack again you are then just another boat on Starboard and as slow as the next boat ahead and now well behind with very dirty air.

If you try to take the mid point or the pin end then the Mustoos and the 49ers can keep you at bay until probably the next 2 legs as the Musttoos have virtually the same upwind sail area and the 49ers a "ginormous " amount more ( we also have typically some quite bizarre courses to include reaches for those two sail boats )by which time you can never make back your handicap. The only time I have done alright on handicap has been to get in close and get away early, but the manoveribility of my cat at half speed just cannot match the skiffs.

But the racing is good fun and theres plenty of banter but it can be frustrating to say the least.
Posted By: carlbohannon

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/14/13 03:03 PM

I do this every Wed from April to Sept and I have never found a good single solution. I have 2 possible solutions if you have enough wind to fly a hull. If you can time it perfectly, lead the pack and out accelerate everyone to the pin. Now you have clear air and no one trying to take you up. This does not work often. The safe option is to hold back and hit the line at the committee boat with speed. Now you can tack for clear air and go for speed or if the pack leaves a big enough hole, you can foot off and roll them. If you can't fly a hull the best bet is to try to stay in clear air.

NOTE: you realize there is no relationship between multihull and centerboard Portsmouth numbers. What I have found is if I can fly a hull 50% of the time, I win. Less than that and I can't win unless someone does something stupid.
Posted By: brucat

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/14/13 04:06 PM

Dip start! Find a hole or nail the sag. You're faster when reaching anyway. Don't try this in light wind...

Posted By: waynemarlow

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/17/13 04:05 PM

Funny how you mention light wind, tried holding back in about 6 -8 knots of wind this week, but with 30 odd boats ahead, the wind was so screwed by the time it got to me, it was nigh on impossible to do anything let alone tack.

Yes I do have to agree with you that the PY numbers are pretty awful for the cats but that is not the RYA's fault, thats simply because the conversion number supplied by SCHRS is way out, compounded by very few clubs submitting results where cats and monos are starting on the same line, to get realistic data, to move the goal posts.

The new RYA Sailracer scheme where we could do something about this descrepancy is a very good scheme and I would recommend all clubs that have mixed starts, to submit reports via Sailwave, that way the data can be compiled and the PY numbers adjusted by the programme rather than the SCHRS's perceived figure. Over the years the skiffies have got a lot faster than we would have thought.
Posted By: Darryn

Re: Starting rules with mixed speed boats - 05/18/13 01:20 AM

Hang back, start line is vacant 30seconds after the gun. I do this all the time in mixed fleet. Also get to watch the crashes from afar and observe the charge the line 30seconds early phenomenon.
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