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Peaky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peaky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 10:03pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 10:18pm
Originally posted by Peaky

I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into racing. 

Or could it be the reverse - that in a declining sport the keen people make up a greater percentage of participation and areless willing to sail boats not closely aligned with their body size or crew weight?

Also it may be that, with freedom to choose from many options, a like-minded group can only get to a certain size before people are tempted to be contrarians just to differentiate themselves?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 11:25pm
Originally posted by Peaky

I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into racing.

There are, I think, two equally good reasons to race sailboats.

One is to have more fun racing, and the other is to have more fun sailing.

On the one hand, if you want to participate in highly competitive sport, sailing is a very congenial choice.

On the other hand a bit of racing gives your sailing a bit more focus. There's only so much time you can spend exploring the creeks and inlets of the average Thames Water reservoir...

Edited by JimC - 08 Feb 19 at 11:26pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 11:38pm
Originally posted by Peaky

I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into class racing within which you have to accept that you will only win if you put the effort in - fit enough to out hike the opposition, boat kept in tip top condition, new sails, perfected tuning, well chosen crew to be the right size etc. That takes more time on the water than most can manage. On the other hand, do some club based handicap racing and the PY may cover a multitude of sins on any given day, and youíll likely still get some boat on boat action for that little frisson of excitement.


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Chris 249 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chris 249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 12:25am
Originally posted by JimC

As I think I may have said before, the question that interests me is why fleet racing is so unpopular. It seems fairly easy to start the nucleus of a fleet, and charismatic individuals can build quite a substantial fleet up with an awful lot of hard work. But if they move or lose enthusiasm it rapidly falls apart and it will be back to ones and twos again. If people really valued fleet racing for their normal weekend's sailing then it would be the opposite - it would be hard to build a nucleus of a new fleet, but once it was there it would snowball.

Again, too, in areas where there are a lot of clubs close together then club A would build a fleet of one class, club B of another, as it used to be in the days when the fleets were encouraged or mandated, and there was no handicap racing.

It seems clear that when you look at what people actually do, as opposed to what they say, that they value the club over the class, and would much rather be one of 2 boats at their preferred club than one of 20 boats at another one.

Of course there are people who think differently, but they're the minority on the open circuit.

This is, incidentally, why I really dislike the summer sailing challenge thing. Even at the biggest of the major winter handicap races you rarely get enough boats of most classes to deliver a reasonable single class race within a race. And even if you do boat on boat class tactics is a way to the back of the overall places. So if this thing takes off it will inevitably take some of the keen sailors from class events, which means there will be no fleet racing for anyone anywhere.

One interesting thing, though, is that it seems to be a UK cultural issue. The other countries that are arguably in the "big three" centreboarder nations, Germany and Australia, seem to be very much into class racing at clubs. In Oz I feel that the places and disciplines that have maintained a class racing culture have done better at retaining numbers than those that haven't maintained that culture, although that may be a result as well as a cause of declining numbers.

Arguably the UK preference for yardstick racing is perfectly understandable (although the sport boomed when it was almost all about class racing) but it doesn't seem to be universal or a product of technological or societal changes per se.

You are, of course, dead right when you say there were many more classes in earlier eras. I'm looking at a 1962 YA Yearbook that includes classes like the Swan OD, Haven OD, Stormalong, Clipper, Delta, Mayflower OD, Brandy Hole OD, etc. But the other thing that strikes me is that while there were many tiny classes, the major classes seem to have been enormous. On the second weekend of the season, for example, the Ents had three different interclubs. On the next weekend, there were four of them. On the last weekend in May there were Enterprise interclubs at Exmouth, Poole, Gresford, Wraysbury, Loch Earn, Felixstowe Ferry, Colemere, Littlehampton, Hornsea SC, Horning SC, Peterborough, Putney and Avon SC. That same weekend there were no fewer than 11 Firefly interclubs. 

That was a huge amount of class racing, even without counting the clubs. The Ent was a "regularly raced" class at over 100 clubs - and that's only at clubs that start with a letter from "A" to "L" because I got bored counting. It does seem logical that the accent on class racing would have helped the sailing boom. Certainly that seems to me to be explicit or implicit in the writing of people like Beecher Moore and the creators of classes like the Snipe, Opti, Windsurfer, Hobie etc.

One amazing stat is that in 1961, there were 58 new clubs launched and 2,500 new personal YA members - and both those numbers were just par for the course in the post war era.


Edited by Chris 249 - 09 Feb 19 at 5:51am
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Old Timer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Old Timer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 8:21am
I donít agree with your club trumps fleet racing argument because NO clubs seem to havefleets apart from Lasers. 

Itís not like I can drive an extra 20 miles from any club and suddenly find fleets of dinghy X. Every club is the same. Bar a few exceptions that someone will quote. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chris 249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 9:12am
I didn't say it did. I merely pointed out that in other times and places, clubs have had strong class fleets ergo there appears to be nothing inherent in the sport or humanity that discourages class fleets and encouraged yardstick racing.

Personally, I really dislike yardstick racing because all too often it gets down to the conditions suiting the boat rather than the sailing, but that's just personal. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 10:15am
One of the things that I think was different in the boom was that clubs could be over subscribed and actually have a waiting list for membership, which in turn meant they could turn away people who didn't want to sail one of the chosen classes. That in turn led to a proliferation of clubs.

Edited by JimC - 09 Feb 19 at 10:15am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 10:36am
Originally posted by Old Timer

I donít agree with your club trumps fleet racing argument because NO clubs seem to havefleets apart from Lasers. 

Itís not like I can drive an extra 20 miles from any club and suddenly find fleets of dinghy X. Every club is the same. Bar a few exceptions that someone will quote. 

I can, I know of at least 5 clubs within 20 miles or so of my home that have fleets other than Lasers including Solo, Miracle, Topper, GP14, Merlin, Firefly, RS200, Snipe and Supernova.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paramedic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 19 at 8:46am
Originally posted by JimC

This is, incidentally, why I really dislike the summer sailing challenge thing. Even at the biggest of the major winter handicap races you rarely get enough boats of most classes to deliver a reasonable single class race within a race. And even if you do boat on boat class tactics is a way to the back of the overall places. So if this thing takes off it will inevitably take some of the keen sailors from class events, which means there will be no fleet racing for anyone anywhere.

Here, here.

And it wont be that good for club racing either.
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