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Club fleets and critical mass

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy development
Forum Discription: The latest moves in the dinghy market
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13379
Printed Date: 14 Jul 20 at 4:20am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Club fleets and critical mass
Posted By: DiscoBall
Subject: Club fleets and critical mass
Date Posted: 12 Aug 19 at 7:42pm
Last year our club rejigged the fleets to better reflect the increase in 'non-laser' singlehanders.

By moving the PY limit for the slow handicap up, to just above an Aero 9, and incorporating the - often 2-3 boat - Laser 'fleet' it has created a slow handicap fleet with much better turnouts and the fast handicap with a much tighter PY range, giving (arguably) better racing for both and one less fleet for the OOD to worry about.

It seems club Laser 'fleets' are often red herrings once the multiple rigs are taken into account and some clubs seem to soldier on with multiple classes of 1-3 boats (because X class were popular there 20 years ago...) when it would be better to amalgamate them into a bigger handicap class. It seems logical that people are more likely to turn out if they are confident of having a decent numbers of boats to race against.

Curious as to how often other clubs review their fleet structure and what seems to work best - PY or style of boat (assym\symmetric etc.)? 




Replies:
Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 13 Aug 19 at 8:04am
At South Cerney we have a boat park full of Lasers but rarely see more than one or two on the water together. On Wednesday nights we have a mass handicap event which is well attended (20+ boats), a Saturday afternoon pursuit race (typically 7 boats), Sunday morning fleet racing which is Solos (5 boats), FF15 (5 boats) and general handicap (5 to 15 boats) and then a general handicap on Sunday afternoon which is not well attended.

I would say that the Solo and FF15 fleets have been consistent over the years I have been there but the handicap fleet is well attended and with a decent level of competition. If I was lighter I might consider a Solo but I am not and will never be so I am very happy to race in the handicap fleet.


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H2 #115


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 13 Aug 19 at 1:53pm
Fleets wax and wane. Event those with plenty of boats in the boat park rarely get regularly decent turnouts.

Our Laser fleet varies from 2 to 10 boats, Solo fleet the same. The handicap fleet does something similar.

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Paul
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D-Zero GBR 74


Posted By: Gordon 1430
Date Posted: 13 Aug 19 at 2:03pm
Our biggest fleet is RS400, Followed by Aero's (but is that 3 fleets as the rigs vary?) then, non Asymmetric handicaps and 2000 which this year seems to have taken a drop for some reason.
400 are getting between 8 and 15 on a Tuesday night and 6 to 12 Saturdays



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Gordon
Phantom 1430


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 13 Aug 19 at 3:11pm
Originally posted by jeffers

Fleets wax and wane. Event those with plenty of boats in the boat park rarely get regularly decent turnouts.

Our Laser fleet varies from 2 to 10 boats, Solo fleet the same. The handicap fleet does something similar.


I guess what I was getting at was how reactive should clubs be to these changes? At what point do low turnouts get considered permanent (1 season, 2 seasons...) and do clubs track average fleet turnouts?

Is the (theoretical) purity of OD racing between two or three boats (which may have helms of radically different ability) preferable to a PY racing in a larger fleet of reasonably well matched classes?


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 13 Aug 19 at 3:16pm
Originally posted by DiscoBall

Originally posted by jeffers

Fleets wax and wane. Event those with plenty of boats in the boat park rarely get regularly decent turnouts.

Our Laser fleet varies from 2 to 10 boats, Solo fleet the same. The handicap fleet does something similar.


I guess what I was getting at was how reactive should clubs be to these changes? At what point do low turnouts get considered permanent (1 season, 2 seasons...) and do clubs track average fleet turnouts?

Is the (theoretical) purity of OD racing between two or three boats (which may have helms of radically different ability) preferable to a PY racing in a larger fleet of reasonably well matched classes?

My local club doesnt really react. The only changes to official fleet status in recent memory were Phantoms gaining then losing it (once the PY came down to a realistic number the pot hunter left) and the venerable Enterprise finally losing fleet status after years of no turnouts.

People are pushing for the D-Zero to get fleet status (as they dont like us winning consistently) but we just dont have the turnouts at the moment.


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR 74


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 14 Aug 19 at 9:28am
At South Cerney its interesting that the best attended race series are the ones where we all sail in one handicap fleet and from talking with people its the races that people enjoy the most. We have separate FF15 and Solo fleets in some series which see around 5 boats on average show up but the results are nearly always the same whereas a larger handicap fleet mixes up the outcomes especially over a series with differing conditions.

We have faced pressure in the past to add new fleets and typically it seems this comes when six boats of one class are regularly racing but we have resisted this because all too often things are fluid and people change class or clubs from season to season and we plan our sailing schedule in September for the next year so its hard to predict.

Personally I think that the reality of dinghy sailing will see most clubs head toward a general handicap fleet with people that want to fleet race heading to opens to do so. I am not saying that is optimal but it reflects the reality of our sport.


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H2 #115


Posted By: GML
Date Posted: 14 Aug 19 at 9:43am
I take it that those that are asking for fleet status want more than just a separate set of results for their specific fleet; I assume they also want a separate start, and potentially a different course from other fleets?

If all they wanted were separate results then that shouldn't be too hard to arrange, potentially even ex-post based on the number of boats that actually turn up. This is certainly how we do it at our Junior Race Week.


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 14 Aug 19 at 9:53am
Hi GML, at our club a separate "fleet" implies a separate start and separate set of results / prizes but all fleets sail on the same course with starts 3 minutes apart.

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H2 #115


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 14 Aug 19 at 12:46pm
Originally posted by H2

Hi GML, at our club a separate "fleet" implies a separate start and separate set of results / prizes but all fleets sail on the same course with starts 3 minutes apart.

Same here and it does annoy me when the RO is lazy and chucks the fleets together so you end up racing boats that are in a different race to you.


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR 74


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 14 Aug 19 at 2:45pm
Originally posted by jeffers

Originally posted by H2

Hi GML, at our club a separate "fleet" implies a separate start and separate set of results / prizes but all fleets sail on the same course with starts 3 minutes apart.

Same here and it does annoy me when the RO is lazy and chucks the fleets together so you end up racing boats that are in a different race to you.

Our FF fleet goes off first, then handicap after 3 mins and solos last 3 mins later. In any kind of breeze I easily catch most of the FFs within 30 minutes and they get very grumpy that this wipper-snapper in his fancy carbon boat is going over the top of them and they shout at me for interfering with their race. Lost count of how many times I have had to point out that I am racing too!


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H2 #115


Posted By: Woodman
Date Posted: 14 Aug 19 at 7:13pm
Well I have been sailing an H2 in a handicap fleet and got a bit bored of no boat on boat when surrounded by Solos and Aeros, so will be heading in one of those directions at the end of the year.


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 15 Aug 19 at 9:09am
I would probably get a Solo if I was not naturally 95kg, same probably applies for an Aero which is why I went for the H2. If you are willing to travel to events there is plenty of close racing to be had!

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H2 #115


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 16 Aug 19 at 7:07am
Very few clubs restrict the number of classes that can race now, so the number in each fleet is bound to reduce. Just look at the sailors and not the boat and enjoy the competition with them. For example a well sailed Solo can compete with a slower Laser etc etc. Dont look at the insignia on the sail and enjoy the racing.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 16 Aug 19 at 10:21am
Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald

Very few clubs restrict the number of classes that can race now, so the number in each fleet is bound to reduce.

If there were such a thing as critical mass in dinghy fleets then there would be a point at which fleet size would start to grow as everyone piled into the newly popular class. To my mind there isn't.


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 16 Aug 19 at 2:03pm
Originally posted by JimC

 
If there were such a thing as critical mass in dinghy fleets then there would be a point at which fleet size would start to grow as everyone piled into the newly popular class. To my mind there isn't.

But is the inverse true? If clubs leave fleets to dwindle to 1-2 boat turnouts then does it have no effect? Or does it make people more likely to decide to move classes / stop sailing? 

I wonder if it is easier to move classes within a handicap fleet where (assuming a not too large PY range) the style of sailing remains broadly similar and the social group remains the same. 

Moving between  OD classesis perhaps more of an upheaval (different social group and maybe significantly different type of sailing/ownership/maintenance) which might make people more inclined to just stop sailing?




Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 18 Aug 19 at 7:17pm
Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald

Very few clubs restrict the number of classes that can race now, so the number in each fleet is bound to reduce. Just look at the sailors and not the boat and enjoy the competition with them. For example a well sailed Solo can compete with a slower Laser etc etc. Dont look at the insignia on the sail and enjoy the racing.
 
Very nicely put, and with this mindset you can sail an old uncompetitive boat and still enjoy. I have always targeted sailors, regardless of class, to beat on the water as my goal. 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.com

http://proasail.blogspot.com



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