Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

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Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby efreeland » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:59 pm

So I am pondering coming to Nationals. I haven't been traveling to Nationals as much as in the past because the time investment versus the sailing time was hard to justify. I've attended some Nationals that I have sailed fewer then 16 races over 2.5 days of sailing. One year I believe it was in the range of 12 or so. I know the format has been changed to eliminate the need to arrive early Wednesday which is really nice. The seeding list was added which I see pros and cons to. So I was wondering if there has been more conversation on trying to increase the amount of sailing. I love coming to catch up with everyone, see friends, swap stories and such but it is also about the sailing.

So my purpose of this post is primarily to start a public dialogue. I know people have talked about this in the past and I hope to revive the conversation. For the New England group the travel distance is even more and the majority of them and the sailors in Region 2 are still working full time jobs.

For me I struggle with the early afternoon times that we stop sailing where there is still an hour or more of sailing. Or the times when the wind has been light and the sailing postponed then it builds nicely for the afternoon and sailing is not extended. I have been at regattas that tempers and emotions have flared and stopping early has been a wise move. I think that issue has been addressed and the behavior on the shore is much better. I know that we have shorten days of sailing to make it easier on those who struggle to stay on their feet all day. I respect that and I would offer a possible solution. Maybe we create awards for "Grand Masters" etc and set an earlier stopping time of the day for their scoring. So they sail in the fleet and are scored up until 3PM for the day or at completion of a full series of heats near the set time and the others continue on until 4:30 or so.

Another solution may be capping the number of boats eligible allowing for two fleets. This may also all the Nationals to be hosted by more Clubs in more areas of the country allowing easier access for Nationals Participation. I think in some ways we have set the standard so hi in venue quality that we are eliminating many other possible venues that Clubs are capable of hosting a Nationals. Charleston is hard to beat from a venue and amenities standpoint, so is St. Augustine. I know for one I would be interested in hosting a Nationals in Annapolis but would need to keep it to probably 36 boats or less to be able to sail where we sail and just sail two fleets.

Hosting a regatta is a lot of work and I am very thankful for all of the volunteers that make it possible for us to enjoy and have the opportunity to sail so many places.

It is my hope that this sparks a discussion by the class and especially those that travel of what would get them back on the road again. What does the class as a whole think the Nationals should be for the class?

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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Chuck Luscomb » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:01 pm

Ernest, I have a feeling this is a subject that might draw some attention.

Personally, I enjoy traveling to the Nationals where ever it might be and I try to attend as much as I can but I am not always able to.

Some of the good things that have happened are the measurement policy which means no more time spent measuring each and every entry. We have a National Seeding list that although it is driven by participation, it is a pretty good reflection of the skill of the active fleet members. The ones who might suffer are the ones who may be top sailors who do not sail as often. When we do have enough people at an event up here to have multiple fleets, we do a single non scored seeding race which gives anyone two chances to make a move out of B if they have the skill to do it.

One of the negatives that I see is the number of boats that may or may not enter simply based on Geography. The length of a NCR seems to hover around 3 days. If the fleet size limited to two fleets, then that translates into a fair bit of racing over the three days. That may not mean much to a guy who lives in St Augustine but to me, the drive, the expense and time means that I would elect to sail as much as possible. Three fleets or more means more time sitting between races and longer if heats are caught up in protests or general recalls etc. All slow the regatta down. All these factors contribute to weather I get in the car or not, Time off work, commit 40 hrs of driving and spend close to a $1,000 in expenses to attend.

I fully understand the pit falls of capping an event as then managing how the entry list is fairly populated becomes nothing short of a nightmare.

If the fleet size was limited, it would place more of a premium on going. The quality of the sailing would improve and the event would likely fit more venues up and down the coast from a planning point of view. As grand as we would like this event to be, it does not always have to be.

I am open to what ever points of view any others may have. Just sharing what my own struggles are in going to a distant NCR.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Capt. Flak » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:35 pm

I am quietly sitting back and reading this post and welcoming the input. I look forward to reading more from class members. This is your class and I am open to good ideas that make for more enjoyment for all. Please keep it coming.

Just for the record though, the National Seeding List keeps track of skippers performance over a 12 month period. While we had originally planned to use the NSL to eliminate seeding races at all regattas, when it came the the NCR it was made clear that most felt seeding races were still needed. Especially for three fleets. So the NCR still races seeding fleets on Thursday before starting the P/R. The NSL is used to set the seeding fleets into fair fleets of equally distributed skill levels.

And yes, there is no need for Wednesday measuring anymore. This saves on travel/hotel costs for all.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Dave_Branning » Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:24 pm

When I stepped into the EC12 from the RC Laser four + years ago I certainly felt that I was graduating to higher learning and into a class that was pretty set in its ways with traditions, top skippers galore and an attitude that said: “we do it this way.” I just went along with the flow and raced when I was told to race. Not all of the racing was fun and not all of the time was spent racing. So I agree with some who say that traveling to a P/R NCR may not give you much sailing time and others that are looking for a format that increased sailing time.

For the NCR lately that has changed. No measurement mandate; A Natl Seeding List + a couple of seeding races to right adjust the fleet and, in 2014, a departure from Promotion/Relegation to the CESS Pool method that added the element of racing with the best every other race. When we went home with a 24th place we at least got to say we stood on the line with the big boys and bantered and laughed as we wound up the timer. It was more fun than P/R for sure. And, the best guy won.

I agree with Chuck on travel. If I go to St Augustine, I want to race a lot and I think limiting the # of competitors is relative to the venue (the line, the course, the control area). Whenever you have 3 fleets, down goes the number of races sailed. But there are ways to speed up the two fleet system.
I think it might be time to view the NCR as an opportunity to encourage more diversely skilled skippers to come and race. Refresh your memory with Scot Rowland’s article: [url]Attending the NCR.[/url] http://ec12.org/Regattas/Attend.htm

Why not provide a Gold and Silver Fleet competition as Nick Mortgu has championed in the RC Laser Class the past two years. The Lasers do it over 2 days. The EC12 has a three day NCR so the first day would be a few seeding races to right size the fleets then they are now divided into Gold and Silver fleets. Sail the Gold fleet with 2 back to back races. After that, the Gold comes out of the water and has a break. Put the Silver Fleet in the water and do the same thing, alternating that format for another two days. In the end, you have prizes for 2 fleets and more go home with something including a better feeling of competing against skippers of similar skills. Might this method encourage more to show up?

I can tell you this strategy tones down the “serious competition” and makes the atmosphere friendlier and more supportive of everyone competing. Is it now time for the EC12 Class to show others that we are not the stuck up class and are open to try some changes that welcome new people?
Last edited by Dave_Branning on Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby efreeland » Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:07 pm

Joe - I whole heartily agree with seeding races at Nationals. For a few reasons. Someone may be sailing really well during that time and the list hasn't caught up. Also for those who are new or have not had a chance to sail much get an equal shot, things can south quickly in a three fleet regatta.

Dave - I have thought of a multiple fleet. My thinking was that you sail the first two days as a group and break everyone out on the third day with a Gold and Silver Fleet or however you do it. If you have a weather issue for the third day you use the first two days of results for the regatta.

If I had unlimited time and funds I would sail all the time, probably owning an RV with boats traveling the country for now I don't. So personally I factor time away from the office, how many "brownie points" I need to cash in with the wife, the expense and then the amount of sailing time I expect. A larger regatta (in my opinion one that hits three fleets) is less attractive than a smaller regatta because I know I will be socializing more.

I heard one regatta that didn't allow a five minute hold if you had been sitting on the shore not working on your boat and it didn't work when you turned it on. Maybe a frustrating position but one that likely motivated skippers to check their boats before being called and thus got skippers in the water sooner for the next heat.

Looking forward to hearing from more skippers.

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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby bigfoot55 » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:36 am

There have been many discussions about handling entries to the NCR, dating back to the 1970s.
You can review comment and discussion on the Regatta thread starting page 7 back in 2007. Start with thread NCR Points System and work your way forward.

There is no perfect process, policy or venue. We do have the Champions to take top skippers from region 1,2,3,7 each year in a single fleet regatta. Rick opened the NCR to all and that has been pretty successful.

We have been trying to vary the location. We have been trying to find a 2016 location in the north east/Region 2 for some time and hope to nail one down soon so we can get on with the 2016 schedule.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby efreeland » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:45 am

CBMRA would love to host it in Annapolis. Likely one of the last weekends in October and we would need to cap entries at 36 boats for space reasons but allow us to run a two fleet HMS system.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Capt. Flak » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:52 am

I hope I don't sound like an idiot here, but what is an HMS system?
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Chuck Luscomb » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:21 am

Joe, Heat Management System or as we know it, promotion/relegation.

Tom, so your good with how everything is working then? If it is a subject that has been on going here since 2007, then clearly it's still a work in process and conversation should always be encouraged. The fleet is always changing with skippers coming and going.

Much of the reason skippers go to a NCR is to meet and sail with the top skippers, share ideas, strategies etc. That's what builds the class and develops the next group of top skippers. It vital to the health of the class. I would not encourage top guys to limit their travel to Champions.

I would never suggest that we have a qualification process for the NCR, just a limit to the fleet size for all so that a proper time line can be established even for NCRs held in densely populated areas down south. A NCR up north, say Annapolis or further has a self limiting effect. The NCR in VT a few years ago saw less than 30 boats. It was by far one of the best NCRs I have ever been to. Mostly due to Dave Brawner but there was a lot going on.

So the million dollar question for the class is what do you want a NCR to be? To me, it's a good balance of sailing, learning and social activities. We have lots of talent in the class such that we can populate some of the "free" nights with seminars on tuning, strategy, rules etc. Let's create a class NCR "Template" that we can plug into a broader list of venues.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Capt. Flak » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:34 am

Thanks on the HMS thing. I do remember seeing that some time ago, but it just did not sink in. I will still call it P/R.

I like this discussion. I am going to continue to not share my own thoughts for now. Keep the thoughts coming people. I would like to know what skippers want to take home from the NCR, beside a trophy of course.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby bigfoot55 » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:46 am

Chuck- I did not say everything is good/working. I simply point out that there have been discussions on how it should be done for years, and the arguments are still valid. Thought reading some of the prior posts would broaden the discussion horizon. And I never said anything about limiting the top guys to the Champions.

I have my preferences, but it is the class that should give input to what they want. And I also mean not just the top 25 or so skippers. We have a big class by number and geography. Joe wants input.

The 2005 Disney had an oversubscribed registration limit in moments. The question in addition to what the program will be always then becomes- how will we determine who goes or who does not go.

I encourage all to express their view here or contact Joe directly. There is time to develop a program for 2016. Hope to see you here in November.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Chuck Luscomb » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:53 am

In New England, we have some venues suited to host a NCR but they each have their own challenges.

Mystic, which is a great location that is heavy on tourist related activities but the sailing venue is not suitable if we get delt a lousy wind direction. The north gate is under construction and won't be complete until late fall of next year.

Newport, awesome location for both sailing and shoreside but due to the extream traffic both on and off the water, well into November, it's just not good any other time than late April, early May.

Killingworth, great sailing site with all we need to host at NCR except it's out in the woods with nothing around. For me, this would be my vote but hotels and resturants would be a challange.

Stowe, great location for a NCR except for being so far North. Puts it out of reach for anyone with travel limitations.

Just thinking out loud.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby daramos » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:00 pm

I would have to say that getting the measurement out of the way greatly speeds up the process of getting to the racing faster. This is something I have been hoping that would be implemented since Orlando.

Traveling a long distance to participate means that I also want more racing and a three fleet P/R is not my idea of getting that done. Sitting for 40 min and racing one race when the average race is 20 min and due to the three heat per race process the number of races is low even after three days. This now gets into a high cost of participating for the amount of racing being done. Sure there are ways to speed up the process and a good RD and race staff is essential to that but this has been a complaint of the three fleet P/R format for years. Stopping at 3:30 or 4:00 is silly if we are sailing a three fleet P/R system and I think staring to sailing to 9:00 or finishing at least at 4:30 should be considered.

San Diego Race week is where the policy of if you were sitting out the previous race you could not call a five min hold was used. This had the additional benefit of getting the boats into the water sooner as the fleet rounded the last leeward mark. If you were getting your boat ready to sail at that time you had over 5min to fix a problem prior to the pervious fleet finishing and the top four sailors getting down to the staring area, the other boats getting in the water and the tape starting.... simple. There was a reason we had our boats turned on and ready to go as the final boat rounder the last mark. no surprises for the most part and ready to go early.

No seeding system is foolproof and some kind of initial seeding race is probably needed. Having ONE three heat P/R seeding race not scored and then going right into the racing on the next race is yes a waste of an hour but as I said no seeding system is perfect and you have two races or more to get to your proper position in the fleet.

I personally enjoy and favor the CESS Pool system but that will not work on a fleet the size we will see in FL this year. Dividing into two or three fleets (depending on the full overall size of the fleet) after 1.5 or 2 days of racing should be seriously looked at as a way to get more racing done and skippers sailing with like ability skippers.

Bringing the NCR to Region 1 or 2 is a great idea. The fleet will probably be smaller simply because some simply do not travel out of their state and support the NCR as they should. Location...well there are a few in both areas but NO location is perfect and as long as everyone realizes that we can have a great time. Sure the host wants to get the most and best racing in they can but this is sailing and mother nature does have a big say in that.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby Chuck Luscomb » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:10 pm

It sure would be good to hear from more skippers who travel to these events and what their feelings are.

I think any night considered a free night might be a place to plug in a rules presentation, State of the class briefing or a building and tuning clinic for anyone who chooses to attend. I know if Ramos got up and started talking about how he makes his boat go fast, I would go.
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Re: Nationals - Traveling and Sailing

Postby steve h » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:41 pm

Given the fact that this year's Nats is basically at the hotel, I could see where racing later in the afternoon would make sense. Especially if boats can be carried into the hotel fully rigged. Even if you started your last race at 430 or 445, competitors would still be able to meet for a 630 or 700 dinner at the hotel restaraunt/bar. Most competitors wouldnt be as wiped out as they would be at the end of a single fleet day of racing. The ones that would suffer would be the race staff or the locals who might want to pack up, go home, shower, change, and come back for apres` sailing activities.

Dinner one night could be pizza and "beverages" in the hotel conference room where that "transfer of knowledge" could take place, or having some of the A fleet guys look at/work with the skippers of some of the B/C fleet guys, and look at their boats fully rigged from the day's racing.

I like the ideas mentioned about boats starting to make their way on the water as the last boat is rounding the leeward mark, and the lack of a 5 min hold. Viable candidates for a 5 min hold would be those who would be those who are either promoted up or relegated down for that next heat.

I'm still trying to see if the stars align and allow me to make it down for this year's Nats (would be my first as a racer).

my $.03 worth (adjusted for inflation)...

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