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Thread: What I Saw

  1. #391
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    Jan 2010
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    What is it like to be on a slow boat with a long tiller steered by four singlehanders in a small cockpit?

    https://yachtsmanmagazine.com/what-i...e-philpott-27/

  2. #392
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    Jan 2010
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    I sure wish I could be out there for the Singlehanded Farallones race this weekend. I have registered for almost every one since 2011. Okay, so I didn't finish all of them. Only two to be exact. But I meant to finish. And I love the starts and the returns. Sailing around the stinky rocks? Underwhelming.

    And I've crewed in the doublehanded Farallone races with Pat Broderick, David Nabors and Cliff Shaw. In other words, for wont of an AIS transmitter I am not allowed to participate in the races I have done for fifteen years. So I have quit the SSS. It may not matter to anyone anyway, but I'm protesting here. I don't think I need a red flag for this.

    Why am I not racing with the SSS this year? Funny you should ask. Because of that damned AIS transmitter requirement. This Club hasn't required a transmitter for more than 40 years. We haven't lost one sailor. Why? Because we are a safety-conscious and careful crowd. We don't sail boats that are unprepared boats. We know how to sail in bad conditions and we don't sail when things feel wrong.

    An AIS TRANSPONDER requirement for these coastal races? Overkill. The idea should be to encourage more people to come out and race, not to put barriers up or to dissuade current sailors from participating. Which is what has occurred for me. After 15 years I'm not racing in SSS races. I have voiced my opposition to this rule and exited the Club. It saddens me but it also makes me mad.

    Maybe new management will reconsider this requirement. I hope so. If that happens I look forward to racing with the SSS again. Yes, I'm still sailing and racing in other venues. Just not with the club closest to my heart.

    In the meantime, here's my most recent column.

    https://yachtsmanmagazine.com/what-i...e-philpott-28/
    Last edited by Philpott; 05-12-2024 at 09:50 PM.

  3. #393
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    165

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    Breaks my heart to learn of your separation from SSS racing. You will be missed. I'm glad, however, to see you sailing out of RYC. SDK

  4. #394
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    Aug 2019
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    I agree with Steve, you will be missed and hope you have a change of heart for some SSS events. I also disagree with the AIS transponder requirement.
    Sam

  5. #395
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    Sep 2007
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    Jackie has been an enthusiastic cheerleader for, and a full participant in the SSS program for many years - so much so that she's been on the RC in Hanalei Bay several times and even wrote a great book about the SSS and its history. She knows the Club background and ethos; she knows what it used to look like.

    As I predicted at the annual meeting, the Singlehanded Farallones has fewer than half the entries it had just three years ago. Next month's LongPac, a qualifier for the Singlehanded TransPac, has only six entries. If the organization is to survive, its voting members (of which there are only five) need to step out of the shadows and lead. Remove barriers to participation, not add them. It's easy to keep running the three Bay races that are popular with double-handers but before long that's all you'll have. The Singlehanded Sailing Society is 47 years old - will it make it to 50?
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 05-10-2024 at 11:04 AM.

  6. #396
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    Apr 2014
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    As I said at the 2024 SSS annual meeting, AIS is indispensable for sailing offshore. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, has very low power consumption and is bullet proof from a maintenance standpoint. The situational awareness it gives a single handed skipper is second to none especially in the low visibility environments outside the Gate and in close proximity to busy shipping channels. Required by the YRA, highly recommended by the US Coast Guard and adopted by every other San Francisco sailing club that sponsors offshore events, attempting to remove it as a requirement for future SSS races is questionable at best and extremely unlikely from a practical standpoint.

    The AIS requirement is certainly not responsible for the lower single handed participation rates for the SSS offshore series: the Longpac, Drakes Bay and Half Moon Bay races.

    The SSS has changed over the past twenty years. It’s now a majority crewed sailor’s club no different many other sailing clubs on San Francisco Bay. According to Jibeset, over 80% of the sailors participating in the annual 2023 SSS race series were sailing with crew. If I show up at a SSS meeting (either in person or virtually) four of every five people there has no interest in single handed sailing. Their boats are rigged differently, the problems they face on the water are not the same, the challenges they seek are not single handed challenges and their aspirations to develop single handed sailing skills are non existent.

    As you know, this was not the original idea of the club. The current SSS board’s encouragement of a majority non single handed participation in order to inflate the number of members combined with their routine lack of communication and absence of any marketing for SSS offshore races killed the interest of most single handed skippers that I know.

    The SSS has basically devolved to the dry automation of Jibeset and a Forum used by very few members and dramatically overused by several others for their own personal reasons. It’s interesting to note that there is no discussion on the Forum of signature single handed events like the 2024 Vendee Globe, the recent Transat CIC, the Global Solo Challenge and the amazing duel between Cole Brauer and Ronnie Simpson (even though Ronnie has connections to the SSS). What would be the point of discussing this on the Forum? There is no audience in the SSS who cares about these subjects.

    So here’s my proposal: One: membership in the SSS should be offered to single handed sailors only; no exceptions. Two: only single handed entries in all SSS events inshore and offshore. Three: raise the membership dues to cover the costs of a vastly smaller club (probably less than 40 individuals). Four: in person meetings for each race like in the past. Five: hold the Single Handed Transpac every four years instead of every two years. There will be more participants; they will be better prepared and maybe there would be more outside interest in the race. Ditto the Longpac. Six: dump this board of directors. They are hopeless.

  7. #397
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    Sep 2007
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    Agreed on AIS receive. We've had that requirement for a while and it does all the things you describe. The new requirement is AIS transmit. Much more expensive and based on the recent DH Farallones, performance is spotty and therefore impossible to enforce as a race rule.

    As to the Board, they elect themselves and are the only voting members in the club. The rest of us have no say. I was quickly reminded of this at the annual meeting when I questioned the new transponder requirement. I was told "that's what we've decided."

    I like your other suggestions.

  8. #398
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    37

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    I hope Jackie doesn't mind if we continue on these topics.

    My perspective of AIS for SSS events is that the primary safety value is in receiving information about commercial traffic, not transmitting information about participants. Because we are bound by rules that state commercial traffic has all rights and we must stay out of their way (even avoid their perception of being in the way), commercial traffic has no need to see us, but we need to see them. That is why I bought a 25W VHF with AIS receive. Now, I have to buy an AIS transmitter to meet an ocean ‘safety’ requirement.

    I believe that the Coast Guard (CG) interest in having sailboats transmit AIS stems principally as an artifact of their internal command and reporting structure, which places a premium on the ability to immediately answer two questions regarding any vessel: who and where. The vast majority of the time this is not a safety issue, it is an internal issue. For the CG, immediately knowing who and where can become a safety issue, which is where VHF voice and DSC along with GPS PLB/EPIRB can be very useful.

    As one who has sailed most SSS events doublehanded, I have been grateful for the doublehanded classes. I view doublehanded sailing as much more like singlehanded sailing than like fully crewed sailing. For me, doublehanded sailing is like singlehanded sailing with a really good autopilot that you can talk to, share the experience with, and like to be around. If the SSS went to only singlehanded events, I would get rid of Dragonsong sooner rather than later.

    Sam

  9. #399
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    Sep 2007
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    Sam, I'm sure the YRA would love to have Dragonsong join their double-handers' series.

    If it takes going back to singlehanded races (only) to get the SSS back on track, I'm all for it. Yes, it will be a much smaller organization but so what? It's not like we have a clubhouse with a mortgage to pay. The organization is completely scalable. Have membership mean something. This leads to more member commitment, organizational stability and more volunteers.

    As to the races, during COVID we ran a singlehanded-only Three Bridge Fiasco. Entries were limited to 125 and filled up rapidly. I've done 14 3BFs and that one was by far my favorite.
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 05-10-2024 at 10:54 PM.

  10. #400
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    50

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    I will miss you at the SSS races, Jackie! This is very sad !

    I like my AIS. Have had it for a few years now. But how many of the offshore racing is actually done inside the shipping channels? Our races are different from the OYRA. They like the final approach from the Lightship. Actually, the Bay is much more crowded than our offshore courses once you are outside the gate on your way to HMB, the Farallones or Drake's Bay.
    And how far can the AIS be seen from shore? We already have a beacon and two DSC radios to call for help. Adding an AIS transponder adds some safety, but is it worth making it a requirement?

    Financially AIS is definitively another hurdle. Including the AIS, the DSC Radio, DSC handheld, the beacon and maybe a chart plotter and an autohelm, we are now looking at 25 % of a starter boat value in electronics- if you install all that yourself. And these electronics don't last forever, I just paid $ $500 to replace my seven year old radio.

    That being said, with all the other offshore race organizations requiring AIS, this is probably a lost cause and I can understand that the SSS board did choose to not pick that fight. In addition, let's not forget that all the board members are volunteers and we should be considerate and appreciate that they organize these races for us. Even if there are disagreements.


    I did not know about the five voting members but always wondered why I never received a ballot. I really did not participate enough in the organization to complain, but wonder if a different structure would bring more participation?

    In my view without the single handing focus the SSS is losing its uniqueness. There are plenty of races where you can compete and lose against double-handers. I guess you could keep the S and call it Short-Handed Sailing Society. Otherwise the D is right next to the S on the keyboard.

    I have said this before, but how about starting single-handers first in the races and maybe giving them a free t-shirt, as an incentive?

    Cheers

    Jan (Sweet Pea)
    Last edited by hijan1; 05-13-2024 at 10:20 AM.

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