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Thread: From Race Chair: Race Starting Philosophy

  1. #1
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    Default From Race Chair: Race Starting Philosophy

    This post asks SSS members for their opinions on starting SSS races.

    Specifically, many past ASIs have listed absolute starting times, as in "The Start for Flag C is 11:05."

    This allows no mechanism for the race to be postponed if there is no wind, or if the RC must postpone for any other reason.

    To get back to standard practice as defined in the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), for the Corinthian Race we have issued ASIs that state the first warning is scheduled for 1100, and we do not list start times for each fleet. While the Race Committee still intends to start Flag C at 11:05, this change means that we are no longer obligated to do so. For instance, we could postpone the start if there is no wind, or if there are a lot of boats OCS (over early) at one start we may not roll immediately into the next start in order to give the OCS boats time to start properly without interfering with the start of the next fleet.

    Philosophy Question to members: Should the SSS start races on a fixed schedule no matter what? Or should the Race Committee be given discretion to run starts as they feel is best? As examples, some people may prefer to race in wind, hence they would appreciate a postponement in no-wind conditions. Others may feel part of the "charm" of the SSS is having to deal with conditions no matter what they are. How do you feel?

    Note that the Race Committee intends to announce starting sequences on VHF since we understand it is hard for shorthanded crew to sail a boat and look for flags. Typical announcements will include which Flag is going into sequence next, or is currently in sequence, and will include countdowns to each fleet's first warning (5 minutes before start) and preparatory signal (4 minutes before start).

  2. #2
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    I am good with delays when conditions are likely going to improve "soonish," because these can be long, tiring races with in-the-dark commutes back to the barn. Will this also include extending the finish time accordingly? This is usually more of an issue for the early and late races (e.g., Corinthian and Vallejo), but that makes a long day for RC, too....

  3. #3
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    Dura Mater is a big, heavy boat. Well, heavy for me. We need all the help and time available to cross that finish line. So I agree with Carliane's point about extending the finish when postponing the start. As for postponing at all? I hope that is not something the SSS decides to do. Members of the SSS race with "the boat they got". I think the RC should continue to start races in "the wind we got". Multiplying by five several times? Too hard when doing everything else while waiting to start.

    Jim, your post asks how we "FEEL". It's not a matter of how I feel. It's an intellectual imperative.

  4. #4
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    Every race I sail has a "start time" for divisions. The RC can postpone at any time for any reason, for any length of time, at any time prior to the Starting Gun for a division. When the postponement is lifted, the sequence for getting things underway is in the RRS. The "normal" starting procedure is to "roll" the starts, with the Starting gun for Division 1 being the Warning gun for Division 2 and so on. The CYC uses "Planned Start Time" in its list of starts, for instance. But a RC can announce that it will not be "rolling" starts - for instance if the wind is light and it's difficult for Division 1 boats to clear the line/starting area. There's a great deal of latitude. (However for a reverse start race like the 3-Bdrige, once things get going there's no way to stop it.) My suggestion is to put the "Scheduled Starting Times" in the SIs. See what conditions are on race day and make adjustments accordingly - using the RRS and signals. -- Pat Broderick

  5. #5
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    Yes, with the exception of the 3 bridge, I would like to see the RC use their discretion of postponement for lack of wind.

    What I really desire is a Lemans start with anchors down and sails furled. That would be absolute mayhem and exciting!
    Last edited by Submarino; 02-19-2018 at 03:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    What they said. Just keep us informed via VHF 'cause we usually can't see the flags.

    Maybe no cat-in-the-hat for Vallejo 2 on a building flood.

    Jackie, I think we had the same English teacher. And hey, I suggested an Olson 25 but NOOO - you wanted luxury!
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 02-14-2018 at 12:12 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Jackie, I think we had the same English teacher.
    What I hear you saying is that your English teacher couldn't multiply while sailing, either. I rest my case. Jim?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philpott View Post
    What I hear you saying is that your English teacher couldn't multiply while sailing, either. I rest my case. Jim?
    Jackie, this is a family-friendly forum. ....
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  9. #9
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    Sep 2007
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    The goal of publishing "starting times and signals" in the Additional Sailing Instructions is to inform skippers of the starting sequence and minimize confusion. To that end, I believe the 'new' approach used in the Corinthian Race did not work.

    As per the Racing Rules of Sailing, "The warning signal for each succeeding class shall be made with or after the starting signal of the preceding class." This does not state when the actual warning will occur. If skippers can watch the race deck and see when their class flag is hoisted - then they know they are the next class to start. For full-crew racing this works, there is a person with binoculars dedicated to watching the race deck and calling out what they are seeing. In my experience this does not work for singlehanders, we don't have an extra person to keep an eye on race deck - instead we're observing our watches and and have pre-calculated the start time.

    One item missing from the Corinthian Additional Sailing Instructions is when will the warning signal for all classes after Flag C occur? The wording states the warning will be "at or after" the prior class' start. This means everything after Class C is unknown, and that's not helpful. At the very least, include wording to the effect that the start for the prior class constitutes (or coincides with) the warning for the next class. If you really want to screw people up, insert a one minute break between the start for the prior class and the warning for the next class, but don't tell anyone you're going to do that! (that was done in an OYRA race, most boats couldn't figure out what was going on and started late, early, or not at all).

    The reality is that each skipper gets to take the published warning (11:00 for Class C), assume that the start for C is also the warning for the D, and then work out the start time for each class. Hopefully everyone comes up with the same answers.

    It would be better to specify two things in the Additional Sailing Instructions:
    1. the starting signal for a class shall be the warning signal for the next class.
    2. the time of the warning signal (or anticipated time, if you don't want to commit to a time)

    I've not been aware that Race Committee had their hands tied as regards postponements; a start may be postponed at any time prior to the actual start.

    I don't follow your logic here:

    "This allows no mechanism for the race to be postponed if there is no wind, or if the RC must postpone for any other reason."

    The RRS specifically allow for a postponement at any time prior to the starting signal. You've already posted a specific warning time in the Additional Sailing Instructions for Class C; what would prevent Race Committee from postponing the start for Class C?

    - rob/beetle

  10. #10
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    Was there confusion during the starts yesterday? Other than a couple of late check-ins, I didn't hear anything.

    I did as I always do: I wrote the planned start time for each class on my SI's and listened for any changes via VHF.

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