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Thread: Thread for discussion of the SSS - doublehanded / singlehanded question

  1. #1
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    Default Thread for discussion of the SSS - doublehanded / singlehanded question

    I just did a quick count...2020 Corinthian Race:, 98 Doublehanded entries, and 33 Singlehanded.

    When I ooched out from the Corinthian YC's docks on Saturday, out into the "fray" before the start I was blown away by the density of racing boats. I happened to go out right next to a Club cruising powerboat, and the skipper on the flybridge of that boat hollered "holy s**t"...at the sheer density of boats before he found the quickest way he could out of there. With THAT density of boats in the starting area, it's just a matter of time before something really bad happens.

    We've lost longtime members to the perceived conflict: that this is the SINGLEHANDED Sailing Society, not the DOUBLEHANDED Sailing Society.

    Now Hedgehog has been driven up on the rocks by a hot one-design class doublehanded boat.

    It's time to talk about changes. POLITELY!

    ============================

    Shorthanded racing is on the rise. Jeanneau, J-Boats and Dehler, not to mention other smaller builders, have new models out specifically targeted at shorthanded racing. There's no question that at least for now, shorthanded racing is the ~thing~.

    My own opinion is that it's a mistake to say "NO" to doublehanded boats/crews, outright. We have some longtime SSS'ers who race 2-up. Here's my suggestion... That the SSS disallow any of it's races being used as "counters" in any other Class or Associations season. That would remove teams which only doublehand because these couple of races require it, and bring a "full-crew" mentality to the course.

    Of course people can race in a One Design class as well as the SSS. They can bring the same boat out and race with the SSS. But the SSS races can't count towards a season total in the One Design class.

    That's my thought.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    1962Buesher "Aristocrat" tenor saxophone
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  2. #2
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    A suggestion coming from a double handed entrant, and somewhat new participant in the SSS. Having boats/crews with such different performance characteristics on the same playing field is a problem faced not just by the single/double differences, but multihull/mono as well. I was involved in a minor collision on Saturday when a tri missed a tack around little harding and we were unable to bear away fast enough to avoid. The multi/mono friction is apparent in most all crewed series i have sailed where these fleets are sailing the same course, or even using the same marks. Generally the RC tries to keep them apart, but there are obviously constraints when using fixed marks. It may be possible to re-arrange the courses for shorthanded boats, double handed boats and multis such that there is less interaction, especially on the beats, and at mark roundings. This could also help eliminate some of the more dangerous lee shores for singlehanded participants. This would take considerable effort to maintain the spirit of the races.

    Another less drastic suggestion would be adding a document that must be acknowledged to participate that lays out the difficulties faced by single handed sailors and urging other boats to give them consideration due those sailors. I'm sure this wasn't on the mind of any of the sailors involved in ROW incidents. I believe Andy Evans mentioned sailing with a numeral 1 pennant when singlehanding to let other boats know his status, this could help aid in awareness of the increased response times and decrease in maneuverability inherent in singlehanding.

    I'd like to tip my hat to all the single handed folks out there Saturday. The race had plenty of complications for us with 2 on board.

  3. #3
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    I've sailed SSS races since 1984 - both singe and double. As the entry numbers have grown, so have the issues. Many have been problems have been improved by better written Sailing Instructions, for instance, but others remain. I stayed out tacking up the City Front, but still encountered 2 doublehanded Expdress 27ts tacking out on port and not giving way. The wind was around 23 knots and the water bouncy. I bore off both times, once missing the other boat by inches. I could have protested, but I was too busy sailing to write down anything or get a red flag up.
    Then at Little Harding I was overtaken by a large number of Expresses, several J-105s, and some Moores. I thought I was taking the mark really wide on starboard, but several Express 27s were outside me and when they tacked over to port I had to also. That sent me directly into the starboard boats behind me. I threaded thru them, fouling several, and missed the mark. I had to jibe and take a 2nd pass at the mark. Again I was fouled bu multiple port boats, but managed to squeak around the buoy. It was hairy, dangerous, and un-Corinthian. Singlehanding a Wyliecat might appear simple if you haven't sailed one in close quarters. Along with the danger, it probably cost me minutes of time.
    Here's a Little Harding Rock suggestion for next year. Set an offset mark to the NW of the buoy - or better still, set a temporary turning mark WITH an offset mark to the NE of the metal buoy. An offset mark is used in many drop mark courses to solve the "U-turn" problem. Not a good place for a gate. But a good one for an offset buoy.
    I"ll defer on the Blossom Rock melee, the City Front tacking duel, and the tricky wind/current Blackaller rounding for later discussion. Pat Broderick, NANCJY Wyliecat 30 #28890

  4. #4
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    I am relatively new to the sport (as a skipper) I certainly enjoy the double handed races a lot more than the up and down conveyor belt grinder that is sausage courses, and I learn a lot more about the sport doing it double handed rather than full crew. Maybe someday I'll get an autopilot and the nerve to try singlehand.

    Might be worth throwing a few words into a group email about single handers needing a little more space than other boats. We (double hands) were a little tight with Mulan (single hand) coming around the last mark before the finish, Mulan called for more space and we gave it best we could. Later my crew was complaining that Mulan had plenty of room, I had to remind him that single handers can't crash tack as fast and need more room to maneuver. So if my crew needed a reminder I suspect others do too.

    I agree that short handed sailing is a growing sport. 130 entries in February is nothing to sneeze at. We had 5 J/105 sign up this year which is exciting to see it get it's own class this year. I think that is a first for this race. Hedgehog getting screwed is bad but also highlights growth and interest in shorthanded sailing.

  5. #5
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    The SSS Division Splits and Starting Sequence might be a place to begin looking at changes designed to make our races safer. I don't think either has been looked at for a long time. Here are several ideas:
    1. Move any Class Season Counter Fleets & the multihulls to the first starts. Get them off and then pause the starting sequence to give them some separation. 5 minute rolling starts don't allow much separation. Giving them 10 minutes to get away and spread out might work?
    2. Separate Starts for singlehanded divisions. Keep the PHRF Divisions, but combine (Sportboats + <108) / (111-159 + > 162) Singlehanded Starts. After the doublehanded divisions have started.

  6. #6
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    I like this suggestion of breaking up the starting sequence. There are a million ways to do this, but with 120+ boats racing, well...that's a BIG race. Only 30-something singlehanders started. With a starting line the size of the Corinthians, I think we'd want something like a dozen boats starting at once, no more than that. So I might do it this way:


    DOUBLEHANDERS
    Doublehanded Multihull
    Doublehanded One-Designs
    Doublehanded PHRF bands, both spin and non-spin together.

    30-45 minute pause

    SINGLEHANDERS
    Singlehanded Multihull
    Singlehanded Spinnaker
    Singlehanded Non-Spinnaker

    alternatively the Singlehanders could start in rating bands... Multi's, then the PHRF bands.

    How long to pause? Let's do a dumb approximation calculation. Well, a "fast" boat out there rates 100 sec/mile. That's an Olson 30, for example. A "slow" boat out there rates 240...that's a Santana 22 (close enough). So that's a 140 second per mile difference. Most SSS races in the Bay are about 20 miles long. So 20 miles X 140 sec/mi = 2800 seconds.. That's 46.6 minutes. So if the RC wanted to make pretty darned sure that the Olson 30 and the Santana 22 wouldn't ever run into each other on the racecourse until the finish, they'd want to separate them by 46 minutes.

    We all know that a big wind hole can scramble that calculation. And of course, there are plenty of boats out there that rate <100...every single one of the multihulls, for example. The RC could wait two hours, but that puts the fleets in ~wildly~ different wind. They could wait 30 minutes, but then there will pretty certainly be ~some~ overlap between DH and SH classes. 45 minutes seems like a compromise....but I could also see a 30 minute gap. It wouldn't eliminate overlap, but it would help a lot.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    1962Buesher "Aristocrat" tenor saxophone
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  7. #7
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    Saturday was an exception, but historically the later starters face lighter wind at the Corinthian finish. I don't think we should banish singlehanders to the back of the fleet when they are the focus of this organization and the reason it exists.

    Dave Herrigel reminded me that the massive "pinwheel of death" at Blossom several years ago, and my own collision with a DH Express 27 more recently, caused the R/C to modify the starting order for this race and start the lighter boats first to spread out the fleet. This effort has been frustrated by the light, shifty winds getting away from the starting area and by the hole behind Angel Island. The hole was much larger this year and its effect in "restarting" the fleet is common in this race.

    Encouraging lots of entries is tempting, especially with participation declining in most other races. But how do we measure success in the SSS? The SSS should follow its organizational documents and give singlehanders the priority in setting up its races. Moreover, right now there is no structure that actually encourages double-handers to move on to singlehanding. I'll throw an idea out there:

    The SSS Corinthian Race and Round the Rocks are great courses that attract a high number of boats (so is the Three Bridge Fiasco but it has different issues). The SSS could make these into race weekends, with the singlehanders on one day and doublehanders on the other. The SSS has plenty of money, so farm out the race management for the doublehanded races to RegattaPro (for example). This avoids the SSS R/C having to run both the SH and DH races. RegattaPro also has the resources to run the race on the water, rather than from a confined race deck. Recording finishers is especially hard in the Corinthian Race.

    You'd have the singlehanders racing with each other on a far less crowded course, with the races run by our own folks. Double-handed skippers have the option of coming out and also racing singlehanded and of course, singlehanders can take on crew and also do the double-handed race. The latter is something I've long wanted to do but couldn't - if you're mindful of your season results you have to decide at the beginning of the year if you're racing single or double-handed.

    This then creates the opportunity for more experienced singlehanders to bring another skipper aboard and teach them about racing with an autopilot, rigging setups, even getting in and out of the dock solo (wow, the very purpose of the SSS!) With tweaks in the other SSS races, a skipper could compete for both the single and double-handed series. This encourages more participation and enthusiasm, not less.

    This idea is not mine alone - a couple of long-time SSS'ers who walked away in frustration have also suggested this. Please - let's get back to our SSS roots!
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 03-04-2020 at 01:52 PM.

  8. #8
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    This topic deserves discussion. Let me add some random comments.

    The success of the SSS in generating interest and getting sailboats to races in commendable. The success requires thinking of new ways to manage things. As an example, the Three Bridge Fiasco race is a continuing success due to new ideas generated by the race committee.

    There is one thing that will not change. Racers seem to think they have privileges that supersede safe navigation and common sense. I think everyone can remember when some sailboat calls out 'we are racing' and demands others move out of their way. Rude, stupid behavior - continues and will not likely stop.

    A simple solution would be to have different courses for singlehanded and double handed boats. If the courses don't overlap, a lot of conflicts between SSS boats is avoided. However, there are other races on the bay and some conflicts will still occur.

    Race directions to the sailors?? I am not sure how effective this would be.

    The trophy is just a pickle dish - how can people keep that in perspective in the excitement of racing?

    As for general comments about sport boats, I own one since I enjoy a light, responsive boat with smaller sails and gear. The boats are also very good in providing sailor feedback to becoming a better sail trimmer.

    Ants

    PS. I think the SSS is in the enviable situation of managing success. The comments are excellent.
    Last edited by AntsUiga; 03-02-2020 at 09:52 AM. Reason: Two cents worth

  9. #9
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    It's easy to jump into the single vs double handed tension. I don't think that is the right approach. Everyone needs to give a bit more room for 'shorthanded' races, particularly across divisions and classes. As others have mentioned it starts with the skippers. We need to take responsibility for this. As skippers we also need to understand that the same tactics of fully crewed racing might not the appropriate when sailing shorthanded. Conditions were difficult on the city front on Saturday with our without boats around you. It was very bumpy close to shore and winds in the high 20s, and most boats were caught over-canvased. The reality is that we had a successful event with over 100 boats racing the same course. I don't think the ratio of SH vs DH matters as much as the density of boats in the same area. The same number of boat all SH would likely have some similar encounters. I'm not sure there is a magic wand as conditions on the course are unpredictable. In this particular race we had 2 restarts, bunching boats together. We already have a handicap based start to try to spread out the fleet, but the majority of the boats still band in a tight rate band.

    From a fairness perspective, everybody is competing for the overalls, so at least within a class, you want to start boats as close as possible for everyone to sail on the same conditions. Perhaps SH can start 30 minutes before DH (or reverse). But again, depending on the course I'm not sure this avoids convergence particularly on a city front flood.

    The reverse handicap approach of the TBF helps with the spread out of the fleet, but it also pretty much takes away much of the tactical aspects of sailboat racing. It also makes it much harder on Race Committee.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travieso View Post
    The reverse handicap approach of the TBF helps with the spread out of the fleet, but it also pretty much takes away much of the tactical aspects of sailboat racing. It also makes it much harder on Race Committee.
    The TBF is such a crap-shoot that it should probably not be a season counter.


    P.S.- Preliminary results are posted.
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 03-02-2020 at 10:32 AM.

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