Apologies for the long post - there are several topics to be addressed at the start of a new racing season.

The 2021 SSS Season and Three Bridge Fiasco Race registrations are now open on Jibeset. I encourage everyone to read the 2021 NOR/SSI and TBF SIs carefully as there are significant changes from previous years.

For the 2021 NOR/SSI, the major change to note is the treatment of boats that use auxiliary power while racing to hoist/furl sails, adjust sail trim, adjust rigging and sheet leads, and to make other powered sail and rigging adjustments. The use of auxiliary power on sailboats is increasing in popularity, both on larger singlehanded boats as well as among sailors with physical challenges or limitations. It is clear from discussion with individuals, as well as from a recent survey of SSS members, that the SSS embraces these sailors and wants to make them feel that they are welcome to race with us and to be part of this terrific community. That said, we also recognize that it can be challenging to fairly handicap purely manually-operated boats against boats utilizing auxiliary power for sail and rig adjustment. To that end, for the 2021 season participating boats will have one of three designations (see the 2021 NOR/SSI for detailed descriptions):
1) Manual-Winch
2) Powered-Winch
3) Power-Assisted
MW and PW boats of the same class will start and race together but will be scored separately both in individual races as well as for overall season standings. PA boats will start in a separate class and will be scored separately from MW and PW boats. While this adds a level of complexity to the scoring, the SSS Board believes that it is a balanced approach which seeks to welcome all racers and provides a fair playing field for all. Again, see the 2021 NOR/SSI on Jibeset for additional details and information.

2021 Three Bridge Fiasco
While we all hoped that 2021 would provide relief from COVID-19, the reality is that the public health crisis in the Bay area is currently at its most urgent point since the beginning of the pandemic. In light of this crisis, the SSS Board considered multiple options for operating the TBF this year, from business-as-usual to cancellation. The Board concluded that running the race in its usual format with 8+ people on the race deck and >350 boats on the water was not possible while conforming to current state and county COVID-19 restrictions. The decision was made to limit the race to singlehanded boats only this year, with a 125 total boat limit. We believe that in this format the race can be run, both from the perspective of the race committee as well as race participants, in a safe and responsible fashion, consistent with state and county public health regulations. See the 2021 TBF SIs on Jibeset for additional information.

Lastly, let me say that we are working to balance the demands of adhering to public health restrictions with the determination to have a full 2021 race season for all SSS members. Last year we were one of the few sailing organizations in the Bay area to pull off a full (if somewhat chaotic!) calendar of races. It is our intent, with your help, understanding, and flexibility, to it again this year.

See you out there.

Tom Boussie SSS Race Chair