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Thread: Looks like push button sail racing is here to stay

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Alameda, CA

    Default Looks like push button sail racing is here to stay

    It seems the great debate has happened with few shots fired and many have moved on acceptance. There are a few folks who raised objections during the zoom session with the Three Bridge Fiasco race as it emphasis. Many members on the call said it is ok since the upgrades now take a hit on the PHRF and was going to allow for longer sail careers among the aging members in the SSS fleet. The rating system in its self a game now being gamed again with technological advances in our competitive recreation. It is a truly a slippery slope as our run what you brung boats face the challenges brought to us with advanced electric technology and computer assisted systems integration. We can be certain that now an upgraded electric assisted boat can and will be singlehanded in any conditions thanks to a complete electric-winch system on board with push button ease. Bay racers will use them every time (that the rules or not get caught allow) as it brings maneuvering speeds to a higher level. It further makes fully crewed sailing less desirable as well will make boat owners less inclined to bring new people onto their boats for the joy of competitive sailing.

    Obviously we have seen this trend before. It is now commonplace to race short or singlehanded with an advanced autopilot so we can set the spinnakers, do headsail changes, cook a four course gourmet meal or sleep nonstop for hours under the added power assisted computer helm set up to an chart plotter. I note those who do not have an autopilot do not get a bonus because they have to hand steer and have to risk more to if they were to set new head sails or set a spin. I wondered this weekend how many unabashed sailors doing the race were using remote controls on their auto-helms while standing on the fore deck setting kites. None i am guessing took a hit on their PHRF for those power assisted sailing technology advances. Like many things in modern life, no body wants to give a competitive break to those do things that require more strength, skill and risk when it is just easier to wait for people to adapt the technology later when it become common place and falls into a secondary used market.

    I know I will draw criticism for bringing this up. I understand it is seen as what is best for the comfort and connivence of the sailing community demographics as well as the great vendors that can make this applied technology happen. nevertheless I will lament those coming changes, the reasons we started to sail in the first place as proof to make the boat move required our own power and the wonderful friends who have passed who asked me on their boats in exchange to pull a few lines to get their boats to move smartly.
    Last edited by Black Jack; 01-31-2021 at 08:18 PM.
    Without friends, none of this would be possible.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Where is the line drawn between the power assisted division, and boats that have powered winches....? Perhaps Bob Johnston can enlighten us?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    See section 6 starting at the bottom of page 2:

    BTW, I disabled mine and am racing in the manual winch divisions with my regular buds. I'll wait to see how this develops.
    Last edited by BobJ; 02-03-2021 at 01:11 PM.

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