Forum Replies Created
Unfortunately I cannot attend the AGM. I think that my comments could well be addressed within normal committee work, but it is probable that the issues will be raised at the meeting.
There has during the year arisen a feeling amongst many members that the push to improve racing and attract visitors has led to a lack of attention to other areas. How true this really is, I cannot quantify but certainly there is apathy amongst both racers and non racers and the general need for maintenance is not receiving the attention it once did. Work parties continue, however, a year or so ago it was common for members to carry out works of repair or improvement during the week. Maybe the committee did not realise the extent of this work.
For example, today the webcam shows pictures from over a week ago; the jetty has not been safely repaired, dutyman is stuck in 2015 and the wind indicator is not working. The latter is very important. (BTW The addition of a windspeed and direction indicator at ground level outside the clubhouse would be very useful).
There is a need to pull the club together or there will be two clubs; one racing and another unwilling to support the racing activities. If members decided not to act as ROs or boat crews what would you do; exclude them and lose members and funds? Once a few members decided to follow that route, there would be chaos with the, ‘if they’re not, then I’m not’ mantra given voice.
On a personal level I enjoy helping with the racing. I do not race, but have sailed every week throughout the winter and the opportunity provided by the club is one of my great pleasures.
Mark, yes, thanks.
Andrew – are members different? Won’t comment 😉
The problems with the current management can indeed be seen by looking at the way in which clubs on Andrew’s list operate. They have different approaches from starting at 0930 to having 40 minute races, but what they have in common is a ‘when to finish’ system. The average lap time system seems most appropriate for Shotwick with a “did not finish cut off”, but it must be properly agreed as we’ve already seen racers aggrieved by shortened races.
There is a hang-over from the days of 2 races per day which impacts the back to back particularly. It was common to simply finish the slowest boat at a time when this would mean the faster boats arrived at the expected time/lap count. Many ROs try to adapt this to finish one of the slower boats rather than the slowest, but there is no agreed protocol.
We now have on the water a few very fast boats and a few very slow boats. Lapping is not unusual. Imagine a situation which can arise when the RO finishes the slowest boat. Immediately following are the very fast boats. This leaves a fleet spread out over 10 + minutes. Given ‘sorting out’ this means that the fast boats may have to hang about for 20 minutes, whilst the slower boats don’t have time to get back their breath. This, of course, happens only occasionally; when it doesn’t then nobody notices the potential problem. My suggestion would be average and incremental lap times and using these to predict a finish time and hence identify the boat which will be first to be finished. A did-not-finish or equivalent rule must be used to clear the water. Race lengths may need to be changed to fit the format. Any system adopted must be properly agreed by the committee/race group so that it is clear to all that this is how the system will run and will require that the RO has an assistant (there should be one, but a common problem is non-attendance). BTW L&L have a nice PDF guide for ROs.
Why is it at Shotwick we seem to have this problem.
Answer in my post of 6th. Communications.Nowhere are there instructions to race officers. These should be in the on-line guidance and part of the course decision book (with a big “read-me” instruction). Most ROs succeeded in making pragmatic decisions, but there was much frustration and at least one member has stated that they will never again act as RO.
If you don’t tell people what you want, then don’t be surprised if you don’t get it.
Can open, worms everywhere
John’s comments about race management seem spot on and he refers to changes not being implemented and lack of RO initiative. ROs can only act according to the rules, so where is the guidance to be found? Not in the racing management or sailing rules, which is where we should be able to find them. There is a tendency for ‘those in the know’ to assume that everybody else knows as much as do they. Human, but something the committee and sub groups should be aware of when anything is changed.
Hopefully, not too far off the topic of format, but can guidance on courses also be considered? A complex course can be a lot of fun, but if the end of a lap involves passing through the start line, then past one or two markers and back through the start line confusion is inevitable. Also in the rules mentioned above there is a statement that safety boat crewing should have priority, i.e. if necessary the ARO should be reassigned to the safety boat. From a non racer’s point of view, the format itself seems fine but the supporting framework needs a little TLC.
Never raced, but from viewpoint of ARO/SBC:
The back to back races can be difficult for the RO to see and therefore manage if there are very slow boats in the first race.
This has been made more difficult by
1.poor radio contact (an ongoing problem linked to charging – there are intelligent chargers which prevent overcharging; could we get one?)
2. Times when there has only been one person on the safety boat. In the event of a safety problem what can one person sans radio do quickly?
Can I also mention that this year has been a poor one on which to fairly gauge the format because the awful weather has deterred some people and has disrupted some races.
Many thanks Geoff. Much appreciated; see you on the water soon.
Apologies for being a nuisance. Spreaders obtained. Could you give me a measurement from the masthead or deck for them? I have the ‘tuning guide’ information for the angles and measurements, but it gives nothing on the placement. I do not have black bands, so measurement needs to be from an end of the stick.
Many thanks Geoff, much appreciated. Out with the Black and Decker it is 😉
Maybe for the ‘technical’ forum, but probably the expertise lies here.
I have read that older round masts like mine should have spreaders to prevent problems with mast rake and lean (which I may have). Do you agree? Should I fit spreaders?
Pictures… pictures…. we want pictures!!!!
Jon, I think that my earlier message was probably poorly worded (nothing new there then!). My AGM comment on not reacting to the wrangles about racing was wrong as the setting up of the group proves, however, my main thought was that any race-related debates have circled around the format for “traditional” club races. I would like to see more fun competitions, but, having said that, I know that many ideas eventually fall flat due to lack of interest, etc.. The only way to find out what works will be to try it and see (-Edison didn’t have a 1000 failures; just 1000 experiments that had negative results). We shouldn’t expect every new idea to be a roaring success. The call for volunteers for the working group suggested that it would try and create a universally acceptable traditional racing format. Great, but with my knowledge and experience I can offer nothing there. If it looks at other racing issues or another group is formed to look at wider competitions, then I’d gladly be involved.
To those in the group – thank you and please think outside the box. I’ve made a start for you by inserting bags of woodworm into the far recesses of Dave Tuttle’s boat.
I would like to try and use the logged data. It might be a waste of time, but perhaps a correlation might emerge. Do you have the data? What form is it in? How do I get it?
Carl’s idea of increasing interest is spot on – but, prior to the AGM a lot of ideas were put forward. As per the last five years, only the traditional wrangles went to the AGM. Other ideas were decided (by the Committee) to be issues for the Committee to deal with and did not go to the AGM so nothing happened and here we are again with the same ‘concerns’ being raised in the middle of the racing year.
The club does need someone (or people) with good racing experience, the necessary time and willingness to look at the scene holistically and not just at scoring and handicaps. Paul suggested race coaching which would be great.
There are other ways to race apart from the traditional and many fun sailors are put off by the racers who are more interested in the league table than the sailing, a lack of variety and a perception of the Committee as being a group dedicated to taking the fun out of sailing.
It may be worth considering why the club loses members every year from the non-racing sector. Training courses bring in new members, but the outfall is equal or greater. Clubs in a 20 mile radius have as many as four races a day and have other competitions. They also use incentives to keep members and promote club cohesiveness, including financial ones such as 50% fees for retired people, club boat racing and class races. Shotwick doesn’t have to follow other clubs, but it does need to consider the purpose of the club or we shall see this topic raised again year after year as the club declines into a silo mentality.