Feb 21, 2006, 10:42 AM
Post #68 of 73
Re: [The Publisher] Poll: Should the Melges 24 class restrict hiking?
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Well, here is my two cents from "the back of the pack". I have been racing on the Melges for 4 years now and gettting my butt waxed for most of them. First 2 years was as crew and the last 2 years as an owner/driver. Both sides make valid points (opinions made by Melges sailors, that is) and is easy to sway one way or the other. The first question however is , "How do we grow the class"? Next, "As a result of loose or tight life lines, will members be added"? I agree with someone who said that "what makes and supports this class, is the people in the back of the pack". The pro's don't, they are hired guns bouncing from class to class. I crewed at the worlds this year and I can tell you, everyone hiked. Maybe not as hard as some others. Getting spit out the back was not a result of hiking though, it was a result of being out sailed. Some complain that the pro's are hiking harder and that is why they were out front. THERE PRO'S!! This is what they do for a living and they make boats go fast. This is an easy but complex boat to sail. Yes, hiking helps tremendously, yes, hiking hurts. Try hanging on a line for 2 miles at a time on any sailboat with or without hiking belts. But as such, hiking is just one aspect of competitive sailing. There is also tactics, starts, rig tension, sail tension, boat prep, and on and on and on. I tried one of the hiking pads and guess what, it still hurts. Not as much though and I could stay on the life line longer. But instead of trying to shorten the lifelines, why don't we pass a rule that states that no hiking aparatus is allowed. Then, if your crew wants to hike there butt off, more power to ya. This will also alleviate another expense that the crew or owner will have to afford to "be competitive". The reason I joined this fleet is so I can learn from the best. If we all love racing, why not try to be the best we can. I have been able to approach any pro or member of this fleet with questions and have come out with a better knowledge of not only the boat, but sailing in general. Do I enjoy getting spanked at every regatta. No. I am like most, hate to lose, love to win. LEAVE THE LIFELINES ALONE!!! Get rid of the hiking belts. Oh yeah, one more thing, if your lifelines are breaking cause of hiking, blame your skipper for not taking care of his AMSTEEL lines.