Mar 24, 2011, 8:18 AM
Post #4 of 8
Re: [The Publisher] START/FINISH LINE OBSTRUCTIONS
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From Al Johnson:
I have to take exception to Steve Pyatt’s contention (issue #3301) that closing start/finish lines is a bad idea. There were a couple of follow-on posts that supported his opinion. Perhaps racers (and committees) have differing perceptions based on what kind of boats and how many classes are running, and that the right answer may be different depending on the type of boats, and the number of classes that are using the same S/F line.
For safety reasons, some of the Seattle clubs regularly close the start line as well as the finish line for PHRF boats doing W/L races. The 50-footers in the first start frequently round the top mark and are back down to the area of the committee boat before the fifth or sixth classes start. If the wind goes left, there is a significant advantage gained by going downwind through the start line and trying to squeeze through a class in the middle of their start sequence.
One perspective is that this should all be fine because the right of way rules cover all circumstances that could be encountered, and people shouldn’t be out there if they aren’t responsible for their actions or aren’t in control of their boats. However, mistakes can happen, and at some point common sense tells you that it isn’t a good idea to create a situation that significantly increase the probability of a fifty or hundred-thousand dollar mistake.
From Craig K. Yandow:
Thinking about Al Johnson's too many boats in a small space justification for closing start and finish lines, I realize there are two reasons to avoid regattas put on by clubs that do that.
When there are too many other classes on the course, the quality of competition in our own class suffers just as it does when the lines are closed. Besides, sailing into a cloud of boats, even with a larger faster boat, is still slower than choosing a course around the dirty air.
At Alamitos Bay YC (Long Beach, CA), multiple courses are regularly used to minimize the problem. Perhaps that is why we still get a whole lot of boats on each course. So we take the next step: Our PROs have experience with the situation and choose course and marks to minimize the class to class interactions. Fast boats get long legs and courses. It is perceived as a PRO mistake when fast classes need to sail into the start of a later or slower class. It can happen, but it results in learning and seldom happens twice.