Aug 29, 2012, 11:00 AM
Post #1 of 4
"WE SHOULD DO THIS BECAUSE IT IS FUN"
There's more to sailing than windward-leeward courses
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It's an occasional rant fueled by the editorial staff at Scuttlebutt that
our sport suffers from its pursuit of the perfect race course. This quest
has delivered us to the Windward-Leeward course where we now fear to leave.
While the sausage course does prove to provide a quality test of skill, it
does not leave much to the imagination. And without some variety, in our
humble opinion, our sport becomes stale.
So it was with excitement that we received this correspondence distributed
to college sailors and race managers by Ken Legler, long time sailing coach
at Tufts University and principle race officer extraordinaire. Read on...
After running this idea by a number of agreeable people, here is an idea
worth trying. At any event other than championships and intersectionals,
make one race per division a longer race with some interesting legs. Such
courses could include a long windward leg or long reach leg to create a
more interesting race. Here are some possible examples depending upon wind
direction and strength:
Maine Maritime: a long downwind leg around the rotation dock.
Bowdoin: a long beat out toward the ocean and back.
Vermont: a long leg out into the middle of Lake Champlain.
Tufts: zig-zag reaches in heavy air.
MIT or Harvard: a bridge to bridge leg.
Roger Williams: a course through the bridge at slack tide.
Salve Regina: lots of possibilities.
Yale: out into the Sound or up the shoreline and back.
Fordham: part way across to Long Island and back.
Navy: up to the Severn River bridge in a NW or SE wind.
St. Marys: going well up river or down river.
Old Dominion: a giant triangle.
Charleston: under the bridge at slack tide.
On a river: a really long W-L if winds parallel the river; a wide butterfly
course in cross winds with three shorts beats and two long reaches.
At any site: the usual W-L but then turning toward the rotation site and
going as far as a fair wind allows.
And so on, you get the idea. Yes, it should count. Reaching on a long leg
is a good test of sailing skill, not a parade. Most important, we should do
this because it is fun. It is also a challenge for the race committee to
pick a great course and diagram it in the morning so sailors can figure it
out without any confusion. It is also a challenge to pick a course that is
fair, challenging and about 20-30 minutes long instead of the exact same
standard W-L of 15-18 minutes every single race at every single regatta.
In short, setting and sailing long reaches is becoming a lost skill. Racing
on a long reach once in awhile can be really challenging and fun in any
wind speed. There is some reaching in the Olympics and plenty in distance