This is going to be quite the email, so I hope you have some time.
There are a couple of people on this list who are not on "Crewsignup." Y'all just ignore the references to
that website... ;).
Here we go!
Welcome to 2011!
I hope everyone has had a good offseason, and has been working out to get ready to sail this summer. So you have all
been standing in the shower in your foulies, cold water on, tub full to your calves, whilst smacking yourself with
a winch handle and banging your head against the sidewall of the shower while a tape of Don bellowing "tacking!"
and "Ease!" plays over and over and over.
Good... works for me, too!
Now that we are ready, here is what we got:
Schedules for the season are loaded into http://www.crewsignup.com. I have not edited the races yet, so all the Area 3, MORF,
Beercan, etc, races are in there. We have not yet winnowed down our race schedule. Some races (such as the Queens' Cup and the
Michigan City race) take place on the same date. Obviously, we are only doing 1 of those at a time. As we get closer to the season,
we'll pare those down properly, because-----
Politics in Area 3 screwing with us
Here is what is going on politically, and what some solutions for Maskwa may look like. Some of this might seem a little
technical, but just take a pull from your handy bottle of rum, and continue swimming through it...
Area 3 (Southern Lake Michigan, from Waukegan 'round to St Joe Michigan,) has been taken over by space aliens. Well, ok,
maybe not, but with what they want to do to our section breaks, it sure seems like it. Part of PHRF (Performance Handicap) is
that it allows boats with dis-similar design to compete against each other. This only goes so far, though. Markedly different
boats are still not "Equal" through the handicap system. That is why that "Handicap bands" should be tight to be equitable.
Our section, Section 3, is the best example of that. Regardless, at a 60 second handicap at the 'fastest' of our section,
and Maskwa, Sorcerer, and Free Agent with 72s, are pretty close in rating. Some of us would have a bone to pick with Regardless,
but for the most part, our section is quite competitive. We know the J35s will kill is in light air, with their big Genoas, but in 15+
kts of wind, we pass them up and downwind. Nearly every boat in our section has a few 1sts under their belt.. That is one sign
of a good section break. (or a bunch of idiot sailors in the same area... guess we can debate this ... ;).)
So, they are changing the section bands.
We will now be Section 2. Our ratings band will run from 19 to 87. This will lump us in with the 40.7s (54 PHRF, but they race
One Design,) Sydney 38s (rate 27) like Serenissima and Painkiller, GS44 (rate 21) like Eagle's Wings, J130s (rate 27) like Salsa,
and the J120s. The ratings band will go to just south of us in the handicap band to 87, which includes Section 4 boats! (J105s, etc)
This is completely ridiculous. There is no benefit to making the section less competitive, but, word is, that was part of the idea.
They want the fast boats to just walk away with a bunch of wins, and those of us at the slow end have no chance to even dual
things out at the start, or mark roundings, etc. We have no practical way to compete properly with boats that leave us 3 or 4
boat lengths behind within 3 minutes of the start. We've stood up to some of these boats before in races, and can sometimes
hold our own, but only when conditions totally favor us over the other boats... and that is absurd. We want good racing, right?
So, here are some of the possible courses of action....
Not sail (har-de-har har... not an option)
Race under their conditions
This would suck, but we have been put behind the 8-ball before, and come out halfway decent; only it's not nearly as much fun.
We did talk about this last night. We'd be racing against mostly slower boats, on the whole. We would be in the top 3 fastest boats
by handicap. MORF also runs some really cool races, such as trapezoid, Olympic Course, etc.. etc.. We could have quite a bit
of fun with this.
Level Section (One Design)
This would be getting the boats from our old section, and have all agree on racing "level," or as if we were a single
design. We would start with the section we are 'banded' with (now section 2,) but we would be scored separately, in our
own 'section.' This is probably the best of both worlds. This could be even better, if we could just get 2 or 3 more
115s out in the lake and racing. Then we really would be 1 design racing! (small chance of that happening, but there
is a chance.)
-- There are a few problems here. We'd be going head to head with J35, J109, etc. We have beaten all of those boats scratch...
every single one. However, some of them, the J109s in particular, have multiple spinnakers, Code 0 sails, etc, and there
would be quite a bit of work to decide what would constitute the "level."
So all of this leaves us a little bit up in the air. Draper has gone to a 36.7, so we will not have Sorcerer to play with anymore.
That's a bummer. That leaves us with Free Agent as the only other real 72 from our section.
We'll be getting ready for the season as normal... a few parties here and there, meet at a few bars, and soon, enough, we'll be
doing boat work, scrubbing the boat, rebuilding the winches, replacing the beer cooler with a wine cooler, all the fun stuff.
Work details will go out as soon as we start to schedule that. Hopefully we'll be washing and waxing in April, and with a bit
of luck we'll be on the water in April this year, so we can get some practice in, and get some training done. :)