Today started off damp and windy with the weather forecasts tipping further rain and 25 – 30 knots from the south. Not the nicest sounding conditions for today’s “Pointscore” 13 handicap race. But, as is often the case the weather cleared and the predicted winds did not eventuate. This put an end to plans of scrapping the sailing for an early lunch, coffee and chat. Instead the relaxed atmosphere was replaced by hasty rigging activities and handicap allocation calculations.
In my opinion a handicap start race can sometimes be stressful for the handicapper. Getting handicaps right can be tricky. Apart from the standard requirements of working out handicaps objectively to keep them fair for all participants, other elements like moral and ethical considerations enter into the overall calculations. A handicapper treads a fine line between making it fare for all competitors based on historical performance results and predicted sailing conditions on the day, and making sure there is enough leeway in the start times for boats often at the back of the fleet to get an opportunity to start from and finish the race at the front of the fleet. I have also been reminded that, contrary to Roy and HG’s philosophical point of view (“What’s the point of being in control of the rules if can’t organise a win”, or words to that effect), it is never a good idea for a handicapper to set the handicaps in a way that ensures the boat they are sailing on can never loose.
Today’s TY fleet consisted of GreyFox, with Digger and Danny aboard, Rosstered Off with Jim, Dave Richard H and Shaun aboard and Frou Frou with Alan, Ray and Me aboard.
Welcome back to Grey Fox and the Hamer family after the Christmas New Year break. We hadn’t had word from Digger since some time before the Christmas and I was getting a little worried for his welfare. I was even been checking the funeral announcements for a number of weeks just in case I had to get my good suit ready. So it was a relief to welcome the Hamer family back today.
Conditions ended up being very pleasant on the water with the wind never getting above about 15 knots and the waves smoothing out, perfect sailing conditions really. Grey Fox was sailed very well, easily holding her lead all the way to the finish and into a deserved first place. Rosstered Off passed Frou Frou early on during the last work to finish second with Frou Frou crossing in third place. I will leave it to you the reader to decide if the results were due to good moral and ethical handicapping processes or, more likely, because of good skippering and crew-work on the day.
From Frou Frou’s perspective at least (apart from a complaint to the handicapper of being too lenient on the other TY competitors), the initial misgivings about entering the water were wiped away by a fantastic days sailing. And I should mention that at least two other good things came out of today’s race. Nobody ran in to anybody at the start and Ray Stanley survived without being hit on the head and knocked overboard.
Pointscore 13, Handicap Start
Position Boat Name Finishing time
First Grey Fox 15.54.39
Second Rosstered Off 15.59.34
Third Frou Frou 16.02.19
The End Trev.