Harken Derm

Plus-One: A New Form of Racing

Published on April 30th, 2014

Too many boat owners are finding “crew wrangling” more trouble than it’s worth. After days on e-mail or the phone to recruit a full crew, and then facing the dreaded post-race crew bar bill, some owners are just “taking a pass” on many races.

Add to that how many of a full crew is relegated to being rail meat – and gut hiking – making people less willing to crew in the first place.

Over the winter, Adam Loory, a member of Huguenot Yacht Club and General Manager of UK Sailmakers, came-up with a solution to this problem: Plus-One divisions.

Building on the growth of double-handed sailing, yet recognizing that racing with only two onboard may be too steep a hill for most to climb for many, the Plus-One concept is to score boats using their handicap rating but to limit crew to approximately half a boat’s normal crew headcount.

Erring on the smaller side, the crew formula is simple: take the tens digit of the boat’s length (LOA) and add one…Plus-One.

20’-29’ – three crew
30’-39’ – four crew
40’-49’ – five crew
Etc.

What’s anticipated is less hassle, lower crew expenses while providing more fun and action for everyone on the boat…and more boats at regattas.

Larchmont (NY) Yacht Club’s 59th Annual Edlu Distance Race on May 10 will be the first event to include a Plus-One division for IRC and PHRF sailors. Larchmont YC is seeking to rejuvenate keel boat racing on Long Island Sound, especially for its Edlu Race, a 32-mile sprint which is the ideal race to kick-off this new form of racing.

The next Plus-One racing will be at Stamford (CT) Yacht Club’s Double-Handed Regatta on May 31-June 1 followed by Larchmont YC’s Race Week on July 12-20. Hopefully more clubs will include Plus-One divisions in their 2014 regatta schedule. At the end of the summer, Loory and representatives from all clubs who ran Plus-One races will regroup to refine the concept for future seasons.

If you find the concept of kinder, gentler crew management appealing, you can enter any of these three regattas at YachtScoring.com. You can also read Loory’s article explaining the background and context of the Plus-One concept on Larchmont YC’s Edlu Race page.

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