Solution For Local Race Participation

Published on November 18th, 2014

The Johnstone name may be synonymous with popular boat designs, but Bob Johnstone also has his finger on the pulse of what works on the race course too. If the idea is to provide popular racing events, here is Bob’s recommendation:

The solution for local race participation is going gangbusters worldwide: 10-20 mile, Round-the-Island (or government marks) Pursuit Races that attract a wide variety of 100+ boats in the same race! Best to have two divisions (or starting lines): spinnaker and non-spinnaker. Then just watch great things happen.

One-design classes have their own start, no matter how many show up. The slowest boats are out front for most of the race. The fastest boats get to show off their speed by passing most of the fleet. There are no intimidating PHRF starting lines with large boats mowing down small boats. There’s minimal race committee logistical support with no mark boats, course changes or finish times to record.

The format provides a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery. First boat across the line is the winner. Big party afterwards. Everybody has fun… including the race volunteers.

The one potential administrative nightmare is, “What happens If the wind dies?” No worries. Start intervals are based on PHRF time-on-distance handicaps, rounded to the nearest minute. The SI’s say the race may be shortened at any turning mark after a given time from the start of the slowest boat in a race… without having to re-compute TOD ratings. Depending on the length of the course, the time elapsed prior to shortening is adjusted.

Here’s the TOD/TOT rationale, using a 12 mile race with the course shortened after 2 hours and 40 minutes: CLICK HERE

We’ve been doing this for Pursuit Races in Northeast Harbor (ME) and Boston Harbor Islands Regatta for years. It works great. Among 100+ boats in the Boston Harbor Islands Regatta, only 45% had PHRF certificates. For the rest we just assign ratings based on sisterships rated by PHRF-NE or others. And, don’t forget a prize for the best finish by a first-time racer. You’ll have several in each event.

Try it, you’ll like it

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