Harken Derm

What Was Old Becomes New Again

Published on November 28th, 2016

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
For years I raced Snipes on a lake-like venue with permanent marks around its perimeter. Race courses would zig zag the waters, with windward marks tucked into many of the coves. Each leg was different and a new challenge.

But it all went away when the windward-leeward course trend engulfed our sport. Now a race may have three or more laps around the same two marks. More than once did I wonder how many laps had we completed. The repetition sucked the fun from the game.

While the windward-leeward course provides the best test for championship events, more weekend events are again dabbling with alternative formats. And there are good reasons to do so.

“Any boat will also always have a preferred set of conditions and that’s as it has always been and as it should be,” recognized James Dadd, IRC rule administrator. “That is why it’s so important that organizers experiment more with varied course formats. For one thing, we need to learn to go reaching again – and boats should be made more capable of it.”

While Dadd was speaking about handicap events with a mix of boat types, the C&C 30 One Design class also is endorsing the inclusion of distance races at their events.

“I wasn’t crazy about it at first,” says Dan Cheresh who owns Extreme2. “I’m an around-the-cans guy. But I went along with the class when they wanted to add distance racing. Now I really like it. There are so many beautiful things to see on a distance race. It’s very challenging and it rounds you out as a team. I’m a changed man!”

Dadd notes that varied courses offer needed variety. “Especially for the Corinthian sailor, always doing the same manoeuvres at the same mark can get pretty dull,” Dadd observes. “Mixed courses can offer more interesting and more testing racing… and also more fun.”

Like fashion, often what was old becomes new again. Maybe race courses too.

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