Thursday, January 24, 2008

Formula class rules

With last weeks Alex Cavillica Blue Water regatta in Miami, it made me stop and think a bit about our Formula Windsurfing class rules.

We had a 3 day race with no racing on Friday and marginal conditions on Saturday and 4 decent races Sunday in 15-20k knots.

Obviously the formula class has a certain wind range that works best- somewhere around 8-25 knots. Below that range and you’re not planning on a formula board- which really takes the tactics and strategy out of racing. Formula boards barely move upwind when not planning.

Sure you can do it and racing in 6-10 knots take a certain skill set just as racing in 20k+ as Vincent pointed out in his comments from Day 2’s report but where’s the line for “suitable conditions” as determined by the race director.

Obviously this is a grey area as racing in Florida differs than racing in California.

The class guidelines suggest the following:

Wind Speed , its measurement , and 'suitable conditions'.

  • the Race Officer is advised to calibrate his wind speed readings on the anchored start boat from a drifting boat to windward
  • if the wind speed is less than 7 knots in the starting area at any time during the last minute prior to the starting signal , the start should be abandoned
  • wind speed readings should be taken from approx 2 metres above the water surface
  • the Race Officer should ensure that the wind is measured over as much of the course area as possible ( at least start , windward mark , and middle of course )
  • if pumping becomes the main method of propulsion the race should be abandoned
  • the decision on ' suitable conditions ' rests with the Race Officer

The championship rules go on to say:

2.2.4 Racing shall take place in suitable conditions, and

the decision on suitable conditions shall be made

by the Race Officer , and where appropriate the

Class Race Supervisor .

In several races on Saturday, the majority of the fleet stopped planning for several minutes on one or both sides of the course. On the last race of the day in conditions under 8 knots, only a handful of sailors got off the line planning.

Should this be an example of when the race director should abandon the race due to lack of suitable conditions?

Part of what makes yacht racing and racing boards so interesting is that the conditions are changing all the time. There’s a strategy to figure out what side of the course will have more wind but if it drops to non plane-able conditions for the majority of the fleet, should we be racing at all?

Id like to hear your opinions on how the class rules can be improved, if at all or other suggestions to make racing more fun and fair.

The Aussies arnt worrying about too little wind at the moment with the Formula Oceanic and Australian Championships with the first day of racing postponed due to 35k+ wind. On day 2 or 3 things calmed down to 18-24k. Steve Allen on the new gaastra formula board is still dominating

In other news- it’s great to her the IWA is considering the Formula class for the 2012 Games. See Bruno’s 2008 New Year Report. The vote on what equipment to choose for the 2012 Games comes this November.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My experience about wind minimums for Formula is that wind minimum according rules - 7 kts (3.5m/s) measured on drifting vessel equals 10 -11 kts (5.2-5.5 m/s) measured on anchored vessel.
Boat - 5m long rigid bottom inflatable.
Different boats - different wind minimums.