Every so often, I will appease a competitor's request to make a change to the way I handle races. This request was a disagreement on a square line vs a pin favored line. Typically, I make the pin end favored about 10 degrees to separate the fleet and keep everyone away form the committee boat. I also do this to even out the playing field on the first tack. If the line is square, the far right boat will almost always have the advantage and control the leeward end. But, if the pin is slightly favored, this gives the leeward end an opportunity to escape the control. As we saw Wednesday, a squared line brings havoc when the wind shifts a bit right and makes the line square, or boat favored. I realize there are many aspects that I do differently than what "has been done in the past". But, times are changing and things need to change. We do not get the large fleets of boats and huge attendance of parties like we had in the 80's and 90's. If we want to keep, and extend, the interest of sailing, we need to find new ways to change. Don't get me wrong, we enjoy seeing everyone, just not 30-40 all at once. I am still experimenting with the leeward mark placements and enjoying the freedom of not having a cruiser in the middle of the starting area. I do intentionally place the leeward mark where the current anchored cruising boat becomes a tactical obstruction.
The J-22 fleet continued to bring out the competitive edge with an aggressive start, some tight mark roundings and close finishes. With a couple of classes, it appeared that if a boat got free from the pack, they were able to make some big gains and finish pretty far ahead of the pack. This brings up a question about overall results; should overall results be based off of cumulative times, even in one-design? This parallels my thought that a team that gets a first place finish against 10 boats should receive a larger reward than a boat winning against 3 boats. The argument has been made that one may be battling the same 3 boats in each fleet, but you can get buried in a bigger fleet start quite easily.I have been very impressed in the improvements the B fleet has made. It is great to see how much they help each other on and off the course. Some sailors have jumped from boat to boat to help and mitigate the frustration of learning how to race their boat. I can see that the Non-Spin A fleet will have some more good competition coming their way very soon.