One thing you learn about running sailboat races for years on end, is to be adaptable. Class interest changes where some classes fall out and some build up. The J-22 and the Spinnaker classes have shown the most growth the last couple of years. The spinnaker class will include both symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnaker designs. Unfortunately, our Sunfish and FJ classes have taken the biggest hit, where these two classes will be merged into the Portsmouth class. The J-24 and Catalina 22 classes appear to be stable and will remain unchanged.
Any group of boats (a particular class or similar rating) may be separated into another class if they have a strong showing (consistent 5+ finishers) and desire to be separated. One new thing I will push this year is a Portsmouth-B class. The rules will be the similar to the Non-Spinnaker-B class; driver and crew must have less than 5 (five) years of racing experience. Considering that Portsmouth boats are heavily influenced by the crew, a novice driver with an experienced crew may be placed into Portsmouth-A. If a particular driver/crew show to have surpassed the expected skills of the PM-B class, they will be monitored and possibly moved into PM-A. A minimum of three boats will need to start to qualify for a PM-B class. If less than three boats start the race, all boats will be scored as PM-A. A boat that qualifies for PM-B class shall fly an orange flag on the starboard shroud while racing. Having this on the starboard shroud will assist the race committee in identifying PM-B boats at the start and at the finish.
I look forward to seeing everyone out this year, and hope that we have to form more classes as the fleet grows. You guys are the ones who make this the greatest racing event on the Gulf Coast!!!