Rumblings from the Boss


PRO's thoughts on a variety of subjects.

Some of you have heard the news that this is my last year to run the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races. It has been a good 8 years and I'm ready to race my own boat. There are several ideas of what the future holds and I have no doubt it will continue to be the best venue on the Gulf Coast. There are a couple of interested parties and we are negotiating the details. Once I have a firm plan for the future, I wil share it with everyone. But, in the meantime, go sail... enjoy.. Not to say it isn't all about the race, but there is a time and place. Sailing does bring out a competitive spirit that brings people together. i look forward to seeing everyone on the water and enjoying the sport on the other side of the flags. As I've been told; I'm ready to pay my money, sail my boat, and go home. 



Scott Tuma


One fo the great things abou this event is the willingness of people to take video and photos of the racing. We have some great racers that understand what to look for when shooting video and photos. Here is a link to Stuart's drone videos:


Follow his page and please let him know your appreciation. 


It’s time again for our CLRA Winter Seminars to kick off. To start, these seminars are free of charge. Our presenters donate their time and are not paid through CLRA. All we ask is for you to bring yourself/crew/spouse/etc., be respectful and tip our bar tenders very heavily. These seminars are encouraged to be interactive. We are usually pretty relaxed in the format, but we will try to speed things along to not drag out the evening. We try to keep these seminars under two hours. With any of them, they could last for days. The seminars are scheduled as follows:

3/1/17: Seminar #1: Get’n Ready 2 Rumble – This will start the discussion of what needs to be done to get ready for a WNR, or any race; from boat prep to personal preparation.

3/8/17: Seminar #2: How to Recover from a bad start – When you have a bad start, the race is not over. There are many aspects to allow one to recover from a bad start. We have seen many times where someone was over early, but ended up winning the race. How did they do that?

3/15/17: Seminar #3: New Rules – How to Use Them – How do you apply the new rule changes? Did you know there were some changes?

3/22/17: Seminar #4: Courses & Tactics – Learn the changes being made on the courses and how to use tactics with these courses.

All seminars will be held at Villa Capri starting at 6:15pm.

This year we are continuing using the US Sailing Portsmouth Yardstick rating system. This system can be used as a single point rating (D-PN number) (like PHRF) or a multi-point (rating changes with wind speeds) rating system. I do not believe a single-point rating system can be remotely accurate; boats perform very differently in different wind conditions. A multi-rating handicap system is a bit more work for the race committee, but our races are not that long to worry about drastic wind changes. Every race, race committee has discussions on the wind strength and direction.  We do have ananonometer and digital display on the committee boat (donated by Davis Marine Electronics) as well as some phone apps that will record average and max wind speeds. This year we are also making some rating adjustments based on performance. Like most rating data bases, they are only as accurate as the data submitted. For myself, when evaluating a boat's rating and performance, I look at the sail condition first. If someone feels their rating is off, they better have new sails and a good two years of data. Basing a boat's rating off one or two races is not valid. Luckily, with about 20 races per year, we get some very accurate data. We are working on a page or link that will list the rating changes for this year. On the changes, we have done an "across the board" change with the wind ratings. Monitoring and applying changes for each wind range is very time consuming, but I'm sure we have some data analysists that would enjoy this type of challenge. We are one of the clubs that submit our results to US Sailing to be inputted in their database. 

Here is the link to the US Sailing Yardstick Handbook:  Which may not load if you are not a US Sailing member. The handbook is available to you by clicking on "a bunch of great articles and things" on the menu on the right. This handbook describes the rating method and the factors applied. 

I am going to postpone Series 4 Race 2 so that we can get more participaton for the US Olympic Sailing Team send off at Houston Yacht Club.

Here is the link:

The Houston Yacht Club is hosting the send off party for the US Olymipic Sailing Team. This will their last stop before heading to Rio. 

Please come out and help support our sailors in representing USA in the Olympics.



I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

It has definately been a very short break from racing on our end. The problem with wanting to continualy improve something, you go through a trial and error period. But, I think the best improvement so far has been John's new calendar. I feel like it is much easier to read and visualize. This new calendar will allow me to make quick adjustments to the calendar and not have to bother John to make an update while he pulls himself away from the other dozen things I had asked for. That is just one of those things that makes our life easier and not many can appreciate. 

Two things that are on the forefront; scoring system and ratings. I have heard from some continually pushing to use low point system. The reason I don't want to use low point is I feel a first place against 15 boats is worth more than a first place against 4 boats. For a normal regatta where the number of boats is set for the entire event, high point does not matter at all. But, our classes can vary from a 9 boat J-22 class to 16 boats week to week. Granted, usually the top 1/3rd of the fleet is always out and it may not vary their scores much, but shouldn't we be aiming to get into that top third? How the places are valued will change. The system we used last year scored the last boat the same as the boat that did not sail; the idea is scoring people on the number of boats they beat. Unfortunatley, when a boat places last, they beat zero boats therefore their percantage is multiplied by 0, giving them a zero points. I think some people used this to their advantage that if they were last, they would not finish making it difficult for the boat that won to gain enought points to win the series. I will go into more deatil of the simplified scoring at the 3/7/18 seminar. 

Next is ratings. We are aware of a few boats that get outsailed by their rating. I do not agree with a single point rating, especially with the number of boats we have in our handicap classes. A boat's performance is not linear againast another boat. I feel a multipoint rating system is the best fit. Some of our boats have not had updated results into US Sailing for quite some time. Each year, we submit our results to US Sailing for them to plug into their system for adjustments. John has evaluated several boats in question and put the data into a spreadsheet for us to evalaute. Over the year, we have made note of boat's performance with emphasis on their starts, roundings, tactics, manuvers and just basic racing skill level. As always, the boat's condition is also taken into consideration. I have seen where a boat owner appeals their rating, gets the adjustment and then get a new bottom and sails. 

As we get closer to the seminars, I will give some more updates on some other pieces I'm working on. 

Seminar #1: February 7: Sail Trim - Part 2

Seminar #2: February 21: Are you really ready to race?

Seminar #3: March 7: Racing tactics, one-desgin vs handicap

Series 1 proved to be a bit challenging with some very un-typical light and shifty wind conditions. With that, we have managed to avoid anyone hitting the committee boat for this first series - Good Job!!!  The 13 to 16 boat J-22 fleet has shown that this 30 year old design is still very popular. Our Portsmouth fleet has shown great promise with an average of 10 boats each week. One of the most impressive classes has been the Non-Spinnaker B class. It has been great to watch these racers learn and constantly bring new people in each week. I'm not sure if I've seen the same crew on a boat yet. This has been fantastic for the sport and the community. There are so many people that I talk to that "always wish to go sailing", but never have the opportunity to go. You guys provide that opportunity. We've seen many teams reaching out to local businesses for sponsorship and I heavily applaud that. This is a fantastic way for a local business to gain a lot of advertising and support of the community. At this level, the advertising is a good thing. Now, take it up a few notches and I start to disagree. Put it this way, I feel that the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and any high-level professional race should ban all electronics, except a knot meter and anemometer. That's all you get... Back to reality... We have had a great turn out despite the strange weather patterns. Lately, I have read several articles where some areas are now experiencing what we have dealt with for several years; the increase of Wednesday Night Races and the decrease of weekend events. There are many speculations of why this is, and I plan to conduct my own survey. I think this will help the other clubs  accommodate to this trend and improve their events. Send me your honest thoughts - email or call... 

We hope everyone is starting to get some kind of normalicy after Hurricane Harvey. I am usually not a fan of having make-up races because of the logistics and changing of the calendar, but with the number of cancelled races we have had this year, I have decided to make-up Race 2 of Series 5 because of Harvey. I realize there are some classes where points are close and the logistics of getting away from home and office may have been a bit tough the last couple of weeks. S5R2 will be hosted on 9/20/17 and the awards party will be pushed to 10/11/17. I always try to work around HMR where people can have enough time to get their boats ready. 

I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and I appreciate everyone's patience and look forward to seeing everyone on the water and at the awards party. 



Scott Tuma, PRO

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Coming into a new season, there will be some more big changes coming.  I am changing the number of races for the year and fate of Club Championship; as well as considering making some rating adjustments.
The 2016 season will be five series long with 4 races per series, instead of six. In between each series, there will be a bye week (a week of no racing). We will run Series 1, have a week of no racing and start Series 2 the following week. The main reason for this change is to give race management and racers a break among the intense WNR schedule. 
For 2016, there will not be a Club Championship Series. The intensity of this series tends to drive competitors to the limit of pushing boundaries and sometimes being careless resulting in minor damage to borrowed boats. The last few years, I have spent many hours and dollars making repairs because of the club championship races.  Over the years, it has been a challenge to locate 4-5 like boats and then spending hours and dollars to make them even. The frustrating part is the time and money involved after the series of races to get the boats back into original condition. There has never been any major incidents, but mainly minor repairs needed. It is also frustrating to give a loaning boat owner my word that their boat will be taken care of because these are some of the best racers in our area, and turn around to tell the boat owner there are some repairs to be done. I know there are some racers that claim this is all part of sailboat racing, but this does not fly very well to someone who has dropped thousands of dollars on fixing up their boat to keep it nice. 
With these changes, we will be revamping the Notice of Race as well as the Sailing Instructions.  We also realize some boats perform differently in the lake than their rating represents and we have some ideas on implementing adjustments.  We will either implement a Clear Lake rating adjustment that factors in keel depth and the sail area to displacement ratio or use US Sailing Yardstick for everyone.  I am still evaluating which will be the fairest system. 

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!!!

With the final weeks of the 2015 season, there are a few classes that are very close and some of the class winners are still up for grabs.  This is when the true purpose of the high-point scoring comes into play; the current leaders hope the participation declines and everyone in contention hopes they can win with record participation. The value is placed very high on a large number of boats coming out to play.  
I have unfortunately delayed in reminding everyone to send in your submissions for the voting trophies; Sportsmanship, Best Crew, Most Improved, Buddy Award, and Aargh Award (now not excluding R/C, but R/C will have their own stories of competitors ready). We ask everyone to send in their submissions and we will narrow down the list to a few and send out the finalists.  Please give examples of why they should win the award.  The idea of these awards is to bring recognition to those who have gone above and beyond in Wednesday Night Sailboat Racing, except for the Aargh Award.  The Aargh Award is (a light-hearted award) awarded to a person who screwed up the best on a Wednesday Night.  We all have our experiences and stories, but some are not willing to relive them.  Many times our crews have dedicated more hours than we expect, or they have improved a significant amount, or they donated a significant amount to build a class or support the sport.